Ah, splitboard skins. You either Love Em or hate em. There really is no in-between. Luckily we took the guess work out of finding a solid pair of splitboard skins for your next tour. One thing to keep in mind is for the most part splitboard skins are not coming cut from the factory to exactly match each board. This creates areas where snow can and will get in and under the skin.
Everyone has a good splitboard skin story, that’s for sure. Below are the skin we recommend for a fun, safe outing in the backountry. Oh and PS some of these skins are hard to find without contacting the manufactures directly as they are European brands.
Best Splitboard Skins
Kohla Mix-Mohair Skins
Mohair is easier to glide but you sacrifice traction; synthetic fibers optimize traction but, as you can probably deduce from this little rundown, it’s tougher to glide. With a mohair/synthetic mix, you get the best of both worlds and across the most variable conditions. And depending on the depth and mix of the fibers, the mix can actually become a stronger beast than either individually. Kohla’s mix and length delivers just this and in spades.
They also use less material and less adhesive. This means your skins are easier to separate at those early morning trailheads. It also means they can roll up to smaller than a beer can and you can shove them into even the most-overfull backpacks because, hell, Backcountry 101 means you need to be prepared for every occasion and as you learn more about the what ifs, you realize you need more on your back.
Colltex Whizzz Skin
What is it that makes the Wizzz skins from Colltex differ from other skins on the market? The Whizzz is made of 65% mohair + 35% polyamide. Mohair is the tried and true material for skins that offers great grip and glide all in one. What the Wizzz does is combine mohair with an acrylic adhesive glue-less layer that makes these skins super easy to pull apart and store without the need for a skin saver net.
High Trail Evotec Splitboard Skins
I will start with what I really like about these skins. First off they are glueless making them incredibly easy to pull on and off your splitboard, and even easier to pull apart when the skins are stuck together, no more mesh needed.
One the way up it will be hard to find another pair of skins with this much traction. The Evotec skins use a silicone-based adhesion, to be honest not sure what that means, but it’s not glue and its working much better then any of the other 4 pairs of skins I am currently testing. That much I can tell you.
Past Winners: by Ben Osborne
Nothing is more frustrating than spending the first hour of your day messing with your skins trying to get them to work. Or the last half hour, or any time in between that.
It’s important to have a pair of skins that is durable and fits the type of skiing you are doing. Here’s a few quality companies you can rely on year in and year out that make some of the best splitboard skins on the market and why :
As of now, there are skins made of three different types of material on the market—Nylon, Mohair, and Mixed (Nylon & Mohair). Essentially Nylon gives the user more uphill grip, and is more durable, while Mohair generally glides better, is a bit lighter (can pack into your pocket easier as well), but may be more susceptible to breaking down due to wear and tear.
Jones Snowboards Pomoca Splitboard Skins
Many people might see the name Jones and rush out to buy their newest product. When it comes to boards, they are one of the top producers, so clearly the team is going to make a solid pair of skins, especially when teamed up with the likes of Pomoca. Made of 100% mohair, Jones Skins will be real sticky on steep tracks but will sacrifice some on the glide.
Like most Jones products, theses skins are on the high end for pricing ($175.00), and well worth the cost.
G3 Splitboard Skins
All of G3’s skins come with some level of a mix of nylon on mohair, with different models containing different levels of each. The nice thing about G3 skins is the amount of choices they offer, with different levels of traction, glide, and options for both skiiers and boarders! Beautiful. Visit their site to decide if you’re a high traction kinda guy/gal, or if you need to use their Momix model for a bit more glide. G3 skins typically have a bit more glide than the average skin, so beware when purchasing them if you are especially opposed to a little extra glide—it can be quite inconvenient at times, or extremely convenient in the right situation.
In addition to many options for types of skin, G3 has a great tail/nose clip system, which works quite well. Quality choice for skins for slightly cheaper ($188) than brands like Black Diamond, but beware of the GLIDE—unless you need it.
Colltex Splitboard Skins
Never heard of Colltex before? Me neither. That’s probably because these babies are the Lamborghini of splitboarding skins, and lets be honest neither you or me will ever be able to afford a Lamborghini. Colltex offers high quality skins for a high price, but they are well worth it. With models from Extreme (best grip, excellent glide) to the Race (exponential glide), you have your pick of the nicest skins on the market today.
Once again unavailable to splitboarders, but maybe one day they will smarten up. This setup is quality, durable, but potentially hard to find due to the fact they are based out of Switzerland. If you want the best, this is the place to go.
Once upon a time, there were little options for splitboarders looking for climbing skins. Some went with Voile, one of the first companies to throw their lots in with the dark side, while others tampered with ski skins to create a less-than perfect setup. Many companies have followed in the path of Voile and the market has been flooded with options for the growing number of backcountry snowboarders. How can one know which is the best option?
Spark R&D Splitboard Skins
Spark R&D is the company synonymous with the sport and it is exciting to see them branch out from bindings with their own set of skins. As always, they find ways to make the sport more enjoyable and user-friendly. Tail clips that adjust without tools and G3 high friction material make these seriously grippy skins solid in all sorts of conditions.
Spark sold out of these skins blindingly quickly ($190.00), so that either means their name holds incredible value in the splitboard world or these skins are insanely well built. Either way, I don’t think you can go wrong.
Voile Splitboard Skins
The classic. Voile skins have proven to fit almost all brands of splitboard and hold up to massive amounts of abuse. Voile makes them extra-wide, so that users can tailor them to their individual boards. In the grand scheme of things, they don’t do anything spectacularly well, but they are less expensive and may last longer than the other choices. Their only drawback may be the lack of new technology that is advancing the performance of other brands of skins.
These are quality skins for a fair price ($149), if you’re just getting into splitting I would highly recommend them.
Black Diamond Skins
I want to start off by saying yes, I am insulted by Black Diamond neglecting splitboarders all over the world by only making skins for those other people we share the mountain with, but you can’t deny the product they put out each year. With both Nylon and Mohair skins for a slightly above market-average price, these things work well and seem to last forever.
A plus of the Black Diamond skin setup is their availability all over the US and Canada, meaning you can essentially find extra parts at any outdoor retailer and fix up your set up if need be. I was even able to jerry-rig my skin set up on my splitboard to make a tailclip with all their extra accessories—Thanks, BD. Now please make a set of black diamond splitboard skins, they will sell well!!
Gecko Splitboard Skins
I want the Gecko skins to be great. The idea of having skins that only stick to hard surfaces, and are easy to clean and pull apart sounds awesome. However, the reviews coming in talk about adhesive left on planks and a host of problems when they get too cold.
One day, we may all be using these types of skins but until they improve, I suggest sticking to traditional glue-based skins.
What you do NOT want in a pair of climbing skins…