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Hands-on Gear Review

Leki Micro Vario Carbon Review

The latest Micro Vario Carbon
Price:   $200 List | $149.96 at CampSaver
Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  Most comfortable foam grip in our review, lightest weight pole to still offer some range of adjustment, extremely packable
Cons:  Expensive, tough enough for most hikers and backpackers but not beefy enough for all users
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Leki

Our Verdict

This is a high performing and high priced trekking pole. Our testers were big fans of Leki's AREGON foam grip, as well as the 20 cm of length adjustment. It's also one of the more lightweight poles reviewed at 14.6 ounces, which is the lowest weight of any adjustable model. It's super ergonomic foam handle is among our favorite on the market and its chafe-free design and wicking characteristics make it an awesome choice for warmer climates.

New Look — May 2017
Leki changed the graphics and colors of these poles, but the rest of this product remains the same. We included a side-by-side comparison of the old and new poles below.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Trekking Poles Review

select up to 5 products
Score Product Price Weight (Pair) Min Length Max Length
88
$170
Editors' Choice Award
17 oz 62.5cm, 25 in 130cm, 51 in
87
$200
14.5 oz 38 cm, 15 in 135cm (53in)
87
$200
Top Pick Award
15 oz 67cm, 26.5 in 135cm (53in)
85
$140
Top Pick Award
18.5 oz 39 cm, 15.5 in 135cm, 53 in
85
$190
Top Pick Award
17 oz (110cm) 38 cm, 15 in Optional
84
$100
12 oz (110cm) 36 cm, 14 in Optional
83
$120
18 oz 74cm, 29 in 140cm, 55 in
83
$140
19 oz 67cm, 26.5 in 135cm, 53 in
83
$160
17. 5 oz 39cm, 15.5 in
83
$160
Top Pick Award
10 oz (110cm) 36 cm, 14 in Optional
82
$120
18 oz 68cm, 27 in 135cm, 53 in
82
$130
16 oz (105-125cm) 37 cm, 15 in Optional
79
$80
Best Buy Award
20 oz 64cm, 25 in 140cm, 55 in
78
$140
20 oz 68cm, 27 in 140cm, 55 in
72
$70
17. 5 oz 69cm, 27 in 140cm, 55 in
70
$90
18.5 oz 74cm, 28 in 140cm, 55 in

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Ian Nicholson
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Friday
May 19, 2017

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The New Look of the Micro Vario Carbon


Leki confirmed with us that although they changed the colors and graphics on these trekking poles, the materials and construction all remain unchanged. Performance should be the same, whether you get the orange or red model. Here's a color comparison of the new version on the left and the older one on the right.

The latest Micro Vario Carbon
Leki Micro Vario Carbon
 

Hands-On Review



Comfort


The handle of the Leki Micro Vario Carbon  along with the Leki Carbon Ti features the most comfortable foam grip in our review. Our testers really appreciated the detailed ergonomics and the attention to detail in its design.
The handle of the Leki Micro Vario Carbon, along with the Leki Carbon Ti features the most comfortable foam grip in our review. Our testers really appreciated the detailed ergonomics and the attention to detail in its design.

The Leki Micro Vario Carbon features a mega comfortable, albeit slightly larger-than-average foam grip that truly excels in warmer climates for its stellar wicking capabilities. The grip itself is well designed and super ergonomic and among our testers favorite overall. Like all of Leki's other poles, the Micro Vario Carbon features an oversized, smooth, oval-shaped pommel on the top of the handle. Our testers absolutely loved this feature and those who typically find themselves "palming" their pole in a more cane-like position, should check out the Micro Vario Carbon.

The top of the handle of the Leki Micro Vario Carbon. The Micro Vario Carbon along with the other Leki poles that shared this design were by far the most comfortable grip to use with your palm on the top of the handle in a cane position.
The top of the handle of the Leki Micro Vario Carbon. The Micro Vario Carbon along with the other Leki poles that shared this design were by far the most comfortable grip to use with your palm on the top of the handle in a cane position.

The foam grip extends down to the SpeedLock offering a nice area for you to choke down on. We thought the lower foam was grippier and therefore slightly more functional than some of the Black Diamond or Komperdell models we tested. Lastly, a small feature regarding comfort is the Micro Vario Carbon's basic looking but extremely soft air-brushed nylon strap. Though it is simple in appearance all of our tester's pretty much thought it was the bomb.

This photo shows the new SpeedLock 2 external lever-lock mechanism on the Leki Micro Vario Carbon. Not only did we think this mechanism was just as reliable and durable as other options on the market like the Black Diamond FlickLock system  but it was also the easiest mechanism to adjust the tension of. You can also see the "push-pin" on the right hand side of the pole which allows the lowest three sections to disconnect.
This photo shows the new SpeedLock 2 external lever-lock mechanism on the Leki Micro Vario Carbon. Not only did we think this mechanism was just as reliable and durable as other options on the market like the Black Diamond FlickLock system, but it was also the easiest mechanism to adjust the tension of. You can also see the "push-pin" on the right hand side of the pole which allows the lowest three sections to disconnect.

Locking Mechanism


This pole uses Leki's new SpeedLock 2 external lever locking mechanism on the top of the shaft and a simple push-pin style mechanism to lock the lower three sections in place. The upper SpeedLock allows the user around 20 cm of length adjustment to accommodate different sized users and the changing terrain they might be traveling on. What's cool about Leki's SpeedLock compared to Black Diamond's FlickLock or Komperdell's PowerLock, is that you don't need a tool, or even a coin to adjust it. You can simply adjust the tension of the lever with your hand.

The "push-pin" of the Leki Micro Vario Carbon  this simple but bomber and reliable mechanism allows the lowest three sections to disconnect.
The "push-pin" of the Leki Micro Vario Carbon, this simple but bomber and reliable mechanism allows the lowest three sections to disconnect.

Weight


At 14.6 oz per pair, the Leki Micro Vario Carbon are lighter than average among trekking poles on the market and one of the lightest folding/collapsible style designs to offer some kind of length adjustment. They are lighter than the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z (17 ounces) or the also adjustable Black Diamond Distance FLZ (16 ounces), but not as light as the Black Diamond Distance Z (12 ounces) or Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z both of which do not offer any range of adjustment.

Showing the Leki Micro Vario Carbon's folding design  which collapses more like a tent pole rather than the much more common traditional telescopic design.
Showing the Leki Micro Vario Carbon's folding design, which collapses more like a tent pole rather than the much more common traditional telescopic design.

Packability


The "Z-Style" folding Leki Micro Vario Carbon breaks down to a 15" packed size that's nearly half the length of many traditional telescoping models like the Leki Cristallo which breaks down to 27" (53cm) or the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork 25" (62.5cm), and it packs down to the same size as the adjustable length of the Black Diamond Distance FLZ (15 inches).

Comparing the collapsed lengths of several poles with the Leki Micro Vario Carbon in the very middle and the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork and the Leki Cristallo on the the right. You can see that these two traditional telescoping poles smallest pack-able size is still 9-10" longer than most of the other folding/collapsing style poles like the Micro Vario Carbon.
Comparing the collapsed lengths of several poles with the Leki Micro Vario Carbon in the very middle and the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork and the Leki Cristallo on the the right. You can see that these two traditional telescoping poles smallest pack-able size is still 9-10" longer than most of the other folding/collapsing style poles like the Micro Vario Carbon.

Durability


Despite their weight and carbon construction, the Leki Micro Vario Carbon trekking poles are among the most durable sub-one-pound trekking poles. The only other pole that is around the same weight and is as durable is the aluminum 12 ounce (but non-adjusting) Black Diamond Distance and the Alpine Carbon Z but it is tougher than the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z.

Versatility Best Applications


This pole excels in warmer climates because of its foam handles and wicked wicking moisture characteristics (yes we did just say that). Its features a removable basket that can be fitted with a larger snow basket an is tough enough to handle snowshoeing and winter mountaineering trips but we would not use it backcountry skiing. The Leki Micro Vario Carbon is perfect for all hiking, backpacking and trekking applications and remains a top choice for climbers or traveling hikers because of its packable size and minimal weight.

Leki Micro Vario Carbon's foam grip on the left and the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z on the right. You can see how the Micro Vario Carbon's handle while slightly larger in diameter offers better and more comfortable ergonomics.
Leki Micro Vario Carbon's foam grip on the left and the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z on the right. You can see how the Micro Vario Carbon's handle while slightly larger in diameter offers better and more comfortable ergonomics.

Value and the Bottom Line


At $200 the Leki Micro Vario Carbon is one of the most expensive poles in our review. It does have an awesome grip, packs down pretty small and is the lightest folding style pole to offer some length adjustment.

Other Versions


Leki Micro Vario Ti COR-TEC and Leki Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec- Women's
  • Top Pick award winner
  • Collapsed length - 15 inches
  • Weight - 18.5 ounces
  • Very comfortable
  • $140
Ian Nicholson

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: May 19, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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