Best Splitboard Bindings of 2021

Best Splitboard Bindings of 2021

Published: Jan 27, 2021

Splitboarding is a good activity to escape the crowds and access unique terrains with your buddies. When going into the backcountry, it is best to be prepared with enough knowledge and experience, which means having proper avalanche education, first aid skills, and knowing how to use all your equipment.

It can be tough to figure out what goes into your splitboard setup, so it is best to know enough about your gear. It is highly advisable that you use splitboard-specific bindings for a better experience. That is why we have come up with a list of bindings that you can add to your splitboard setup.

These splitboard-specific bindings will provide you with a more high-end setup and a solid splitboarding experience.

Best Splidboard Bindings: Our Quick Answer

 

Go to Comparison Table

Best overall

1. Spark R&D Arc

Spark R&D Arc

Click to view on amazon.com.

Weight: 2.8 lbs

Interface: Puck Style

Sizes: S, M, L

The Spark R&D Arc is a versatile pair of bindings with a perfect balance of stiffness and weight.

What we like about the Spark R&D Arc is that it is good enough as a first splitboard binding, and can also suit a seasoned splitboarder. This binding tours incredibly well and efficiently during uphill travel. It has an adequate amount of negative lean, which will allow for a longer stride and a higher efficiency. Its touring bracket have a very low friction pivot point with a wide range of movement that will allow a high-quality stride. When touring on firm snow, it will allow a supportive sidehilling, and its metal base plate is very responsive to provide great comfort for an all-day use. Its weight is very impressive due to the strategically milled out baseplate that removed any excess metal without compromising durability. The Arc's passive attachment system is resistant to icing, and if there is snow getting in the way, you can just push the binding on the pucks to clear it. The binding features the Spark T1 system that provides the fastest transition, especially in freezing conditions. It is an efficient, simple, and reliable system. It still performs well downhill, and has a responsive baseplate with a nice medium flexing highback, thus providing a responsive and fluid feel that will allow for weight shifts and tweaked grabs. Its straps, lean adjusters, and risers' efficient, user-friendly design will save you time and avoid frustration.

What we do not like about the Spark R&D Arc splitboard binding is that its highback may be soft for heavy riders, and its heel risers can be a bit challenging to deploy. All in all, this is a high-performing splitboard binding that does its job well during uphill and downhill traverse. It is lightweight, has efficient features, and a good value.


 

Best women's splitboard bindings

2. Voile Light Rail

Voile Light Rail

Click to view on amazon.com.

Weight: 4.13 lbs

Interface: Puck Style

Sizes: S, M, L

The Voile Light Rail is an affordable splitboard binding that performs well uphill, downhill, and throughout transitions.

What we like about the Voile Light Rail is that it is made by the godfather of splitboards. It is a no-frills binding that does the job well. For uphill travel, it provides a medium friction touring interface due to its pin-based system, and will help preserve your stamina by reducing resistance. It will also provide a full range of motion, and help direct power to the edge thanks to its strong sidearms and wide base plate and touring bracket. It also provides a secure sidehilling, and its strap and baseplate offer a more comfortable experience. The Voile Light Rail is a medium weight binding, and makes use of a slider pin to secure the binding into touring and riding modes. For downhill riding, its soft flex highback will provide a nice, tweakable feel. Plus, the straps are well-padded and quite comfortable. The buckles have a small release tab that will provide a lot of leverage to release the buckle from the ratchet. In addition, its lean adjuster is super easy to use, and offers an adequate amount of negative and forward lean. The Light Rail's heel risers are standard and offer two different heights that are very easy to engage with just the use of your ski pole.

What we do not like about the Voile Light Rail is that it is a bit heavy, and its slider pin is difficult to engage with gloves on. But overall, this is an affordable and user-friendly splitboard binding that is suitable for women. It has comfortable straps, and adequate forward lean adjustment.


 

3. Spark R&D Arc Women's

Spark R&D Arc Women’s

Click to view on amazon.com.

Weight: 2.8 lbs

Interface: Puck Style

Sizes: XS/S, M/L

The Spark R&D Arc women's splitboard binding is almost as lightweight as the men's version, and has features just as good.

What we like about the Spark R&D Arc women's splitboard binding is that it has a very lightweight response and user-friendly features. The transition or the effectiveness of switching from walk to ride mode is really easy and straightforward. On the downhill, it will give you a really surfy feel and will allow you to carve lines in the snow without being overly aggressive. On the uphill, it will not weigh you down, as its aluminum baseplate is cut out to shave excess weight off without compromising the overall stiffness of the binding. It features a shorter and narrower baseplate, compact heel loops, and custom-molded straps to fit most common boot brands. These straps are comfortable and responsive, and will not give you any pressure points. This splitboard binding also has a highback made from 3D scans of common boots, usually used by splitboarders to get the right shape and feel. For strength and durability, it is made from proprietary custom blended materials. Additionally, it has a minimalist design, which makes use of a padding located only at the heel to provide just the right amount of cushion and grip. It has a forward lean adjuster for touring and riding. It is tool free and micro-adjustable from 0° to 22° for the best customization. Furthermore, it features Spark's Tesla System, which is a clean and simple design that consists of touring brackets, crampons, and climbing wires that work together without unnecessary moving parts. The Spark R&D bindings are designed to be compatible with all puck-style splitboard interfaces.

What we do not like about the Spark R&D Arc women's splitboard binding is that it does not have the same dampening and cushioning that you can find on regular bindings. However, this is what keeps it lightweight. All in all, this is a comfortable and responsive splitboard binding, which allows for a very easy transitioning, making it one of the best women's splitboard bindings.


 

Best lightweight

4. Spark R&D Surge Pro

Spark R&D Surge Pro

Click to view on amazon.com.

Weight: 2.6 lbs

Interface: Puck Style

Sizes: S, M, L

The R&D Surge Pro is a lighter and more responsive version of the Spark Surge.

What we like about the Spark R&D Surge Pro is that it features a lighter custom hardware and high-end materials for lighter straps and a stiffer highback. It is one of the best lightweight splitboard bindings, and it focuses on simplicity, user-friendliness and weight reduction. The Surge Pro is an upgraded version used with more improved premium materials to increase its strength and reduce the weight. On uphill travel, it can tour with the best due to its lightweight and stiff design, which provides a superb on-track performance. It will allow you to take advantage of every stride, with a negative lean that will increase your stride length for a more efficient travel. It also provides adequate all-day comfort, and will not give you any foot pain. The binding weighs 10% less than the older version, and is lighter than other stiff bindings, meaning that it will allow you to have that extra energy to enjoy additional laps. Transitioning from a mode to another is a major strength of the Surge Pro that is made possible thanks to the Snap Ramp design, which is simple and easy to use. It requires minimal snow clearing, and is easily operated in freezing weather while wearing gloves. On downhill, the binding is fit for any objective in any conditions. They are stiff with a rigid toe-to-heel highback, and give it a more reactive power transfer and support, which is great for bigger and hard-charging riders. Finally, its straps are comfortable, responsive, and snug, and the lean adjusters and heel risers are lighter than they were on the previous Surge model.

What we do not like about the Spark R&D Surge Pro is that it may be a bit too stiff for lighter riders. But all in all, these bindings are lightweight, have fast transitions, are more responsive, and feature easy-to-use buckles and very comfortable straps.


 

Best value

5. Spark R&D Blaze

Spark R&D Blaze

Click to view on amazon.com.

Weight: 3.12 lbs

Interface: Non-Puck Style

Sizes: S, M, L

The Spark R&D Blaze is another quality binding that performs well on both uphill and downhill traverses.

What we like about the Spark R&D Blaze is that it is the perfect balance between value and performance. On the uphill, the binding has an impressive stride quality, and provides you with the ability to sidehill securely and proficiently. It is comfortable for an all-day tour, and has padded leather straps that are form-fitting to avoid pressure points near the instep. It is also one of the lightest pin based bindings, and has an efficient and user-friendly transition system. The baseplate's wider opening makes it easier to remove or secure the pin from ride mode. On downhill travel, it allows for a playful ride, and provides a good blend of toe-to-heel response for a surfy feel. The Blaze uses Burton ratchets and ladders, which are incredibly smooth and prevent discomfort. It features the Rip N' Flip highback, which is easy to switch from walk to ride modes, and provides -13° of lean. The Spark system offers a large range of negative lean to allow for an efficient touring on flat or rolling terrain, because it will let you maximize your stride length.

What we do not like about the Spark R&D Blaze is that it makes use of a pin-based system. Plus, there is no women specific version for this binding. Overall, it provides excellent performance with a lightweight and reliable system that provides a surfy feel on the downhill. It is a good option for anyone looking for a best value splitboard binding with well-performing features.


 

Best of the rest

6. Union Expedition FC

Union Expedition FC

Click to view on amazon.com.

Weight: 3.8 lbs

Interface: Non-Puck Style

Sizes: M, L

The Union Expedition FC will surely help you push the limits on your backcountry expeditions.

What we like about the Union Expedition FC is that it provides good performance, and 3° of rotation. On the downhill, it will allow for a playful feel without compromising its responsiveness. Plus, it inspires a more freestyle feel that encourages tweaks, airs, and playful turns. On an uphill traverse, the binding tours in great comfort due to a plush layer of EVA foam, which is good for long-touring days. It is a mid-weight splitboard binding that includes touring brackets, riding pucks, screws, and bindings. It features a carbon-injected base that distributes energy from edge to edge, and magnesium buckles that are light, sleek, and durable. The Duraflex St highback will allow for more response without additional weight, and is designed to resist cold temperatures. Furthermore, it features forged carbon heelcups, which are light and strong, that deliver high-performing heelside response. Along with these are nonstick gas pedals that shed water and snow, thus eliminating icy buildup under the boots. It also has a titanium hardware, a cam-locking pin system, and a grade 8.8 steel mounting hardware, which provides strength and reliability. Finally, the split forward lean adjustment of the Expedition will help you quickly and easily switch from walk to ride mode.

What we do not like about the Union Expedition FC is that it uses a pin system. Plus, it is harder to work with while wearing gloves. Overall, this is a good option for those looking for a comfortable splitboard binding that provides excellent downhill performance.


 

7. Union Expedition 2.0

Union Expedition 2.0

Click to view on amazon.com.

Weight: 3.56 lbs

Interface: Non-Puck Style

Sizes: M, L

The Union Expedition 2.0 has been redesigned and modified for a better performance.

What we like about the Union Expedition 2.0 is that it has been significantly upgraded to provide a quality experience and a user-friendly system. On an ascent, these bindings tour in great comfort due to its layer of EVA foam, which is perfect for long touring days. It is in the mid-weight range, and features ratchets, heel cups, straps, and components similar to other high-performing models. The Union Expedition 2.0's baseplates are responsive, and have EVA 3.0 bushings to provide shock absorption and a more natural stride. Its pins connect with the baseplates in multiple direction points to deliver quicker descents on untouched terrains. It also has an adjustable forward lean to let you transition from walk to ride mode, and 3D symmetric ankle straps that conform to your lower legs to provide you all-day comfort. For a seamless response from the board, its extruded 3D aluminum heel cups stiffen the chassis. Finally, the Expedition 2.0 has an improved transition system, making it best for shorter and simpler days, where minimal transitions are required.

What we do not like about the Union Expedition 2.0 is that it only offers one height setting, and it does not offer a women-specific version. All in all, these bindings still offer excellent downhill performance, and a freestyle feel. They are most suitable for beginners to intermediate splitboard riders.


Best Splitboard Bindings Comparison Table

FotoSplitboard Bindings Interface Sizes Weight
Spark R&D Arc

1. Spark R&D Arc

Puck StyleS, M, L2.8 lbs
Voile Light Rail

2. Voile Light Rail

Puck StyleS, M, L4.13 lbs
Spark R&D Arc Women’s

3. Spark R&D Arc Women’s

Puck StyleXS/S, M/L2.8 lbs
Spark R&D Surge Pro

4. Spark R&D Surge Pro

Puck StyleS, M, L2.6 lbs
Spark R&D Blaze

5. Spark R&D Blaze

Non-Puck StyleS, M, L3.12 lbs
Union Expedition FC

6. Union Expedition FC

Non-Puck StyleM, L3.8 lbs
Union Expedition 2.0

7. Union Expedition 2.0

Non-Puck StyleM, L3.56 lbs

 

FAQs

Can you use regular bindings on a splitboard?

Yes, you can use regular bindings on a factory-built splitboard if you have an adapter, on which you can mount your snowboard bindings. After that, you're ready to go!

The Voile plate adapters are compatible with almost any conventional snowboard bindings on the market. However, if you want optimum performance and a more solid board feel, we suggest that you go with splitboard-specific bindings.

Do splitboards require specific boots?

No, you do not need specific boots for splitboards. Your regular snowboard boots will work just fine, so you do not have to worry about buying and breaking in new boots.

On the other hand, some experienced splitboarders prefer a more centered, stiffer boot for more control. Splitboard-specific boots are not really an essential, although they do make a difference in terms of comfort during long-touring days, and respond to micro-movements when in an unforgiving terrain.

 

Buying guide

Soft-boot splitboard bindings

These are used by most splitboarders. The design, look, and performance of soft boot bindings are a lot like those of regular snowboard bindings. They have the same ratcheting straps, highbacks, and they both work with conventional, soft snowboard boots.

For uphill travel, you have to reposition and attach them onto each splitboard ski, so that they can pivot up and down. For the downhill, they are attached firmly across the splitboard.

  • Less expensive than other types of bindings, especially when you already have your own snowboard boots to go with them.
  • Retains a more surfy feel that is enough for snowboarders and splitboarders.
  • Requires less break-in time.
  • Wears out faster than hard boot bindings.
  • Does not allow that much front-to-back range for a more efficient skinning.
  • Less rigid than hard-boot bindings, which makes it less efficient for uphill traverse.

 

Hard-boot splitboard bindings

Those are preferred by most experienced backcountry enthusiasts and mountain guides. Their design and look work better with plastic alpine touring boots than snowboard boots.

For uphill travel, you have to completely remove its components instead of repositioning them, and step into tech-style toe pieces that are mounted on the splitboard. For downhill, they have heel bales and wire toe, to hold onto the heel and toe welts on the plastic ski boots.

  • More durable than soft-boot bindings due to its hard-plastic shells.
  • More ideal for booting up trails and kicking steps in snow.
  • Works well with automatic crampons for a quick and secure technical ascent.
  • Has a good front-to-back cuff range of motion for longer and more efficient stride on the uphill.
  • More costly than soft-boot setups.
  • Takes more time for breaking in.

 

Splitboard binding interfaces

 

  • Puck-style

This interface features plastic or metal pucks for mounting onto the splitboard. For uphill travel, you have to remove the bindings from the pucks to attach them to the splitboards' hinges, and secure each with a clamp, a pin, or any other fastener. For downhill, you have to slide the bindings onto the pucks, and then secure them as well with a clamp, a pin, or any other fastener.

This interface is simple, light, reliable, and used by several popular soft-boot bindings, as well as most hard-boot bindings.

 

  • Non-puck style

This one features numerous methods to secure for downhill riding. The bindings generally clamp or twist onto the mounted interface of the splitboard. Some have mechanical locking mechanisms that secure a tight connection by clamping the binding onto the interface, and polluting the two boards' halves together. For uphill travel, you have to untwist or unclamp the bindings, then move the hinges and secure each with a clamp, pin, or any other fastener.

 

Things to consider

  • Ease of use

You have to consider how easy it is to put your bindings on for downhill, and how easy it is to switch them to tour mode. Also, pay attention to how the bindings attach to the board for travelling uphill and downhill.

  • Design
    Look for simple designs that are easy to use. Designs with fewer moving parts means that there will be less chances for something to break.
  • Weight
    Also observe how much one interface weighs, if it is one of your top concerns.
  • Price

The more higher-end the interface is, the more expensive it will be, due to the costlier materials put into it, and the intricate ways of connecting it to the board.

 

Compatibility

Usually, the type of binding interface says what brand of bindings you can use it with, and vice-versa. Indeed, not all bindings are compatible with all interfaces, and to ensure the best possible performance, it is advisable not to mix and match brands, although some brands are compatible with multiple other brands.

 

Specs and features

  • Weight

Higher-end bindings are lighter, and are made of costlier materials. A lightweight setup makes uphill travel easier. However, the weight does not have to be your top priority if you only use your splitboard occasionally. Make sure you have a balance of weight throughout your binding setup.

  • Flex

A lot of splitboard bindings have a fairly stiff flex compared to regular snowboard bindings. A stiffer flex will provide excellent control in steep terrains and deep powder, but there is a wide range of flexes available within splitboard bindings. For an all-mountain or freestyle feel, look for a soft to medium flex. As for hard-chargers, you'll want a stiffer flex.

  • Highback adjustment

All soft-boot splitboard bindings can be switched form ride mode to tour mode. In ride mode, the highbacks are secured into a forward-lean position, while in tour mode, they are released back for a wider range of motion while skinning. It is better if the highbacks go farther back in tour mode, which is referred to as the amount of negative lean. Some bindings make switching modes easier than others do, and some offer tool-free forward lean adjustments to avoid breaking out a wrench when changing the amount of forward lean.

  • Binding straps

It is best to choose lightweight binding straps that are comfortable, easy to operate, and do a good job at holding your feet securely in place. Note that hard-boot bindings do not have straps. Check if the binding manufacturer sells an accessory strap that can be attached near the top of the highback to provide more support when touring, and is helpful for traverses through steep slopes.

  • Heel risers

These are designed to make your uphill travel easier by putting less strain on the calves and Achilles tendons, especially when you're skinning up steep hills. It is best to check how many riser heights the binding provides. Although, most offer two different heights for skinning in variable terrains, and one for high-angle hills. Check how easy it is to deploy the risers, and how you can easily and quickly access it with a ski pole.

  • Heel lockdown

This feature will allow you to secure the bindings' heel to the board when in tour mode. This is beneficial when you need to skate through a flat section, sidestep up a steep hill, or ski down short descents. The feature is sometimes bought separately.

  • Crampons

A pair of crampons that attach to your bindings can be useful in icy conditions, because it will help you get up the hill. Most manufacturers make crampons designed specifically for their bindings. It is best to check how easy it is to attach them to the bindings, and how well it will perform when you have the heel risers up. Make sure the crampons' teeth still engage with the snow, no matter how high the risers are.

 


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