Why are trekking poles so useful? Chris Townsend reviews the latest walking poles for the outdoors. On test Komperdell Expedition Carbon Vario 4 walking poles

More compact than most poles yet also longer at full extension these four-section trekking poles would be good for those who want to carry them inside a small pack or for travel where they have to go inside luggage and  also for tall people who find most poles too short. With a minimum length in use of 120cms they are actually too long for me at 5’ 8”. However there is a Compact version with a range of 105 to 125cms and an even shorter packed length of 39cms. The limited length range is because only one section adjusts. The bottom three sections screw into each other. The top section has a click-lock and slides up and down the third section. For such light poles they are quite rigid when fully extended and feel quite secure. The bottom section is made from aluminium rather than carbon fibre. Komperdell says this is for ‘additional edge protection for alpine terrains– in 3.000 meters and above’. I guess the designers have never been to the rocky British hills. The poles have comfortable extended grips and straps easily long enough for use with thick mitts. In design and performance terms they are excellent. However they are also very expensive

Reviewed in April 2015 Issue