Bindings are a critical element of your splitboarding setup. A good set of bindings lets you get the most out of your splitboard because they make getting uphill easier. They also need to give you great downhill performance to take advantage of all your hard work.
My name is Lorraine. As a certified snowboard instructor, I’ve used many splitboard bindings over the years and know what to look for in the best options available. You never want to cut corners and get something cheap when you venture into the backcountry.
The Union Explorer is my pick for the best splitboard bindings. These are exceptionally well constructed and designed to give you excellent performance on long uphill ascents without compromising power and control on the way back down.
In this post, I’ll show you all of the top options for splitboard bindings, so you can make an educated buying decision on which model best meets your needs. There are plenty to choose from, but every option on this list comes highly recommended.
Let’s get started.
- Top Splitboard Bindings
- What to Look for in the Best Splitboard Bindings
- My Verdict
Top Splitboard Bindings
Below are my top picks for the best splitboard bindings currently available. Every model you find here is built with solid construction and the rigors of the backcountry in mind.
1. Union Explorer
- Best for: Overall
- Key features: Great all-around binding, good for touring, durable, lightweight, comes with mounting hardware, limited lifetime warranty
- Flex: Medium/Stiff
- Construction: Spring-loaded pin system, SB2 Duraflex CB baseplate, Exoframe 4.0 ankle strap, magnesium buckles
- Cost: $$$
The Union Explorer is my pick for the best overall splitboard bindings. These are an excellent option for any rider who wants to explore the backcountry and will give you reliable performance for long ascents and great downhill rides.
When the bindings are set into tour mode, you can take advantage of a spring-loaded pin system to get effective strides uphill. This is a very efficient system that helps save energy and lets you easily take advantage of the bindings.
When you are ready to come back downhill, flip the bindings back into ride mode, and you’ll experience a ton of downhill performance that even the most experienced riders can appreciate. Switching between ride and tour mode is simple and involves a quick rotation of the bindings.
The Explorer is well designed and features some high-end construction elements that make them very durable and reliable. The SB2 Duraflex CB baseplate helps increase power and response when you ride and delivers excellent edge control.
Exoframe 4.0 ankle straps hold your feet in place while you ride. These are sturdy and reliable to give you serious performance when you need them most. The TS 2.0 toe strap keeps the front of your feet in place no matter how hard you go.
The bindings also come with Magnesium 3.0 ratcheting buckles that are nearly indestructible and are easy to adjust. This allows you to get strapped in when conditions are nasty without compromising any performance along the way.
These aren’t the lightest option out there, and I think there might be better models for seasoned backcountry riders. But the Explorer is the most well-rounded splitboard binding you can find, and that’s why it tops the list here.
2. Karakoram Prime Connect Recon
- Best for: Women’s Option
- Key features: Solid all-around binding, good for touring, comfortable but powerful, durable, lightweight
- Flex: Stiff
- Construction: Reactive infused carbon highback, dual power sidewalls, EVA padded baseplate, Airform straps
- Cost: $$$
The Karakoram Prime Connect recon is a solid backcountry splitboard binding that female riders can take advantage of. It’s not a women’s specific model, but I still think it makes the best option for ladies because it gives you serious performance and a lot of comfort.
The bindings feature a reactive carbon-infused highback construction that delivers excellent performance and stability. You can make adjustments on the fly to get the perfect amount of forward lean to match your riding style.
They also have a fully functional and effective touring mode that will quickly help you get uphill when it’s time for those long ascents. Rotating them back around into ride mode is a breeze and can easily be done with gloves on.
The baseplate features EVA padding for added shock absorption and stability. This comes in handy when navigating variable conditions or going big off of a cornice or other natural backcountry feature.
AirForm ankle and toe straps are designed to keep your feet effectively in place and mold around your boots to reduce any discomfort. These straps work really well without adding weight.
These aren’t the cheapest model out there, and again they are designed specifically for women. But I still give them the ranking for best women’s option because they perform well in the backcountry every time I’ve used them.
3. Karakoram Prime Connect Layback
- Best for: Budget Pick
- Key features: Affordable high-performance option, excellent power transfer and response, dual power sidewalls, solid construction
- Flex: Stiff
- Construction: Plush EVA footbed, carbon-infused reactive highback, Dupont Zytel Chassis, air-form straps, super pivot ratchet straps
- Cost: $$
If you want to save a little bit of cash without compromising any performance, check out the Karakoram Prime Connect Layback bindings. These are a sweet set of bindings that come in at a more approachable price than some of the other options on this list.
The Connect Layback still delivers impressive performance in the backcountry and is built to give you reliable response and effective power transfer at all times. They have a stiff flex that is best for experienced riders who want immediate response for technical backcountry riding.
They feature a Prime system that lets you quickly switch from touring to ride mode and come with Quiver-Connectors that allow you to attach the bindings easily to your board. Karakoram did a great job with the design here, and it works really well.
The bindings have super strong and solid construction that features a Dupont Zytel Chassis to give you a little added flex for comfort, even though they remain very stiff and responsive. It’s a nice touch that comes in useful when you are out there riding hard.
Other features designed for comfort and performance include dual power sidewalls that give you a little extra cushioning and shock absorption while also delivering reliable power transfer to your board.
Air-from straps are built to mold around the shape of your boots for excellent hold, which also helps reduce any pain points. The pivot ratches work to keep everything lightweight without losing hold and add a layer of durability to the product.
These aren’t a great option for beginners because they are so stiff but make for a solid budget option that most other riders will enjoy.
4. Union Explorer FC
- Best for: Touring
- Key features: Spring-loaded pin system, lightweight, durable, comfortable, excellent power transfer and response
- Flex: Medium/Stiff
- Construction: SB2 Duraflex CB baseplate, forged carbon heelcup, Exoframe 5.0 ankle strap, TS 4.0+ toe strap, magnesium ratchets.
- Cost: $$$
The Union Explorer FC is a more touring-focused version of the regular Explorer. It is an excellent option for any serious backcountry rider who wants to get the most out of their time spent in the wilderness.
These come with the same easy-to-use touring mode as the Explorer and give you a very efficient and effective way to get up and down the mountain. The spring-loaded pin system keeps everything in line and makes for easy switching between the two.
The Explorer FC also comes with rugged and durable construction that is super lightweight to help you shed ounces. The SB2 Duraflex CB baseplate is strong and increases power transfer and edge control.
A forged carbon heelcup uses lighter material than the standard Explorer. FC stands for forged carbon and this material results in a model that is nearly 100 grams lighter than the original version of these already excellent bindings.
They also have super strong straps that will hold your feet in place even when tackling technical lines and pushing your limits. The Exoframe 5.0 ankle straps give you serious hold while also increasing flex for added comfort.
These are a good option for anyone who spends most of their time in the backcountry, but the lighter weight does make them a little less durable.
5. K2 Farout
- Best for: Comfort
- Key features: Comfortable, lightweight, solid construction, forward lean adjustment, one-tool adjustment, 1-year warranty
- Flex: Medium/Stiff
- Construction: Pinless mourning system, aluminum chassis, cam-lock centering, Sender ankle straps, aluminum buckles
- Cost: $$$
If you are looking for a comfortable splitboarding binding that still delivers plenty of high performance in the backcountry, look no further than the K2 Farout. These have a medium flex that is a little more forgiving than the other options listed here.
They also have a nice forward lean adjustment that allows you to get some customized comfort by dialing in your stance to match your riding style perfectly. They come with an easy-to-use touring mode that will help you get uphill.
The Farout comes with Sender ankle straps that are padless to help reduce weight while also providing enough hold to give you reliable power transfer. The Perfect Fit 2.0 toes straps keep everything in place up front.
A cam-lock centering system gives you the ability to dial in the perfect fit with your straps, increasing comfort to another level. Aluminum buckles help keep the weight down without compromising strength or hold.
The Farout isn’t the most high-performance option, but that’s the compromise you make with a more comfort-focused construction.
6. Burton Hitchhiker
- Best for: Beginners
- Key features: Easy to use, well constructed, good customer service, solid construction, 1-year warranty, lightweight
- Flex: Medium/Stiff
- Construction: Spark R&D Tesla T1 baseplate, Hammockstraps, flex slider, double-take buckles, quick-adjust highback
- Cost: $$$
The Burton Hitchhiker is the best option on the list for anyone new to splitboarding. These are an effective set of bindings that aren’t too aggressive to give you quality performance that won’t be overwhelming.
They feature an innovative baseplate that lets you easily switch from touring to riding mode, and this design cuts down on weight.
Hammock straps keep your feet in place using minimal materials so you can get a dialed-in fit without the added weight. A flex slider lets you move the ankle straps out of the way to strap in, another beginner-friendly feature.
These also come with a quick-adjust highback that lets you dial in a custom forward lean to aid your riding. And the highback is also padded to help keep you comfortable and engaged for long days in the backcountry.
A medium/stiff flex does compromise some performance, but beginners won’t notice it much. The forgiving nature is ideal and a nice feature for riders who are getting used to the demands of the backcountry.
What to Look for in the Best Splitboard Bindings
There are a few key factors to keep in mind when shopping for splitboard bindings.
Every ounce starts to stack up when you are exploring the backcountry, especially when you are on a longer tour. A good set of splitboard bindings should be lightweight to help you rather than hurt you when you are out on the trails.
All of the options you see on the list here are lighter in weight than regular resort bindings. If you shop around for other options, make sure that they are built with lightweight but strong materials that will hold up well under regular use.
Durability is an important consideration for any type of snowboard binding, but splitboard bindings see extra wear and tear and need to be even stronger. You want to choose an option that will last for at least several seasons of backcountry use.
Most good splitboard binding manufacturers understand that extra stress is placed on these bindings and build them to be stronger than average. Look for durable plastic and metal construction that can take a beating and keep working well.
Splitboard bindings often have slightly different construction than regular snowboard bindings, but you still want to consider the same elements when shopping for the best option. Keep in mind important factors such as straps and a baseplate.
The type of materials used in construction will significantly impact the weight and durability of the bindings. All of the brands and models you see here are built with quality construction that you can rely on.
Here are a few quick answers to some common questions relating to splitboard bindings.
What splitboard bindings should I get?
Any of the options you find on the list make for a great setup to pair with your splitboard and climbing skins. Be sure to read my review of each model in detail to find which option works for your needs.
Do I need splitboard specific bindings?
If you want to take advantage of being able to climb easily with your splitboard, then you will need splitboard specific bindings. This type of snowboard binding allows you to rotate them into tour mode with the board split into two pieces.
Can you use normal bindings on a splitboard?
No. You need to use splitboard bindings with a splitboard, or else you won’t be able to use the board to climb uphill. Technically, you could mount regular bindings on the board, but it would ruin its ability to split, which is the primary purpose of these boards.
What splitboard bindings does Jeremy Jones use?
Jeremy Jones now uses Karakoram splitboard bindings. These are some of the best options in the industry and are recommended for anyone who likes to spend a lot of time and effort in the backcountry.
The Union Explorer is my pick for the best overall splitboard bindings. This option will give you excellent performance in both tour and ride modes while providing plenty of comfort and lasting durability. They are well built and ready to ride.
Splitboarding is a great way to explore the backcountry and access terrain that most riders don’t get to experience. But to do it right, you need the best equipment on your side. All of the bindings you’ll find here make for welcome additions to your splitboarding setup.About Lorraine