The Marker Tour F12 is an excellent backcountry touring ski binding that gives you the best of both worlds in terms of uphill and downhill performance. It’s expensive, which is a definite deterrent, but if you can afford the Tour F12 it will give you everything you want and more to explore the winter wilds.
- Where to buy: Amazon, EVO, REI
- Best for: Backcountry touring skiers who want a reliable and effective binding option that provides effortless movement uphill and serious performances skiing back down.
- Pros: Excellent performance attributes when touring uphill. It offers high-end downhill response in terms of power transfer. Versatile. Can be used for a backcountry and resort setup on the same skis.
- Cons: Very expensive. Costs almost as much as some skis.
- Alternatives: Tyrolia Ambition 12, G3 Ion 12, Atomic Shift MNC 13
Why Trust Me
I’ve been skiing almost as long as I’ve been able to walk. I’ve skied all over the world and have decades of experience skiing on, testing, and reviewing different skis and skiing equipment. I heavily researched the Marker Tour F12 and spoke with a few backcountry enthusiasts who love these bindings. Below is my detailed review.
The Marker Tour F12 has long been a top choice for backcountry skiers who want the capability to tour wherever and whenever they want without sacrificing downhill performance. If you love to get out in the backcountry but also spend a good amount of time at the resort, these bindings will have your back through it all. They are expensive, as most options in the category are, but are well worth the price tag if you have the money.
Backcountry and Touring Performance
These skis are well suited for skinning long trails up to your final destination, and are built to resist the elements. They come with a lightweight design that makes them ideal for skiers looking to shed ounces and not sacrifice performance. That is why they are loved by so many backcountry purists.
A big reason the Tour F12 offers such great uphill performance is the thought-out, backcountry-focused design. The tour mode features a nicely engineered lever that sits under your boot and allows for easy up and down motion without any unwanted or premature release. The entire binding rests on a touring base plate, and you have two different sizing options to choose from.
On top of that, the F12 has two different titanium climbing aids that let you easily switch from 7-degrees to 13-degrees with your poles. That’s an obvious advantage when you’re really digging in on a long hike or skin track, and it gives you quick, easy movements with each step. All of those elements combine for somes serious uphill performance.
One of the best attributes of these bindings is the fact that they give you excellent downhill performance right alongside their serious touring capabilities. Marker is one of the top brands in the binding business and has a strong reputation for creating performance-focused options that meet the needs of high-level skiers. The F12 Tour brings that storied performance into a touring binding, and the result is downright awesome.
When you reach the top of a long ascent and switch these bindings into ski mode, you’re going to be ready for anything. There is not a single terrain or condition that these bindings can’t handle. No matter what your ability is, they will deliver high-end power transfer to translate each and every move of your legs through your boots and into your skis. They respond on a dime. That’s quite impressive for such a lightweight option.
Another aspect I really like about these bindings is that they don’t have to exclusively be used in touring situations. They provide you with the same excellent downhill traits whether you’re on a deep backcountry line or bombing a groomer at the resort. That versatility makes them a good option for skiers who want a one ski setup to use wherever their adventures might take them.
Construction and Durability
The Marker Tour F12’s engineering and construction helps it shine in many mountain situations. The bindings are constructed to withstand anything that comes their way. In addition, they have durable plastics and metals that allow them to easily last for many seasons of steady skiing. That ensures they won’t wear down after heavy use.
The toe piece features a Triple Pivot Light Toe design that’s both compact and effective at holding your boot in place whether headed uphill or down. This toe piece also has an aluminum bridge to add a little extra strength and stability without putting on too much weight. An anti-friction device, similar to what comes on almost all Marker bindings, helps to keep excess snow from building and allows you to quickly step in and stay secure.
The heel piece utilizes a hollow linkage design that makes them compatible with a wide variety of boots, touring and resort alike. This hollow design also helps to minimize weight, and is constructed to withstand heavy use. The extended power frame also helps increase performance across the board. You also can pick between various size options, which increase the versatility.
Price and Value
For all the amazing performance features that the Marker Tour F12 has to offer, they are pretty expensive. Though they sit right in the range of other high-end alpine touring bindings, that doesn’t make them affordable. If money isn’t a big concern, these bindings offer great value as a result of their rugged design and excellent performance. If you’re on a budget, that value somewhat drops.
What I Like
The Marker Tour F12 Bindings are some of the best alpine touring ski bindings out there. That means they are great if you like to spend your days off the beaten path searching for fresh lines and untouched snow. They are built to withstand the rigorous demands of touring and their lightweight nature comes in handy when you’re on the trail of a once in a lifetime experience.
I like the ease with which you can switch from touring mode to ski mode as well. With a change of a lever, the entire binding moves 40mm backward for when you’re heading uphill. That may not sound like much, but the little shift of the binding greatly increases your range of motion. It also keeps you balanced and active when your heel is loose.
The bindings’ outstanding downhill performance is also something that’s easy to like. Even if you aren’t a backcountry skier, these bindings will give you excellent hold, power transfer, and response no matter what style of skiing you like the most. Touring bindings will often sacrifice some downhill ability to shed ounces and keep things light. That’s far from the case here.
What I Don’t Like
The biggest aspect I dislike about these bindings is their high price. They are expensive. There’s no way around that. The elevated price tag alone will keep them out of the realm of possibility for a lot of skiers because it’s hard to justify shelling out that much cash on something that isn’t a set of skis. That said, they are definitely worth it if you can afford them. It’s just hard to recommend them without putting the price into play.
My only other complaint is, even though Marker claims the F12’s are crampon compatible, wearing the claws on your boots and strapping into the bindings can hurt their longevity. That’s easy to understand and, although you can keep your crampons on when you’re in a pinch, I would try to limit how much time you spend stepped in with these on.
There are plenty of options in the world of alpine touring bindings these days. If you want to explore some nice alternatives to the Marker Tour F12, check these out:
- Tyrolia Ambition 12 – This is another one of the top options in the world of high-quality touring bindings. They give you serious uphill advantages without sacrificing downhill performance. They are versatile enough to be used at the resort and in the backcountry, and are compatible with nearly every boot length. The Freeflex system is effective and makes these bindings easy to use.
- G3 Ion 12 – Backcountry focused skiers will love everything that the G3 Ion 12 has to offer. These are an extremely lightweight option best suited for a strictly touring setup. They are reliable and durable in a way that keeps you engaged uphill. On the way down, they also offer excellent retention and hold. The wide toe jaw and tech pins are compatible with a lot of touring boots, and it’s easy to switch from touring to ski mode.
- Atomic Shift MNC 13 – This is another great backcountry touring binding. They are actually some of the best you can find because of how they rival the Marker Tour F12 across the board. They are more expensive than just about every other option as well. Excellent uphill abilities combine with serious downhill performance to give you a reliable binding in the backcountry and beyond.
I see the Marker Tour F12 bindings come in small and large sizes, which should I get?
The small binding size will fit boot sole lengths of 265-325mm. The large binding size will fit boot sole lengths of 305-365mm.
Are these bindings good to use with wider skis?
Yes. These bindings come in a variety of brake sizes. That makes them versatile enough to work with a variety of ski widths.
Can these bindings be used as a resort binding or are they just for touring?
They can be used for both with flying colors. The excellent downhill performance traits of the Marker Tour F12 makes them one of the best options to use if you like to ski both backcountry and the resort on only one ski setup.
he Marker Tour F12 is a solid, all-around binding. It gives you the best of both worlds in terms of uphill and downhill performance, and comes with an innovative construction designed by one of the biggest binding brands in the world. These bindings are expensive, but their durability and performance will give you years of steady use. A great choice for both the backcountry and the resort.