Spark R&D Backcountry Kit Review
This review outlines my experience with the Spark R&D Backcountry Kit, important points to consider, and the pros and cons.
What’s in the Spark R&D Backcountry Kit
2x M6x16mm M's Heel Loop Screws
1x M6x12mm W's Heel Loop Screw
2x M6x10mm Touring Bracket Screws
1x Pillow Line Strap Ankle Adjuster Screw
1x Pillow Line Strap Toe Adjuster Screw
1x Ankle Buckle Screw
1x Toe Buckle Screw
2x Ankle Strap Screws
2x Ankle Strap T-nuts
2x Ankle Strap Washers
1x Snap Block
1x Toe Ladder
1x Toe Adjuster
1x Ankle Ladder
1x Ankle Adjuster
1x Ankle Buckle
1x Toe Buckle
Why You Need the Spark R&D Backcountry Kit
These pieces of splitboard binding hardware are essential. Hands down, you don’t want to be caught without them because a day in the backcountry with a broken binding can equal a really long way back to the car.
The plastic of the toe and ankle straps can weaken in extreme cold conditions. I’ve had a strap snap off when I was new to splitboarding, as I was clumsy stepping in and strapping in.
Straps can wear over time, creating potential weak spots.
The repetitive impact vibration from skinning has the potential to loosen hardware that hasn’t been routinely checked. After a long set of rough roads I usually recheck my hardware on my bindings. One time, halfway into an approach, I realized I was missing my heel loop screws.
Mishaps and accidents can also cause damage to a set of bindings.
Don’t ask me when this “break” happened, but it’s another example of why the backcountry kit is a must have.
The first thing I really like about the Spark R&D Backcountry Kit is that the hardware comes with Loctite pre-loaded and ready for use.
The kit also provides you with a snap block which is crucial to the Tesla design. I used the pin design for 5 seasons and questioned the Tesla design when it first came out.
I wondered why Spark would use a plastic piece in such a vital location. Having this piece with the kit is a great addition.
Even though the Spark R&D Backcountry Kit is great, there’s still a few extra items I carry.
Over the seasons of splitboarding I have also run into other accidental damage and mishaps. The kit doesn’t contain any extra bolts for your pucks or hardware on the deck of your board. Be mindful to have someone in your group carrying bolts for the hardware on your board.
The second, you get the ladder and adjusting straps for both the toe and ankle straps but you don’t get an actual toe/ankle strap. These can be purchased in a separate parts kit. I do not carry an ankle strap because my Spark R&D bindings are designed in such a way that, in a pinch, I can use my ski straps.
I always carry a toe strap because sometimes damage can be hidden from plain sight.
On any given outdoor adventure, especially ones that take you deep into the wintery white wonderland, you can only rely on yourself and your crew. Taking the initiative to get the backup gear you’ll need is essential. The Spark R&D Backcountry Kit is a must have for anyone riding Spark’s splitboard bindings.
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