Backcountry Magazine 122 - The 2019 Gear Guide

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The story of the 2019 Gear Guide is one of transcending boundaries, from the unification of our ski and splitboard tests at Powder Mountain, Utah to the gear itself. This year’s best products excel beyond their categories to do more with less—think powder skis that can rail on corduroy, fast-transitioning splitboard bindings and AT boots without buckles.

The 2019 Editors’ Choice Awards represent our picks that take that transcendence even farther. This year’s 38 top skis, boots, boards, bindings, apparel and accessories may not be quiver killers, but they boast refined traits and are tooled to stand up to winter’s demands.


Full Spectrum
Between our 10th anniversary Powder Mountain Gear Test Week and Crested Butte Board Test, we left no standout hardgood untested. The best of it's reviewed in vivid, credible and reliable detail beginning on p. 23—80 skis, 22 splitboards, 30 boots and a dozen bindings, plus the crème-de-la-crème Editors' Choice Award winners most worthy of your quiver.

AT & Telemark Boots
AT & Telemark Bindings
Uphilling Gear

Chasing Skiers
Out in the skintrack, skiers and riders often flock together. This year, we extended that to Gear Test Week, combining the splitboard and ski tests for the first time ever. Despite some initial trepidation from the splitboarders, it proved to be a wise move. Skiers pushed splitboarders to hop on the quick-transition program; riders showed the two-plank folk their best methods for carving and surfing. Consider it our most successful and streamlined test yet.

Splitboard Accessories
Splitboard Gear

Another Layer
For the 2019 Apparel Test, we cashed in on our most reliable resource—those testers who come to Powder Mountain, Utah, every year for Gear Test Week. This year, we grabbed three quarters of our crew and layered them up with softgoods, which they continued testing throughout the spring to generate as much detailed feedback as possible. From there, we parsed out the hardest-wearing garments and accessories, selecting the top five or six best, as well as Editors' Choices, for every category.

Camping Gear
Safety Gear
Travel & Tech

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