Harrier Helvellyn PRO Carbon Z-Poles review

  • 100% 4K carbon premium quality fixed length poles
  • WEIGHT: From 170g per pole
  • RRP: £89
  • Great attention to detail and brilliant value for money

Today we are taking a look at Harrier's new running poles - Helvellyn PRO Carbon fixed length Z-Poles.

I was fortunate enough to get a pair sent out to me while I was training in the mountains of Chamonix. I tested them out on a long run and I was actually so impressed with the poles that I used them to help me along the way with the 145 kilometers and the 9100 meters of elevation of the TDS at UTMB. They must have worked really well because I managed to make it to the finish line!

running with poles in mountains


I've seen poles become more and more popular here on the trails in the UK. When I first started using them back in 2015, I'd turn up at a race with them and I used to get some pretty funny looks. People just thought that the only benefit you could ever get from poles was if you were hiking towards a 3000m mountain summit. Don't get me wrong, they definitely benefit you a lot when you're running in the high mountains but I still think they can give you a bit of assistance if you're running on a hilly route, especially if it's a long way.

Running poles come in lots of different shapes and sizes, and they tend to be constructed from aluminium or carbon fiber. The carbon option is a bit stiffer, so you tend to find that you get a bit more power through the pole, plus you'll have a bit of weight saving because carbon fiber is an incredibly strong but very light material.

The two main types of running poles are adjustable poles and fixed length poles.

Adjustable poles pack down pretty small and extend out and they have a couple of different lengths that you can select for your desired height.

The fixed length poles tend to pack down a bit smaller, are a bit more compact, they tend to be a bit lighter because they don't have any adjustment, and they're available in several different sizes. It's very important that you select the right size for your height because there's no adjustment. Most of the brands will have a sizing guide to help you out but Harrier also has a really useful video on their website - Quick Start Guide - Poles for Beginners.

folding running poles

This isn't the first time we featured Harrier on the channel and over the years I've tested out quite a lot of kit from the brand from running bundles to race vests and their Exmoor waterproof jacket, and I've actually tested out a pair of their carbon adjustable Z-poles.

This is the first time Harrier's made fixed length poles which are what I tend to use, so I was really excited to test these out. It was also great to get them out in Chamonix in the mountains, because this is where they really come into their own when you are power hiking up a hill that's 6, 7, 8, 9 miles long...


Harrier Helvellyn PRO poles are constructed using 100% 4K carbon, so they're going to be nice and rigid but also super durable. They are available in 6 different lengths from 105cm all the way up to 130cm, so they should be the correct length for any height (obviously, unless you're 8ft tall). The Helvellyn PRO poles are what we call a Z-pole design, so they actually fold down into three sections and they're only 36 centimeters in length once they're packed down, making it really easy to stow them on your race vest or in a running belt.

They've got this really nice green carbon weave on them and all these aqua details which look super cool. They've got some nice contoured smooth EVA grip handles on the poles and this is a really important feature. You want the handles to be very comfortable - if you're doing a long race, especially in the mountains, you could be holding onto your poles for hours and hours, and hours, so the last thing you want is for them to be causing any discomfort, irritation or even worse - leading to blisters. You then pair that up with a very comfortable plush lined fleecy wrist strap and you are left with a very comfortable system!

close up of Harrier Helvellyn PRO poles

The inner wire system has actually got a coating on it, making it nice and durable, so it's going to hold up to all the wear and tear that we put our running poles through.

Working down it's got the mud basket on the end so it's going to give you some purchase in muddy conditions but it also doubles up as a handy little clip to hold your poles together. It keeps them compact and tidy, which makes it a lot easier to stow them away - I think that's a brilliant feature!

At the bottom of that pole it's got this carbide tip which is going to offer great levels of durability and it's going to work on most trail surfaces.

Last but not least, they come with a couple of rubber covers that you can just pop on the end of that carbide tip just to offer a bit of protection in transport or you can pop it on if you're using the poles on tarmac pavement or really rocky trails just to give a little bit more grip.

They also come with a really handy case so that you can pack them away and it's going to offer a bit more protection when they're not in use.

They come with a 365 day money back guarantee which is very impressive, but the best bit of all is they retail for only £89 in the UK which is incredibly good value for a fixed length carbon pole of this quality! To give you a bit of an idea of how good a price that is - if you were to buy the equivalent of Leki poles, it's going to cost you at least £150, Black Diamond poles - £160, Mountain King poles - around £135, so you can see the new Helvellyn PRO fixed length poles are really good value!


So there you have it - some stats about the new carbon poles from Harrier but let's dive in and find out how they've performed over the 100+ miles that I've used them in.

They are extremely lightweight so at my length (125cm) they weigh 184g per pole - that's pretty light! All the carbon poles I've used over the years were light but I think these are the lightest to date.

The handle grips are very, very comfortable, even over a long period of time and that hasn't always been the case with the running poles I've used. I had a pair of Mountain King poles for a couple of years and, I've got to be honest, their handle grips were pretty uncomfortable, especially if you're doing long races. There were quite a few times when over a long period of time I ended up with a few blisters on my hands. I'm happy to say - definitely not the case with the Harrier grips! I used them in the TDS and I was holding onto these poles for probably 80% of the race and it took me 39 hours to finish, so these poles were in my hands for a long period of time! No discomfort, no irritation and definitely no blisters.

Because of the quality carbon used in the manufacturing, they feel nice, stiff and rigid, so they feel very efficient when you're putting that power through when you're hiking up a long mountain climb. I would always recommend carbon poles because aluminium poles are always going to flex a bit and you will lose a bit of that power.

However, word of warning, carbon fibre might be nice and rigid but if you're working your way along and you get that pole stuck, it can snap at times. If you get an aluminium pole stuck, it will bend but you can then straighten it out and you can get on your merry way. This actually happened to me in the Arc of Attrition race one year - I got my pole stuck between two stones. Luckily, I was using an aluminium pole - it bent, I straightened it out and I just got on with the race. If it had been a carbon pole, it would definitely have snapped.

I found the Helvellyn PRO poles really easy to extend and pack down. I love the fact that they're so compact and having that little clip on the mud basket is a great attention to detail keeping them all neat and tidy, so making them very easy to stow away. There's a little button just under that top section - all you need to do is push that button down, slide the second section into the top section, it takes the tension off and then you collapse the pole down. Clip it in and you're ready to stow them away. To extend them - just as simple - unclip them, line up the two bottom sections, pull that section out, pull it until you hear that nice click and now you're ready to go hiking! The Z-pole system is super efficient and really simple to use.

holding running poles up with Mont Blanc in the background


When it comes to the testing of Harrier's new carbon fixed length poles, I have been very, very impressed! I've tested out lots of Harrier gear and I'm always impressed at the quality, the attention to detail and the amazingly good value price point, but these running poles have to be the best item of trail running kit that the brand has ever made! The fact that you can get this quality and this attention to detail for only £89, I really don't think you can go far wrong and they're as good as any carbon poles I've ever used. In fact, they're better than most of them, so I think you'd be hard pushed to find poles of this quality made out of carbon anywhere else for that type of price point.

If you're in the market for your first ever pair of running poles or you want to upgrade your poles to something lighter, more compact and made out of carbon then I definitely recommend checking out the new Helvellyn PRO fixed length Carbon Z-Poles! It's great to see a small British independent company taking on the big boys and developing great products like this at affordable prices.


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