First Look: Skeats ™ skin-cleats
When the backcountry skin track gets steep, firm, and slick, what do you do? Start a booter? Slip and slide? Transition to ski crampons? Struggle and complain? If that sounds familiar, it might be time to pick up a pair of Skeats™ Skin-Cleats.
Skeats™ skin-cleats are pocket-sized “cleats” that strap to your skis or split board to provide increased traction while skinning – kind of like Yak-Tracks for your winter boots. The idea is that Skeats ™ skin-cleats provide added traction that allows you to be able to skin up steeper terrain and avoid the frustrating feeling of slipping backwards down a slippery and slick skin track. These pocket-friendly tools might be just the thing to add to your backcountry quiver this winter.
Skeats™ skin-cleats were invented by Patrick Gasparro. These things are Teton-Tested and ready for you. Based on discussions with Gasparro and our own tinkering around, we think these things could be a game changer for those steep/slick skin track situations.
Let’s take a closer look at Skeats…
Skeats™ skin-cleats are designed to strap on to your ski or split board under your boot – ideally between the bindings near the heel. As long as you’re on your heel risers, it’ll be totally out of the way. A plate with 4 spikes sits on the base of the ski and an orange strap made of burly biothane (think lighter weight voile strap) hooks over the top of the ski and connects with a pair of dual adjust plastic side release buckles. Any excess strap velcros out of the way and you’re ready to go.
Once the Skeats™ skin-cleats are on your ski, you’ll want to plan on setting a flat skin track in order for the product to get purchase in the snow. There’s no edge grip like a ski crampon, so set a steeper skin track with less switchbacks for the best results.
If you’re good at ski touring yoga, you can even attach Skeats™ skin-cleats without taking your skis or split board off. This limits your transition times and can make you more efficient in the mountains. Just be sure to adjust your Skeats to your skis/boards before you leave home. Ensure that they are nice and snug so they don’t slip.
Skeats ™ skin-cleats currently come in two models: Stainless Steel & Delrin Polymer
Stainless Steel Skeats
- Price: $35
- Weight: 180 grams/pair
- More Durable – Will hold up better on rocks
- Comes in 105mm (85mm coming soon)
Delrin Polymer Skeats
- Price: $25
- Weight: 0.22 lbs per pair
- Better For Beginner/Intermediate tourers
- Lack the durability of Stainless, Can break on rock
- Comes in 105mm
Currently, Skeats™ skin-cleats are available in 105mm. An 85mm option will be available in November 2017 and possibly a 60mm too. The 105 mm version will fit any skis/splitboards that are 105 mm or wider and are ideal for splitboards. The 85mm option will work on skis that are 85mm or wider.
Upon first impression, Skeats™ skin-cleats look like a useful backcountry tool that will make steep skinning easier. The fact that they are lightweight, compact, and durable means I’m more likely to carry them when I head into the backcountry. The spikes aren’t too sharp, so I feel comfortable carrying them in a pocket. After kicking the tires a bit, it seems like it’ll be simple to throw Skeats in the backpack or pocket for quick, on-the-go adjustments whenever necessary.
We’re stoked to try these things out when the snow starts to fall. They seem simple and intuitive and they solve a problem that every backcountry tourer has faced. We’re excited for the 85mm option to come out. Most days we head out on a 95 to 100 underfoot ski and save the big boards for true powder days. But Gasparro is planning ahead and the 85mm stainless version will be available for purchase soon.
Skeats™ skin-cleats might not replace ski crampons, but they are certainly a solid option for many backcountry users. Skeats are lighter, more affordable, and more compact than most ski crampons, plus it seems like they’ll get the job done in most situations.
We’ll be giving Skeats an in-depth test this winter season. Stay tuned for our on-snow review. If you’re itching to try out a pair of Skeats™ skin-cleats ASAP (or you need an affordable present for the ski bum who has everything), you can buy them at SkinCleats.com. Plus if you buy now, you might just get a free upgraded version of Skeats when they are ready for release!
Disclaimer: We were sent a pair of Skeats™ skin-cleats to test and review.