(Inga Hendrickson)
2020 Winter Buyers Guide

The Best Alpine Touring Bindings of 2020

Shed a little weight from your backcountry setup

Inga Hendrickson

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Salomon S/Lab Shift MNC 13 ($725)

(Courtesy Salomon)

The Shift wowed testers last year by morphing from an uphill tech touring binding into a full-bore alpine stalwart on descent. This year’s iteration is unchanged (except for a $75 price jump). It’s still the only model that blends the confidence to stomp huge lines with the kind of weight savings that lets you skin up and do it again (and again). 1.9 lbs

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G3 Zed 12 ($499)

(Courtesy G3)

G3 put its 2018 tester-favorite Ion on a diet. The resulting Zed is lighter and retains the category-leading spring-loaded tech jaws for unrivaled hold. At the heel, the stock Zed sheds weight by forgoing brakes (add them for $84; they’re rattly but functional) and allows for 30 millimeters of adjustment to accommodate a range of boot sizes. 1 lb

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Black Diamond Helio 145 ($500)

(Courtesy Black Diamond)

Made in Italy, the Helio 145 is Black Diamond’s second-lightest no-frills aluminum-alloy binding. BD avoided any features that raised the weight, and there’s just a basic climbing mode—the ascender bar flips over the heel posts. And don’t expect brakes. 5 oz

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Marker Kingpin M-Werks 12 ($729)

(Courtesy Marker)

The wizards at Marker brought the toughness of the dependable Kingpin and the low weight of the Alpinist into a clamp for the touring masses. A nice middle ground (save for the price), the M-Werks is “solid in chop, crud, and firm snow,” said one tester. 1.4 lbs

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Fritschi Swiss Tecton 12 ($650)

(Courtesy Fritschi Swiss)

“Tech at its most tech,” a veteran tester quipped of the Tecton. It’s got the industry’s only adjustable toe release. And the step-in, alpine-oriented heel switches from alpine to AT with a simple push or pull of your pole, allowing you to transition from up to down without doffing the ski. 1.4 lbs

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Dynafit TLT Speedfit ($450)

(Courtesy Dynafit)

Dynafit invented the tech category, and it continues to set the standard for reliability, weight, simplicity, and price. The Speedfit is its least-expensive ultralight binding. With both vertical and lateral release, it’s among the safest, too. 10 oz

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From Winter 2020 Buyer’s Guide Lead Photo: Inga Hendrickson

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