Last winter I got my hands on a pair of K2 Farout Splitboard Bindings and toured in a variety of conditions ranging from heinous refrozen chunder to bottomless blower here in the mountains of NW Wyoming. All told, the K2 Farout bindings are lightweight, easy to adjust, and perform well on the way up and on the way down.
The unique tour-mode toe hook design took a little getting used to during transitions, but after fiddling with the process a few times I am now able to transition as quickly and smoothly as when using other binding systems like the offerings from Spark and Union.
For the uphill the K2 Farout bindings do not rely on pin or post attachment systems like other splitboard bindings. The K2 Farouts have unique hooks built into the frame at the front of the binding, and those hooks slide around and grab onto a brassy bar when the heel of the binding is rotated up and forward to the point where the top of the highback almost touches the topsheet.
Once you’re strapped in, the hooks would have to break to detach from the board. To remove the bindings from the board simply unstrap yourself, hop off, and rotate the binding heel up and forward until the hooks pop off.
At first I struggled with the system because the toe and heel straps seemed to get in the way of rotating the binding up and forward so far that the highback almost contacts the topsheet. At first I experimented with rotating the straps down into the binding to get them out of the way, which worked great but felt a little tedious.
Eventually I realized that by applying a little more force to the rotation it was easy to mash the straps flat enough that hooks would wrap around the bar and lock into place. Like most splitboard systems, iced up components can be a problem, and I found the tip of my pole worked well to clear crud from the toe hooks.
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Switching into downhill mode also took a little getting used to because the K2 Farout bindings slide on backwards compared to traditional splitboard binding systems. Instead of grabbing onto the heel cup and thrusting the bindings forward onto the pucks, the K2 Farouts slide on from front to back. Once I realized I could put my hand into the binding and push down and back against the heel cup this process became pretty painless. Once your foot is strapped in the binding is locked in place by pressure from the boot heel.
All splitboard binding systems are susceptible to icing up, so I made sure to rub a little soft canning wax on the rails and pucks before heading off into the backcountry. Wax keeps wet snow from glomming onto the base of our boards, so if you’ve never tried waxing key connection points on your splitty bindings you might give it a go.
Amazon.com Price: $263.97 (as of 12/06/2023 12:25 MST) Details
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On The Fly Adjustment
Adjusting these bindings to size is easy. The straps have on the fly adjustment that strikes me as a little frivolous, but the system works well and has so far proven reliable. The heel cup is detachable and adjusts to a wide variety of boot lengths.
The K2 Farouts come in three sizes, and I got a Medium which is designed to accommodate men’s boots from size 8-10.5. I wear a size 11 boot, but it slides right into medium Farout with the heel cup properly positioned. As such I guess I could say that the range of the assorted sizes can be fudged about a half size bigger.
What Could Be Improved?
My only real complaint is that the K2 Farout bindings did not come with Voile pucks, so I had to order those separately and wait for them to arrive before I could try out my new bindings. The bindings did come with all the other hardware needed, and installing them on my board was easy. I made sure to use a liberal amount of blue loctite, and encourage you to do the same.
My only concern with the K2 Farout bindings – and every splitboard binding – is long term durability. Sure they worked great for a few months last season, but how will they hold up after a couple of seasons? One thing I noticed is that each K2 Farout binding contains 22 screws, and we all know that screws have a tendency to eventually work themselves loose when you’re taking 10,000 steps per day.
I’ll probably gently test/tighten the screws every few days, and if any of them seem to be at all loose, I’ll remove them and reinstall with fresh loctite.
The K2 Farout Bindings ($440.00) are very lightweight, and they ride great. The straps are comfortable, while the construction seems reliable. The unique hook system took some getting used to, but all in all the K2 Farout Splitboard Bindings seems like a good binding system, but only time will tell.