Carbon Ultralite Vario 4 Compact Walking Poles from Komperdell
Having reviewed a few sets of walking poles over the years it's always interesting when a new design comes along. The Ultralite Vario, which weigh an impressively light 181g each, comprise three sections, all of which are non-adjustable and first slot, then screw together, whilst the top section has an adjustable sleeve with 20cm of play, and a quick release locking clip. The upside to this design would appear to be less chance of the usual twist-lock joints failing or seizing up. The downside is the lack of adjustment. On standard poles there's a huge degree of flexibility in how long you set your poles, allowing kids to use them, as well as allowing very different lengths for different terrains and activities. Arguably, however, the vast majority of the time most poles will more than likely be set within the 20cm parameters allowable buy the Ultralie Varios. For those who know how long they like their poles set the minimum length is 105cm, with the maximum length being 125cm. When you disassemble the poles they are 41cm in length, however they are a little more cumbersome than standard poles, connected by internal elastic in the style of a tent pole. Packing them and extracting them into a bag with stuff already in it is not an easy task, but the majority of the time they live on the outside of my pack for quick access anyway. I like the fact that the baskets are flexible, and hope that this means they will last a little longer than usual and not come off during a walk or run.
More information on the Komperdell website. They retail at £189.95 for the pair.
Stockist: First Ascent.