The Best Splitboarding Gear of 2013
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Never Summer SL Splitboard
A poplar, aspen, and carbon core makes Never Summer’s 7.8-pound SL among the lightest of the dozen splits we tested. But the board was still damping enough to suck up 25-foot cornice drops in the B.C. backcountry and stiff enough to power through a blissful 18-inch April dump in Colorado’s San Juans.
AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH: Can’t afford a new splitboard setup with all the necessary backcountry fixings? A company called MTN Approach offers four-pound collapsible approach skis that, when you’re ready to board down, fold up into the size of a hardcover book and slide into your pack. They’re sold in a package with skins, shovel, probe, and poles for $950.
K2 Speed Link Poles
Collapsible (and therefore packable) poles are mandatory for the backcountry. K2’s four-piece Speed Links weigh just one pound and shrink from four feet to just one and a half.
Voile Climbing Skins
There’s nothing fancy about Voile’s splitboarding skins; they’re just incredibly reliable, with steel tip loops that never break, water-resistant nylon bases that climb extremely well, and incredibly adhesive reusable glue. Make them extra secure with a set of Black Diamond split clips.
Black Diamond Equipment Split Clips
Unlike most ski skins, splitboard skins don’t come with tail clips—fine, until snow creeps under the unattached tail, saturating the glue and causing the skins to fall off your board. Avoid that problem with these tail clips, which can be affixed to any climbing skins on the market.
Karakoram SL Splitboard Bindings
Backcountry boarders owe Karakoram a debt of gratitude for its patented new bindings. They’re the first to feature a latch on the riser so the free heel can be locked down—like an AT binding—allowing boarders to skate, pole, or ski across low-angle terrain.
Patagonia PowSlayer Bibs
Bibs are better than pants in the backcountry, where the fundamental mission of every trip is to find powder higher than your waistline. Enter Patagonia’s PowSlayers—lightweight, three-layer Gore-Tex bibs with coverage to your nipples and gaiters around the ankles to keep snow out.
Deeluxe Spark XV Boots
Deeluxe’s 44-ounce snowboarding boot functions like a mountaineering-snowboarding hybrid. The Spark XV features a Vibram lug sole that’s stiff enough to take crampons, a toe bumper burly enough to kick steps into the hardpack of couloirs, and heat-moldable linings that are soft enough to ride in.
Mammut Ride R.A.S. Pack
Mammut’s air-bag-compatible R.A.S. includes a four-pocket design with homes for all your traditional snow-safety gear—shovel, probe, first-aid kit. And at 30 liters, it still has room for extra layers, lunch, and a camera.