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Hands-on Gear Review
Leki Micro Vario Carbon Review
Cons: Expensive, less durable than other models
Bottom line: The Micro Vario Carbon is a top tier trekking pole with carbon construction and lightweight design.
The Leki Micro Vario Carbon is an upper echelon trekking pole with tons of great features. It has full carbon construction, throughout the entire pole, foam grips, and break apart design. This leads it to be one of the lighter, more durable poles in our lineup this year, and incredibly packable. We found the foam grip to be one of the more comfortable designs as well. All of these fantastic features make this pole the most expensive options ($200) out of all the trekking poles that we reviewed this year. However, if you have the money, it's an exceptional pole for a variety of uses.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Leki Micro Vario Carbon performed quite well in most metrics, most notably the packability and weight metrics. As a carbon break apart style pole, it is lightweight and packs down super small. We found it to be slightly above average in other parameters, and while it's still an incredible pole, it's rather expensive at $200.
The Micro Vario Carbon scored in the top averages of comfort for our review this year. Although we would all agree that cork handles are the most comfortable material on pole models like the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork or the Leki Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec, we found the foam grips on the Micro Vario Carbon to be one of the more comfortable in our review. The Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z's foam grips were a hair more comfortable thanks in part to their textured design.
Like many poles in our review this year, Leki had foam that extended down past the grip to "choke down" on the pole for the rough and variable terrain. In typical Leki intuitive style, this foam area was textured, just like we found on the Leki Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec, to offer a better grip than some of the other competitors in our review.
Locking Mechanism & Adjustability
This pole uses Leki's SpeedLock 2 external lever locking mechanism like the other two Leki models that we tested in this review: the Leki Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec and the Leki Corklite DSS Antishock. We love this locking mechanism. It's super easy to use and doesn't require any spare tools or coins to tighten or loosen the tension, which makes on-trail adjustments easy. As a break apart style pole, the Micro Vario Carbon uses a combination of both a push-pin locking mechanism and one SpeedLock 2 mechanism, which allows the pole to break down super small and also feature 20 centimeters of adjustability.
Weighing in at 15.8 ounces, the Micro Vario Carbon is lighter than the average trekking pole. Although not as light as a pole like the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z (10 ounces), it offers much more adjustability, which the latter does not. It is lighter than the Leki Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec though, thanks to its carbon design. This puts it as our lightest option for break apart style poles that still offer some measure of adjustability.
The break apart design of the Micro Vario Carbon makes it one of the more packable models in our lineup. It packs down to 38 centimeters, which is a far cry from the traditional telescoping design, like the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork at 61 centimeters or the Leki Corklite DSS Antishock at 67 centimeters. Overall, the packability of this pole puts it in the upper range of this metric.
Although the Micro Vario Carbon is a full carbon construction and a break apart design, it was quite durable. Certainly more so than the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z but not more than a traditional telescoping design like the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork which also featured full carbon construction. If you're looking for something durable, we would suggest going with a model made of aluminum, like the Black Diamond Trail Back or the Leki Corklite DSS Antishock.
This pole excels as a great choice for hikers, trekkers, and backpackers. We would give it a thumbs up for climbers and travelers as well, thanks to its packable design. The pole comes with snow baskets to make it a great lightweight choice for mountaineers, snowshoers, or splitboarders. The foam grips are great for warm weather application as well, as they wick moisture effectively.
We think that if you have the money, the Micro Vario Carbon is a great lightweight and packable pole that can be used for a variety of applications from backpacking to mountaineering.
At $200, the Leki Micro Vario Carbon is the most expensive poles in our review. If you have the money, it's an exceptional purchase for a lightweight, packable, and durable pole.
Overall, the Leki Micro Vario Carbon is a great pole for a high price. It has loads of great Leki Tech, carbon fiber construction, and packable break apart technology. Although we enjoyed testing the Micro Vario Carbon, we think that there are other poles that perform just as well for a better price.
— Graham Williams & Ian Nicholson
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