User Review: 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!