The Komperdell Carbon Expedition Vario 4 is an expedition trekking pole featuring a ultralight carbon construction, 3-way folding mechanism, ice basket and ice tip. We’ve been testing these out around Chamonix all winter, from hiking on loose rock to compact ice and snow, they’ve quickly become our go-to poles, here’s why…
The Vario 4’s feature a ergonomic foam grip and adjustable padded strap – and right from the offset they have been incredibly comfortable. We’ve never really been a fan of poles with ‘suspension’, the added weight often isn’t worth the minimal difference in comfort – although the Vario’s do not have a suspension system – a bit like carbon forks on a road bike – the carbon shafts seems to soak up the harshness of rock quite well, which is a bonus.
During testing, we’ve bent several poles – all of them aluminium. With Carbon you don’t have that problem, although if they break, they splinter – so how tough are the Vario’s? Well, put through the same cack handed techniques that broke the other poles, the Vario’s have survived 3 months of abuse with only cosmetic scratches. The foam grip and strapping has also held up well, it’s clear these have been built to last.
There seem to be quite a lot of locking systems for poles – clips, screws and the dreaded ‘twist-to-lock-but-which-way’. Komperdell have approached the locking with 2 simple methods that are both very fast, and foolproof. The main collapsable shafts simply screw together – whilst the adjustable area is secured with a single clip, other manufactures take note, it doesn’t need to be any more complex than this.
Size & Weight
At 206 grams (7.27 oz.) per pole, the Vario’s are super light (another advantage to the carbon construction) – and bare in mind this model is their robust ‘trekking’ range (the ultralight siblings Komperdell produce are ridiculously light). So if you’re looking for poles that won’t weigh the pack down it’s worth checking these, and the other models in their series out. With a decent packed size of 45 cm, the poles are adjustable from 120 – 145 cm – long enough for the tallest of hikers and even suitable for ski touring.
So, what’s the verdict? Well, if you haven’t heard about Komperdell yet (and we hadn’t until the Outdoor Show last year) you’ve been missing out. They’re a company that has a ‘bread-and-butter’ product range and specialise in this area. The debate between carbon and aluminium poles is ultimately down to personal preference, but all we can say is the Vario 4’s have become our go-to poles for everything, from touring to hiking, we think they’re absolutely fantastic. For more information visit: www.komperdell.com