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Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Review

These poles are comfortable, but they lack versatility and are a bit heavy
black diamond trail ergo cork trekking poles review
The Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Pole
Credit: Black Diamond
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Price:  $140 List | $139.95 at REI
Pros:  Comfortable grip, good features, solid construction
Cons:  Doesn't pack small, heavy, lacks versatility
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 28, 2022
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53
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 17
  • Comfort - 20% 8.0
  • Weight - 20% 4.0
  • Versatility - 20% 4.0
  • Locking and Adjustability - 15% 7.0
  • Packed Size - 15% 3.0
  • Construction Quality - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork is a three-section aluminum pole with a cork grip that is angled slightly forward from vertical. The cork grip is well-contoured and easy to hold, while the secondary foam grip and padded wrist straps are also comfortable. One of the heaviest poles in our review, they feature a decent array of features like removable tips and interchangeable baskets, but these must be purchased separately. Since the poles don't pack down to a small size and weigh more than other options, they lack versatility beyond basic hikes and aren't suitable for mountain runners or climbers. They also cost more than other poles on the market, so we can't recommend them for value.

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$139.95 at REI
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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62
Star Rating
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Pros Comfortable grip, good features, solid constructionComfortable grip, locks securely, packs small, highly versatileComfortable grips, versatile, packable, relatively affordableLightweight, short collapsed length, durableDurable, comfortable grip, packs small
Cons Doesn't pack small, heavy, lacks versatilityCarbon is less durable than aluminum, on the expensive sideDifficult locking mechanism, heavier than comparable polesNo length adjustability, average grip comfortHeavy, less versatile due to weight
Bottom Line These poles are comfortable, but they lack versatility and are a bit heavyA simple, elegant, and well-built trekking pole with versatility for all usesBurly folding trekking poles with comfortable grips that are great for everything from hiking and backpacking to climbing and mountaineeringDurable with a short collapsed length, this is a fantastic value for a lightweight poleA highly affordable pair of poles with all of the features of more expensive models
Rating Categories Black Diamond Trail... MSR DynaLock Ascent... Leki Jannu FX TA Black Diamond Dista... Trekology Trek-Z 2.0
Comfort (20%)
8.0
10.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
Weight (20%)
4.0
5.0
4.0
8.0
1
Versatility (20%)
4.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Locking and Adjustability (15%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
3.0
7.0
Packed Size (15%)
3.0
9.0
7.0
10.0
8.0
Construction Quality (10%)
6.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
Specs Black Diamond Trail... MSR DynaLock Ascent... Leki Jannu FX TA Black Diamond Dista... Trekology Trek-Z 2.0
Measured Weight (per pair) 18 oz 17 oz 19 oz 12.5 oz 26 oz
Shaft Material Aluminum Carbon fiber Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum
Collapsed Length 27 in 14.25 in 15 in 13/14/16/17 in 15 in
Max Length 55 in 47 in 47 in 39/43/47/51 in 47 in
Pole Design Collapsible Collapsible Foldable Foldable Foldable
Grip Material Cork, foam Rubber, plastic, foam Aergon Cor-Tec EVA foam Foam
Locking Mechanism FlickLock DynaLock Speed Lock plus Speed Cone Deployment Lever lock
Baskets/Tip Attachments? No Yes, winter and summer baskets Yes, trekking 2.0 basket Yes, rubber and carbide tips Yes, powder and trail baskets, boots, and narrow tips
Size Tested One size 100-120 cm One size 110 cm 100-120 cm

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Trail Ergo Cork performs decently in some of the most important areas, like comfort, locking and adjustability, and quality construction. More advanced users will want a lighter and more compact pole, but for most on-trail uses and casual day hikers, these poles are just fine.

Performance Comparison


black diamond trail ergo cork trekking poles review - the bd trail ergo cork is a good tool for everyday hikes and walks.
The BD Trail Ergo Cork is a good tool for everyday hikes and walks.
Credit: Bruce Hodgkins

Comfort


The Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork sets itself apart from the competition with a grip that is tilted forward from vertical to better align with the wrist's natural position. In reality, our testers could barely feel the difference, and in blind tests, we couldn't identify the angulation at all. Perhaps there is a placebo effect, but we don't fully buy into the marketing. The primary grips are made from cork, which molds to the user's hand over time, but it can also feel clammy in hot weather. The straps are padded, adding comfort, and there is also a secondary grip made of foam for choking up on the pole while side-hilling. The top of the handle is also rounded, making it comfortable to push down upon when moving. Overall, these are comfortable poles.

black diamond trail ergo cork trekking poles review - the bd trail ergo cork has a grip that is tilted forward at a slight...
The BD Trail Ergo Cork has a grip that is tilted forward at a slight angle, but we couldn't notice the difference compared to other comfortable BD cork grips.
Credit: Bruce Hodgkins

Weight


At 18 ounces per pair, these are some of the heavier trekking poles on the market. As a three-section aluminum telescoping pole, we didn't expect these to weigh in as low as the foldable carbon poles, but we are still a bit disappointed. This weight makes the Trail Ergo Cork unsuitable for long endurance hikes or speed-oriented hikers and endurance athletes. Indeed, after hours of hiking, we felt the heavy swing weight and were relieved when we switched to other lighter models.

black diamond trail ergo cork trekking poles review - thick aluminum shafts add weight, but also increase durability.
Thick aluminum shafts add weight, but also increase durability.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Versatility


The Trail Ergo Cork is heavy but relatively durable, making them a good choice for everyday hikers and casual mountain walkers. But, their heavy weight makes them unsuitable for long-distance endurance missions, mountain runners, or alpine climbers. They don't pack small, so they can't be used by climbers, and their plastic flick locks make them unsuitable for trekking in remote mountain ranges where replacement parts are difficult to find. These poles are only suited for casual hikers and walkers.

black diamond trail ergo cork trekking poles review - the bd trail ergo cork fits awkwardly on the outside of an...
The BD Trail Ergo Cork fits awkwardly on the outside of an average-sized day pack. We wouldn't recommend these poles for any trip requiring this technique.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Locking and Adjustability


With 40 centimeters (16 inches) of length adjustment, these poles provide some of the most adjustability on the market. However, our testers rarely needed this much length adjustment. These poles are great for a company fleet or for rentals, but for individual use, we think they are overkill, and the highly adjustable length adds weight. The Flicklock locking mechanism is easy to operate but requires a screwdriver to tighten or adjust, whereas other poles can be hand-tightened or adjusted with a coin. Occasionally, our testers found themselves with loose locks and no way to adjust them until coming home.

black diamond trail ergo cork trekking poles review - plastic lever locks provide mostly stable length adjustment, but the...
Plastic lever locks provide mostly stable length adjustment, but the screw can't be tightened by hand.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Packed Size


Collapsing to a minimum size of 27 inches, these poles don't pack down small. If they live in the garage and in your hand on the trail exclusively, this isn't a problem, but for anyone who stashes their poles on their pack, needs their poles to disappear inside a pack while climbing, or who wants a low-profile trekking pole for airplane travel, this is a major impediment.

black diamond trail ergo cork trekking poles review - the bd trail ergo cork (top) doesn't pack down small, and measures...
The BD Trail Ergo Cork (top) doesn't pack down small, and measures about twice as long as foldable trekking poles when fully collapsed.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Construction Quality


Cork handles mold to the contours of your hands over time, but they also chip easily and attract critters. During our testing, we damaged one of the cork handles during regular use. The aluminum shaft sections are high-quality and built to last, but the plastic lever locks used to connect them and hold the pole's length steady could break if smashed against rocks. Other poles use metal lever locks to eliminate this weak point.

black diamond trail ergo cork trekking poles review - the cork grip is susceptible to chipping, and one of our poles...
The cork grip is susceptible to chipping, and one of our poles chipped at the bottom of the grip during normal use.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Value


The Trail Ergo Cork is relatively expensive compared to other poles on the market, and we don't think its features merit such a high price. There are better poles out there that cost much less, and the refined grip and durable construction aren't quite enough to deserve such a premium, in our opinion.

Conclusion


Overall, the Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork is noteworthy for its comfortable grip, relatively high construction quality, and large length adjustability. However, the heavy weight and large packed size detract from overall versatility, and we have some minor durability concerns. There are better values on the market, but if you are looking for a simple, everyday pole for casual hiking and walking, these are a decent choice.

black diamond trail ergo cork trekking poles review - the bd trail ergo cork has comfortable grip materials and a...
The BD Trail Ergo Cork has comfortable grip materials and a thoughtful design, but otherwise, it's not remarkable.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Jeff Dobronyi
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