Best Splitboard Poles 2020
The poles I most often find myself grabbing before heading out the door are the LEKI Tourstick Vario Carbon Poles. I had mentioned them last year in our splitboard pole roundup and they just keep getting better year after year.
Out of the box, these poles come with some burly looking straps from LEKI. The Trigger S straps which are easily removable and specifically made to release upon impact which was taken from LEKI’s ski racing background. Personally, I cut or remove all the straps from all my backcountry poles as it’s a safer way to travel through the mountains.
Weighing in at .55 lbs (253 grams) the LEKI Tour Stick Vario Carbon Pole is easy to swing around and offers up a ton of places to grip the pole on the way up. With these poles I often find myself holding the grip toward the lowest part on the pole. These poles offer up a ton of power on the up.
Thee LEKI Tour Stick Poles break down to 15 inches (39 cm) for the descent.
The only downside to the Tourstick Vario Carbon and the others in the LEKI line is the Speedlock 2 locking mechanism can be wonky with a lot of moving parts. Be sure to figure out how to tighten and loosen these poles indoors before you head into the field. Once everything is in place this is a fine set of folding ski poles.
The Atomic BCT Pole is made of Aluminum Alloy which makes it one of the lightest poles on the market. This pole may look simple, because it is, and that’s exactly why we like it. Atomic’s BTC pole also happens to packs down the smallest of any of the collapsible poles we tested.
Atomic’s BCT Mountaineering SQS Pole offers extra grip thanks to foam wrapped around the handle. The top of the pole is made of hard plastic which starts to be noticeable against your palm on longer tours.
The standout part of this pole is Atomic’s locking mechanism. It’s simple, clean and so far fail-proof. One of the best poles for splitboarding on the market.
The fanciest pole on this list comes from MSR. The MSR Dynalock Explore Pole weights .65 lbs (294 grams) per pole. What’s nice about this pole is the DynaLock closures, which can be easily adjusted on the fly thanks to a little spin wheel. As with the LEKI poles mentioned above be sure to figure out how to open and close this system in the comfort of your home. Once it’s dialed in you can rely on Mountain Safety Research to keep everything in place. Collapsed splitboard pole length of 24 inches (62cm)
The Dynalock Explore handle grip is made of rubber and there is foam that runs down about a foot from the top of the pole that allows for various positions to hold. The adjustable straps are not removable.
The only thing I would change if you plan to use these poles is the baskets. They do not really like to be in powder snow with there big circular design and can easily tip over. So either place these grip side down into the snow or just replace the baskets with something more BC friendly.
K2 is making some darn fine gear for splitboarding as of late. The K2 Swift Stick Splitboard Poles are adjustable in length from 110cm to 130 cm covering just about everyone’s heights. K2 uses its SpeedLink Locking Mechanism which is simple and easy to use. You can even open and close this system with snowboard gloves on.
These adjustable ski poles collapse down small enough they can be tossed on the outside of your backpack, or even stuffed inside if you have the room with its small 13″ footprint. If you notice this pole like the Rossignol one has additional padding going down the shaft of the pole to allow you to grip even lower down on the pole for additional torque.
Gabel FR 5 F.L. LITE XTL – ($105.00)
You most likely have never heard of Gabel until now. This brand based in Italy and the poles will be hard to find in North America. Sorry about that… The Gabel FR 5 F.L. LITE XTL Pole is another foldable ski pole that works great for splitboarding and year-round trecking.
This model of Gabel foldable poles are a little bit longer when folded up at 18″ in length so they are best attached to the outside of your backpack on the decent. Gabel uses a anti-sweat and anti-slip foam on the top of the pole grip. This material feels nice in hand, even after long tours.
The ski and snowboard industry is finally starting to design gear specifically for splitboarding. We wanted to find out how these splitboard poles held up in various temperatures, snowpacks and other variabilities including the length of the tour.
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.
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