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Dynafit TLT Expedition Review

Specialized, durable bindings for accomplished practitioners in serious, committed situations; be cognizant of the release compromises you make
Dynafit TLT Expedition
Photo: Backcountry
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Price:  $500 List | $499.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Super strong, simple, light
Cons:  No lateral heel release, no heel lifter choice, no adjustments
Manufacturer:   Dynafit
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 21, 2021
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58
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 15
  • Touring Performance - 30% 6
  • Downhill Performance - 25% 2
  • Weight - 25% 8
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7
  • Durability - 5% 9

Our Verdict

The name says it all. These bindings are literally made for the most serious and committing of ski expeditions. The Dynafit Expedition is what you choose for skiing, where breaking equipment or coming out of the binding is the worst possible outcome. Roadside powder skiing at high speeds is not what these bindings are for; they essentially don't release. You ski slow and in control, or your connective tissues suffer for it.

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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award 
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Star Rating
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Pros Super strong, simple, lightLight, solid, adjustable, three heel lifts, good brakesLight, innovative downhill performanceSolid, reliable ski bindings, excellent toe piece entry and easy heel lifter transitionsSurprisingly durable for how light they are, killer price, lighter than most
Cons No lateral heel release, no heel lifter choice, no adjustmentsNo certification, limited release adjustmentUnsophisticated heel lifters, untested aftermarket brakeNo ski brake option, heavier than bindings with the same or more featuresNo brake option, heel risers are more of a pain to learn
Bottom Line Specialized, durable bindings for accomplished practitioners in serious, committed situations; be cognizant of the release compromises you makeThis minimalist binding has exactly what most of you should want, and nothing you don’t needThese are excellent all around functioning bindings made for human powered skiingThese Canadian bindings use a now-proven overall design and include the latest of the greatest usability benefits; we only wish they were lighterA simple binding design that has been proven over decades now, available for a fraction of the price of others
Rating Categories Dynafit TLT Expedition Atomic Backland Tour Marker Alpinist 12 G3 Ion LT 12 Dynafit Speed Turn 2.0
Touring Performance (30%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
Downhill Performance (25%)
2.0
6.0
7.0
5.0
4.0
Weight (25%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
Durability (5%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
10.0
Specs Dynafit TLT Expedition Atomic Backland Tour Marker Alpinist 12 G3 Ion LT 12 Dynafit Speed Turn 2.0
Weight (pounds for pair) 1.00 lbs 1.26 lbs 1.18 lbs 2.13 lbs 1.63 lbs
Weight of one binding, grams 226g 286g 268g 483g 370g
Release value range Unrated; vertical only at heel "Men", "Women", "Expert" 6 to 12 5 to 12 4 to 10
Stack height (mm. average of toe and heel pin height) 30mm 37mm 36mm 46mm 38mm
Toe/heel delta (mm difference in height between heel pins and toe pins) 3.5mm 10mm 3mm 12.5mm 17mm
Brake options No brakes 80, 90, 100, 110, 120mm 90, 105, 115mm No brakes No brakes
ISO/DIN Certified? No No No No No
Ski Crampon compatible? Yes. "Standard" Dynafit/ B&D style. Yes. "Standard" Dynafit/ B&D style. Yes. "Standard" Dynafit/ B&D style. With aftermarket part. Only G3 brand. Yes. "Standard" Dynafit/ B&D style.

Our Analysis and Test Results

This is the simplest, most robust AT binding we know of. Tech style bindings are known for simplicity. There are none simpler than the Dynafit Expedition. We can't think of a binding with fewer moving parts or a more long-established pedigree. You choose this binding for lightweight, reliable simplicity. You don't choose it for ease of use or safety. This is a no-compromises choice.

Performance Comparison


The Dynafit Expedition is exactly what you need for super remote...
The Dynafit Expedition is exactly what you need for super remote, long trips like this 2021 excursion into Washington's Picket Range.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Touring Performance


Lightweight tech bindings are all rather similar in touring performance. We expect full range of motion at the toe. When this is lacking, we notice and comment on it. The Expedition has full range of motion. The smaller the binding, the less it will ice up and collect snow. Few are smaller than the Expedition. Icing is minimal. Retention at the toe pivot is as rigid as we know. A few bindings are more flexy or rattly at the toe pivot. Not the Expedition. Finally, let's talk about the heel riser situation on the Dynafit Expedition. There is exactly one position. You can have your heel in a low riser position while touring. Nothing else. Use good skinning technique and modern touring boots with ample ankle mobility and this will not be a problem. Be sloppy with your skinning or somehow limit your ankle mobility, and you will suffer. Long, flat approaches and exits are annoying with perma-lifted heels like on the Expedition.

The simple, proven Dynafit Expedition binding. The exact toe piece...
The simple, proven Dynafit Expedition binding. The exact toe piece appears elsewhere in the Dynafit line, but the no-pivot heel is what sets this product apart.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Downhill Performance


There are two main components of downhill performance in a tech binding. We look at safety release separate from retention and performance. In terms of safety release, the Expedition is among the least sophisticated options on the market. First, there is no certification of the binding release. This is similar to pretty much any touring bindings that are acceptably called "lightweight". The toe releases like other basic tech bindings, and the heel releases vertically too. There is absolutely no lateral release at the heel. To release at the heel, most lightweight tech binding heel pieces pivot out of the way. The Expedition heel does not pivot at all. We cannot call these "safe" backcountry ski bindings in terms of release characteristics. Know, though, that some of the best ski mountaineers use these exact bindings for their reliability. Their safety comes from ski skill and conservative moves.

After release characteristics, we look at boot retention during "normal" skiing. Mainly, this is a discussion of binding geometry and elasticity. Due at least in part to its simplicity, the Expedition has some of the most favorable geometry of any tested bindings. We measured the stack height to be 30mm and the binding delta to be 3.5mm. Different reviewers and manufacturers measure binding geometry differently. We use the same method to measure all the bindings we test. With that, we can confidently assert that the Expedition keeps your foot closer to the ski than any other binding we know of. Further, the difference between toe and heel is less than all but one award-winning binding. These are good things. In terms of binding elasticity, there is essentially none in the Dynafit Expedition. Your boot is either in or out of the binding; nothing in between. That rigid connection is something that most skiers find to be undesirable. Again, super high-end ski mountaineers that we consult with actually prefer the fully rigid connection. Your mileage may vary.

Ride easy on the Dynafit Expedition and you will have a good time...
Ride easy on the Dynafit Expedition and you will have a good time. Charge hard and you risk your connective tissues.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Ease of Use


Simple bindings are easy bindings. If only for the ease of decision-making (you don't have a ton of features to fiddle with and swap between), we like the Expedition. When it comes to ski binding features, the "if you don't have it, you don't need it" maxim applies.

Testing the Dynafit Expedition in the Northern Tetons of Wyoming...
Testing the Dynafit Expedition in the Northern Tetons of Wyoming. Clean, fast transitions allow more skiing. More skiing is good.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Weight


The Expedition is certainly our simplest binding. This makes it close to our lightest binding. Construction is super robust, tipping the scales slightly heavier than a few options. 226g per foot is featherweight. The lightest bindings we would consider for day-to-day ski touring (aside from inbounds fitness skinning or skimo racing) are around 140 grams. The "typical" bindings you will likely be sold at most shops weigh around 400 grams or more. With this in mind, the Expedition is closer to super light than it is to "average". This is good. In the end, these are lightweight bindings that optimize durability and reliability.

On big trips you need to carry your skis. When you need to carry...
On big trips you need to carry your skis. When you need to carry your skis, you will be glad when they are light. Light bindings like the Expedition greatly enhance carry.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Durability


You choose these for durability. This is the simplest, most robust binding model we have tested. As noted above, there are fewer moving parts than in even the lightest bindings in our test. The construction is super robust. The Expedition, as the branding should suggest, is optimized for reliability in super remote, super committing situations. You compromise some function but are far more likely to retain the function you get with this binding choice.

The Dynafit Expedition and our lead test editor in the Big Hole...
The Dynafit Expedition and our lead test editor in the Big Hole Mountains of eastern Idaho.
Photo: Rosie De Lise

Value


For as simple as they are, the Expedition isn't super cheap. You pay for the robust construction. You can spend a lot more, of course, on your ski bindings. But we can't call these a budget choice. Sure, they will last a long, long time. This is good. Through those years of high-volume skiing, you will compromise some safety and function, but you won't wear them out.

Robust skis and tiny bindings are a better way to reach efficiency...
Robust skis and tiny bindings are a better way to reach efficiency while maintaining ski performance than light skis and burly bindings. The Expedition is a light binding that can be used in this way, assuming you can stomach the release compromises.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Conclusion


You choose the Dynafit Expedition for expedition skiing. They perform consistently and reliably and are the antithesis of "sophistication". They hold your boot when you need it to; that's about it — and that's high praise.

Jediah Porter

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