View Full Version : Masters Kompressor Top Trekking Poles
The Master Kompressor Top trekking poles were well regarded in Backpacker magazine and seem to be a good value at around $80, but I never see them mentioned in internet discussions of poles. Anybody using these and/or have an opinion as to their quality and merits? Thanks for any advice.
I bought them in Gorham, NH on my SOBO hike in '01. I've never used other poles so I can't say whether others wear the same.
They were fine poles lasting the hole AT and another year however I did run into problems.
#1. After months a contstant use the poles became unadjustable.
#2. In Manchester, VT one of the plastic inserts that keep the poles at desired length shattered. I had to send the pole away to get repaired so I was without it for several hundred miles. (You can buy these parts in outfitters and replace them in LEKI brand poles)
#3. We had to replace tips over time. We actually wore through the carbide tip, and into the plastic on the tips. We had to special ordert he parts and wait for them by mail. You can buy LEKI replacements in outfitters.
#4. About 2 months ago I climbed Mt. Kinsman inthe Whites amd snapped my Masters pole after postholing. It did have a lot of miles on it though
#5. The spings which are in the handles stoppped working after about 1000 miles.
Thanks for the detailed response Grimace.
My primary reservation with Masters is the serviceability of the poles because no outfitter near me sells Masters stuff and it seems that while Leki is everywhere Masters isn't. So as you pointed out quick fixing a Masters would be much less likely.
From the various pole discussions I've read on this board it looks like Leki is the way to go.
Before you jump on the Leki bandwagon...check out the poles at REI..they're made by Komperdell and, while not as commonplace as the Leki's seem to be, are pretty solid pole. Komperdells can almost always be found at Sierra Surplus at a discount. Too, you could have a look at the Black Diamond poles. They use a "flick lock" to lock the shaft in place rather that the screw adjustment on Leki's and other poles. They don't seem to be as prone to the tension adjustment problems of the screw locks...
I own a pair of Master poles. I had one problem with the antishock and I thought I was screwed because no one sells them. I contacted the manufacture on the internet, they gave me the address to ship them to, I believe it was in VT, and in a week I had them back. I LOVE my poles, never had another problem with them, love the grips, love how they have held up. I have roughly about 400 miles on my poles.
I used these poles from Springer to just before Duncannon, PA (~1100 miles) before I blew out the plastic expander piece between two sections on one pole. I didn't want to wait for a new piece by mail since I'd already experienced the misery of waiting for maildrops from manufacturers, so I bought Lekis in Port Clinton, PA.
I beleive I could have prevented the piece from breaking had I actually cleaned the poles on occassion. It is advisable to take the sections apart at least once a week and wipe off any corosion or body salt on the screws and expander pieces. You should also periodically adjust both the top and bottom sections to different heights so they are not always tightened at the same place on both pieces. This goes for all brands of screw-tight poles. I had never cleaned the things over the 1100 miles. In retrospect, I think they are fine poles for the low cost, but I agree that if something does break, you will likely have to wait longer to get replacement parts vs. Lekis. But the parts will come. I met another hiker who had a whole section swapped out by mail from Masters.
Campmor.com has a set of poles made by Leki on sale right now. Regularly 90 for the set, on sale for 49. Hope this helps anyone.