Expert Review: Marker Kingpin 13 Ski Bindings · 2022

This review is my honest opinion of the bindings, which I purchased with my own money in May of 2022.

Skiing down through nice powder in the Marker Kingpin 13s.

Coming down from Silver Star peak. All photos courtesy of Sam Tipps

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About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the bindings, which I purchased with my own money in May of 2022.

My take

The Marker Kingpin 13 is a great binding option for people both new to and experienced in ski touring. They aim to strike a balance between weight, safety, and suspension. Rather than a traditional touring binding, the Kingpins have a fully DIN-certified binding system with a hefty heel piece. This adds weight but increases confidence on the downhill with full DIN certification, which was a must for me. I like skiing big lines and didn’t want to toy with premature release in the backcountry. I highly recommend these bindings for touring if one isn't a lightweight freak. They are lighter than any alpine binding but don’t compromise on safety and maintain good suspension for a confident ride down any slope.

Shot of both of my boots clicked into the Marker Kingpin 13s.

Shot of both of my boots clicked into the Marker Kingpin 13s

About the gear

  • Model: 2022 Marker Kingpin 13 Ski Bindings

About me

  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 195lbs
  • Preferred DIN range: 10-12
  • Experience: 15 years of skiing

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: May 2022
  • Days tested: 30
  • Boots: Scarpa Maestrale
  • Boot Size: 28.5
  • Skis: Blizzard Zero G 105
  • Where I’ve used it: Washington state, North Cascades, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, Steven’s Pass backcountry, and Alpine Lakes backcountry.
  • Terrain: Bulletproof ice on Mt. St. Helens, corn on Mt. Rainier, powder in the Alpine Lakes backcountry, and steeps.

How they perform

Durability
5/5
Power Transfer
3/5
Release Reliability
5/5
Uphill Performance
4/5
Versatility
5/5

What I was looking for

I needed my first touring bindings and wanted a pair that struck a balance between being lightweight and safe but still had some of the suspension of an alpine binding.

Close up of the Marker Kingpin 13 bindings.

Slight wear and tear on the toe piece where you click in, as expected

Why I chose this gear

I decided on the Kingpin 13s because they had a high enough DIN setting for me to feel comfortable with, were compatible with ski crampons, and had an alpine-like heel system, but still lost weight at the toes. I also considered some pure-touring options like the G3 Zeds, but they were too minimalist for me. I also got the Kingpins in a great bundle deal with my Blizzard Zero G 105s, which sealed the deal for me.

A skier standing on his skis.

Clicked into the Marker Kingpin 13s, ready to ascend into the Alpine Lakes backcountry

A skier walking up a ski hill.

Skinning up in the North Cascades

What I love about them

  • Release Reliability: These have never released prematurely on me and have kept me locked in place when I need them.
  • Downhill Performance: I feel very safe in the downhill, as I can charge both on hardpack and in powder without fear of premature release, particularly thanks to my confidence with the bindings being fully DIN certified.
  • Uphill Performance: Great stability in the toe piece, holding me sturdily in place while allowing a great range of motion for skinning in flat to steep conditions.
  • Durability: These have lasted me 30+ days over two seasons without any hiccups or issues. There is some common scratching on the pieces, most often in contact with my boot, but I am not concerned since those pieces are solid metal without any parts to break.
  • Versatility: These are compatible with all of the expected binding accessories: ski crampons, two adjustable heel risers, and other extra goodies. They are fully DIN adjustable to cater to whatever release sensitivity one needs for their ski objective. They have an extra-tight toe clamp to keep one's pins in place, and they offer extra suspension in the toe piece for a better downhill ride.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Weight: The heel is heavier due to having a fully DIN-certified release and safety mechanism, but it’s a tradeoff I am happy to make.
  • Power Transfer: Lacks power transfer in the toe piece, which makes sense, given that the toe piece is a lightweight touring binding.
A skier skinning up a steep hill.

Skinning up some steeps to Silver Star peak

Favorite moment with this gear

I felt so lightweight and confident skinning up to Camp Muir on Rainier, and these bindings really helped me feel confident and swift on my feet while knowing I could rip fun lines on the way down without fear of any binding issues.

Value for the money vs. other options

The Kingpin 13 has a similar price to other ultralight bindings, but they can often be found in solid bundle deals with skis, which makes them great for a first-touring setup. There aren’t any other bindings on the market that offer a fully DIN-compatible touring setup while also having a stripped-down toe piece, making these unique. They are about the same price as other high-end ultralight bindings, so my decision came down to valuing the safety of the DIN certification versus the weight savings of an ultralight pair of bindings.

Final verdict

The Marker Kingpin 13s are an excellent first pair of touring bindings that successfully deliver stability, safety, and weight. In addition, they balance the common tradeoffs made by more “traditional” touring bindings in favor of a fully DIN-certified touring binding compatible with all of the accessories one will need in the field.

Selling Marker on Curated.com
Marker Kingpin 13 Ski Bindings · 2022
From $402.99
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Ski Expert Sam Tipps
Sam Tipps
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Written By
An east coast skiier at heart, I grew up learning the Northeast and it's ice like the back of my hand. After 21 years there I moved to Seattle, where my backcountry and deep pow adventures are endless.

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