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Alpine Touring Gear

Types of Alpine Touring Gear

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Alpine Touring/Telemark Skis

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Alpine Touring Boots

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Alpine Touring Bindings

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Alpine Touring/Telemark Poles

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Climbing Skins

Top Picks

How we choose: The best alpine touring gear highlighted here were selected based on 71 reviews of 55 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

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Top Alpine Touring/Telemark Pole

Black Diamond Compactor Ski Poles

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4 reviews)

Lighter, faster, and easier to use than other poles, yet worries about durability linger. Despite the worries, I really like these poles.

Reasons to Buy

  • SUPER quick to deploy
  • Simple to adjust
  • Solid powder baskets

Reasons to Avoid

  • Possible durability issues

Summary: From Black Diamond: "The aluminum compactor pole adjusts between popular pole lengths and uses an internal Kevlar cord to instantly break down to packable size and redeploys in a flash. One, rock solid, point of adjustment means you can keep moving instead of being the one always fiddling with your poles." I trek on my ski poles. Or maybe I should say that I ski on my trekking poles. Either way I use them all for both. I don't want to have a ton of single-purpose gear so these appealed to me as a possible do-it-all pole.

Read more: Black Diamond Compactor Ski Poles reviews (4)

Alpine Touring/Telemark Pole

Black Diamond Expedition 3

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3 reviews)

Light, tough, and cheap.

Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent locking system
  • Tough
  • Inexpensive

Reasons to Avoid

  • Hard to find tip protectors that fit
  • Threads are easily damaged

I find it a bit amusing that after many years, the traditional leaders in hiking poles, Leki and Komperdell, are finally coming out with locking systems for their poles based on the Black Diamond Flicklock system. We've all heard stories about the old twist-lock poles collapsing at the wrong moment, dumping someone in a puddle or causing a fall, and it's good to see other companies following BD's lead. I've had my latest pair of Black Diamond Expedition poles for about three or four years, and they're still going strong.

Read more: Black Diamond Expedition 3 reviews (3)

Alpine Touring/Telemark Pole

Black Diamond Whippet

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

The Whippet will give you added security in places where falling will have dire consequences. You have to know how to self-arrest for it to be useful. I recommend it for anyone that has ever wished they had, or actually had, an ice axe in their hand while skiing.

Reasons to Buy

  • Added security on hard snow
  • Easy to grip with hand on top of the pole

Reasons to Avoid

  • Heavier than a regular pole
  • Only 2-section collapsable

I started skiing with a Whippet two seasons ago and I really like it. I don't have crampons for my skis so this gives me a nice sense of security when skiing on hard snow. I've had a few unexpected falls/slides where I couldn't stop if I wanted to but each time there were no bad consequences. When skiing above cliffs or other hazards you don't want to fall into, the Whippet could make the difference between a good day and a bad day. Having a pick as part of your pole is far superior to trying to carry an ice axe with a pole or stowing the pole and just using the ice axe.

Read more: Black Diamond Whippet review (1)

Top Alpine Touring Binding

Marker F10 Tour

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

Light-ish frame style tour binding for the rest of us.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lighter than other frame-style bindings
  • Fit regular boots
  • Solid downhill
  • Simple to use
  • Release ratings within my ability range

Reasons to Avoid

  • Issue with heel riser required tweaking
  • Must remove boots to switch from skin to ski modes

My first tour bindings. I ski 80% in bounds so solid downhill performance is important to me and I also need to watch my weight because I also go on dawn patrol and up mountains on occasion. I had heard that these rattle, but saw none of that.  Marker makes several frame-style tour bindings and I was not ready to shell out the coin for bindings that release at 12 and weigh more than the skis they are attached to. Plus I don't need that much burliness since I am just a moderate (blue/black) skier.

Read more: Marker F10 Tour review (1)

Top Climbing Skin

Black Diamond Ascension Nylon Climbing Skins

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

Reliable, dependable, and well constructed skins that climb exceptionally well. I highly recommend them to anyone who backcountry skis.

Reasons to Buy

  • Universal tip and tail attachments
  • Long lasting glue
  • Great on the climb

Reasons to Avoid

  • Glide could be improved

Black Diamond Ascension STS skins are a staple up here in Northern New Hampshire. The tip and tail attachments are universal and will fit securely to any type of ski. Over the years I have used my set I have never worried about the skins detaching from the skis. The glue holds up well against the variable conditions I see which includes not only different snow conditions but also sticks, pine needles, and leaves. I truly appreciate that I have yet to have glue failure. While climbing these skins are able to tackle any angle the skier is will to attempt.

Read more: Black Diamond Ascension Nylon Climbing Skins review (1)

Alpine Touring Binding

Marker Griffon 13

user rating: 4 of 5 (3 reviews)

Great overall binding. Good range of DIN, price to performance, light-ish for an alpine binding, and looks good. Suffers from an imprecise feel, and creaking with soft snow wedged in the binding.

Reasons to Buy

  • easy to work on
  • hassle free, and simple to operate
  • great overall performance

Reasons to Avoid

  • loud to ski in
  • imprecise in soft snow
  • DIN range is a little low for the aggressive skier

I mounted my 2018 pair on a set of K2 Marksmen, to use in various B.C. resorts. I used them for three seasons, before buying a new pair of 2021's to mount on some Blizzard Rustler 11's. Both times I've used a pair of Lange RS 130 with them, in 29.5. I've skied 200 days total, doing everything in the resort, from terrain park to slack country hiking. They've held up to the abuse really well, with little wear and no failures. The main downside is when you start to ski through binding and boot deep powder.

Read more: Marker Griffon 13 reviews (3)

Top Alpine Touring Boot

Black Diamond Prime

user rating: 3.5 of 5 (1 review)

Very good lightweight touring boot. Comfortable for wide feet.

Reasons to Buy

  • High quality construction (pebax material, amazing liner)
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable, suitable for wide feet
  • Efficient attachment system

Reasons to Avoid

  • Buckles can break (wire)
  • May constrict the shins when touring

I have the first version (white and grey) of these boots. Very comfortable, suitable for people with wide feet. The heel stays tightly in place. Warm too, and I love the Boa attachment system for the liners. Good performance when skinning, sufficient articulation, although there is pressure on the shins, due to the plastic overlapping at the front. I prefer boots with a tongue like the Dynafit Zzero, because you can loosen it to gain space when skinning. The BD Prime don't have that. Works well with Dynafit bindings Solid Vibram outer sole.

Read more: Black Diamond Prime review (1)

Flylow Scotty Comp Vest

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

This vest is my favorite new accessory for the resort and the side country. I recommend it for skinning up the resort trails or mellow, low risk, side country excursions.

Reasons to Buy

  • Pockets!!!
  • Adjustable fit
  • Great organization

Reasons to Avoid

  • My body type is between sizes

I am a six foot, 185 pound skiing male with broad shoulders and a 34 X 32 pant size. I ski 100 days a year between resort, backcountry, and Nordic. I picked up the Scotty Comp Vest to try to solve the backpack problem... let me explain:   Flylow Scotty Comp Vest My routine on Tuesdays and Thursdays is to get to my local mountain early in the AM. I step into my touring skis and head up the trail. For the longest time I wore a traditional +/-30 Liter pack containing water, layers, my helmet, etc.

Read more: Flylow Scotty Comp Vest review (1)

Top Alpine Touring/Telemark Ski

Black Diamond Convert Ski

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Go anywhere, do anything ski comfortable in the backcountry as well as on the groomers. A one quiver ski that is capable of taking you anywhere within your ability level.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight
  • Great floatation
  • Moderate width comfortable in powder and on ice

Reasons to Avoid

  • Chatter during high speed turns on hard surfaces

The Black Diamond Convert skis are the Jeep of touring skis. They are comfortable anywhere in any conditions. I have ridden them on fresh powder, breakable crust, icy New England resort trails, and freshly groomed corduroy runs and enjoyed every turn. Front Country Their performance in the front country, on groomed resort trails, is adequate but you need to be a confident skier to feel comfortable taking these down steep high speed runs. The rocker tip and tail, which are helpful in the powder, cause the ski to chatter on hard packed snow and decrease turning and stopping abilities.

Read more: Black Diamond Convert Ski review (1)

Climbing Skin

Åsnes X-Skin 58mm Mohair

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

A lightweight, short skin that integrates with Åsnes skis via dependable locking system. Gives a solid kick and moderate climbing power while still allowing some glide on easy terrain, at 1/4 to 1/3 the weight of a full-length skin. Small enough to fit a pair in a chest pocket. Ideal for hut-to-hut trips, and good skiers can take them to the summits.

Reasons to Buy

  • Big weight and effort savings compared to full-length skins
  • Climbs well on firm snow, notably corn
  • Glue still holds if skins get a little wet

Reasons to Avoid

  • Åsnes skis only
  • Don't climb well in deep powder
  • Should come with skin savers to protect glue

As backcountry or mountaineering skis have gotten bigger, skins have followed along. My full-length skins for my biggest skis, G3 Finder 107s, weigh about 300 g each. Add that to the weight of boot, binding and ski (3.8 kg) and you’ve got 4.1 kg (9 lb) per foot to haul uphill with every step (the good news is that you can slide, not lift). Then that skin weight goes in your pack on the way down. For skiing steep slopes or in demanding snow, that is more or less necessary if you want to maximize the FQ (fun quotient)—fat skis perform better in a wide range of snow conditions, and for climbing and especially traversing on steep slopes, full skin coverage is needed to prevent backslipping.

Read more: Åsnes X-Skin 58mm Mohair review (1)

More Alpine Touring Gear

Trailspace reviewers have shared 71 reviews of 55 different alpine touring gear. Narrow your search and view more specific alpine touring product recommendations in these categories:

Alpine Touring/Telemark Skis

Alpine Touring Boots

Alpine Touring Bindings

Alpine Touring/Telemark Poles

Climbing Skins

All Winter Gear

Other Types of Winter Gear

Find more winter gear reviewed in these related categories:


Nordic Touring Gear

Telemark Gear

+7 more types

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