Climbing skins are are essential piece of backcountry equipment & like all gear they need to be looked after. Whilst the glue is an important part of a climbing skin so to is the tip & tail attachment system & style of plush. Often the cause of skin glue issue results from how they are cared for. Read on for information to help care for these precious pieces of equipment.
Care & Maintenance
Skins can be reglued if necessary. The old fashioned way is using heat, solvents, lots of scraping and much vapour inhalation. The modern procedure is to tack your skins to a bench glue side up and using a heat gun, scraper & a lot of cardboard (to wipe the residue on) remove as much of the glue as possible. Contrary to popular belief this process isn't difficult at all. Anything other than glue left on the skin will jeopardise adhesion. Reglue with ‘Glue Renew Strips’ that are ironed on, see the G3 website for info detailing this process. https://www.genuineguidegear.com/life/video/how-renew-your-climbing-skin-glue
Dry out completely before storage.
Do not store skins on your skis
Store in a cool dry place out of sunlight.
For long term: fold skin on itself. G3 skins come with a skin saver which is placed on the lower half of the skin and the top half is folded back onto the skin saver sandwiching a layer of mesh between the skin. This will prolong the life of your skin and make them easier to handle and pull apart. Now fold skin and store in storage bag provided in the appropriate place.
Some say the freezer is a good place to store your skins long term but bring them up to room temp before pulling apart
For short term storage dry skins out completely at room temp or cooler. When the glue side is dry fold them back onto themselves
No need to use skin savers just fold skins in half glue side back onto itself
If not using your skin bag be careful not to contaminate the glue with fibres from your clothing if storing inside your jacket or in your pack
If drying your skins in field fold them back onto themselves & hang off ski tips leaving them in the sun but not too hot! Be aware of warm spring temps
If overnight camping do not leave them on your skis.
Do not dry them next to the hut fire.
Tips & Tricks
Get skins with tip and tail attachments, inevitably skins have glue failure and tip only attachment skins are notorious for peeling off from the back.
G3 Alpinist range of skins have excellent tip & tail attachment systems as well as a new leading tip to prevent annoying snow creep which builds up from the front of your ski causing the skin to begin to delaminate from the tip.
In windy conditions fold them onto themselves one half at a time whilst on your ski base to prevent them flapping about.
A worn skin will be effective on undulating terrain but will fail in steep country
Store close to your body if glue becomes cold and ineffective
G3 Tension straps are ideal for many things including securing a failing skin to your ski!
When choosing your skin consider the type of plush (the hairy side) i.e. glide, high traction, all rounder. A low plush glides better but has less grip which requires more technique when the slope angle increases. High traction skins climb like a mountain goat but have little glide & are more suited to climbing & shorter approaches. Skins like the G3 Alpinist Universal are all rounders with an average length plush & well suited to all applications.