Since we tested this pole, Leki has shifted the name slightly-- it's now referred to as the Micro Vario TA Cor-Tec, instead of the TI. This is due to the fact that the pole is actually made of tempered aluminum and not titanium. Aside from the name change and some aesthetic updates, the pole is largely unchanged. We link to the latest version above.
Hands-On Review of the Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec
The Leki Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec is a break apart style pole that features cork handles and aluminum construction. This led it to be one of our top picks for being the most comfortable folding pole in our review. Its cork handles feature Leki's rad handle technology (that look great to boot) and offers some adjustability thanks to a single locking mechanism on the upper shaft of the pole.
Regarding comfort, the Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec is one of our top scorers. Although the Leki Corklite DSS Anti-shock took the top score it by just a hair, we found it to be on par with our editor's choice this year, the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork. This comfort is due in part to its sweet cork grip. It's identical to the Corklite DSS Anti-Shock and if there's one thing we've learned this review period, it's that Leki knows how to make comfortable cork handles, and they look good to boot.
As we've seen with other poles in this review, they also featured a great EVA foam padding just below the average grip, allowing you to "choke-down" on the pole in steep and variable terrain. Although this is becoming more and more common on most trekking poles these days, these featured a texturing on the foam, which we found to be a little more comfortable as compared to simple foam padding.
The top of the handle of the Leki Micro Vario Ti COR-TEC. The Micro Vario Ti COR-TEC 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.
Locking Mechanism and Adjustability
Although at one point, this type of pole was an anomaly, we've seen an increase in the combination of a single Speedlock mechanism combined with a "push-pin" style adjustment to lock the three sections of the pole in place. From here, the Speedlock mechanism allows 20 cm of adjustability throughout the pole. Although not as adjustable as a traditional telescoping pole, we found 20 cm to have plenty of adjustability for our needs. However, if you want an ultra-adjustable pole, look at at the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork or the Leki Corklite DSS Anti-Shock which are fully adjustable 3 section telescoping poles.
Leki's SpeedLock 2 system is one of our favorite lever locking mechanisms that we've found. It doesn't require any hardware to tighten or loosen the mechanism either, thanks to a small dial installed on the lever lock as seen in the photo below. Unlike the Black Diamond FlickLock system, which requires a coin or screwdriver to adjust. This allows you to make quick adjustments on the trail if need be, but we doubt that you'll need to thanks to how effective the locking mechanism is.
This photo shows the new SpeedLock 2 external leaver-lock mechanism on the Leki Micro Vario Ti COR-TEC. 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.
At 20 ounces, these poles are definitely on the heavier end of our spectrum, especially in the break apart pole range as most of the poles we looked at were around the sub 15-ounce range. This makes sense due to the cork handles and aluminum construction, and although it does add weight, it certainly adds comfort. We thought that the tradeoffs for comfort versus weight were well worth it, especially for such a packable pole.
If you're looking for something a little more lightweight in a folding pole design, the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z was our Top Pick for lightweight poles, and we'd also recommend the Leki Micro Vario Carbon. Do note that you'll pay a bit more for the (lighter) weight difference of about 10 ounces or five ounces respectively.
The Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec is a tent-style pole, meaning it breaks apart into three sections. This allows it to pack into a tiny package of about 15.5 inches.
This is considerably smaller than any of the traditional telescoping design poles like the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork, Leki Corklite DSS Anti Shock, or the Black Diamond Trail Back which all came down to around 25 inches for the packed length. We were impressed with the packability of the pole for the comfort, which makes the Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec an excellent choice for those looking to travel frequently with their poles. We'd also recommend this model for those that need their poles to pack up when not in use, such as climbers or splitboarders.
Showing the Leki Micro Vario Ti COR-TEC's folding design, which collapses more like a tent pole rather than the much more common traditional telescopic design.
Throughout our testing process, the Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec held up fantastically to all kinds of beatings, from day hikes to canyoneering adventures. They are considerably more robust than the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z and about the same in durability as the Black Diamond Alpine FLZ - thanks to the aluminum construction. Our testing determined that the traditional telescoping poles are a bit stronger, most notably the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork and the Leki Corklite DSS Anti-Shock. For the break apart style of the pole, we found them to be quite tough; however, we wouldn't suggest them as a heavy duty beater pole for bushwhacking and lots of off trail use. For something a little more heavy duty, check out poles like the Black Diamond Trail Back which are built to be more of a workhorse.
Thanks to its super packable design and multiple basket offerings, the Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec is a pretty versatile pole. It's relatively durable and super comfortable, and thanks to all the benefits, it's a great choice for hiking, trekking, or even mountaineering. This model is ideal for anyone looking to pack a set of poles away like climbers and folks who travel quite a bit. We thought that it came close to the versatility of the Black Diamond Alpine FLZ, as they're very similar poles. However, they come at a slightly higher price point of $150.
The Micro Vario Carbon Ti Cor-Tec is an exceptional choice for multiple outdoor sports from backpacking to mountaineering. This is all thanks to durable aluminum construction, packable design, and super comfortable cork handles.
At $140, this pole is a steal, especially with all the tech that Leki has packed into it. We think that for the price, you would be hard-pressed to find a better pole for a multitude of uses.
With all the included features, like Leki's sweet cork handle design, break apart style packability, and relatively durable construction, this pole is a steal at $140. Most cork handled poles or tent style poles are considerably more expensive, the fact that you get both in this package is a great deal. Although it's a little heavier than many of the other break apart style poles, this is one of the few downsides. The Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec is a comfortable, versatile, and compact pole that you get for a low price.