4.5/5 | Overall Rating
The Leki Micro Vario Carbon is the most premium pole offered by Leki in this year’s line-up and features a full carbon construction from grip to tip. The premium carbon fibre used makes this pole very light and surprisingly durable for a carbon tent-style pole.
the pole performed better than expected in almost every category, which lead to it taking the coveted ‘Editor’s Choice’ prize in our Top 10.
If you are looking to replace your old daypack, or even if you’re buying one for the very first time, this pack is a great choice!
The quality of materials used, however, is reflected in the price, with the Micro Vario Carbon being the most expensive pole tested.
Money aside, we found the foam grips felt great in the hand and added something unique to the typical cork grips used in most premium poles. The durability is great and the pole just looks attractive with its black and red ergonomic design.
If money isn’t an issue and if you're looking for something new, ultralight and very portable then the Leki Micro Vario Carbon is perfect and can be used in a variety of conditions.
Finding the correct pole for your needs and budget remains a tricky task and sifting through the troves of reviews can be time consuming and confusing. To make things easier, check out our expert review on the top 10 trekking poles of here.
Being a fully carbon pole, the Leki Micro Vario Carbon will never stand up to the type of use and abuse that an aluminium pole can take. As with all carbon poles, it is more brittle as it doesn’t bend or dent, but fared well when tested for durability during use. The carbon fibre used in this pole is of high quality and absorbed and dissipated shocks very well.
Despite being more durable than most carbon poles, the Micro Vario Carbon did trail behind some telescoping carbon poles. Naturally, the break-apart poles contain more weak points in the shaft and so are more prone to damage at those points than telescoping poles which tend to be reinforced near the locking mechanisms.
The trade-off between durability and portability/weight is mainly a question of need and sometimes preference. If you want your pole to be ultralight and fit into your backpack then the Leki Micro Vario Carbon is for you, but if you want a more durable pole for off-trail day hiking then we would recommend looking for an aluminium pole or a telescoping carbon pole.
The Leki Micro Vario Carbon is one of the few poles to feature foam grips, as opposed to the tried and tested cork. We found the foam to be very comfortable and great to use, with the grips easily moulding to your hand shape after use. Leki also include an extended portion of foam below the grip for situations when you need to grip down the shaft or utilise a shorter pole.
As in previous tests, we found foam grips outperformed cork grips in wet or humid conditions or if your hands sweat a lot as the foam does a great job of wicking away the sweat and maintaining grip. Where they fall short of cork is in their durability as often the foam will wear away and chunks can even fall off if scraped against sharp rocks or sticks.
Much of it also comes down to preference. Some people prefer the smoothness of a cork grip while other prefer the textured nature of foam.
Thanks to the carbon and foam used, the pole weighs a little over 450g making it one of the lightest tested. It isn’t as light as some of the other carbon poles, but made up for this in that it had more features and was more versatile than some of the superlight offerings.
The Leki Micro Vario Carbon is still adjustable even at this weight and features 20cm of adjustable length thanks to the SpeedLock 2 mechanism used by Leki. We found this pole to be lightweight but not to the extent that it compromised any of the amazing features Leki offers.
The Micro Vario Carbon uses a three-piece tent pole design allowing it to break apart to a packable length of just 38cm. This makes it short enough to fit into even the smallest daypacks – perfect for variable climbing or multi-day hiking.
If you know you're going to be using your poles at all times during the hike or do not need them to fit into your daypack, we wouldn’t recommend prioritising weight over durability as you can get telescoping poles or aluminium poles than will last longer and will probably cost you less than a tent-style pole.
The pole is suited to a variety of weather conditions with the foam grips performing well in both warm and cold weather and with included snow baskets, the pole can be used in light snow.
Its small design means it is perfect for those looking to travel with their poles or to use them for backpacking. They held up well in all terrain tested, however we wouldn’t recommend them for heavy off-trail use.