Andy Mossack reviews Komperdell FXP4 Approach Compact walking poles. Austrian pole technology at its finest.
To the uninitiated, walking poles are a terrific aid for trekking, and pretty much all do the same job. Right? Then again, those in the know could probably wax lyrical about the essential requirements for trekking poles and how standard just doesn’t stand up.
I have to be honest here and admit I used to be in that first camp. A set of cheap poles from Amazon would do for me any time, thank you very much.
I have since learned there is some excellent science behind choosing poles. My tutor was Komperdell, a legendary Austrian brand that’s has been in the pole business since 1922. They have built extraordinary ranges of poles for every possible scenario, from ski poles competing in the famous Streif run at record speeds, to trekking poles which have conquered every 8,000-metre peak in the world.
I think then, it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about what makes a perfect pole, and they’re prepared to back it up with a no quibble three-year free repair or replacement service to boot.
I took the opportunity of road testing my Komperdell FXP4 Approach Compact poles in perhaps one of the harshest conditions an amateur trekker might find themselves in. The Canadian Arctic. Walking on tundra sitting on deep permafrost and navigating potentially treacherous frozen bogs.
I chose the Komperdell FXP4 Approach Compact walking poles because, as a regular traveller, I wanted something light and compact for the suitcase, and weighing in at just 239g with a packed size of 38cms, they fitted the bill perfectly. The poles also included a pair of mud baskets that clip on if the going is boggy, rubber tips for paved surfaces, otherwise you would just use the steel tips for breaking up ice.
But here’s where the magic happens. These poles come in four carbon fibre pieces; three linked sections which self-deploy and lock using Komperdell’s unique locking system, while the trek pro foam 245 grip section is locked in with a forged aluminium clip that Komperdell calls its powerlock 3.0.
The self-deploy sections automatically lock on to each other with a satisfying click once let loose from the restraining Velcro belt, after which you can unclip the powerlock to easily adjust the pole extension to suit your height. The generous grip is moulded to sit in your palm comfortably and securely with equally soft straps attached.
Out on the polar tundra, pulling the Velcro belt apart to deploy the poles felt like I was releasing a pack of huskies. They were raring to go and sprung out and locked together instantly. I found it was better to hold the grip with one hand and release the belt with the other to make sure the poles sprung together safely. Deploying the two poles literally took seconds, and I was ready to start walking in no time. During my tundra trek the sections stayed firmly locked in throughout, and I mixed and matched between baskets and bare tips depending on the conditions, which varied considerably.
Retracting the Komperdell FXP4 Approach Compact walking poles, while not automatic, is straightforward. The two hinged parts are unlocked by pressing a side button, you pull them apart and fold, and reapply the Velcro strap to put those huskies back on the leash.
The Komperdell FXP4 Approach Compact walking poles proved to be an excellent accessory, the Austrian manufacturer fully justifying its legendary status as a world leader in pole technology. Standard just doesn’t cut it for me anymore.
Tell me more about Komperdell FXP4 Approach Compact walking poles
Komperdell FXP4 Approach Compact walking poles are available from Komperdell directly. £169.95 (Price excludes VAT and shipping).
E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: +43 6232 42010
All parts are guaranteed for three years with a no quibble free repair or replacement.