$435 We love the Marker Baron so much that we borrowed a fleet of them from Marker to mount on all of our backcountry test skis. When the Baron's predecessor, the DIN-16 Duke, debuted in 2007, it was the only alpine-touring binding that truly skied like a real alpine binding. Word spread, and shops literally could not keep it stocked. Marker released the Baron in 2008. It has the same alpine-style performance as the Duke—solid, secure, and confidence-inspiring—but is 150 grams lighter (thanks to the use of nylon instead of magnesium), and $60 less expensive. And with a DIN range of four through 12, it's more of an everyman's binding. If you're skiing the resort most of the time, but want touring capability for occasional side- and backcountry laps, you won't find a better binding.

Backcountry Bindings

Whether you're going on a day-long tour or just heading out the gates, you need a binding that works as well going uphill as it does going down. Here is a collection of some of the best AT and telemark bindings out there.

Made 100 percent from recycled plastic water bottles, the Recycler features stretch fabric in the shoulder, a helmet-friendly hood, and two oversize chest pockets. [$300;]

10 Great Spring Jackets

Spring has sprung, so ditch the goose down and check out these lightweight jackets that are perfect for warm days on the mountain.

GSI’s BPA-free cookware fully accommodates two people’s eating needs. At just 20.7 ounces, this lightweight set includes two insulated mugs with lids, two bowls, two telescoping foons, and a hard-anodized pot with strainer lid. All cookware, fuel, a stove, and utensils fit inside the pot. Nonstick coating makes cleanup easy, the Pinnacle-series aluminum pot distributes heat evenly for perfectly cooked English muffin pizzas, and Teflon radiance technology prevents scratches. Our favorite feature? The waterproof storage bag doubles as a camp sink.  $60;

Summer Gear List: Backpacking

When you’re out in the woods for an extended period of time the gear you pack is important. Here’s what we bring on backpacking trips.

The Anatomy of a Slide

10 Tips on Skiing the Backcountry

Including advice from Seth Morrison, Chris Davenport, and Alaskan heli-ski guide Kirsten Kremer, we offer up a crucial list of facts and tips you need to know before you head out of bounds.

When the snow melts, you don’t quit playing outside, and neither should your pack. Ski straps and glove-friendly zippers make the Direttissima a true winter warrior. But when summer rolls around, unobtrusive ski features mean it’s hike- and climb-friendly. The TopFlap design lets you remove an entire compartment to shed weight. Two built-in toggle bottle openers on the tool loops bring a whole new meaning to double-fisting. 42-, 46-, and 50-liter models; 55, 58, and 61 ounces, respectively.  [$200;]

Backcountry Packs

Why endure an ill-suited pack? Get organized and stay safe, comfortably. haul these packs up the hill; they’ll carry you through the day.