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Could Leki's Micro Vario Carbon be one of the most accomplished walking poles we've used?

leki micro vario carbon
Best for...
Hiking, ski touring, trekking basically any activity where a walking pole would be useful
Overall Score
Superb all-round pole for hiking
Nothing, nada, zip

Leki are out-and-out champions of walking poles in our humble opinion, producing some of the best quality kit out there and offering a good range of poles at different price points. What makes one walking pole better than another though? It often depends on the intended use, but for us it comes down to weight, packability, ease of use, hand grip comfort, and effectiveness of support. The Micro Vario Carbon poles do all these things particularly well.

I hate fiddling with walking poles with cold, wet hands to adjust their length so usually use telescopic poles with a lever lock type system so it's easy to open the levers, adjust length and then quickly lock them back up again. Leki's Micro Vario Carbon poles utilise a really nice, compact version of this, the SpeedLock 2, which has an adjustable dial to vary the strength of holding force on the pole, making it ridiculously easy and intuitive to use. This single adjustment point (rather than the more usual two) adjusts pole height from 110cm to 130cm, I'm 6ft 2" and this range works fine for me. These nifty poles don't use a telescopic system to pack away like most other walking poles, instead opting for a collapsible system similar to that of an avalanche probe. With this you can fold them all the way down to three-sections and a tiny 38cm, which is a great size compared to others and allows you to easily pack them inside a daypack, in the side pocket of a backpacking pack or indeed into your hand luggage if you're going further afield.

Leki SpeedLock 2.jpg

It's rare to see an all carbon pole but the Micro Vario is carbon throughout leading to a superbly low weight of 468g for the pair, this isn't just light, it's ultralight. Although featherweight the Micro Vario Carbon is no less capable than others, having a decent range of adjustment and an excellent hand grip as well as an extension of the hand grip down the shaft for climbing. Not only is the hand grip well shaped, making it secure and comfortable to use, but it's also perfectly suited to winter splitboarding and snowshoeing thanks to that warm foam extending down the shaft, just attach the optional powder baskets and off you go.

Being carbon, the poles feel a little different on the trail than those of all or partial aluminium construction, we can only describe them as feeling more taught and with a little less give. This takes some getting used to but with many miles now under their tips we can conclude that support and compliance over variable terrain is excellent.

To top everything off the Micro Vario Carbon come with their own little stuff sack, rounding off what is a fantastic pole for anything from country walking to trekking in the Himalaya or ski touring in the Alps. At the lightweight, carbon end of the trekking pole market is where you'll find all the expensive kit, and of course this is where the Micro Vario Carbon sits. Do they justify their price tag? We certainly think so.

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