Monday, April 13, 2015

Kicker Skins on the cheap.

Good Morning everyone out there in internet land. The snow here in Montana is hanging in there giving up some good spring conditions. Even though i'm digging out my boating stuff i am still working on and improving by back and side country skiing kit.

So for comparison here is what the commercially made kickers look like.

To build your own set you will need some things...

1) Sewing machine or speedy stitch. (I would not want to hand sew this project but i suppose you could.)
2) Climbing skin trimmings or old climbing skins. 4-6 ft worth.
3) 1 inch webbing 3ft.
4) 2 buckles
5) Marking and measuring stuff (ruler, pen)
6) Masking tape.

The construction is fairly simple.

First figure out how long you want the skins to be. Mine are 2 1/2 to 3 feet. Lay out the scraps so they are your desired length, this includes a 1 inch overlap at the joint between each scrap.

Next mark the direction of slide on each piece of scrap.

Cut your 3 ft of webbing in half and stitch your buckles to the webbing. Use a strong stitch pattern (bar tacking).

Sew the webbing to the front edge of the first skin scrap. If you are using skins that no longer have the protective paper over the sticky bottom place masking tape over the area to be sewn so that it will slide easily through the machine.

Sew the next scrap to the back of the first. Making sure that the joint between the two is overlapped properly and that the direction of travel is correct. (this is another place to use bar tacking, you don't want this to come unraveled far from a trail head.)

That's about it.

I had the chance yesterday to take them out for a test ski. I toured in warm spring conditions from hard pack, wind slab, semi fresh dusting, and mashed potatoes. I climbed some things that i would have considered to steep for this set up but they did it just fine. The glide was ok, not any better than my full length setup and at one third the weight.

This set up is not for all conditions but at $6 well worth adding to the kit.

Happy Climbing.

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