KOMPERDELL HIKEMASTER COM­PACT £80

Trail (UK) - - USED & ABUSED -

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.

VER­DICT

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.

MIDTERM RE­VIEW

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