Splitboarding Gear Essentials

Along with splitboard and backcountry safety equipment, the following items are integral components to your splitboarding gear list. There are other pieces of equipment that could be included but without the mandatory handful of items below, your beautiful splitboard will be nothing more than a giant ornament resting against the wall. The additional expenses will increase your splitboard start-up costs by nearly 500USD, but you can’t drive a car without wheels and you can’t shred freshies on your splitty sans these non-negotiable splitboarding gear necessities.

Splitboard binding system

Your normal snowboard bindings are not compatible. Splitboard bindings are interchangeable from hike to ride modes and have a few specialized components that allow for quick attachment & detachment. Along with traditional ratchet & strap bindings with heelcup and highback, there is a stationary system screwed into specially pre-drilled holes that permit the actual binding to slide on and off depending on uphill or downhill mode usage. Hardware compatibility could affect your choices based on board manufacturers (not to mention budget), but definitely check-out Voile Light Rail, Karakorum and Spark R & D.

Splitboard skins

Without properly sized skins designed to fit your specific splitboard model you might as well just keep trudging up hill with snowshoes or riding the lift. Plan to spend around $150 for a quality pair with longevity. You can add to skin lifetime by taking care of your skins, but don`t expect them to last forever. Drying properly, cleaning and waxing will help you maintain your skins for around 5 years of use.

Dual height heel-risers

These inexpensive add-ons are some of the simplest yet most indispensable accessories every splitboarder should purchase. Heel risers save you energy on steep uphill portions of your ascent and also help with stability by allowing you to pressure downward on steep traverses, maintaining solid friction contact between skin and snow. The handy ice scraper-shaped handle on the Voile backcountry poles mentioned below also help you conveniently lift & drop the risers conveniently.

Collapsible poles

Don`t buy cheap poles. If your poles malfunction out-of-bounds because they`re cheaply made, you`re in a tough spot. Your uphill efficiency & effectiveness depends on proper pole usage in conjunction with lower body movements. Similarly, a poleless ascent is very strenuous and dangerous as your balance and power are negatively affected. Traditional twist & lock pole designs have always been problematic and frequently freeze. We recommend the Voile push-button backcountry touring poles. We`ve never had freezing problems, they`re easy to manipulate, lightweight, durable and collapse to a very comfortable length. The ice scraper handle is also a great feature to remove caked-on ice from equipment components and for engaging/disengaging your dual-height heel risers as mentioned above.


Splitboard crampons are designed to seamlessly fit underneath your foot between your binding and top-sheet. They attach with the same removable sliding pin holding your binding to the board when in up-hill & downhill mode. Crampons won`t be needed on every splitboarding excursion, but if you don`t have them on that early windy, bulletproof morning when you truly need them, you`ll be sorry you were too cheap to spend an extra 75USD.

AlpineO Splitboarding Gear Tech Tip:

Be sure your skins are cut to size correctly along your edges. If any material hangs over, cut away the excess (tool often provided with skins). If your edge is covered by material, you`ll likely have edge-hold difficulties along steep traverses. Poor edge contact on steep, icy traverses sounds bad, right? It is…


It`s hard skinning up a mountain for freshies. Keep your weight down and gear secure in one of the best snow backpacks ever made, the Osprey Kode.


Posted on November 10, 2014 in Alpine Education, Alpine Safety, Gear Reviews, Snowboarding, Splitboarding