Gear Review: Plum Guide Bindings - Backpacker

Gear Review: Plum Guide Bindings

What's the point of feather-weight skis and boots if the bindings aren't super light as well?

[ultralight binding]

Superlight skis and boots beg for a superlight binding. And quite simply, the Guide is the lightest, sleekest, most durable tech binding (they attach to boots via four pins, rather than heavier, higher-profile step-ins) we’ve skied. It’s also so new that it’s sold in only a handful of places in the U.S. (Google it). But our testers agreed that tracking it down is well worth the effort, because, as one says, “Feature for feature, no other binding can touch it in terms of durability and ease of use.” At only 1 pound, 8 ounces per pair, the Guide is the second lightest binding in its category (after the La Sportiva RT, reviewed last year). But the materials that make it so light—aerospace-grade aluminum and plastic—are also the strongest on the market, a difference our testers could feel. And all loved how easy it was to adjust the heel piece between three different heights for climbing. “With other tech bindings, the heel pieces have always seemed to ‘stick’ between heights, forcing me—in the best scenario—to remove gloves or kneel for a better grip, or—in the worst case—to force it and break the binding,” says one tester. “But the Guide turned so easily, either by hand or with the tip of my ski pole, that I found myself adjusting climbing heights more often, which led to more efficient touring.” And when it came to downhill performance, every tester loved how stable, secure, and connected to the ski they felt. Con: Brakes are currently not available (coming in January 2013), and the ski leashes supplied are a pain. $650; 1 lb. 8 oz.;