Komperdell Contour Titanal Power Lock
Price Paid: US 130
These are light and sturdy poles, but they have annoying glitches that were enough of a disappointment for me to take them back to the store and get my money back. The store owner agreed with my complaints and suggested that he knew of others with had the same issues. Most people, unfortunately, don't bring the poles back, so Komperdell isn't even aware of the true level of dissatisfaction.
I used the poles on a rugged 100 km hike in Killarney, Ontario, Canada... a single 4 day trip. The airshock system repeatedly seized for about 1/2 hour at random in both poles and then worked fine again for a short while. Having both poles working at the same time occurred for a small fraction of the trip time. No effort to 'unlock' the seized poles worked, they just kind of fixed themselves every now and then. Unreliable airshock is a big issue for me as I accepted the price and the weight on the basis of the airshock feature, as I have serious tendinitis of the elbows.
The second issue was the straps. They look like just about the most comfortable straps you could imagine, but these straps, of all the thousands of km of hiking with poles that I have done, are the only ones that have ever given me blisters on my hands! I had to wear light gloves for most of the trip!
The third issue is the pole locking. I had some problems locking the pole sections when they were cold and I was trying to make a length adjustment. Sometimes I would spin the pole segment for 5 minutes before it finally caught and locked! After the trip I could not get one of the lower segment to lock in the folded position for love or money!
Finally, the compass. If you are going to put a 'toy' compass on a trekking pole, it should be clearly marked "NOT FOR NAVIGATION". Toy carabiners for clipping your drink bottle, etc. to your backpack are clearly marked 'not for climbing', so putting a compass that doesn't work on a trekking pole is irresponsible without a similar warning. Of course, this begs the question why would anybody want to have a compass that doesn't work on a trekking pole!
I fell for this, because I thought, wow what a great idea... somebody's thinking at Komperdell! Well, Komperdell should have their butts kicked for this, and hard! I have an even smaller velcro strap compass that I put on my watch that works perfectly. There is no excuse for this, except to increase shareholder profits at the customers' expense. And I repeat, this compass DOES NOT WORK. Period!
The only feature on these poles that I am satisfied with is the weight, given all the features... oh, but wait, the features don't work! My advice... Give these poles a wide berth!
My suggestion if you want all the features (except the wonky compass) is the Leki Makalu Ultralite Air Thermo titanium poles. Their poles actually work reliably (and the airshock doesn't have an annoying squeak, like the Komperdell... when it's working). They'll cost you! You can put a velcro band super light, small compass on the shaft below the handle as I have done, and you have it all! You really don't need more if you have a topo map and you know the area... and you are traveling ultralight!
This is a lightweight, sturdy, good grip, and good looking pole. Easy to adjust the height on the go and with very comfortable straps. My only complaint is after my first trip in very wet condition the transparent film/lack protection get very cheeped. Probably my fault because I stored without to dry it.
Also it has a small compass in one grip which should not substitute your real one.
Price Paid: € 89
One day this summer a group of friends and myself went on a hike in the Austrian Alps. Our goal was the summit of a 3300m high mountain called "Muntanitz". As we wanted to start, I realised that I have forgotten my poles at home. A friend of mine offered me to use his Komperdell Contour Titanal poles for these two days because he doesn't use them often anyway.
My luck, because: oh boy, these poles only weigh a fraction of my old Leki poles and they are still extremely robust! Also the extended foam grip feels very comfortable and it doesn't get slippery from your sweating palms on a long hike.
The processing of the Contour Titanal poles is really state of the art and again, the lightness doesn't mean that they are less sturdy. One of the poles has a small toy-like kompass built into the grip. Imho it's more a gimmick than really useful. It doesn't replace the real thing which should be always in your backpack.
Conclusion: one week later I bought one myself and I'm still very pleased with this decision. My old ones...RIP....
Price Paid: $104
I hiked from Mexico to Canada in 03. Twice in the Sierras I post holed and feel against my poles. I expected to pull out a bent stub but there was not a sign of a bend both times. The High Sierras is not a place for equipment failure. I am doing the PCT again this year with the same poles. It is going to be a meals-on-wheels promotion. I hope I have a chance to say something good about your titanal hiking poles. Thanks again they can truly be a lifesaver.
Will Smith, trail name Billy Goat
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