The ski and snowboard industry is finally starting to design gear for splitboarding including poles. A few of the best splitboard poles listed below can actually pack down small enough to toss inside your backpack or can easily be attached to the outside of your pack for the ride down hill.
All the splitboard poles listed below have been thoroughly tested on tours here in the Tetons, in BC and Tahoe. We wanted to find out how these poles held up in various temperatures, snowpacks and other variability’s including length of tour.
Backcountry Access Scepter 4S Poles
One when of the most trusted names in backcountry safety (BCA) makes a set of backcountry specific splitboard poles you really should take note. One of the best features of these poles is simply how small the pack down (17″ or 45.7cm) in length. This means to you can stuff these poles inside your backpack if you have room for them. Otherwise they can easily be latched down to the outside of your pack.
If your familiar with tossing an avalanche probe out you will dig the feel of the Backcountry Access Scepter 4S pole. To engage the pole once its broken down simply pull the top section of pole out while tossing the rest of the pole away from you, and wah-la the splitboard pole is ready to go. This is one of the simpler designs we have used.
The only thing that can be improved with these poles would be to switch out the material at the top of the handle. At times I tend to put the flat of my palm on the top of my splitboard poles. It seems to really help to drive power into each stroke. However that being said, BCA does make up for this with the added padding down the shaft of the pole. Having more places to grip is never a bad thing. Aside from a hard rubber top these poles are fool proof and have become my daily drivers. Thanks BCA, the Scepter poles ($119), are amazing and they can also be used for 4 seasons hence the 4S name.
LEKI Tour Stick Vario Carbon Poles
My second favorite pair of splitboard poles is the LEKI Tour Stick Vario Carbon. If the baskets on these poles were a little bit larger and more rigid they would have easily been our top pick.
Vonn, Steigler and Shiffrin all rock LEKI – wait aren’t those all skiers. Yep and they rip too. When the worlds best skiers pick LEKI maybe you should too?
These splitboard poles pack down to (16″ or 40.64cm) which makes them the smallest on this list for when tossing inside your backpack or for rigging as mentioned above.
Similar to the Scepter from BCA the LEKI Tour Stick Vario Carbon splitboard poles are put together by tossing the poles away from you while holding the shaft. This action again mimics that of an avalanche probe. It will be hard to find a better high performing pole on the market than the Tour Sitck Vario Carbon from LEKI ($199.95).
Black Diamond Carbon Compactor Poles
Black Diamond took the success of the Z-pole compactibility and updated it into the sleek and lightweight Carbon Compactors. The Carbon Compactor splitboard poles are activated via a tension-lock system, in mere seconds the assembly is complete helping to speed up you’re transitions.
Couple unique things about these poles, first off the grip on the top of the handle works great for lifting your binding risers while touring as it has an extra lip that sticks out. Also the baskets are semicircle which makes them grip nicely while ascending steep firm hills. And finally, a pleasant benefit of carbon poles is that much less warmth is pulled away from your hands than a metal equivalent.
We did have an issue with these poles freezing up and not allowing the push button to engage. So the poles would work fine, they just wouldn’t pack down so nicely when it was well below (0 degrees C or 32 degrees Fahrenheit). The Black Diamond Carbon Compactor Poles ($129.95) are a heck of a deal without breaking the bank.
Are there any poles missing from the list? Possibly however we are very selective of the gear we test, especially gear we take into the backcountry and then stand behind with our reviews. It has taken our team years of experience to get comfortable venturing into the mountains for these reviews. We surely appreciate the support when you make a purchase through one of our links or click on our sponsors advertisements and banners.
Now that we have your splitboard poles dialed, what about your splitboard skins?