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Harrier Helvellyn Carbon Z running poles review: excellent budget poles, especially good in muddy conditions

The variable-length, carbon Harrier Helvellyn Carbon Z running poles are fantastic for beginners and those on a budget

Harrier Helvellyn Carbon Z running poles
(Image: © Harrier)

Our Verdict

Great value, variable-length running poles that work well on muddy hills and mountains, but heavier than higher-priced options.

For

  • Great value
  • Small folded length
  • Easy to assemble and re-fold
  • Medium-sized mud baskets included

Against

  • Heavy
  • Pole section comes apart if you pull it past the STOP line when adjusting

Harrier Helvellyn Carbon Z: first impressions 

The Harrier Helvellyn Carbon Zs are available for a very reasonable price (for carbon poles), which is fantastic news for anyone on a budget, and beginners. 

They are very simple to assemble: the lock clicks into place well, and you can adjust the height with the quick-lock easily. Take care not to overextend your pole beyond the STOP line, though, as it will come apart. It’s easy enough to slide it back on again, but you just don’t want to go butter fingers and drop a section of pole while running. 

The handle is super soft yet grippy, extending some way down the shaft so you can use it with both hands for crossing rivers or snow patches. It’s easy to collapse the poles with a press of the lock button. Inside they are held together with a strong metal cable rather than a rope cord like others in our best running poles buying guide. The cable is further protected with a plastic cover, making the poles very durable. 

Folded, these are a compact 36cm long. They have all the features you need at a fraction of the price of other carbon poles, making them a very attractive option. 

Specifications

• RRP: $77 (US) / £70 (UK)
• Weight: 418g / 14.7oz & 446g / 15.7oz
• Colors: Black
• Material: Carbon
• Variable length: Yes
• Sizes: 105cm-120cm / 41in-47in & 120cm-135cm / 47in-53in
• Folded length: 36cm / 14.2in & 37cm / 14.6in
• Compatibility: Great value for beginner long-distance ultra runners over muddy ground

Harrier Helvellyn Carbon Z: on the trails 

Harrier Helvellyn Carbon Z

Harrier Helvellyn Carbon Z running poles – and their comfortable hand loops – in action (Image credit: Harrier)

For the excellent price point, it’s hard to fault these Carbon Z-Poles. On test they were very simple and effective to use – in fact, we found the hand loop one of the most comfortable we tested, with a fleecy lining and plenty of easy adjustment for all hand sizes simply by pulling the extra strap length through the slider. The hand swing from the top of the pole is good too. 

They felt robust enough for full days out in the mountains of the Dark Peak and beyond, and it was nice that they came with a wider mud basket than the more expensive European brands on test; as a UK brand based in the Peak District, Harrier knows just how muddy the British hills and mountains can be! 

Harrier Helvellyn Carbon Z running poles

They are slightly heavier than some rival running poles (Image credit: Harrier)

The only downside, really, is that they’re heavier than some rivals, but if you can tolerate the extra few grams on either side when you’re ultra running or fastpacking, you’re laughing.

Overall Harrier Helvellyn Carbon Z poles are fantastic value for money. They seem very durable so far, you can vary their length to lend them to friends or share them with a taller or shorter partner, and they have all the features you need.

The co-founder and former editor of Trail Running magazine, Claire now runs the YouTube channel Wild Ginger Running, creating films packed with trail- and ultra-running content. An award-winning journalist, writing for outdoor and adventure sports magazines and websites, her first book The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running 5k to 50k is out in January 2021. Claire also speaks and presents at events and races.