The 2021 Backcountry Gear Guide

This is the year to go remote, and our 2021 Gear Guide has all the skis, boards, boots and bindings to get you there.

Subscribe today to get the 2021 Backcountry Gear Guide.

Whether you’re looking for your first backcountry setup or just updating those well-loved planks, we’ve got unbiased and in-depth reviews of 51 skis and 29 splitboards that will take you where you want to go, wherever that may be. Plus, 21 boots, 12 bindings and 28 pieces of apparel, all of which was tested at our annual Gear Test Week at Powder Mountain, Utah last March by our team of 43 testers—hailing from Vermont to California and everywhere in between. No matter what happens this winter season, our 2021 Gear Guide has you covered.

To get the 2021 Gear Guide, subscribe today, just $32.95 for a year of Backcountry, including the 2021 Gear Guide »




The years best skis reviewed!



The years best ski boots reviewed!



The years best AT ski and telemark bindings reviewed!



The years best splitboards, boots and bindings reviewed!



Subscribe now to get the 2021 Backcountry Gear Guide!


Get your copy of the 2021 Gear Guide with in-depth reviews of all 34 Editors’ Choice winners, plus more than 120 must-have skis, splitboards, boots, bindings and apparel.


  1. Albert McDonald says:

    Who doesn’t need a five pound touring binding? Hilarious. I hope everyone on the skin track heeds your advice :). Thanks for getting the gear issue out!

  2. This is a really big help on my site, about the 2021 backcountry gear guide. i will apply this tips on my own big thank you for sharing really appreciate it.

  3. When does it drop?!?! I am beyond excited and have been checking my mail daily. The wait is agonizing.

    • Tyler Cohen says:

      Hi Connor, The Gear Guide is at the printer currently! Subscribers can expect the Gear Guide in your mailbox in about the next two to four weeks, and it’ll be on newsstands in early October. We’ll also be announcing our Editors’ Choice Awards beginning next week.

      • Connor Wilkins says:

        Hey Tyler! Have these started shipping?

        • Tyler Cohen says:

          Yes! Subscriber copies began shipping at the beginning of the week!

          • Connor Wilkins says:

            Awesome!! Can’t wait for mine to arrive!! Will be checking often!

          • Connor Wilkins says:

            Any chance they have all been shipped yet? I’ve been looking in my mailbox daily. Haven’t gotten an email it says it’s shipped yet though.

          • Tyler Cohen says:

            Hi Connor, Your issue shipped on September 24. Magazines are definitely beginning to arrive in people’s mailboxes, but postal shipping times can vary widely based on location. You should see it soon!

          • Connor Wilkins says:

            Okay, rreally good to know. What if I don’t see it in my mailbox? its been 2 weeks and a day, and typically mail takes about 3-6 days to arrive here in CO

      • For those of us long-time subscribers that try to do our thing and not get print and all it’s associated carbon intensity with delivery etc why isn’t it up immediately on the app and why do you use such a terrible and glitchy app (PixelMag) to begin with? What’s the timing on electronic media? Please don’t say contact PixelMag customer service. They never, ever, ever, respond to anything.

        • Tyler Cohen says:

          We’ve passed along your query and email address to our customer service folks, and they should be in touch shortly to help you get your hands on a digital edition of the magazine.

  4. Scott Welsh says:

    When will I receive my gear guide issue? I am a subscriber already it’s mid September and haven’t received it. Looking to purchase some gear this year and I always look forward to your gear guide issue.

  5. When are you releasing the digital subscription gear guide?

  6. Meg Hamilton says:

    Great cover shot on the 20/21 Gear Guide!

  7. Enjoying reading thru gear guide. Really helpful as I mull over next board choice. Curious if you tested a mens Solution and didn’t include it or you only had the womens? The womens version sounds pretty nice.

  8. Hamish McLean says:

    Where is the Pixel Mags copy ? I’m an international reader and this is the only sensible way to read this mag – by the way it’s the same with Freeskier as well – they are holding my subscription money but zero product. Ultimately it reflects on you guys.

    • Tyler Cohen says:

      Hamish, We too are having issues with Pixel Mags that we’re working to sort through. In the meantime, I’ve passed your email along to our subscriptions department, and they will be in touch directly with a digital copy of the Gear Guide.

  9. Ferd La Motte says:

    Hey Tyler and crew….just got our issue….Thanks for making us proud,….Izzy’ folks

  10. Frustrated tone shopping for skis but unable to get my digital copy of the 2021 Gear Guide. Can you help? The issue does not show up on my account. Why so late on the delivery?

    • Tyler Cohen says:

      Hi Paul, Sorry this issue. We’re working through some technical problems with the service we use to publish the digital version of our magazine through the various apps. In the meantime, I’ll pass your email along to our subscriptions department, and they will be in touch directly with a digital copy of the Gear Guide.

  11. Just wanted to echo the several comments about the delay in getting 134 2021 Gear Guide. I have a digital subscription and no sign of it yet:

  12. Can I order the gear guide and not subscribe?

  13. I subscribed in hopes of receiving the 2021 gear guide as the first issue. When can I expect that issue? first time subscriber really just hoping to get my hands on the gear guide. Was a little disappointed when the first issue came in and it wasn’t the gear guide:(

    • Tyler Cohen says:

      Hi Kaden, Thank you for subscribing and sorry that this post is confusing. It’s from last September, when we were promoting the 2021 Gear Guide, which was launching at that time. We’ll update the text above accordingly, and if you’d like to receive the 2021 Gear Guide, please email

      We publish our Gear Guide annually in late summer, and it covers the gear for that upcoming winter, which—while it’s somewhat confusing—is why a 2021 Gear Guide is published in September 2020. If you recently received the Journeys Issue (#139), your next issue will be the 2022 Gear Guide—and we’re hard at work on that one, testing gear all across the U.S. to create that issue’s reviews.


  1. […] to be more than a gimmick. WNDR (pronounced “wonder”) has picked up nods from Freeskier and Backcountry magazines. And, at the end of September, it earned Fast Company’s Innovation by Design award in […]

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