G3 ION LT Ski Touring Binding — Long Term Review

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 6, 2016      
The G3 ION bindings lost in the carbon sea of the Spoons.

G3 ION Lt bindings lost in the carbon sea of DPS Spoons.

G3 has done an excellent job with the ION binding. The design is fairly standard, as far as tech bindings go. However, it’s well thought out, and has some key improvements. It is also well made; all parts are what appears to be reinforced plastic or metal.

I’ve been using the LT since last winter, on a variety of skis. I mounted them on the mega fat DPS Spoon skis. I intended to only use the setup in powder, but ended up skiing them on the occasional icy resort day — not my favorite thing but a good test. Icy conditions, wide skis, and tech bindings set to “normal” release values can be a bad combination. I was cautious initially, but eventually grew confident in the binding’s ability to hold me in. I haven’t pre-released yet in the IONs. Apparently the geometry of the toe unit as well as adequate toe wing pressure make a difference.

Added value re the toe unit performance: Many people find they can tour some distance without locking the toes. That’s nice when you forget to lock, and can be beneficial when tiptoeing through avalanche terrain.

(See our research on tech binding toe wings.)

With their earlier tech binding attempt, the Onyx, G3 made a truly different binding. Unfortunately that meant it wasn’t what many people wanted. With the ION G3 takes a different tact, improving on known issues with the “standard” tech binding design. For example, ION doesn’t seem to be breaking for users near as often as has happened to many (if not most) tech bindings over the years. Further, it has reasonable ramp angle (the higher toe looks odd until you realize it’s just bringing things up closer to the height of your heel), a nice heel-lifter flipper setup, and the heel unit forward-back slider spring locks when you’re in touring mode to prevent wear.

The ION Lt is very similar to G3’s standard ION binding. It cuts weight from the ION through eliminating the brake and the front step-in boot toe locator mechanism. The base plate of the binding is also changed slightly. The functional parts of the binding are all the same as the standard ION. The Lt weighs 482 grams (with screws, no leash) as compared to the standard Ion, which weighs 626 grams (ION 10 with brake and screws).

Top: G3 Ion Lt. Bottom: G3 ION 10.

Top: G3 ION Lt. Bottom: G3 ION 10.

The ION heal lifters are wonderfully easy to use. They are symmetrical, so it doesn’t matter which way the heel is turned when you flip into touring mode. Also, the lifters have a nice sturdy spring, so they “snap” into place with a little flick (known issue in the first gen, some of the heel lifter “snap” would disappear, this was taken care of on warranty and all of this year’s bindings). Not everything is perfect, one disadvantage to this heel lifter system is gone are the days when I could reach down with my ski pole and rotate the binding heel. Now I have to at least bend over to rotate the heel, or take my skis off. (Since LT doesn’t have brakes, it’s much easier to rotate, ION models with brakes require you do things exactly right or the brake won’t lock up for touring.)

I’m not a big fan of the “step in” boot locator mechanism on the standard G3 ION. It didn’t seem to add much function — it only adds complexity and weight (and cost?). Thankfully, G3 removed that feature on the LT. In fact, in my opinion, G3 removed all the right things to make the ION LT, and nothing they shouldn’t have. In doing so, the created one of the best tech binding options out there. ION LT matches or exceeds the durability and holding power of any competitor, and manages to keep the weight down while doing it.

Shop for G3 bindings here.


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30 Responses to “G3 ION LT Ski Touring Binding — Long Term Review”

  1. Jason December 6th, 2016 2:18 pm

    It’s great to hear you are liking the Ion LT for the long term.

    The G3 has a wider mounting pattern than the Dynafit speed radical, correct? Seems like the best option for Volkl BMTs and their H shaped mounting plate.

  2. Sam December 6th, 2016 2:52 pm

    Several things should be mentioned further. ‘Forward pressure’ or elasticity in the heel piece, the toe piece is taller to allow cleaning ice from under the toe. This is why it is higher, the added benefit is reduced ramp angle. The toe seems to be the easiest tech toe to get into in my opinion. Some mention should be made of G3’s minimal size options in their ski crampon which is the only drawback I can find to this binding.

  3. cam December 6th, 2016 3:24 pm

    G3 now has 95mm and 115mm crampons on their website for direct web sales. Hope this helps.

  4. cam December 6th, 2016 3:31 pm
  5. NT December 6th, 2016 4:06 pm

    Just got my wife the ion 12’s with brakes. She’s able to go from tour to ski mode by levering with her pole, using her boot as a fulcrum as is shown in the instructions.
    Brake is fiddly for sure though.

  6. Scott December 6th, 2016 6:55 pm

    Sorry to admit it Lou; but the Ion is the binding Dynafit should have made!

  7. JC December 6th, 2016 7:39 pm

    Any exact figures on the ramp angle? Much less than the Ion 12?

  8. Derek December 7th, 2016 6:11 am

    How does the mounting pattern stack up to a ’15/’16 Kingpin? Looking to remount my ZeroG108’s with a lighter tech binding and move the Kingpins to a more side country/resort’ish ski and I’ve been eyeing the LTs for the 108s

  9. cn December 7th, 2016 7:22 am

    How does the Dynafit Radical toe fit into that comparison chart? Is it tighter than the Verticals? Less retention than the Plum Guide? Thanks!

  10. Lee December 7th, 2016 7:58 am

    Are you running the BnD leashes or going naked?

  11. Lou Dawson 2 December 7th, 2016 9:06 am

    JC, see this blog post and remember that ramp angle is dependent on boot sole length as well as heel and toe height of binding.



  12. Lou Dawson 2 December 7th, 2016 9:14 am

    Lee, Louie is untethered at this time, I can say that all of us in the clan tend to switch hit when it comes to using leashes. I tend to use them more when I’m skiing deep powder and of course always use at resorts, and while traveling when I can’t easily replace a lost ski. Lou

  13. Lou Dawson 2 December 7th, 2016 9:27 am

    CN, please leave comments on the post they refer to. Thanks, Lou


  14. Rom December 7th, 2016 4:02 pm

    If you hold your pole with your hand forward of the heal unit, and give the rear of the unit a quick hit, it will snap into ski mode and you don’t have to bend over. Easier than rotating a Dynafit, though kind of hard to explain in these comments.

  15. Lou Dawson 2 December 7th, 2016 4:25 pm

    Rom, I fooled around with this and it seems I’m always going back to just taking my skis off during transition. That said, it’s clear that for some folks the ION with brake can indeed be switched pretty easily into ski mode from uphill mode, so I appreciate you guys bringing it up. Lou

  16. Bryan December 7th, 2016 6:48 pm

    I bought and skied these bindings the first year they were released. Great product. I was skeptical going in given all the issues that first gen tech bindings have had, but huge props to G3 for release a product that was actually ready for the market.

    FWIW, I think the heel risers are a good design that still needs refinement. They seem to get “sloppy” and loose the tension that holds them in place…occasionally making them seem like they rattle around.

    That’s a minor complaint for me though. Will buy them again if they exist when my current bindings don’t work anymore.

  17. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2016 8:44 am

    Bryan, I was told that the heel lifter problem has been fixed, am assuming your warranty will cover? You might give it a shot.

    Your impressions of the ION are exactly ours, thanks for the confirmation.


  18. nate porter December 8th, 2016 1:20 pm

    Hi Louie,
    Have you seen much wear on the darker grey plastic piece that holds the heel piece in place when rotated into tour mode? Seems like with repeated use, this plastic on plastic interface could wear away some of the plastic on the darker piece.

  19. Bryan December 9th, 2016 12:01 am


    Yeah, I did get replacement heels, which G3 was very good about replacing. Frankly the “warrantied” heel pieces still worked fine at the time I sent them back, but G3 replaced them anyway. I think I expected the “tension” in the heel risers to remain the same on day 1 and day 40. The risers still seem to “loosen” up for lack of a better term. Aside from those small issues, the IONs are reliable and ski great.

  20. John December 9th, 2016 11:22 am

    Lou/Louie have you guys heard of any breakage issues in relation to the plastic pivot point between springs located at the center of the toe piece? I skied with a guy who had a binding break there last year and hadn’t heard of that failure before. He had just flown with his skis so it is VERY likely that it was due to how the baggage handler treated them, vs an issue with the binding. They look like a real cool binding and something that I’ll consider when I retire my current pair of Verticals.

  21. Drew Tabke December 12th, 2016 9:51 am

    Man that’s a sexy setup.

  22. Alex beck December 3rd, 2017 12:35 pm

    I killed my G3 Ion (first version) now the second time. In both cases the bolt holding the heal lifters broke and I had three pieces (1 bolt, 2 lifters) in my hand. I find this behaviour very “interesting” because I only weight 65 kg which is not a lot.

  23. Lou Dawson 2 December 3rd, 2017 12:37 pm

    Sorry to hear that, known defect, said to be fixed in later versions (our use bears that out), as well as can be swapped on warranty. Lou

  24. George March 28th, 2018 2:44 pm

    I wonder if the issue I’m experiencing with my Ion 10 (bought fall 2017 from backcountry.com, so it’s a current model) is a common one, whether it calls for a warranty claim, or maybe there is an easy fix. Both of my heel turrets have a vertical play of 0.5, maybe 1 mm. I feel that my boot moves with the binding because the turrets move along their vertical axis. Also, likely related, I have a very hard time rotating the turret from skin to ski position. To the point that I got scared at the top of a run that I’ll have to walk down. Later I figured that if I pull the turret up, it rotates normally. So again, it tells me that this vertical play is not normal. Any advise? Thanks!

  25. Lou Dawson 2 March 28th, 2018 5:25 pm

    Doesn’t sound normal. Lou

  26. Bar Barrique March 29th, 2018 10:33 am

    I am not familiar with this particular model, but the 2017/18 Ion 12; has a feature to prevent the brake from inadvertently coming down while skinning, or auto rotating due to snow build up. When you turn the heel to the tour position, it will click down (when pressured), locking the heel from turning,. when you want to turn the heel to the ski position, you need to pull up on the heel. This change could have been better communicated by G3.

  27. Lou Dawson 2 March 29th, 2018 10:48 am

    I guess I’ve got too many old bindings kicking around here (smile). Thanks Bar

  28. Bar Barrique March 29th, 2018 11:23 am

    No problem, I have learned a lot from yourself, and, the other posters on this site for somewhere around 20 years.

  29. George March 29th, 2018 12:03 pm

    Thank you Bar and Lou! This is something, but – this movement is also present in ski mode, and it is very annoying… Do you experience this in ski mode?

  30. Bar Barrique March 29th, 2018 1:37 pm

    Hi George; I don’t own a set of these (Ion 12) bindings. A friend of mine got a set in the fall, and, it took some sleuthing to figure out what was going on, as the dealer was not aware of this new feature. Eventually my friend found a video on the G3 website that described this feature. It is possible that your bindings do have a problem. I wonder whether forcing the binding to turn without pulling up on the heel piece could cause some wear in the mechanism.

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