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Black stuff on my Z-poles again

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I thought I’d start a new thread, since this is a new pair of poles, even though it’s a similar problem to once I’ve had before.

This older thread reported on my problem with black stuff on the inside of the poles.

In that case, it was clear that som of the material itself was breaking down.

This time, I have the same issue, but none of the inside components are breaking down, it’s just black powdery stuff. Each pole has two folding joints, and the black stuff is on all of the joints. Any idea what it is or whether it’s going to do harm to the poles? These poles are great, and the new locking system is much better than the one that gave some people problems in the earlier thread I linked to above (@Kanga, for instance, had a problem getting them locked).

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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I looked at mine, again at your picture, and at online shopping pictures since we have different types of z poles. Even so, I don’t think the cone shaped thing is rubber and I don’t think it would break down into a powder like that even if it gets worn. The dust reminds me of what you see with door hinges, I wonder if the carbon fiber construction is being worn inside the tube, or if it’s some sort of dry lubricant they apply in manufacture. That said, mine don’t do this although I’m sure you get much more use out of yours.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks, @Smallest_Sparrow

My inclination is not to worry about it. @Smallest_Sparrow, how do you store yours? I assume they should be disassembled for storage, though I’m not sure why I think that.

I think there are three possibilities for disassembled storage.
— folded up (seems like a bad idea)
— hanging from a hangler disassembled
— laying them flat on the floor disassembled — this seems like the best way to me, since there is no pressure on anything. It is also the most inconvenient but it’s how I’ve been storing them since I have a huge closet that no one uses.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Thanks, @Smallest_Sparrow

My inclination is not to worry about it. @Smallest_Sparrow, how do you store yours? I assume they should be disassembled for storage, though I’m not sure why I think that.

I think there are three possibilities for disassembled storage.
— folded up (seems like a bad idea)
— hanging from a hangler disassembled
— laying them flat on the floor disassembled — this seems like the best way to me, since there is no pressure on anything. It is also the most inconvenient but it’s how I’ve been storing them since I have a huge closet that no one uses.
Mine are disassembled on a shelf in their bag. While trying to figure this out (I selfishly hope you will contact Black Diamond 😀 and get back to us), I tried reading pros & cons to see if this was listed. All I cared about when I bought them was light weight and foldable, since they sit in my pack unless there’s ice or huge mud holes. It turns out the resin can be cold sensitive, and the poles can be primed to fracture if bent or whacked hard against something. Not sure if that’s the case with yours but I’m going to take mine out in the sunlight this afternoon and inspect them for fine cracks. Apparently that can make them fail suddenly and without warning per the article (which could be BS).


Edit: I agree disassembled and stretched out seems ideal but I don’t have a place to do that. I left them assembled standing in a corner actually for some time then worried they might not fold again if I did that
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
how do you store yours? I assume they should be disassembled for storage, though I’m not sure why I think that
It has never occurred to me to disassemble my Black Diamond z-poles! I have used them on 7 Caminos since 2012. I just clean off any obvious dirt, fold them loosely, and stick them in a cupboard in between Caminos.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Disassembled was clearly the wrong word, sorry. What I meant was that I don’t have them locked and rigid. If I ever “disassembled” them, I am sure I wouldn’t be able to get them back together. I decided it was better not to have them folded because of the wear on the curves of the plastic/silicone/rubber connector, which in past poles has worn through.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Thanks, @Smallest_Sparrow

My inclination is not to worry about it. @Smallest_Sparrow, how do you store yours? I assume they should be disassembled for storage, though I’m not sure why I think that.

I think there are three possibilities for disassembled storage.
— folded up (seems like a bad idea)
— hanging from a hangler disassembled
— laying them flat on the floor disassembled — this seems like the best way to me, since there is no pressure on anything. It is also the most inconvenient but it’s how I’ve been storing them since I have a huge closet that no one uses.
I have had black on many pairs of my Leki poles over the years. I did not find them to hinder them from using them.
 

Rebecca Lehman

New Member
I thought I’d start a new thread, since this is a new pair of poles, even though it’s a similar problem to once I’ve had before.

This older thread reported on my problem with black stuff on the inside of the poles.

In that case, it was clear that som of the material itself was breaking down.

This time, I have the same issue, but none of the inside components are breaking down, it’s just black powdery stuff. Each pole has two folding joints, and the black stuff is on all of the joints. Any idea what it is or whether it’s going to do harm to the poles? These poles are great, and the new locking system is much better than the one that gave some people problems in the earlier thread I linked to above (@Kanga, for instance, had a problem getting them locked).

View attachment 111375
I propose it may be graphite used as a lubricant. Does it concern you? Is it causing a problem? Getting on fabric, etc?
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Interesting that some other z-pole users don’t see any of this. It’s not a problem, though it does get all over my hands, but I was worried that it was a symptom of some other problem. Since that doesn’t seem to be the case, I will just clean them off, store them, and hope to use them again soon on a Camino. Thanks all.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Since some of us don’t get that powder I wouldn’t just write it off. I’d ask Black Diamond. If they didn’t use a dry lubricant (which I doubt or you’d have seen it from the start) I’d be concerned either something is rubbing on the carbon fibers, something has cracked the carbon fibers, or the resin bonding the fibers is degrading. Any of those things might cause the poles to fail without warning.

Edit: never mind I can’t stand the suspense and emailed them about it
 
Last edited:

TaijiPilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017), LePuy(2019)
I thought I’d start a new thread, since this is a new pair of poles, even though it’s a similar problem to once I’ve had before.

This older thread reported on my problem with black stuff on the inside of the poles.

In that case, it was clear that som of the material itself was breaking down.

This time, I have the same issue, but none of the inside components are breaking down, it’s just black powdery stuff. Each pole has two folding joints, and the black stuff is on all of the joints. Any idea what it is or whether it’s going to do harm to the poles? These poles are great, and the new locking system is much better than the one that gave some people problems in the earlier thread I linked to above (@Kanga, for instance, had a problem getting them locked).

View attachment 111375
I have had my z poles since 2015. I also notice from time to time the same black stuff, but not as much as yours. Since it doesn't seem to effect the performance of the poles, I just wipe it off. If I remember, I clean the poles and store them folded if not using for a long period.
 

Charles Zammit

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
St Jean Pied de Port - Finisterra 2017
GR70 France 2018
Via Francigena 2019
Perhaps unlikely though there is a possibility the ' Black stuff ' is dried sooty mold . This is the same species that happily invades the silicon sealant in bathroom shower stalls and creates the unsightly black streaking . The flexible ' tendons ' of the Z poles are silicon sheathed .
It only takes a few spores to colonise an area , damp atmospheric conditions or moisture from washing or trekking will provide the means for growth . Consequent dry storage will kill some spores or render them dormant .
Poles do contact the soil and the construction of Z poles leaves the inner dark centre open to infiltration .
Wash with warm water and white vinegar and see if it makes a difference .
 
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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Past OR future Camino
CF- Finisterre-Muxia 03/17; Camino SK 10/17; Norte 03/18; Ingles 11/18; Augusta 03/19
I thought I’d start a new thread, since this is a new pair of poles, even though it’s a similar problem to once I’ve had before.

This older thread reported on my problem with black stuff on the inside of the poles.

In that case, it was clear that som of the material itself was breaking down.

This time, I have the same issue, but none of the inside components are breaking down, it’s just black powdery stuff. Each pole has two folding joints, and the black stuff is on all of the joints. Any idea what it is or whether it’s going to do harm to the poles? These poles are great, and the new locking system is much better than the one that gave some people problems in the earlier thread I linked to above (@Kanga, for instance, had a problem getting them locked).

View attachment 111375
Mine also “leak” a blackish grease. I just assumed it’s tin the pole tubing for those rubber joints.
 

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