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May 2021 Issue
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Review: Leki Micro Vario Carbon

$349.95, 480g/pair.

Used by: Matthew ‘spontaneous knee blowout’ Cattin
Used for: The gruelling Gillespie Pass

When my knee gave up halfway down a 1000m descent, these dependable Leki poles were a lifesaver, giving me the support I needed to get down in one piece.

At 480g (pair), they are improbably light in the hand, but boy are they strong. When descending tricky root ladders and damp snow grass, I was able to put much of my 85kg weight onto the 100 per cent carbon poles, with very little give or flex.

The locking system is sturdy, and never once slipped. That there is just one clamp for length adjustment means there are fewer points that can fail, which increases confidence in weight-bearing.

The ergonomic grip is comfortable and insulating, and an ultralight strap is silky over the wrist. Even after hours of white knuckle use, my hands didn’t chafe or rub at all. The tip grips well on slick river rocks, and the basket catches on boggy mud, preventing the pole from sinking more than a few centimetres.

The poles collapse and fold down to 40cm, but this is more awkward than fully telescopic poles for travel, as they don’t fit as neatly into a pack's external pole loops.

Verdict: A beautifully engineered pole provides confidence on the trail.