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Leki Carbon Ti Review

The most comfortable foam grip option in our test pool.
Leki Carbon Ti
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $200 List | $134.96 at MooseJaw
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Pros:  Lightweight, most comfortable foam grip in our review, lower grip is "stickier" than most making it more functional, extremely durable
Cons:  Expensive, doesn't pack super small
Manufacturer:   Leki
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 10, 2015
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87
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 20% 9
  • Locking and Adjustability - 15% 10
  • Weight - 20% 8
  • Packed Size - 15% 7
  • Durability - 15% 9
  • Versatility - 15% 9

The Skinny

The Leki Carbon Ti is a sweet lightweight pole that features the most comfortable foam grip in our review. It's an excellent pole for backpacking and hiking with its only true disadvantage being that it doesn't pack super small; something that's not a big deal for backpackers or trekkers who are going to have their poles in their hands 95% of the time.

Leki updated the Carbon Ti since testing.

Despite its name it doesn't feature any Titanium. The Carbon Ti features an aluminum upper section and two lower carbon fiber sections along with an interchange basket that makes it a capable pole for snowy adventures.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Hands-On Review



Comfort


This product features AERGON Thermo XL grips which is the same grip as the Leki Micro Vario Carbon which was the most comfortable foam handle in our review. Our testers thought that Leki simply had the best ergonomics and overall shape in an all foam handle. Many of our testers thought they liked the feel of the Carbon Ti's grip more than the even simpler cork designs of the Alpine Carbon Z and Alpine Carbon Cork.


For folks who like to "palm" their poles with their hand over-the-top, the Carbon Ti features the same large, oval shaped top handle that is featured on many other of Leki's models which was our favorite for "palmers". The grips on it were noticeably more comfortable than the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z.

The top of the handle of the Leki Carbon Ti. The Carbon Ti 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 Carbon Ti. The Carbon Ti 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 lower foam section is gripper and easier to hang onto than other models like the Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork but comparable to the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork. Overall we found ourselves using this lower grip of the Carbon Ti more than most others choking down while crossing more rugged terrain. For the strap focused users out there, despite the Carbon Ti's fairly minimal looking strap, the airbrushed finish was among our favorites in the review.

The lower foam section of the Leki Carbon Ti handle was very grippy and offered a superb option while "chocking down" on the pole while crossing rugged or uneven terrain.
The lower foam section of the Leki Carbon Ti handle was very grippy and offered a superb option while "chocking down" on the pole while crossing rugged or uneven terrain.

Locking Mechanism


Leki Carbon Ti uses their new and improved SpeedLock which proves itself to be a durable and reliable external lever locking mechanism. We think Leki's new SpeedLock system is equally as dependable and is just as durable as Black Diamond's FlickLock system.

Over time nearly all of the mechanisms used on trekking poles need to be tightened and an advantage of the SpeedLock is that you can do it with simply your hand and there is no need for a screwdriver or a coin as with other models.

This photo shows the new SpeedLock 2 external leaver-lock mechanism on the Leki Carbon Ti. 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.
This photo shows the new SpeedLock 2 external leaver-lock mechanism on the Leki Carbon Ti. 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.

Weight


At 15 oz per pair, this carbon fiber and aluminum pole is the lightest telescoping model in our review and still lighter than the folding Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z (17 ounces) or our Editors' Choice, the Alpine Carbon Cork (16 ounces). It's one of the lighter poles we tested but it wasn't as light as several of the smaller folding models like the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z (10 ounces) or the Black Diamond Distance Z (12 ounces). When comparing to most poles that are lighter the Carbon Ti is more comfortable, tougher, and more versatile.


Packability



Comparing the collapsed lengths of several poles with the Leki Carbon Ti in the very middle and the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork on the the far 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.
Comparing the collapsed lengths of several poles with the Leki Carbon Ti in the very middle and the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork on the the far 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.

If there is one disadvantage to this product, it is its compactness. Its traditional telescoping design packs down to 26.5" (67cm) which is on the longer side among poles in our review. It's similar to other telescoping models like the Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock (packed size of 27"/ 68 cm), Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork (25"/ 62.5 cm) or the Leki Cristallo (27"/ 68 cm) but averages around (10"/ 15 cm) longer than most folding/collapsible style poles. While this is a big difference, our testers agree that compactness only really matters if you are regularly carrying your poles or traveling with them. The Leki Carbon Ti is a long pole but it will still easy strap to the outside of any backpacking pack and most larger daypacks.


Durability


The Carbon Ti's overall durability is above average among poles in our review, offering a level of toughness that is at least as durable as the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork and is likely more resilient than the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z. It's not as tough as the Leki Cristallo or the Leki Corklite. While it might not be quite as tough as the two aforementioned poles, we think the Carbon Ti is durable enough for all on-trail use and nearly all heavy-duty off trail use.


One more note on the durability of this pole; we do think Leki's break-away tips are a cool feature to help protect your pole. The tip section of the pole is designed to snap first instead of a pole section because tips are easier and less expensive to replace.

Versatility and Best Applications


This is a great pole for rugged off-trail use, backpacking, trekking, day hiking or snowshoeing. We would be a little hesitant to use it for backcountry skiing or extended, extreme, gnarly bushwhacking; but for pretty much everything else we think the Carbon Ti is up to the task. Our testers thought that it was exceptional good at warmer weather hiking as the handle wicked away sweat for our hands so effectively and not one reviewer found their hands chafed by this pole. Despite some other foam gripped poles feeling "warm", we would not necessarily describe these poles in the same light.


Value and the Bottom Line


At $200 the Leki Carbon Ti is one of the most expensive poles in the review and the most expensive telescoping pole we tested. It is also the second lightest telescoping pole, very durable and features the most comfortable foam grip that we tested.


Ian Nicholson