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  1. #1
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    When to use Mohair mix over nylon skins?

    From BD's website:

    Nylon: Generally climbs better and offers more traction, can be considered more durable, stiffer and hydrophobic. They do not glide as well as Mohair. These are the pitbull of skin material.
    Mohair Pure: 100% Mohair is a natural fiber and offers a superior glide over Nylon. Lighter weight, packs better, probably not as durable over the long term. Not as water repellent as Nylon. Well suited for long approaches and tours.
    Mohair Mix: These are a 65% Mohair and 35% Nylon for extra durability.
    It's pretty obvious to me that for long slogs, shallower climbs and touring through rugged touring Mohair mix skins are the call. For steep climbs, nylon is better. So, where is the overlap/gray area between definitely using Mohair mix versus nylon?......or why not bring both?

    Personally, I've been using patterned based skis with liquid glide wax for longer, low angle touring and rugged touring and throw on nylon skins for steeper climbs. But with all things, there are trade-offs including extra gear (skis) and reduction in downhill performance.

    I'm curious for personal reasons as well as deciding purchasing decisions for our forthcoming 'BC Tools' products. Any input is appreciated.

    TIA
    Last edited by Alpinord; 12-04-2009 at 07:32 AM.
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  2. #2
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    I use Mohair skins as much as I can. They pack smaller (you can roll'em), they are lighter, and they glide better. If you ask me, BD's shift away from nylon is a long time coming, and I can't wait for G3 to follow suit.

    As for "durability," this goes back to when one skinny skin fit all your skis. Now that skins are cut to each ski, the chance of you wearing out a mohair skin noticeably faster than nylon is pretty much a non-issue.*

    I'd never carry two pairs of skins. Weight and space alone, that solution is the crazy. I've never been in a situation where I felt nylon would do that much better over mohair on a steep skin track.

    Btw, you are using patterned skis? What are you doing, putting skins on nordic skis?

    *though some of you skinning upwards of 100 days a year on grass and rocks might. but then the mohair will be nicer to skin on anyway.
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  3. #3
    Hugh Conway Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by khyber.pass View Post
    As for "durability," this goes back to when one skinny skin fit all your skis. Now that skins are cut to each ski, the chance of you wearing out a mohair skin noticeably faster than nylon is pretty much a non-issue.*
    erm, no.

    like one piece suits they are switching because they can sell shit to people who forgot how much it sucked the first time around.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    erm, no.

    like one piece suits they are switching because they can sell shit to people who forgot how much it sucked the first time around.
    Is this generalization relative to durability of 100% Mohair or 65/35% Mohair/Nylon mix or balancing climb/glide performance?

    khyber.pass, Thanks for the input. When do you not think the Mohair Mix is a viable choice and would you ever consider bringing both?
    Best regards, Terry
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  5. #5
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    I bought a pair of BD mohair mix this year to try and cut down on weight because of the larger skiis i bought. I was scared they were not going to climb as well, but too my surprise they have been doing as good as my accensions. Maybe having 115mm under foot helps with the extra skin. One thing i noticed was that they glided very smooth, and on one warmer day of touring, everyone was getting snow stuck to the bottom of their skins, wehre i did not; maybe because they were brand new, not too sure.
    But i have put 7 days on them and so far so good. One con i have noticed is that the glue around the tip and tails doesnt seem to stick as well, snow seems to get under them, but the tip and tail clips hold them on very well.

  6. #6
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  7. #7
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    See Martin Volken's comments

    It's been a few years since I used mohair skins but I sometimes think of getting a pair of skinny mohairs for long low angle approaches.

    I recall mohair soaked up more water and took much longer to dry out. Those may not be issues for cold dry continental snow, but can be a big deal for PNW wet pow and spring conditions, when skins get sopping wet. My mohair skins definitely wore out faster than nylon, but maybe that's changed.

    When I started backcountry skiing in the 1980's, it seemed that everyone or nearly everyone was using mohair. By the early 1990's, mohair and nylon skins were pretty much equally available (e.g. Pomoca and Montana made both). IME in the PNW c. 15 years ago, those who climbed steeper lines and yoyoed preferred nylon, while some meadow skippers and long approach tourists preferred mohair.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the links and insights. Good feedback. Like about everything there are no absolutes and sounds like both options have their place and subjectivity.

    Yeah, Big Steve, this thread and your comment got me thinking I'll pull out my ole skinny mohairs to see how they work on tour with my ATs or teles...kinda like a kicker skin. My patterned based skis work great up until maybe 10 on dry snow, then it becomes a battle. Liquid wax does bump the glide a little and reduces icing and clumping on nylons.
    Best regards, Terry
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    erm, no.

    like one piece suits they are switching because they can sell shit to people who forgot how much it sucked the first time around.
    Maybe I am misreading you, but since when has Mohair sucked? All high-end skins are mohair, from Dynafit to Colltex. If you are touring long distances, mohair has been the default since time immemorial. You won't find nylon anywhere near high-end skin users such as randonee racers, skimo or yr average Haute Route user. Here in BC-land, anyone who skins often noticeably uses mohair.

    Maybe you've been using nylon so long that you've forgotten how much mohair kicks ass

    But it is true that nylon and mohair have different properties, and depending on your local snow conditions and style of tours, one might be more advantageous over the other. But for weight, packable size and glide, mohair can't be beat.
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  10. #10
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    Big Steve, thx for the article. Perhaps worth pasting a few points:

    Tests showed however that Mohair and Mohair/Synthetic mix showed consistently better climbing properties in different temperatures than synthetic skins. A correlating analysis further showed that apart from the actual material the plush length is a deciding parameter: the test skins with longer plush showed better climbing characteristics than the ones with short plush. The ranking here remained the same regardless of temperature range measured (-1C or -15C).

    Mohair gets the win for climbing properties at any temperature.

    But temperature does play a role:

    Ski tourers have the general opinion that synthetic skins are more suited for warmer snow temperatures (> -3C) and Mohair skins are more suitable for colder snow temperatures (< - 8C). Measurements confirm this notion. Synthetic skins outperform mixed fiber and mohair skins in warm snow temperatures. Conversely mixed fiber and mohair skins outperform synthetic skins in colder snow temperatures.

    Compare this to the Straightchuter article:

    The reason I like nylon skins with a tip & tail kit for the Wasatch is that we often have fine grained, dry snow which the courser nylon material tends to bite well in.

    Lesson here is that type of snow ≠ temperature, which is why (contrary to Big Steve's experience) in the BC coastal range, mohair skins are quite common. I've never had an issue with water retention either. Perhaps this was more of an issue with older mohair skins from the dayglo '80s.

    So, buy whatever the fuck you want, eh?

    And no, I'd never bring two pair of skins. Total waste of weight. As long as your skins have tip and tail loops, decent glue, and are cut right, you'll be fine.
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  11. #11
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    Speaking from experience with newer mohair - Colltex skins - the newer Mohair is pretty durable and not that hard to dry and upkeep. I can't remember how bad the old Mohair was because that's quite a while ago

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by khyber.pass View Post
    [quoting Volken]:Ski tourers have the general opinion that synthetic skins are more suited for warmer snow temperatures (> -3C) and Mohair skins are more suitable for colder snow temperatures (< - 8C). Measurements confirm this notion. Synthetic skins outperform mixed fiber and mohair skins in warm snow temperatures. Conversely mixed fiber and mohair skins outperform synthetic skins in colder snow temperatures.

    Compare this to the Straightchuter [McLean] article:

    The reason I like nylon skins with a tip & tail kit for the Wasatch is that we often have fine grained, dry snow which the courser nylon material tends to bite well in.
    Hmmm, more like contrast the respective observations of Volken and McLean.

    I'll also note that, FWIW, here in WA, snow temps are more probably often than not >-3C, if one considers the entire season and entire vertical spectrum of the average WA backcountry skier. I would expect BC conditions to be a bit colder, on balance, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by khyber.pass View Post
    So, buy whatever the fuck you want, eh?
    This is the best advice.

  13. #13
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    on tramdock right now

    PSA, these are on tramdock right now for 50% off. nylon mohair mix

    edit: no longer there, but like most things on that site, I wouldn't be suprised if they were to pop up again.
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  14. #14
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    WA mags, what skins do you prefer? Tour length vs. skin choice would be greatly appreciated.

  15. #15
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    Proper skin choices can mean substantial energy savings for the skitourer in uphill mode and lets one enjoy the downhill more.
    The 'Choosing the right climbing skins' article and other comments sounds so much like selecting the right grip/kick wax (and glide wax, for that matter) for a given set of snow conditions. For nordic touring, changing grip/kick wax is very common, hence the 'bring two sets of skins' question.

    Since minimizing weight is important, when does this benefit become less than the benefit of climbing with the more efficient skin choice for a given set of, or changing conditions and time frame?
    Best regards, Terry
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  16. #16
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    Nylon for less snow stickage and more durability when skinning over rocks.
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  17. #17
    Hugh Conway Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
    The 'Choosing the right climbing skins' article and other comments sounds so much like selecting the right grip/kick wax (and glide wax, for that matter) for a given set of snow conditions. For nordic touring, changing grip/kick wax is very common, hence the 'bring two sets of skins' question.
    It might sound like it but I've yet to meet the gear whore who keeps a quiver of skins (though there's probably someone here who has a quiver of skins too )

    For longer tours I've heard reccomended (but never tried because I'm fat and lazy) 2 kickers skins and 1 full length. For lower angle use kicker skins. When it gets steep put the 2 kickers on 1 ski and the full length on the other

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    It might sound like it but I've yet to meet the gear whore who keeps a quiver of skins (though there's probably someone here who has a quiver of skins too )

    For longer tours I've heard reccomended (but never tried because I'm fat and lazy) 2 kickers skins and 1 full length. For lower angle use kicker skins. When it gets steep put the 2 kickers on 1 ski and the full length on the other
    Huh.

    Makes sense. Never would have thought of that.

    I've been thinking of getting some kickers for a while. Maybe I'll try that when I do.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by khyber.pass View Post
    Tests showed however that Mohair and Mohair/Synthetic mix showed consistently better climbing properties in different temperatures than synthetic skins. A correlating analysis further showed that apart from the actual material the plush length is a deciding parameter: the test skins with longer plush showed better climbing characteristics than the ones with short plush. The ranking here remained the same regardless of temperature range measured (-1C or -15C).
    I've never used mohair, but have a pair of mixed skins in the garage that I'm trying to decide what to do with, so I'm interested.

    Could it be that mohair has lost popularity with steep skinners because of the way it has been marketed/developed as the lighter option? Resulting in all of the mohair skins on the market being short plush designs intended for racers etc, and didn't climb as well.

    Also with fatter skis, has the sweetspot between grip/glide shifted? ie Does mohair provide plenty of grip at 105mm and nylon too little glide? (I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I'd rather hear opinions here where there seems to be some love for mohair, vs reviving an old thread dominated by "Ascension and Polaris are the only way to climb")
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  20. #20
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    I bought those nylon/mohair mix skins and they will be trimmed for my new rig. So at the moment I am interested in this thread but have little to contribute.
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  21. #21
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    I've been using the BD Glidelite Mix (I think its 60% nylon, 40% mohair) for the past two weeks of skinning on a pair of DPS Lotus 120s. So far, they've performed very well, though conditions have been soft snow. They climb at the steepest angles, and glide better than nylon, though not as well as pure mohair.

    That said, Chowda's comment is a good one -- wider skis are perhaps more favoured to mohair as there's that much more coverage.

    I'll get a chance to try'em soon in more ice glazed conditions.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by khyber.pass View Post
    That said, Chowda's comment is a good one -- wider skis are perhaps more favoured to mohair as there's that much more coverage.
    Care to venture a guess on minimum width for mohair mix and max for nylon?

    Over 100mm, weight and pacakbility may become factors as well for some:

    Mohair Mix STS: Weight Per Pair : 696 g, 1 lb 8 oz (110 mm)
    Ascension Nylon STS: Weight Per Pair : 751 g, 1 lb 10 oz (110 mm)
    Ascension Nylon Split STS : Weight Per Pair : 708 g, 1 lb 9 oz (160mm)

    As an aside:
    In Warren Miller's latest film, "Dynasty", there was a segment in NW China where in the hinterlands, the locals make skis out of wood and fixed skins to them. They smoked the western, high tech dudes on their modern gear on the climbs and flew on the downhills. Pretty fun to watch.....see the teaser below at 40sec for a glimpse of gear comparisons.

    Last edited by Alpinord; 12-02-2009 at 10:16 AM.
    Best regards, Terry
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  23. #23
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    Thanks for all the great information. It has helped make my decision on which skins to buy.

    I am getting the jerk of all trades, the mohair mix.

    JC

  24. #24
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    I have the new Black Diamond split skins for wide skis. They have a thin material in the middle with 2 nylon skins on the outside. They are extremely light for a wide ski 115 mine & are lighter then my old Ascensions & they glide terrific & fold up easily.
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  25. #25
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    seems it's all about the vapor barrier: The waterproofed mohair/synthetic blend includes a vapor barrier membrane between layers ensuring both uncompromised traction and glide throughout your tour.
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