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G3 Via Carbon Review

A lightweight carbon pole that is best for users with large hands
G3 Via Carbon
Photo: Backcountry
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Price:  $155 List | $154.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Nice grip features, relatively light, easy to use
Cons:  Not durable, grip only works for large hands, doesn't pack small
Manufacturer:   G3
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 3, 2020
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 10
  • Ease of use - 35% 9
  • Weight - 20% 8
  • Durability - 15% 3
  • Packed Size - 15% 6
  • Comfort - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The G3 Via Carbon is a lightweight, carbon-fiber ski pole with lots of grip features. It is comfortable to hold and features a large tab a the front of the grip head that makes it easy to adjust risers, lock tech toe pieces, or (carefully) knock snow off the topsheets of touring skis. The grip extension is a full-length wrap of sticky material that extends to the bottom of the upper pole shaft and a small bumper upon which the heel of the hand can rest when choking up on the pole. The major downsides to this pole are comfort and durability. Testers reported that the grip is thicker than most and best suited for users with large hands. We also broke a lower pole shaft during regular use.

Compare to Similar Products

 
G3 Via Carbon
This Product
G3 Via Carbon
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award   
Price $154.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$169.95 at Amazon$150 List$189.95 at Amazon$110 List
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Pros Nice grip features, relatively light, easy to usePacks very short and slender, lightweight, simple and fast to useComfortable grip, lightweight, good featuresVery comfortable to hold, packs small for splitboarding, good length adjustmentSimple design, good durability, comfortable grip
Cons Not durable, grip only works for large hands, doesn't pack smallFixed length, not as strong as other polesNot as durable as some, doesn't pack small enough for splitboardersSome play in the pole sections when extended, relatively heavy, expensive, slow in transitionSluggish swing weight, doesn't pack as small as we hoped
Bottom Line A good carbon pole for users with large handsThe right choice for splitboarding, this pair is simple to use and packs smallThese lightweight poles are great for big days in the hillsA high-performance pole for splitboarders or skiers with some room for improvementAn unremarkable 3-section backcountry ski pole, but can double as a trekking pole
Rating Categories G3 Via Carbon Black Diamond Carbon Compactor Black Diamond Razor Carbon Pro Leki Tour Stick Vario Carbon Black Diamond Expedition 3
Ease Of Use (35%)
9
8
8
7
7
Weight (20%)
8
8
8
7
7
Durability (15%)
3
5
6
6
7
Packed Size (15%)
6
9
6
8
6
Comfort (15%)
7
7
9
8
7
Specs G3 Via Carbon Black Diamond... Black Diamond... Leki Tour Stick... Black Diamond...
Size Tested Long 120 cm 140 cm 135 cm 140 cm
Measured Weight Per Pair (oz) 18 oz 18 oz 18 oz 19 oz 19 oz
Shaft Material Carbon Carbon fiber Carbon Carbon, aluminum Aluminum
Min Length (cm) 115 cm 120 cm 115 cm 115 cm 62 cm
Max Length (cm) 145 cm 120 cm 140 cm 135 cm 140 cm
Pole Design Adjustable Z-Pole Adjustable Adjustable Double Adjustable
Locking Mechanism Flick Lock Z-Pole Flick Lock Speed Lock 2 Dual Flick Lock

Our Analysis and Test Results

Overall, this pole performs above average, though we have major doubts about the pole's durability and suitability for those will small hands.

Performance Comparison


The G3 Via Carbon at home in deep backcountry powder.
The G3 Via Carbon at home in deep backcountry powder.
Photo: sam willits

Ease of Use


The Via Carbon features a comfortable grip design that is ergonomic and well-contoured, especially for folks with large hands. The extended tab on the top of the grip is perfect for adjusting heel risers and knocking snow off topsheets. It also includes a hole that's useful when tying off a tarp as part of an emergency or lightweight shelter. The wrist strap is easy to adjust and can also be removed. There is a long, sticky secondary grip, covering the entire upper shat, and also a small bumper that provides extra friction for the heel of the hand that is choking up. The length is easily adjusted over 30 centimeters of possible lengths, and the flick lock tab can be tightened with a standard screwdriver. Overall, this pole is very easy to use.

The Via Carbon's large tab atop the grip is perfect for adjusting...
The Via Carbon's large tab atop the grip is perfect for adjusting heel risers and locking toe pieces, but the plastic handle readily chips away cosmetically.
Photo: jeff dobronyi

Weight


The Via Carbon pair weighs in at 18 ounces, which makes it one of the lighter poles in our review. This is due in large part to the carbon construction of the shafts, which is lighter and stiffer than aluminum. This weight is about the same as other full-carbon poles, and it is light enough for long, high-vert days in the mountains and weight-sensitive missions.

The Via Carbon's namesake construction material is light, but not as...
The Via Carbon's namesake construction material is light, but not as durable as aluminum, as we found out the hard way.
Photo: jeff dobronyi

Durability


Unfortunately, we question the long-term durability of this pole. One of our testers broke the lower shaft when gently tapping the bottom of a partner's ski to remove some gloppy snow. This is a flaw that is shared with other carbon poles, and while we like carbon for lightweight missions and days with high vert, they won't last long if used as an aluminum backcountry ski pole. We also wouldn't trust this pole on a long ski expedition or multi-day wilderness trip. However, we did notice that the powder basket design makes an emergency ski-strap repair easy and effective. On the day we broke the pole, we were able to complete the tour with the repair instead of heading home early.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Packed Size


The Via Carbon packs down to 39 inches (100cm), which is good for a collapsible 2-section telescoping pole. Still, it is not nearly as collapsible as a three-section telescoping ski pole or one with a foldable design. It disappears when strapped onto skis in an A-frame carry configuration, and doesn't stick out very far when stuck behind the back for short periods, but it isn't suitable for use as a splitboarding pole.

The G3 Via Carbon, far right, packs down smaller than some poles...
The G3 Via Carbon, far right, packs down smaller than some poles, but not small enough for splitboarders.
Photo: jeff dobronyi

Comfort


The Via Carbon's grip design is ergonomic and comfortable, but our testers noted how thick the grip feels. Indeed, the grip circumference at the center of the palm is about 3/4 of an inch thicker than the average grip in our review, which means that the user's hands have to be about 3/4 of an inch longer than the average hand for the grip to feel comfortable. Amongst our testers, users with hand size men's large, or about 9 inches from the wrist crease to the tip of the longest finger, loved the grip, while testers with smaller hands hated it.

The G3 Via Carbon's foam grip is nicely contoured and comfortable...
The G3 Via Carbon's foam grip is nicely contoured and comfortable, as long as you have large hands.
Photo: jeff dobronyi

Value


This pole is one of the most expensive in our review, and in general, it feels worth the price. Our major concern is durability, and if the pole is used on select days when weight is a concern, and the user is careful with the pole, they fit into a quiver of backcountry ski poles nicely. However, we don't think this delicate pole should be used as an everyday backcountry tool. Users looking for a budget-friendly, quiver-of-one backcountry ski pole should look elsewhere.

Conclusion


The G3 Via Carbon is a high-performance, lightweight backcountry ski pole that has a ton of features for easy use and one of the best grips on the market. However, the grip only fits comfortably for users with large hands. Also, we have major concerns about the longevity of the pole if it is used as an everyday pole. If you are looking for a lightweight pole for big days and occasional use, this is a great option, but if you are looking for a daily driver, there are more durable options.

The G3 Via Carbon in the hands of tester Jeff Dobronyi.
The G3 Via Carbon in the hands of tester Jeff Dobronyi.
Photo: sam willits

Jeff Dobronyi