Komperdell Wild Rambler
Current Retail: $44.96
Historic Range: $26.33-$59.95
Reviewers Paid: $46.00-$50.00
In a world where trekking poles are either crap and inexpensive or quality and ridiculously overpriced, Komperdell delivers a solid, reliable trekking pole that does the job well. While the Wild Ramblers are not my favorite poles, there is a LOT to be said in favor of them, especially for a hiker on a budget.
- Interchangeable snow baskets (sold separately)
- 3-year warranty, regardless of how damage occurred
- Heavy, relatively speaking
- Changing the baskets is difficult
- No quick way to adjust wrist straps
- No shocks
I purchased my Wild Rambler poles more than two years ago specifically for my climb of Mt. Rainier (September 2015). The Black Diamond set I was using at the time did not have an option for snow baskets, and I needed those for climbing on a glacier. The poles where used for numerous overnight and day-only training hikes in National Forests that summer. Every hike included a 45-50lb pack on my back. Since Rainier, I have mostly loaned these poles to newbies who wanted to try hiking poles for themselves.
Fit & Adjustability: The poles are adjustable from 105cm-140cm, and fit my 6'2" frame (with accompanying "monkey arms") well. Adjusting the wrist strap is not as easy as the website makes it look. I've had no problem tightening them up, but loosening them has been difficult, especially with gloves.
Handle: The grip appears to be some kind of plastic, rather than foam or cork. While I never had a problem with them while wearing gloves, in hot weather, I could feel a bit of rubbing. No blisters occurred, but I did treat one hot spot.
Locking & Flex: The Wild Ramblers rely on twist-lock mechanisms (3-sections per pole). Generally, I am not a fan on twist locks, but these have never slipped on me, and that's saying something given the amount of weight I have put on them. Komperdell's generous 3-year warranty (no matter how/what the damage), eased my concern over failed locking.
These poles are the stiffest I have used. There is little flex (and zero shock absorbtion). This was fine on snow and dirt. I would guess they would be a bit wearying on long, rocky hikes.
Baskets: The stock baskets can be replaced with snow baskets. You are supposed to be able to twist these off and on. Easier said than done! When I tried to put the stock baskets back on after my Rainier trip, I ended up putting the poles in a bench vice and using pliers to get them off. I haven't changed them since and fear I may have done damage to the snow baskets.
Weight: These aren't the lightest poles. With stock baskets, the set weighs in at over a pound. On the other hand, you aren't worried about lightweight poles folding under a weighted ascent.
Price: Take whatever cons I've listed and compare them to the price! There was no second mortgage. I didn't have to dip into the kids' college fund. I did not sell my truck. Instead, I paid less than $50 for the set. There are few cheaper poles that would do the job these have done. Sure, I can get $30 poles from Coleman or Walmart, but I'm not trusting them in wilderness hiking conditions.
Accessories: These do work with StickPic adapters to capture that memorable photo. Tips are interchangeable, but I have not tried it.
In conclusion: Want poles? On a budget? Buy these, and be glad you did
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: >$50
I purchased these trekking poles and am very happy with them. They are sturdy and fairly light.
- Cool looking
- Hard grips
2017 UPDATE! — I have used these poles for four years for hiking, backpacking, and snowshoeing, and have had zero issues. I've been interested in checking out other poles, but haven't because spending money on replacing gear that works perfectly fine seems like a waste. I am still very happy with these poles.
These poles are fairly light. There are many poles available that are lighter, but I don't find these poles to be heavy.
The straps fit nicely around my hands (I have average sized hands). I'm pretty sure the straps would be comfortable for anyone with smaller or larger hands. The straps are pretty easy to adjust.
The poles are three sections, and adjustable. They could be used by children or adults. The inner parts of the adjusters are plastic, so I expect they will wear out over time, but replacement parts are available and priced very cheaply. I have just begun using the poles, but so far I have not experienced any slippage of the locking mechanism.
These poles do not have shocks.
The poles tip has great traction on soft ground. I keep the baskets on them because the tip will pentrate soft ground like wet grass and mud. They get nice traction on gravel roads. I haven't had any trouble with the baskets. They are easy to put on and take off, but they don't seem like they are likely to fall off easily.
The grips seem a little hard. I think a softer grip would be more comfortable, but the grip is wide enough to feel comfortable in my hand, and the straps keep it firm and secure.
These poles are very easy to use and easy to adjust. I am new to trekking poles, so I am still trying them out and learning how to use them. I am looking forward to using them to set up a tarp shelter.
I have used these poles a few times while snowshoeing this winter. The baskets are not as wide as other that I have seen, but they still work well. They are easy to adjust, and they are very strong. I've leaned on them many times while climbing in and out of ditches and across uneven terrain.
I thought that the hard grips might feel very cold when snowshoeing in -35 degree Celsius weather, but so far they haven't.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $46