Test Report 09/10 – Poles

by Don Portman

October 10, 2009 – For the 2009/10 season we looked at carbon poles from two companies who are relatively new to the pole market in North America – Gabel and Komperdell. Gabel is a popular brand based in Italy and we tested their National Team XC carbon pole while Komperdell is an Austrian company that’s well established in the trekking pole market, and we tested their National Team Carbon Cork pole.

Gabel’s National Team XC

Komperdell’s flagship National Team XC Carbon

Carbon Poles

Gabel National Team XC
Just as you would expect, this Italian 100% carbon pole is light and stiff. Our test pair came as all Gabel carbon poles do — in kit form. It took just minutes to cut the shafts to size and hot-glue the baskets and handles in place. The quick-release strap system and highly adjustable strap was easy to use. One large-handed tester felt the straps were a bit tight at full adjustment, but still comfortable. The baskets looked fragile and were made from a material softer than that used on most pole baskets. On snow, they worked very well, and most testers ended up liking a more flexible basket.

Komperdell National Team Carbon Cork
Komperdell is well-known on this continent for trekking poles. We found the National Team Skate poles to be light and easy to swing, yet still very stiff. The cork handle is thicker than most, but I liked it. Pulling a tab rather than pushing a button released the click-in system. Release and reengagement were always positive. The strap adjusted quickly and fit most hands better than a glove.

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