5 Best Splitboard Skins for 2021-2022

splitboard skins

A good splitboard can help you reach fresh powder deep in the backcountry, giving you access to untouched lines that most snowboarders dream of. You won’t get far without pairing your board with a good set of skins, and this is an essential piece of equipment for every splitboarder. 

My name is Lorraine, I’m a certified snowboarding instructor with decades of experience riding all over the world. I’ve used many different types of splitboard skins over the years and know what to look for in the best options out there. 

The Karakoram Smart Skins are my pick for the best splitboard skins. This is a high-quality option that will give you excellent grip with each step uphill. They are also very durable to help you get deep into the backcountry all season long. 

I’ll show you all of my favorite options in this post to help provide some great products that will complete your splitboard setup and let you get out there and explore. 

Let’s get to it. 

Quick Summary

Top Picks for Best Splitboard Skins

Below are my picks for the best splitboard skins. All of these options will give you excellent uphill traction and are easy to install and take down. They are also built to provide lasting performance. 

1. Karakoram Smart Skins

  • Best for: Overall
  • Key features: Durable, lightweight, easy to install and take off, easy-peel adhesive, 
  • Material: Mohair/Nylon
  • Attachment: Wire rope tip clip/universal tail clip
  • Cost: $$$

The Karakoram Smart Skins is my choice for the best overall splitboard skins. This highly effective product will allow you to get uphill in a hurry without worrying about drag, weight, or anything else that might slow you down. 

These skins come with a durable and reliable construction that efficiently performs when you need it most. They top the list because they last a bit longer than other models without compromising any other aspect of their design. 

They have a mohair and nylon construction that gives you a fantastic grip on all types of snow. Whether you are trudging up deep powder or dealing with late-season crud, these skins will have you covered and get you to the top. 

Installation is a breeze, and these skins are easy to attach at the start of the trail. They come with a wire rope tip clip that simply slips over the top of each piece of the board. The universal tail clip will hold securely on many different types of splitboards. 

They also come with an easy-peel adhesive design that is easy to adjust and install for the perfect fit on your splitboard. Vulcanized rubber in the construction increases waterproofing and makes the skins very versatile as well. 

There isn’t much of a downside with the Smart Skins, but they are a little expensive. Other than that, these are a great product. 

2. Black Diamond Glidlite

  • Best for: Touring
  • Key features: Lightweight, durable, solid grip, good glide, easy to adjust and install
  • Material: Mohair/Nylon
  • Attachment: STS tip and tail system
  • Cost: $$$

If you are serious about backcountry touring, you need a high-quality set of splitboard skins on your side. The Black Diamond Glidelite is my recommended pick for touring, and these will have you covered during extended trips into the wilderness. 

The skins come with a perfect blend of mohair and nylon that allows you to climb effectively with serious grip in various conditions. This construction also packs down small when you need to throw the skins in your pack on the way back downhill. 

They are also very lightweight, which is one of the main reasons they are ideal for long days of touring and multi-day trips. These are some of the lightest full-length skins around and don’t sacrifice performance while earning that distinction.

Attachment to your splitboard is made easy thanks to an STS tail system that gives you a way to adjust the skins on the fly. This system gives you 10 centimeters of wiggle room so you can dial in the perfect fit to help climb effectively.

The Glidelite is only available in pre-cut lengths, which limits customization just a bit. They are adjustable and will always fit your board, but you compromise a bit of coverage and grip with this design.    

3. Arbor Angusta Coda

  • Best for: Durability
  • Key features: Strong, durable, good grip, glue-free adhesive, efficient design, solid performance
  • Material: Mohair/Nylon
  • Attachment: Tip loop and tail clip
  • Cost: $$$

The Arbor Angusta Coda is my pick for the most durable set of splitboard skins. This is a good option to explore if you tend to trek all season long or have ever dealt with a set of skins wearing out prematurely. 

The skins come with a solid construction, making them a long-lasting and reliable option for long uphill ascents. A 70% Mohair and 30% nylon construction provide tremendous performance that won’t slip no matter what type of snow you are in. 

The Coda also comes with a waterproof backing that helps increase durability by keeping the skins in good shape through consistent use and variable weather conditions. They won’t last forever, but they will last longer than the average set of skins. 

An easy-to-use attachment system lets you get these installed on your board in a hurry. The tip loop and tail clip system hold everything in place to provide serious performance that will help you get to the top of any peak. 

This option is pre-cut for the Arbor Coda splitboard, so you might have a slightly tricky time trying to adjust them precisely for other models. But they will still work with other boards and make for a great value thanks to their strong construction. 

4. Voile Hyper Glide

  • Best for: Versatility
  • Key features: Versatile compatibility, strong construction, durable, effective grip and glide
  • Material: Mohair/Nylon
  • Attachment: Aluminum tip and tail plates
  • Cost: $$$

Check out the Voile Hyper Glide if you want an option that will work on nearly every splitboard. These skins are built by one of the original splitboarding brands, and they come with a well-earned reputation for quality and performance. 

Versatility is the name of the game with this model, and they will allow you to get any splitboard set up for long excursions into the backcountry. These are easy to adjust to the length of your board and will stay in place no matter how long your ascent. 

A 70% mohair and 30% nylon design gives you plenty of climbing power. This also increases durability for lasting performance. The tip and tail plates use hardened and anodized aluminum that makes them almost indestructible. 

The Hyper Glide is easy to install thanks to a stainless steel full-wrap tip loop and a urethane tail strap. This makes them a trusted companion on the trail, no matter what board you’re using. 

A construction built for versatility and durability does increase the weight of these skins. These are not a very lightweight option. 

5. Black Diamond Glidelight Mix Kicker 

  • Best for: Lightweight Option
  • Key features: Very lightweight, durable, easy to pack, decent grip and glide, affordable
  • Material: Mohair/Nylon
  • Attachment: Camlock buckle and nylon strap
  • Cost: $$

The Black Diamond Glidelight Mix Kicker is one of the most lightweight splitboard skins you can find. These are a super lightweight option that is great for the serious backcountry rider who is really trying to shed ounces. 

The Glidelight features a short-length design that doesn’t give you as much grip on the snow because of limited coverage. But you will still get solid performance to help you trudge uphill and reach that untouched line you’ve been working for. 

A 65% mohair and 35% nylon construction gives you plenty of grip and glide when the skins are attached. The camlock buckle and nylon strap attachment system are easy to use but less durable than other styles.

These skins weigh about ⅓ as much of your average splitboard skin, which is pretty considerable. The downside is you sacrifice coverage, which means you’ll work harder to get to the top of the trail.  

How to Choose Splitboard Skins

Here are some important things to keep in mind when looking for good splitboard skins. There might not be that much difference between how they are constructed, but cheap options won’t give you the same level of performance. 

Grip

The primary purpose of splitboarding skins is to provide grip on the snow that allows you to climb uphill effectively. A good set of skins will have a solid bite in the snow that keeps your splitboard/ski in place as you make each and every step. 

Part of what makes grip possible is the material that the skins are made out of. Options made entirely of nylon often give the best grip, but other styles are also effective. A mohair and nylon blend is the most common style you’ll see.  

Attachment 

Another significant factor with any set of skins is how they attach to your splitboard. Each model has a slightly different attachment style, and you’ll want to find an option that is relatively easy to use so you can take them on and off on the trail quickly. 

I like to use quick attachment systems because these are often the easiest. Other styles offer a little extra hold, which can come in useful for anyone who spends a lot of time in the backcountry. 

Weight

While most splitboard skins are light, weight is an important factor with all of your backcountry gear. Once you factor in all of your equipment, clothing, food, and safety gear you want, this can all begin to weigh you down. 

Some skin options are built to be lighter in weight. Sometimes you’ll sacrifice a bit of climbing power to shed ounces, but you’ll want to look for these lightweight options for really steep climbs or ambitious adventures. 

My Verdict

The Karakoram Smart Skins are my choice for the best splitboard skins. These are a solid option for any splitboarder and give you excellent grip and durability while also keeping the weight down so you can enjoy backcountry riding to the fullest. 

All of the skins you see here are recommended, and each of them is built to give you solid performance that you can rely on. Splitboarding is an amazing way to experience a different level of riding, and skins are an essential piece of the puzzle.

About Lorraine
I'm a certified snowboard instructor. My first experience with snowboarding occurred at an indoor resort. One run had me hooked, and it has turned into a lifelong passion ever since then. I'm here to share with you some of the tips and advice I have learned along the way.

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