photo: Leki Micro Vario Carbon DDS antishock trekking pole

Specs

Men's
Price Historic Range: $131.93-$219.95
Women's
Price Historic Range: $109.99-$219.95

Reviews

Leki's Micro Vario Carbon are antishock poles that…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by Leki for testing and review)

Summary

Leki's Micro Vario Carbon are antishock poles that exceed anything else with which this user has ever hiked. While not ultra-light, the comfort, weight, and quality more than make up for the few extra ounces.

A limited range of height stands out as the chief con to an otherwise excellent product.

Pros

  • Comfortable grips
  • Lightweight (8.2oz each)
  • Strong (fully supporting my weight)
  • Secure adjustable locking
  • Reliable (and barely noticeable) shock absorption

Cons

  • I maxed out the height at 130cm

April 2017 Update:

I have now used these poles for over 150 miles in the Shawnee Hills, Ozark Mountains, and Rocky Mountains, including a 5-day/58-mile trek on the Ozark Trail. I like these poles even more now than when I wrote this review. I can quickly adjust the height for steep ascents and descents, even as I am still walking along the trail. They are always comfortable, and even after a 9-hour day of hiking I don't notice the weight on my arms.

These are definitely the best poles I have used over the years.

Original Review:

As a middle-aged man with osteoarthritis in both knees, trekking poles have become an essential for my continued enjoyment of the outdoors. The Leki Micro Vario Carbon are the fourth brand of trekking poles I have used over the past nine years, and they are decidedly the best. These poles were tested on day hikes along multiple trails in the Ozark Mountains. 

Specs:

  • Adjustable Length: 110-130cm
  • Folded Length: 38cm
  • Advertised Weight: 240g / Weight on my scale: 233g (8.2oz)
  • Material: Carbon-Aluminum


Straps and Grip:

The flat nylon straps were comfortable and easy to adjust. They wicked moisture, did not leave any hot spots on my hands, and did not retain the smell of sweat after some hot days of hiking. There was ample material for any sized wrist.

The foam grips fit comfortably in my medium-sized hands (pic 1). The large ball grip on the top (reminded me of a cane) were not only comfortable, but were perfect for descents (pic 2). Below the foam grips is an additional 6" of foam to grab hold of on steep ascents (pic 3).


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Pic 1

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Pic 2

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Pic 3


Adjustability

Each pole is made up of five sections of hollow carbon tubing (aluminum is used in the joints). The bottom four sections are the push button cordage assembly that is now very common in many poles (pics 4 and 5). The last section, which is the entire foam handle, is adjustable via a flip SpeedLock (pic 6). 

This top section allows the poles to adjust from 110-130cm. My 5'5" son could use these set at 115cm. On my 6'2" body, I was completely maxed out at 130cm. 

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Pic 4: Poles folded into sections.

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Pic 5: Plastic covered Kevlar cord
running through poles.

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Pic 6: Flip lock on upper section.

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Pic 7: Poles maxed out on my 6'2"
frame. (My 13yo photographer claims
pics look better taken at an angle???)

Flex and Strength:

The poles gave me the right amount of flex without any concern they would break. I was able to bear my entire 160lbs onto the poles and they felt solid. 

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Pic 8

Antishock:

Nestled under a sheath of light grey rubber (pic 9) is the DSS, Dynamic Suspension System. Leki's marketing materials cite testing done to show that joint impact is reduced by 40% using the DSS. 

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I could not find any explanation from Leki as to what makes up the DSS. I REALLY wanted to take it apart to see what lay beneath. However, I didn't want to ruin a pair of $219 poles. So...to the internet to see if someone else had done it. 

Nope, no one else has done it either. However, I did find this video that explained the DSS:

Aside from the limited height adjustment, it is hard to say anything negative about these poles. I loved using them and would recommend them to anyone looking for a quality trekking aid.

Joseph Renow

Not sure about foam handles but great review Goose!


3 years ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks for testing these, Goose. I'm glad to hear you liked them so much. Out of curiosity, what other poles have you been using till now?


3 years ago
G00SE

I started with a cheap brand. Then moved to the Black Diamond Ultra Distance. I like these poles, but they don't allow for snow baskets to be added. So for Mt. Rainier, I bought Komperdell Wild Rambler. I've been meaning to review them. I just never got around to it.


3 years ago
Ashleigh RETAILER

Nice review, G00SE! I recently got a pair of Leki Micro Vario Ti poles and I love them. Mine don't have the shocks, but I would love it if they did! I'm 5'4", so the length of the poles didn't bother me, but I definitely noticed it and wondered how taller people would fare.


3 years ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks for the update, Goose. I'm glad to hear these are still working out for you.


3 years ago

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