our review of the Carbon Marathon

This Carbon marathon from Alpkit is a five-section, folding lock-based trekking pole that folds small and is quite lightweight… although not quite as small and lightweight as claimed on the website. The internal wire is tensioned as the sections are pulled taut. The sections go together easily, but the brass pin that holds the sections once assembled is prone to sticking. This has happened on the sample supplied, as well as on a friend’s set, which maybe down to slightly inaccurate carbon moulding. I’ve managed to field repair with a penknife each time. Height is adjusted by the flick lock upper section, tensioned with a dial rather than recessed Phillips screw head, and adjusts from 115cm to 130cm.

The measurements are in metric and easy to read, but being a mere 5ft 8in I’d prefer the ability to make the pole shorter. The foam handle is sized for medium hands, has trigger finger moulding and is two-piece. The lower section is small and so doesn’t accommodate moving the hands when contouring all that well. The strap is very basic and not that soft to the touch. None of the above is a deal-breaker necessarily – but good support is. Sadly, in use the poles wobbled and bowed, and felt very insecure once off a groomed trail. I put this down to the use of narrower-diameter carbon shafts with a folding lock wire tensioner. 

See more trekking poles in our guide to The best trekking poles

Tested by David Lintern