A no-frills telemark binding that mates with three-pin duckbill boots, this is as simple and user-friendly as it gets–set and release the toe bail with just a press of your pole. The Mountaineers have weathered multiple seasons of abuse, including icy runs down New York's Mt. Marcy, getting banged on rock and stumps, and a slushy crossing of nearby Avalanche Lake, where other bindings' springs froze.
With only two moving parts, there's very little that can go wrong, and if it does, they're simpler to fix than others. The Mountaineer is passive–it won't spring you into your next turn like more expensive bindings, but it's lightweight and secure, and lets you do the rest without breaking the bank. Add climbing wires ($10) for travel on steep terrain; they'll save your calves. $50; 1 lb.; voile-usa.com