KOMPERDELL are a less well known name in the UK than the likes of Black Diamond and Leki but in Europe they are a big name not only for trekking/trail poles but racing, alpine, xc nordic, free ride/touring, and nordic walking. The Carbon FXP Team Green (and Pink) are KOMPERDELL’s first serious foray into the trail racing pole market and they’ve come in with some seriously slick technology.
The Carbon FXP Team Green’s raw specs are as follows:
Weight: 209g per pole (115cm)
Packed size: 41cm (115cm)
Available in 105-135cm (in 10cm steps)
My pair are the 125cm version (the 10cm steps meant I went up slightly from my normal 120cm size) and gave the following:
Weight 215g per pole
Packed size 45cm
The Austrian build quality of the Carbon FXP Team Green is first rate, they are incredibly robust and well put together. This is backed up by their direct to consumer 3 Year Repair/Service Warranty. There is clearly some cross fertilisation from their Nordic pole range with regard to the cork grip and hand strap on the Carbon FXP Team. The cork grip (which is extended for use on steep ground so you can choke down a bit) is fantastically comfortable just like an XC ski pole. The hand strap is similar to an XC Nordic strap but a little ‘cut down’ for the trail running fraternity probably more like a Nordic walking straps. The build quality shines through when you start to play with the Carbon FXP Team’s unique feature; the self deploying FXP system. These days everyone is familiar with the ‘z-pole’ system which works like a shock corded tent pole, you deploy the (usually) three pole sections and then tension the system by extending the handle section deploying a button or flick lock type device to lock in that tension. When it comes to stashing your poles you have to undo the flick lock or depress the button to release the tension. The Carbon FXP Team turns this system on its head – they pretty much self deploy just release them from the velcro straps or the pole holders on your running vest and they just snap open! To stash them you press two very smooth to operate buttons (with none of the tension resistance that some other systems present especially to cold hands) and fold them into three but you do need to then secure them either with the supplied velcro straps or your running vest poles holders. Another factor here is that KOMPERDELL recommend storing the poles in the long term in their deployed or open state, presumably to reduce tension on the system.
The self deploying nature of these poles is what first strikes you, there is a certain childish glee to the way they open out and you have to try hard not to make Star Wars light sabre noises (or is that just me?). Is this self deploying feature a revolution? I’m not 100% sure, though thinking it through it does seem to have more advantages than not. In a race or just an arduous day out the fact that you can just pull your poles out and be ready for the ascent or descent with no fiddling seems a winner to me. The corollary of this is that when you come to stash them there is potentially a slight faff as you need to secure the sections together – a non-issue with all of my running packs’ pole holders to be honest but it might require more thought on a hiking pack. The poles do come with two little velcro straps but I found these repeatedly slipped off the handle storage position when used for long periods. Perhaps KOMPERDELL could incorporate a storage strap into the wrist leash or provide a quiver/wrap that could be stashed separately? The wrist strap worked well giving more support and comfort than a simple wrist loop but it does mean you are a bit limited when it comes to winter gloves, even with moderately sized winter gloves on I found the strap a bit tight. Overall the cork grip and supportive strap made these the comfiest running poles I’ve used. If you’re not familiar with quick release XC style straps they allow you to have a very supportive full wrap strap but a mechanism allows you to release the strap from the pole, leaving it attached to your hand like a mitt, so you can perform tasks like map work or drinking etc. without the pole attached.
The only improvement I could think of would be to offer the full on XC ski strap possibly in a choice of sizes. The Trail Click-In strap 2.1. is available in 4 different sizes. (XS, S, M and L)!
Support and strength wise these are phenomenal poles pretty much the equal of my MSR ‘winter’ poles. There are no issues with tension loss and the poles ‘pinging’ as can happen with conventional z-pole like designs requiring re-adjustment. However there is a weight penalty to be paid for this Austrian robustness and the Carbon FXP Team Green tipping the scale at 215g per pole in my 125cm size versus 288g per pair for the Black Diamond Carbon Z Treks in the same size. This is likely to make the weight weenies think twice and to be honest if weight is you chief criteria then the Carbon FXP Team Green is maybe not for you. Ignoring weight for a moment then KOMPERDELL’s poles give you fantastic build quality backed by a solid guarantee and the unique self deploying system is a potential time and hassle saver both in races and when you’re knackered, perhaps encouraging you to get the poles out and save your joints when otherwise you might not. Some of the extra weight is a result of using cork rather than lightweight foam and I for one am happy to make that trade as I find cork far more comfortable especially if sweaty. If you look at the poling masters of the outdoor world, XC skiers, you’ll notice that pretty much all the top end poles use cork grips. Incorporating the click strap mechanism is also adds a little weight but makes things easier when using a full hand strap as you can just un-click to work with you map, compass, food, zipper etc.
Overall a fantastic set of poles for runners and those moving fast in the mountains. Serious weight weenies may be forced to look elsewhere though.
The Carbon Cloud FXP Foldable looks like it addresses some of the weight issues of the Carbon FXP Team by cutting the weight of the 115cm pole to 173g versus the 209g stated for the Carbon FXP team but you loose out on the convenience and support of the click in strap.
- Build quality
- Unique, fast deployment
- Super comfortable strap and handle
- Need to be stored open ideally
SRP £189.95 + VAT