KOMPERDELL HIKEMASTER COMPACT £80
USED BY Camino trekking technical editor Graham Thompson and partner in pilgrimage Dawn Gibson USED FOR 3 months
This new pole for 2018 has two major benefits. Firstly, the pole length adjustment uses a PowerLock mechanism consisting of an external levered cam, which is easier to use than any of the internal mechanisms that require rotation of the pole sections. Secondly, there is a new Fatso Grip at the handle, which consists of a slimmer, more ergonomic shape that is covered in a soft textured rubber.
We took these poles on our 780km walk along the Camino de Santiago. Dawn used them every day to reduce the strain on her arthritic joints, and these Komperdell’s worked perfectly. Since our return, I have nabbed them for walks in Scotland and the Lakes, and for propping up tarps when wild camping.
We fitted rubber feet on the pole ends to prevent the nonstop ‘tap, tap, tap’ of using poles on the pavements and firm dry
paths of the Camino, and we wore through one pair of these on the walk. The wrist straps are not quite as soft as those on some poles, but perfectly good enough. The PowerLock cams on the poles became a little stiff from dust but some water soon cleared that and they continue to work well, although aren’t quite as smooth to operate as some designs I’ve used.
They are not the lightest poles at 525g a pair, but are stiffer than lighter poles, which is ideal for varied walking terrain and tarp use. They pack down to 59cm, which is great for stashing on a rucksack, and their maximum length of 120cm is fine for my 6ft frame as well as Dawn’s shorter needs. All that for £80 a pair is very good.
Trekking poles have many uses and these are great for hill walking trips, backpacking expeditions and tarp support. We’ll use them for many more treks.