G3 Via Carbon Review
Cons: Not durable, grip only works for large hands, doesn't pack small
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G3 Via Carbon
|Price||$155 List||$169.95 at Amazon||$149.95 at Amazon||$199.95 at Amazon||$76.93 at REI|
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|Pros||Nice grip features, relatively light, easy to use||Packs very short and slender, lightweight, simple and fast to use||Comfortable grip, lightweight, good features||Very comfortable to hold, packs small for splitboarding, good length adjustment||Simple design, good durability, comfortable grip|
|Cons||Not durable, grip only works for large hands, doesn't pack small||Fixed length, not as strong as other poles||Not as durable as some, doesn't pack small enough for splitboarders||Some play in the pole sections when extended, relatively heavy, expensive, slow in transition||Sluggish swing weight, doesn't pack as small as we hoped|
|Bottom Line||A good carbon pole for users with large hands||The right choice for splitboarding, this pair is simple to use and packs small||These lightweight poles are great for big days in the hills||A high-performance pole for splitboarders or skiers with some room for improvement||An 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%)|
|Packed Size (15%)|
|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, aluminum||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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
— Jeff Dobronyi