Our Komperdell Carbon Cloud Poles Review details a high quality and innovative trail running pole from a long established Austrian manufacturer. We hope you find it useful.
Everyone at Peak Mountaineering uses poles a lot. For skiing, hillwalking, mountaineering and trail running – they are almost always part of our daily kit. We are advocates of their many benefits and have used a wide range of makes and models over our decades in the mountains.
Having previously reviewed poles from Komperdell, we were delighted to be offered some of their new Carbon Cloud poles to review. We have been putting them through their paces in the Peak District and Wales and here is our detailed review.
Who are Komperdell?
Komperdell is a prestigious manufacturer who have been producing poles in their Austrian factory since 1922. Even as the business has grown, They are proud to say that every pole is still assembled in Austria. Their range has grown significantly over the years and they now produce poles for all types of mountain activities. The Carbon Cloud Vario Team is one of their trail running focussed models.
The Carbon Cloud Vario Team are a fully featured 4 section pole made from full carbon 16mm sections. They also have an adjustable top section that locks with Komperdell’s Powerlock 3.0 closure. This closure is made of forged aluminium to offer what the company describe as their strongest lock system. The extension range is 115 to 135 cms. The folded length is 41cms.
Grips & Tips
The poles are topped by their Trail Pro cork grips with an extended grip zone. This is designed to offer flexible grip options for steep terrain. The wrist strap features Komperdell’s click-in trail running system. This combines a comfortable velcro adjust hand cradle paired with a quick release clip-in mechanism. At the bottom end there is Komperdell’s small running focused baskets finished with a carbide tip.
FXP Folding Mechanism
The Carbon Cloud’s feature the Komperdell FXP mechanism. This is an innovative self-deploying system which allows the poles to snap instantly into their locked position. They weigh 216 grams per pole and the retail price is £190.
We have mostly been using the Carbon Cloud’s for running, but have also found them ideal for general mountain use. They are lightweight and yet have enough durability to make them suitable for lots of activities. Having the adjustable section and the removable strap also adds to their versatility. So, although we are reviewing the poles primarily for their stated main use of trail running, we do feel they will suit a broad range of users.
A stand out feature of all the Komperdell products we have used so far has been durability. With running poles inevitably focussed on lightness, how do the Carbon Cloud Vario Canon Poles stack up? At 216gms per pole, they aren’t near the lightest on the market, but that wouldn’t seem to be Komperdell’s primary aim. They are certainly light, but Komperdell don’t want that lightness to come at the expense of durability and function.
The use of Komperell’s Powerlock 3.0 closure is also a sign of this. Powerlock is made from aluminium for reliability and ease of use. This means they may not compete for weight with plastic options, but they will work time after time without letting you down. As with all things, it is a trade between weight and performance and will depend on user requirements. We often run on challenging moorland terrain and so a slight weight penalty for reliability is a reasonable trade off.
The Carbon Cloud Vario Team’s certainly stand out. They come in a bright green colour scheme with matching baskets and natural cork grips. The branding, on the other hand, is very subtle. I think they look great, but you will need to make up your own mind on whether the colour scheme works for you. The build quality also shines through. Everything is beautifully finished and there is clear attention to detail in every feature.
The poles feature Komperdell’s FXP system. We have previously tested this on the Cloud Compact poles and really rate it. It is also really well suited to running poles where quick deployment is key. It is extremely easy to use and hasn’t let me down in many deployments.
The way it works couldn’t be simpler. As soon as you let the pole sections free they snap into position quickly and efficiently. Once the poles locate in place each section snaps closed with a hidden mechanism. Once locked they feel extremely secure.
One consideration is that, if you don’t secure the poles when not connected, they will leap open. To prevent this Komperdell include a velcro closure strap for each pole. This isn’t a problem to use, but does get trickier when you are trying to do it while running. You will get used to it, but just something to be aware of.
The secret to the FXP system is worth explaining. In most avalanche style poles there is a cord running inside the poles. In the FXP system there is no need for this. The advantage of this is a reduction of parts needed for the folding system. Komperdell say this reduces weight and minimises the risk of the system failing. The other benefit is the solid feel of the locked poles. There is absolutely no movement or rattling between the pole sections. Infact, you could believe the poles are a single pole section rather than several separate pieces.
Once locked in the open position, the sections need to be individually released for folding by pressing a discrete integrated button. This is a smooth mechanism. I have tried it with gloves on and it still operates with ease.
My only question when testing the Cloud Compacts was what if moisture gets inside and freezes. For that review I tested this possibility by soaking the poles and freezing them in the home freezer. The mechanism still worked fine. So, from my testing at least, this possibility shouldn’t be an issue for winter runners.
The extendable section works perfectly. You simply slide the pole section to the desired height and lock down the Powerlock 3.0 closure. It is secure and dependable. The Powerlock system is also a joy to use. Just a point to notice is that to adjust the tightness of the closure clamp in the field you would need a screwdriver.
The cork grip works really well. The shaping fits comfortably in the hand and the cork feels great to hold for long periods of time. I always really value the grip extension. I see this as an essential on any trekking pole. When you are crossing slopes it really helps to be able to position your hand further down the pole. This means you don’t need to keep re-adjusting the length. It also gives your hand a break by changing the grip position.
Click-In Trail Running System
I really rate the click-in trail running system. The adjustable hand cradle is comfortable to wear for long periods and can be just as easily used when wearing gloves. This pairs seamlessly with a quick release clip-in mechanism. You simply press a button on the top of the pole and the leash is released. Press it back in and it locks into place. This is great for running where you will want to switch between using the poles and carrying them.
Baskets & Tips
The durable carbide tip will cope with any terrain and Komperdell have supplied them with compact baskets ideally suited to most terrain types. Tiny baskets will sink in to very boggy ground or snow, but are certainly a good option for general purpose use.
Our Komperdell Carbon Cloud Vario Green Poles Review details a lightweight and innovative option from a respected Austrian manufacturer. The self deploying system works really well and is a great option for running use. The poles also strike a nice balance between weight and durability. When extended the poles feel extremely solid and yet light in the hand. The system also creates a completely smooth profile that makes them feel like a single length of pole. This is useful for running because there is nothing to catch or snag on trail obstacles.
At £190 they are at the upper end of what most people may expect to pay for a pair of poles. However, that cost will likely balance out as they should last extremely well. As with all Komperdell poles, they also benefit from the companies amazing 3 year guarantee. This is described as a ‘no questions asked’ guarantee. They will repair your poles regardless of what happened to them. This works in every country and operates directly through the manufacturer. Their website has a facility to initiate returns.
The Carbon Cloud Vario Green’s are a well designed and beautifully constructed pole from a prestigious and long established manufacturer. Full details are available on the Komperdell website here.