2019 will see an old manufacture re-enter into the splitboard binding world in the United States (although the system from K2 has yet to be tested), along with some major updates from current industry leaders. Our picks for the best splitboard bindings of the year are below.
If you splitboard you can thank the guys above (left to right) Will Ritter of Spark R&D and Tyler Kloster of Karakoram for their solid innovations to the split world over the past few years. Spark R&D must be especially stoked to have recently celebrated the brands 10th anniversary!
Best Splitboard Bindings
New for 2018/19 is the Spark R&D Arc Pro Binding [Review]. This is an upgraded version of Sparks popular Arc Splitboard Binding. The Spark R&D Arc Pro is lighter in weight and uses high-end screws throughout the binding and in the heel risers and toe ramps. Also available is an upgraded Pro crampon. Spark R&D makes the best splitboard bindings for uphill. [Purchase: $540]
Spark R&D updated their Arc Splitboard Binding [Review] with the brand new lightweight Pillow Line Straps that feel incredibly comfortable when wrapped around your boot. This one of the all-around best splitboard bindings available. [Purchase: $385]
The Arc Binding is available in Women’s specific versions and colorways.
Designed for big mountain hard riding chargers with a little more weight. The Spark R&D Surge Splitboard Binding [Review] comes with the new Pillow Line straps, Spark R&D also added a Whammy Bar Climbing Wire that makes it now even easier to engage or disengage the heel risers climbing ladders. [Purchase Surge Binding: $415]
The 2017/18 winter saw another major player enter the splitboard binding world, the Union Binding Company which introduced the Expedition Splitboard Binding [Review], this is what professional snowboarder Travis Rice had to say:
“Up until now, the split boarding experience has been hindered by bindings that are built for mountaineering, not snowboarding.”
I don’t fully agree with Travis, however, the Union Expedition Splitboard binding (shown above) does feel and ride much more like a traditional offering from Union making it uniquely different to the other splitboard bindings on the market. The materials, weight, and comfort will be tough to match for the other major splitboard binding manufacturers in North America including Voile, Spark R&D, K2, and Karakoram. Union makes the best splitboard binding for downhill. [Purchase: $349]
For 2018/19 Union has introduced the Union Expedition FC Carbon Binding [Purchase: $499] that will be a stiffer higher-end version than the Expedition Binding.
2019 will be the second year Karakoram has offered the Karakoram Prime Connect System that allows one set of bindings to easily be switched between a splitboard and resort board.
This year the Karakoram Prime Connect R Binding looks and feels much more like a traditional snowboard binding which has the potential to compete with the Union’s in terms of comfort and familiarity. [Purchase: $379.95]
In 2016 Karakoram introduced the splitboard world to there new Flex Lock system [$59.99], and it looks to be something we will see a lot more of in the future. Whats great about the Flex Lock is it gives you the ability to tighten down your Karakoram bindings against the upper part of your calf giving even more response to the binding while on the way up. With a solid connection between the highback and your ankle strap, this innovative system from Karakoram will help to increase lateral support, something the splitboard world, especially soft booters are in dire need of. [Purchase: $679.99]
For 2018/19 K2 will reemerge in the splitboard world with an upgraded version of the brands Kwicker system, well sort of. As seen above the new K2 Splitboard Binding slides onto Voile pucks and then is locked into place by pushing down on the lever in the center of the binding.
The main difference between how the K2 Far Out Binding is attached to the board in ride mode vs the Spark R&D system is you actually pull the bindings on the pucks toward you vs Sparks where you slide the bindings over the pucks. So it’s similar in that regard. [Purchase: $409.95]
However, when it comes to how the board is attached in tour mode the K2 Splitboard Binding is unique. The bottom of the Binding features the Patented Pinless Speed-Rail Mountain System which is essentially 2 hooks that lock into place by wrapping around a metal bar. The hiccup here is its tough to get the hooks under the bar, even while testing indoors, so TBD how this system will work once on snow?
For heal risers, the K2 Splitboard Binding is working with Voile. The binding looks tough built on an Aluminum Chassis and Heel Cup.
Voile is still in the splitboard game for now with their Speed Rail Binding [$375] and Light Rail Women’s Splitboard Binding that come with a built-in heal lockdown function. The newly updated highback featuring 25 degrees of additional front to back movement and 12 different forward lean angles. An added bonus is the torsional support the highbacks feature, which has cutouts designed to fit Voile straps to make your own power strap of sorts.
If not for Voile and their decades of splitboard innovations none of this would exist, so be sure to keep Voile on your radar especially considering they are now offering the Speed Rail pinless splitboard binding, crampons, and insane highback flexibility. (shown below)
Hard boots make touring much more efficient, and the majority of our days are spent on the way up. For anyone considering splitboard mountainerring, Spark R&D Dyno DH [Review] is a solid splitboard binding for the guys over at Spark R&D. Keep in mind you will sacrifice a little on the decent in terms of freestyle abilities. [Purchase: $250]
If you’re looking for information on hard boot bindings for splitboarding. Check out this piece we did.
Spark R&D Crossbar Clips
A cooler new invention for splitboarding is the Spark R&D Crossbar Clip designed to pull both parts of the splitboard in together. In the past, the industry relied on either Voile or Karakoram, so it’s nice to see Spark entering this realm as well. The clips are easy to use and have the ability to be adjusted as needed by turning a set screw. Say goodbye to any gaps between your splitboard moving forward.
Karakoram Ultra Clips
Another new piece of tech Karakoram is bringing to the splitboard world comes in the form of new clips to hold your splitboard together. The new UltraClips will according to Karakoram:
Once joined the UltraClip fully constrains the seam of your splitboard to eliminate seam rattling, seam shearing, and seam rolling.
The new UltraClip is music to our ears as it can be super frustrating when your board starts to separate over time, even worse is when you can see light through each half of the board. Luckily it looks like those days are coming to an end thanks to new connectors from both Karakoram and Spark R&D and known Union Capita has followed suit. Plum is surely next. [Purchase: $59.99]
“I feel like this product is going to change the perception that people have about splitboarding. You don’t have to compromise performance for freedom while touring.” – Bryan Iguchi.
Fix Splitboard Bindings
A new player is potentially emerging in the splitboard world in the form of Fix Bindings. We’re still waiting for more information on the system and release date. The Fix Binding Co splitboard binding I saw at the SIA trade show was lightweight, simplistic and looked like a traditional snowboard binding similar to the Union Expedition. This binding looks to be pin free and will have a very unique interface.
Splitboard Binding Price Comparison
- Spark R&D Arc Pro ($540)
- Spark R&D Arc ($385)
- Spark R&D Surge ($415)
- Union Expedition FC ($499)
- Union Expedition ($349)
- Karakoram Prime Straightline ($819)
- Karakoram Prime Connect ($379)
- Karakoram Prime R ($699)
- Voile Lightrail ($299)
- Voile Speedrail ($374)
- K2 Far Out ($399)