Komperdell C3 Carbon Poles

, January 29, 2012

Trekking Poles. Some people hate them, others swear by them. Unlike glacier travel or backcountry skiing, while hiking, poles are not required on much of accessible terrain. I have found them to be extraordinarily useful, however, as I tested the Komperdell C3 Carbon Power Locks extensively over the past two months. These poles helped me up Mount Democrat, a Colorado Fourteener, in December and shredded Vail with me over the winter period. For a pair of lightweight poles that collapse down small and have a removable basket, the C3s are handy partners on the trail, or indeed in the pack during the final summit push.

At 230g per pole without basket, the 3-piece C3 Power Lock Pole come in pretty light for a pair of fully carbon trekking pole. While in use, the pair had  great swing weight, and an almost unnoticeable effect in my backpack. To add to the features of the C3, the straps on the poles are comfortable and work well with and without gloves. As for the strength of such a lightweight piece of gear, these poles was remarkable; Three times on the Mt. Democrat trip, I stumbled (low snow base over the rocks) and the poles caught me perfectly. They would flex way out of alignment and then spring back into shape as I stood up. I expected them to break each time.

These poles, like most trekking poles nowadays are collapsable. The C3 are made up of three segments, the top two are made of 100% carbon, the bottom and smallest segment made from TITANAL, Komperdell’s material. Adjusting these poles is quite easy;  a simple release latch helps you control which pole length you want. The markings on the shaft of each pole help you measure whether each pole is the same size.

With the Komperdell C3

At first, Komperdell’s locking system was a relief from Leki’s convoluted mess of twisting.  After using the Komperdells for a while, however, the clasping system lost their grip so allowing for random adjustments in length throughout the day, and even total collapse when pressure was exerted. Although the Leki design is a pain to adjust, they do allow the pole to stay long and stiff.


The Komperdell C3 poles aren’t a complex pair but they do what they say in terms of collapsibility and light weight. If you want a little extra support for cross country expeditions but don’t mind the slip-on-pressure fault then certainly think about the C3 Carbon Poles for your next purchase.

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