The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

G3 Via Carbon Review

One of the best backcountry ski poles on the market
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $145 List
Pros:  Functional hook on the grip, durable, comfortable
Cons:  Large packed size, marginally heavier than other options, secondary grip inferior to others
Manufacturer:   G3
By Henry Feder ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 20, 2020
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 10
  • Ease of use - 35% 9
  • Weight - 20% 5
  • Durability - 15% 8
  • Packed Size - 15% 3
  • Comfort - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The G3 Via Carbon is a great backcountry ski pole that performs well for most users. It features a functional locking mechanism, a comfortable handle, and a secondary grip. It's also remarkably durable for a carbon pole. The downsides are its large packed size, which is shared with other classic two-section telescoping poles, and its heavier weight. These are minor flaws that don't take away that much from the pole's overall performance. It also looks good. This product almost took home our Editors' Choice Award and remains a great runner-up. It should be on the top of your list if you are looking for a backcountry ski pole with a carbon construction and a classic grip design.

Via Carbon Updates

G3 updated the Via Carbon since our test period. The grip is now foam, and has a larger beak to aid in manipulating bindings. A shrink wrap was also added around the upper shaft with the intent of providing better grip for side-hilling. The latest Via Carbon is pictured above, but the remainder of this review is still in reference to the previous model.

October 2020

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Overall, this pole performs as well as almost any classic two-section telescoping ski poles. It is fully carbon, features a minimalist secondary grip, and has a classic handle design that is very ergonomic.

Performance Comparison


The Via Carbon in action on a powder day in the Tahoe backcountry.
The Via Carbon in action on a powder day in the Tahoe backcountry.

Ease of Use


The Via Carbon is simple and easy to use. It features an ergonomic grip with a small hook over the forefinger, helping the pole stay in your hand during wild ski descents. This hook also helps grab a tech toepiece and lock it into walk mode after stepping into a tech binding. The top of the pole is relatively comfortable to push down, but it isn't as wide as the handles on other poles in our test. The locking mechanisms are solid and lock into place with a satisfying snap. The secondary grip is a small rubber ring, which we found to be adequate, though we prefer a full rubber pad for this feature. The length is adjustable by 30 centimeters (12 inches), which is plenty. And finally, the pole straps are easily removable, which many backcountry skiers prefer. The only feature this pole lacks is a scraper tool.

The locking mechanism on the Via Carbon is a large  solid aluminum buckle that is easy to operate and effectively locks the pole to its desired length.
The locking mechanism on the Via Carbon is a large, solid aluminum buckle that is easy to operate and effectively locks the pole to its desired length.

Weight


The Via Carbon weighs 20 ounces on our scale, which is more than the average weight in our test, but not by much. Still, for a fully carbon two-section pole, we expected lighter. To some skiers, this isn't a big deal, and might even be related to its above-average durability for a carbon pole. The swing weight feels good, and we never got the feeling that the pole was sluggish to swing around when making tight turns in steep terrain.

The Via's pole strap connects to the handle by plastic buckle  which is easy to remove  but also adds weight to the overall design. If you frequently put on/take off the straps to your poles  this is a speedy advantage.
The Via's pole strap connects to the handle by plastic buckle, which is easy to remove, but also adds weight to the overall design. If you frequently put on/take off the straps to your poles, this is a speedy advantage.

Durability


During our testing period, the Via Carbon suffered no durability issues. Despite a full carbon construction, the shafts feel thicker and more solid than other carbon poles. Our testers felt confident when making high-impact pole plants and banging the snow off our skis. That said, carbon typically requires more careful use, and this pole would benefit from not being treated carelessly. All of the components seem burly, and the aluminum lever lock will last a long time.

A close-up on the Via Carbon's shaft material. It's burly  but we still don't feel like we can whack snow off branches or carelessly throw them in the back of our truck as we can with aluminum poles. Also shown is the rubber secondary grip.
A close-up on the Via Carbon's shaft material. It's burly, but we still don't feel like we can whack snow off branches or carelessly throw them in the back of our truck as we can with aluminum poles. Also shown is the rubber secondary grip.

Packed size


The Via Carbon does not pack small, due to its two-section telescoping design and 12 inches of length adjustment. When fully collapsed, the pole is about a meter long. This is not small enough to use for splitboarding or trekking in the summer, where we often strap our poles onto our backpacks. This is surprising since G3 makes good gear for splitboarders, and we thought they'd make poles to accommodate them as well. Not this one.

Comfort


The Via Carbon is a very comfortable pole to use. The grip has an excellent, ergonomic contour that fits most hand sizes well. Comfortable and wide, the strap is easily removable without leaving a trace for those who don't want to use pole straps. The handle features a large, overhanging hook above the forefinger that allows a lighter grip without fearing that you'll drop the pole. While comfortable to push down, we wish the top of the handle were a little wider. The secondary grip could be more robust and provide rubber for the whole hand, but the rubber ring for the thumb and forefinger is adequate. And finally, we liked the powder basket that features an asymmetrical design, which allows the pole tip to penetrate firm snow on traverses and sidehills.

The Via Carbon's spinning powder basket keeps the smaller side uphill  allowing the tip to penetrate even on steep  firm sidehills and traverses.
The Via Carbon's spinning powder basket keeps the smaller side uphill, allowing the tip to penetrate even on steep, firm sidehills and traverses.

Value


The Via Carbon is a relatively expensive ski pole, costing about as much as the other top contenders in our test. For the price, you'll get a well-functioning ski pole with top-of-the-line features that is a pleasure to use. The pole's long-term durability is only questioned because of the full carbon construction, and we don't think this pole will last as long as aluminum poles. But with proper care, it will last a long time.

Conclusion


The G3 Via Carbon performs well across the board and nearly snags our Editors' Choice Award. It features a great handle, a secure locking mechanism, and a full carbon construction. It isn't the lightest or most packable pole, but while splitboarders will want to look elsewhere, most skiers won't care about that. Overall, this is a great ski pole that only lacks a scraper tool.

Th Via Carbon from G3 is an excellent ski pole with useful features.
Th Via Carbon from G3 is an excellent ski pole with useful features.

Henry Feder