The Distance Z is a super light and surprisingly durable pole that packs down extremely short. It is our Best Buy for a Lightweight optiib. Our other Best Buy winner, the Montem Ultra Strong, costs half the price, is much more adjustable but weighs over six more ounces. However, it's also 35% heavier. The Distance Z is the aluminum version of the Distance Carbon Z. The carbon version is a few ounces lighter but adds $70 to the price. The carbon version is also less durable, as is usually the case with carbon fiber. The Distance Z is best for most people, but through hikers and ultralight aficionados will appreciate the Carbon version.
The Distance Z is the non-adjustable version of the Black Diamond Distance FLZ, which is the same pole with a FlickLock (hence the name FLZ: Flick Lock Z-pole) that adds 20 cm of length adjustment, 4 ounces, and $30. The Distance Z is one of the lightest poles in our review (12 ounces) that packs down to the shortest length (14 in). The Distance Z isn't a "niche" pole. It's ideal for backpackers, hikers, and climbers who don't need their poles for wintertime on-snow use — because its baskets are not interchangeable.