We’ve got another new brand this winter: G3
Genuine Guide Gear or G3 are a Canadian brand who are relatively new to the backcountry/touring scene but are making some very high quality and well thought out bits of kit. We’re stocking a small selection of their products, notably the latest version of the Ion 12 binding alongside their Via Poles and a few accessories.
Ion 12 binding
Designed as a freeride pin binding it actually fits in perfectly with the new wave of pin bindings which have been brought out over the last couple of years. I had a look at the Ion for the first time this week and the first thing you notice is how well made they are, lots of metal machined to a high quality, they definitely inspire confidence. The Ion is a bit more expensive than its rivals, though not by much and you can definitely appreciate the extra cost which has gone into the manufacturing. It’s also a little bit lighter.
In terms of the binding itself there’s nothing ground breaking but G3 have certainly managed to grasp the essence of a pin binding which is lightweight simplicity and strength. G3 haven’t tried to reinvent the wheel, but they have put plenty of thought into the Ion and this is reflected through numerous helpful features which all add up to make a great pin binding. Here are some of the features which make the Ion a great binding…
All adjustment screws are one size (posidrive 3 if you were wondering) which means that it’s only tool you’ll need to take on tour for the Ions.
On the toe piece the pins have a wider opening position than similar bindings, the advantage of this is that you get a more consistent release value which will help prevent unexpected release when skiing aggressively or on rough terrain. It also gives a satisfying snap when locking into the boot. There’s a guide to stop the boot in the correct place though I suspect that, as with all pin bindings, this won’t be useful for all boot designs. Switching between ski and tour mode seems simple and reliable enough and is done by a lever on the front much like other pin bindings.
The heel piece allows you to twist it in either direction to go into tour mode. This is a great bit of simple engineering and you have to wonder why other manufacturers haven’t thought to do it this way before. When in ski mode it will also move forwards and backwards to absorb ski flex, another feature to prevent unwanted release. Other than this the operation works like any other pin binding. It has a retractable brake, DIN setting of 5-12 and 2 position flip heel risers.
Poles – Via Carbon and Via
As with the Ion binding there’s nothing ground breaking but there is plenty of attention to detail. They are both considerably lighter than their direct competitors and cheaper too, the only downside from the tourers perspective is that they are 2 part poles so don’t collapse as small as similar 3 part poles.
The powder baskets are cleverly designed to reduce drag when touring (every little helps) and they are interchangeable with smaller baskets for hiking (supplied with both). The top of the grip has a pronounced lip which will make flicking heel risers easy. The strap is removable with a simple click in and out plastic clip and the flick lock mechanism is aluminium rather than plastic which adds to the quality.
Other bits we’re stocking from G3 are the snow study tools the Bonesaw and the Rutschblock Cord. The saw is evidently super tough and comes with all the bits you’ll need including 2 straps and a lightweight sheath. The Rutschblock Cord includes springs along its length allowing it to cut cleanly through snow. It also has loops at each end for handles.