Komperdell Explorer Contour Walking Pole
23rd Mar 2017
I've had a few walking poles over the years, but this one stands out as different thanks to the locking mechanisms. All my previous poles have featured the standard twist-to-lock which are very lightweight and compact, but are prone to problems, especially if, like me, your poles can sometimes sit on a shelf for six months. I've had to throw away at least one set as they became impossible to open. The Komperdells by contrast feature locking clamps of the kind you would normally find on tripod legs. There are three pole sections, so two locking clamps. Both are small, but well engineered and feel both light and strong at the same time.
Another feature which stands out is the extended grip below the main moulded hand grip on each pole. From the base of the usual moulded grip there are a series of concentric moulded rubber rings roughly the same length (along the pole) as the main grip. This effectively doubles the usable grip surface on the pole and means that you can either grip it with two hands if necessary, or simply hold it lower. On a recent ski trip where I opted to use these poles instead of the cheap hire poles, we spent a day skiing with a guide off piste. On a particularly steep traverse he positioned himself below a rock step, planted his two poles deeply into the snow, and then gripped them by the lower section of his double length grips for a stronger catching position. I also found the double grip useful whilst on steep traverses where I could hold the uphill pole in a more comfortable position. Of course there is nothing stopping you from holding any pole in this position, but the addition of a little extra moulded foam rubber is a nice touch.
The poles have a maximum length of 1.40m. I am 6 foot five, and found them plenty long enough. The wrist straps have a very smooth self locking system which is very easy to tighten and loosen without taking your gloves off.
All in all a very good set of poles suitable for pretty much any pole based activity.
Check out the Kpmperdell website for more info.