Atomic Backland Carbon AT Boots Review

April 13, 2016
GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS
90
Fit/Comfort
8
Lightweight
9
Power
7
Walk-ability
9
Versatility
7

The Good

  • Super light
  • Incredible cuff rotation
  • Simple & effective 2 buckle design

The Bad

  • Too light to drive big powder skis
  • Thin liners cause cold feet
  • Not compatible with frame bindings
  • Low cuff, poor support
THE VERDICT

The Atomic Backland Carbon Boots are insanely light AT boots. While that’s great for backcountry skiing they can be a challenge for skiing in variable snow conditions. Compared to other boots in the test they they are on the lighter side but this also mean that they’re less effective at driving bigger skis. Their 74° of cuff rotation (forward/back flex) is unmatched by other AT boots tested. While the Atomic Backland Carbon Boots are comfortable and provide good foot hold, the liners are minimal and don’t keep your feet warm enough.

FULL REVIEW

A secure boot fit is a combination of a well design shell, ideally placed buckles and a thermo formable liner, all of which the Atomic Backland Carbon Boots possess. It is also lightweight and provides a great range of motion for walking and skinning.

Fit/Comfort
With only two buckles the Backland Carbon Boots are a snap to put on and take off and with a removable tongue the job becomes even easier. The true benefit of taking the tongue out however is to provide more range of motion on the skin track, but who really needs more than 74°? The Forefoot buckle utilizes a Cross Lace System which wraps the foot securely and eliminates the need for a 3rd lower buckle. Built in buckle catches and a 30mm power strap round things out to provide a really well thought out system for holding your foot securely.

Light Weight
The Atomic Backland Carbon AT Boots utilize a full carbon spine to provide stiffness and rigidity while reducing weight. This in conjunction with the grilamid shell makes them one of the lightest non-rando race boot on the market. At only 5.1 lbs. (US men’s size 9 per pair) the Atomic Backland Carbon’s are direct competitors to the new 2016/17 Scarpa F1’s and the Arc’teryx Procline ski mountaineering boots.

Power
Given the Backland Carbon’s light weight, it did a surprisingly good job at driving the 184cm Volkl V-werks Katana skis I tested them with. True, the Backland Carbon’s aren’t designed to drive such a fat ski, but that’s precisely why I tested them with a ski at 112mm underfoot. The Backland Carbon boots rocks as a dedicated alpine touring boot but beyond that you will push the limits of it’s design.

Walk-ability
With 74° of cuff rotation you can literally run in the Backland Carbon Boots. Hence, skinning up any angle of skin track is incredibly easy. The Free/Lock 2.0 mechanism joins the cuff to the shell so that you have a solid 13-15 degree forward lean for skiing. With a quick vertical flip of the mechanism you’re in walk mode and the lower shell and spine can move independently for effortless walking and climbing.

Versatility
The Backland Carbon isn’t a one-boot-does-all, but rather a really capable alpine touring boot. Buy it for ski touring and you’ll be a happy camper, expect it to be your resort boot too and you’ll find the limitations of it’s light weight design.

 


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