Be Prepared: Dynafit TLT5 Buckle Repair Kit

Post by blogger | April 8, 2011      

When my Dynafit DyNA boots arrived last year, I was astounded at their performance:weight ratio — and over a year later . . .I still am! Ditto for my TLT5 boots this year.

'Rocks, what rocks'? Jonathan oblivious to all the potential buckle-smashing terrain in the vicinity -- good he has his TLT5 repair kit!

Just one major worry about potential durability: That clever combination upper cuff buckle and walk-ski switch. The thing sure does seem vulnerable to damage, given its exposure when tromping around while off your skis, as well as the stresses it must withstand on each skin-to-ski transition.

Break a walk-ski switch or an upper cuff buckle on a typical ski touring boot and you can still ski fine, more or less. But do that on the TLT5 and you’re now trying to ski in tour mode with 60 degrees of nearly resistance-free range of motion.

Considering the above, I assembled a simple repair kit in case of catastrophic failure of the buckle/switch: A large screw rivet to lock together the upper cuff parts, just like the nib on the cuff buckle does (combine with power strap or ski strap to tighten cuff). Screwing your boot cuff together is not exactly the choice for rando race transitions, but should work fine for returning to civilization and the nearest workbench. (Note that in a worst case event you could duct tape the buckle so it held you in downhill mode, then duct tape or strap the cuff tight, thus accomplishing a limp-home repair without having spare parts.)

Dynafit boot repair kit for backcountry skiing.

The large screw rivet I chose (to lock the cuff together in case of total buckle loss) weighs about 0.3 oz combined for male + female ends as well as washer. The smaller screw rivet (to reattach the buckle) is more like 0.03 oz, and as the bite valve for scale shows, is so small that the problem is not finding enough space in your repair kit, but just finding it once in your repair kit!

But repair options can always be improved. On a recent overnight trip to Katahdin, Jerimy broke one of the two rivets that secure the TLT 5 buckle to the shell. He was able to ski out just fine with only a single rivet holding the buckle in place, but this obviously was not a sustainable situation. On a longer trip we would have had to abort.

Uh . . . oh.

Figuring a repair kit specific to TLT 5 upper buckle would be a good thing to carry, Jerimy did some careful measurements and website scrutinizing, then ordered the followed parts from McMaster:
90596A005 Plain Steel Round-Base Weld Nut, 4-40 Thread Size, 3/8″ Base Diameter, 1/8″ Barrel Height
91785A092 18-8 Stainless Steel Truss Head Slotted Machine Screw, 4-40 Thread, 1/4″ Length
96659A101 18-8 Stainless Steel Type A SAE Flat Washer, No. 4 Screw Size, 5/16″ OD, .02″-.04″ Thick
Total cost including shipping (NJ > MA, UPS Ground) was $16.44 — for packs of 100, the minimum size, so share some with your touring partners. (They’re all on the TLT5, right, unless they’re such good friends that you’re willing to wait up for them?)

And fixed -- exterior view.

Blown TLT5 rivet -- exterior view.

And fixed-- interior view.

And fixed with McMaster parts -- interior view.

(WildSnow guest blogger Jonathan Shefftz lives with his wife and daughter in Western Massachusetts, where he is a member of the Northfield Mountain and Thunderbolt / Mt Greylock ski patrols. Formerly an NCAA alpine race coach, he has broken free from his prior dependence on mechanized ascension to become far more enamored of self-propelled forms of skiing. He is an AIARE-qualified instructor, NSP avalanche instructor, and contributor to the American Avalanche Association’s The Avalanche Review. When he is not searching out elusive freshies in Southern New England or promoting the NE Rando Race Series, he works as a financial economics consultant.)


20 Responses to “Be Prepared: Dynafit TLT5 Buckle Repair Kit”

  1. wyomingowen April 8th, 2011 5:00 pm

    great post, thx for doing the research…..if you wanna to lighten the hardware load let me know 110each sounds like more than a lifetimes worth

  2. Rick W April 9th, 2011 9:57 am

    Damn useful post! I’ll be placing an order for said parts!

  3. Glenn Sliva April 9th, 2011 8:12 pm

    Something else to carry. I will be adding this to my emergency repair kit for hut trips.

    Thanks Lou. Duck tape too or gorilla tape etc and zip ties. People laugh when you have this kind of stuff until they get stranded. Then you are the hero. I know you don’t care about being the hero it’s plain practicality and not having to be held up by such a simple failure.

  4. Jonathan Shefftz April 10th, 2011 7:09 pm

    Agreed on the zip/cable ties — can’t beat the ratio of potential utility to nearly zero weight & bulk.

  5. Lynne Wolfe April 10th, 2011 9:54 pm

    Thanks to you Jonathan, I now own a pair of these amazing boots. My wallet is lighter too! But I do love how much easier skinning is, and the control on the descent.

    Maybe you should put together a few sets of these repair parts and sell them (for cost, shipping, and a modest fee for your time) to folks like me?

  6. Mark W April 10th, 2011 11:00 pm

    Truly an amazing boot, but I’m perplexed that the design has such a glaring achilles heel.

  7. Jonathan Shefftz April 11th, 2011 6:25 am

    I wouldn’t call it a glaring achilles heel. Well, except in the sense than an upper cuff with a combined walk-ski switch and single buckle (along with 60 degrees of resistance-free motion of tour mode) lacks the redundancy of a walk-ski switch and two separate buckles, i.e., on the DyNA/TLT5, break that single contraption and a field repair is mandatory, whereas on a typical touring boot you can break lots of hardware before a field repair is even worth the bother.
    Fortunately though, even Jerimy’s break didn’t require a field repair, and I haven’t heard of anything else like that.

  8. Lou April 11th, 2011 7:09 am

    I’m kind of neutral on this. The buckle is indeed vulnerable when in the “factory” touring position, but it can be placed in a sleeker position of you block the touring lock hole with pants fabric or something dropped inside the cuff that blocks the hole (an old credit card, or some other thin flexible plastic). Nonetheless, even in that case rocks are rocks and they have teeth, and buckles do get ripped off any boot when you’re doing things like traversing boulder fields or scrambling rocky summit ridges.

    The repair using Jonathan’s suggested parts is elegant, but even if the buckle was completely removed, you could still pick it up, insert in the lock hole, wrap a strap and some duct tape around it and your boot cuff, tighten, and ski home. So in a way yes the one buckle design is less redundant in terms of failure, but that same lack of redundancy makes repair easy.

  9. Dave Cramer April 11th, 2011 9:03 am

    Dear Dynafit,

    Please do NOT make the TLT5 heavier or more complicated to address a problem that may never happen.

    A Happy Customer

  10. Lou April 11th, 2011 9:44 am

    I’d add, Dear Dynafit, please eliminate the vestigial metatarsal sag as it adds weight and complexity, as well as reducing downhill performance. Other than that, yes, leave everything else as is! The TLT6! (grin)

  11. Geoff April 11th, 2011 10:17 am

    On an unrelated note: great view of the Great Gulf! Were you in King’s Ravine that day?

    Makes me miss the Whites.

  12. Jonathan Shefftz April 11th, 2011 11:58 am

    Yes, after an overnight at Gray Knob in April last year, we played around on the Adams snowfields a bit waiting for optimal softening, then skied King Ravine. The previous afternoon, we’d skied Castle & Jeff. Details here:
    Had less than 24 hours trailhead-to-trailhead (including sleeping overnight etc at the hut) because of family duties, but definitely made the best of an abbreviated weekend.

  13. Federico April 18th, 2011 11:32 am

    😀 … ahahah …
    Dear Customers… enjoy the boots as they are… because Dynafit will not change anything on the TLT5 …
    Dynafit prefers to invest time and money in making newer and different boot lines than changing something on exisiting lines which are working perfectly and sell like hell…

    Peace & Love 8)

  14. Lou April 18th, 2011 11:41 am

    Yes, a matter of semantics. We are indeed waiting for the Evo (AKA TLT6), without metatarsal sag (grin)! Glad the TLT5 will remain as is, indeed a popular boot!

  15. Zoom June 3rd, 2011 4:41 pm

    As I have stated on another wild snow TLT5 thread, I Love these boots!!

    The top buckle is what makes switching from walk to ski so efficient. I have bent mine slightly twice but was able to bend it back by hand in the field.
    Walking in rocks is hard on buckles regardless of the type boots.

    After a seasons skiing I am now having a couple problems with my TLT5’s
    I have blown 3 rivets that hold the non removable tounge to the toe of the boot. I have also been noticing a loss of performance on hard snow. At first I thought it was the popped rivets. However upon closer examination I now know the carbon fiber around the ankle rivets is wearing and I have 1/4 inch sloppy play around the rivets. This ruins the edge to edge response and makes the boot ski poorly. I have never had this happen on a ski boot before.

    Has anybody else had this problem?? Seems to me there needs to be a bushing around the pivot rivet or the boots will not last…Mine are toast…this is a bummer for me because I still have a couple months good snow and lots of skiing left this summer and these boots are so small my old boots will not fit in the bindings…

    Any suggestions on how to send these back for a really quick warranty repair?

    Thanks for your help


  16. Jonathan Shefftz June 3rd, 2011 6:15 pm

    My DyNA have developed this slop, but not my TLT5 . . . yet?
    (DyNA have 75 outings, TLT5 have 50.)

  17. marc December 1st, 2013 2:40 pm

    Hey All,

    Ive broken the wire that serves as the toe buckle on my tlt 5’s anyone know where I can find replacements?

    PS still an amazing boot, with only one buckle, hahaha

  18. Terry April 8th, 2014 2:21 am

    Hey Jonathan,
    A belated thanks for posting this. I bought a 100 pack of this hardware 2 years ago when I got my TLT5s. Am replacing 5 rivets now, all on the toes and the hardware works perfectly.

  19. Kim Springer June 5th, 2016 1:36 pm

    Looking for TLT5 Dynafit buckle, my husband’s broke and guy in the local shop threw it away. HELP

  20. Lou Dawson 2 June 5th, 2016 1:43 pm

    Kim, did you contact Salewa NA yet?

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