Choosing what climbing skins (touring skins) to buy can be a bit confusing. There are many companies that make different types of climbing skins so what are the real differences between them? Aside from colors as well as the tip and tail attachments, the primary difference between climbing skins is what material they are made out of. In this blog we will explore the primary materials used (mohair and nylon) in skins, as well as pros and cons of the different blends on the market.
Nylon vs. Mohair
The two main materials that are used in climbing skins are nylon and mohair. Here are the main differences between the two materials:
- Stiffer, more durable.
- Offers better traction for climbing.
- Does not glide as well as mohair.
- Best for short tours.
- Softer, lighter.
- Glides better than mohair.
- Does not grip as well as nylon on steep ascents.
- Best for longer tours with more up and down.
Common Climbing Skin Blends
These skins are great for entry level ski tourers to get into the backcountry. They’re often cheaper than mohair skin blends and will allow you to skin just about anywhere. Conversely, they’re a bit heavier which makes them less ideal for long tours because they produce more drag than glide. That said, they are very durable which makes them ideal for long term use in places like Colorado that have lots of rocks and sharp terrain features. (Check out our Folsom Touring Skins.)
- Best grip.
- Best durability.
- Don’t glide very well.
- On the heavy side.
100% mohair skins are not very common these days. They are ideal for ski touring on relatively flat terrain that you’re looking to cover ground quickly on (also ski-mo racing, etc.). If you’re looking to skin up anything steeper than a 15-20 degree pitch with these, your skins will be slipping all over the place.
- Glide extremely well.
- Less grip than skins with nylon.
- More expensive.
30% Nylon, 70% Mohair
A very common skin nowadays is a blend that incorporates both nylon and mohair. These skins offer the best of both worlds for grip and glide, but are not the most intuitive for beginner ski tourers. Most often, blended nylon / mohair skins are a great setup for people that have spent a bit of time touring on 100% nylon skins and are looking for an upgrade. (Check out our Pomoca Climb 2.0 Touring Skins.)
- Good grip and glide.
- Substantially lighter than 100% nylon skins.
- Not the cheapest.
- Not as durable as 100% nylon skins.
Hopefully this blog gives you some insight into the world of skins and helps you decide what climbing skin is best for you. If you have any questions or are still unsure, feel free to send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or give us a call (303-248-3418).