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The 7 Best Touring & AT Ski Bindings for the 2021-2022 Winter

It used to be that if you wanted to walk uphill on your skis, you had two options, lightweight, efficient, but fragile pin bindings, and safe, heavy, clunky inbounds bindings. Now though, the market has exploded with a proliferation of reasonably light, very durable, very efficient, and much safer options. And, while that’s a great change for all of us, it does make shopping for touring bindings a little more complicated. There are more options, and each choice is uniquely suited to a specific use case and skiing style that can sometimes be a little hard to suss out. So, instead of leaving you to wander through a morass of marketing terms and hard-to-understand acronyms, we’ve put together this list of some of the best touring bindings on the market, with explanations of where each one excels.

So, before you get out there and start earning your turns, read up on your binding options from our list of the best alpine touring bindings of 2022 so that you can land on something that fits your needs well, and will keep you happy both on the skin track and as you make your way back down.

ATK Raider 12 Freeride

The best touring ski bindings of 2022

ATK might not be at the tip of every backcountry skier’s tongue, but they should be. They make very light, very high-performing bindings that are reliable and easy to use. The Raider 12 is their do-everything binding. It’s light enough for huge multi-day missions, but skis securely enough that you won’t mind it on the occasional inbounds day. The magnetic risers are robust and easy to use, and the spring-loaded heel means you won’t blow them up on big hits. It used to be nearly impossible to make a binding this close to 300g that still skied reliably in a wide range of conditions, but ATK has managed to do it with the Raider.

So, if you consider yourself a well-rounded skier, who’s looking for a well-rounded binding that can do it all with minimal fuss, you owe it to yourself to check out the Raider 12 Freeride, one of the best lightweight touring bindings.

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Dynafit ST Rotation 14

The best AT ski bindings of 2022

Dynafit’s Beast bindings were the first truly “huckable” tech bindings on the market, and the ST Rotation 14 carries on their legacy. It’s much heavier than the ATK, but it’s got a higher release value, and the rotating toe piece brings a small element of safety to inconsistent releases. Dynafit has been making some of the best backcountry bindings for decades, constantly tweaking and improving its tech, so it’s no surprise that all the small details on the ST Rotation 14 are carefully considered. The robust heel and brake lock system keep things secure on the way down while the climbing risers are easy to engage with a ski pole, and multiple brake widths mean they’ll work on everything from your fattest pow sticks to skinny mountaineering weapons.

The Dynafit ST Rotation 14 is the culmination of decades of innovation, but on your foot, it just feels reliable, and burly, ready to help you test your mettle on the biggest lines you can find.

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Marker Duke PT 12

The best touring ski bindings of winter 2022

Marker has had a “Duke” binding in their royal family for years, but last year they introduced a radical redesign. In the past, the Duke was known for being one of the best frame touring bindings and was quite heavy, but the latest version melds a pin toe on the up with a full alpine heel and toe on the descent. What does that mean on snow? Well, you can walk uphill with all the ease and comfort of a pure tech binding, and then click in for the down with all the confidence and safety that a true inbounds binding brings. It’s truly the best of both worlds. The Duke’s removable toe saves weight on the skin up, and the heel lock mechanism and risers are easy to negotiate with a pole tip.

So, if you like to split your time equally between the resort and the backcountry, and like to do it all on a single setup, the Duke has your back.

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Salomon S​/Lab Shift MNC 13

The best tech touring ski bindings of 2022

Salomon’s Shift was the first binding to truly bridge the gap between tech toe performance uphill, and a true inbounds feel and safety on the descent. It’s lighter than the Marker Duke, and offers a similarly secure feel, although it can be a little tricker to adjust for different boots. In use the toe is a little like a transformer, unfolding to accept your touring pins, or collapsing back down to inbounds mode. The Shift is a great choice for skiers who need the safety and consistent release of an inbounds binding while touring. Because it’s a little lighter, it’s a better choice for skiers who go on longer tours than the Duke is, although both will work well for folks who like to split time between the chairlift and earning their turns.

Salomon blew the doors of what’s possible with a touring binding wide open with the Shift, and it continues to be one of the top contenders as its safe and burly construction makes it one of the best ski touring bindings.

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Fritschi Vipec Evo 12

The best tech touring ski bindings of 2022

Of course, a lot of folks aren’t planning on regularly skiing their touring setup inbounds, and don’t need something like a Shift or Duke but also want something a little burlier than the Zed. For those people, the Vipec Evo is a great choice. While the Vipec Evo looks like a traditional pin binding, Fritschi has engineered the toe piece to allow the front of your boot to release laterally. This is a huge advancement from a safety perspective. The big danger of pin bindings has always been that they don’t consistently release from the toe of the binding, so you can end up by injuries caused by the extra leverage of the ski on your joints. The Vipec helps protect against that, while also staying very light.

The Vipec Evo is very efficient and easy to use in the backcountry. Transitioning between modes is straightforward, the risers are easy to use, and it resists icing well. If you want a binding that you’ll trust on big lines in the backcountry, and the occasional inbounds day, but is light enough for long traverses and big ski days, the Vipec Evo is a great choice.

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Marker Kingpin M-Werks 12

The best ski touring bindings

Back before the Shift and the Duke PT, if you wanted to ski hard in the backcountry, but tour uphill with a pin toe, the Marker Kingpin was your only option. It combined a burly alpine-style heel with an efficient touring toe to create a hard-charging turn-earning binding. But, as technology has progressed, Marker realized that they could cut some weight off of the original Kingpin without compromising the performance that we all loved. Enter the Kinping M-Werks. It’s significantly lighter than the original Kingpin, and feels exactly the same when you’re pushing the limits of your gear.

The Kingpin doesn’t have the lateral toe release of the Vipec, but it has a more secure feeling alpine style heel, and an overall burlier construction to stand up to more abuse. If you are looking for a binding that feels as secure and powerful as your alpine bindings, but weighs barely more than traditional tech options, the Kingpin M-Werks will suit you very well.

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G3 Zed 12

The best touring ski bindings of the 2021 2022 winter

On the other end of the spectrum from the Shift and Duke lies the G3 Zed. The Zed is a lightweight minimalist binding designed for backcountry purists. It ditches the brakes to save weight, and comes with a leash system to keep your skis near you if you release. That said, the Zed isn’t designed for the sort of skiing where you’re crashing and releasing a ski often. Instead, it’s designed to get you up and back down big mountains as efficiently as possible. It’s lightweight, resists icing well, has easy-to-use climbing risers, and is easy to adjust.

If you plan on using your touring skis inbounds and like to charge hard and jump off things, the Zed is not the binding for you. Instead, it’s designed to be one of the best pin tech touring binding for folks who’s biggest priorities are weight and efficiency. There’s no wasted material here, which translates into less wasted effort for you. If you want to go fast and far in big mountains, the Zed is your binding.

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