Back in December, I received a message from Hugh Patterson, the developer of the Lift Basket. Hugh explained how he was frustrated by always having to flip his poles upside down to manipulate the heal lifts on his Marker AT bindings. To counter this, Hugh has developed the Lift Basket - a dual compound pole basket that allows you to manipulate your AT bindings without flipping your poles around.
Here they are, the Lift Baskets in all their glory. These are a pre-production model, so you can only just make out the stiffer plastic compound.
The Lift Basket website explains how they work really well, so I will only quickly provide a description. The Lift Baskets are made out of two types of plastic - one is flexy for your standard pole planting activities and makes up most of the basket. The second plastic is stiff, and is intended to be able to manipulate your bindings. The stiffer plastic makes up about 30% of the basket, with the remainder being the flexy plastic.
My mission was to see if the Lift Baskets would work with the G3 Onyx Binding. In fact, Hugh found me through my "Tips and Tricks" video of the same binding. Who says the internet doesn't connect people?
First step - mounting the lift basket on your poles. The directions provided are complete and accurate. However, they fail to mention how violent the process is! After some drilling out of the holes, and hammering the baskets on, followed by some boiling water, I had them attached.
The Lift Baskets installed. Note - they currently will only work on full metal poles - Hugh will work on a version that will mount on a plastic tipped pole when he gets production going.
The big question - does the Lift Basket work with the G3 Onyx Binding. The answer is a definite yes. Yes they do. Although they do have to be mounted "backwards" relative to the mounting instructions on the website. However, with a telescoping pole, this isn't an issue as you can easily rotate them by unlocking your poles.
Of course, like anything G3 Onyx related, there is a bit of a learning curve. As I have only toured twice all season due to a lack of snow, I haven't got a lot of time with the Lift Baskets in, but I have more planned. One bonus feature I have discovered so far - you can use the Lift Baskets to flip your touring boots to "walk" mode! Very handy for when you are rushing to get on the tee bar and don't have time to bend down and flip them. With more practice, this will become my go-to method for changing the mode on my boots.
If you interest is peaked by this initial review, you can now order them thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign. Congratulations to Hugh, and check back for a more detailed review of the Lift Basket.