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Author Topic: Kicker skins on waxless skis?  (Read 4167 times)

Offline Kaifus

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Kicker skins on waxless skis?
« on: June 16, 2014, 12:06:49 am »
Does anyone have any experience with using kicker skins on waxless skis? I'm concerned they wouldn't stick very well as the surface contact area would be deminished by the fish scales.  I'm thinking for next winter my hauling weights will be low enough to use just waxless skis but I still want the option to use kicker skins.

Offline HOOP

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Re: Kicker skins on waxless skis?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2014, 07:59:33 am »
Does anyone have any experience with using kicker skins on waxless skis? I'm concerned they wouldn't stick very well as the surface contact area would be diminished by the fish scales.  I'm thinking for next winter my hauling weights will be low enough to use just waxless skis but I still want the option to use kicker skins.

Yes.  For years I have been using Black Diamond kicker skins on my waxless base Karhu Orions.  They stick very well, never had a problem.  (I am guessing you are aware you have to warm the skins first under your jacket to soften up the glue - Plan on at least 20 minutes or so for warming, right against your base layer on the belly works well).  Before application, with your glove or bandana or something dry and somewhat absorbent, make sure you wipe off all snow and moisture off the ski base. 

Over the long run, skins stick better to waxless skis.  Kick wax on waxable skis will donate some little bits of kick wax to the skin glue after repeated uses, and they say that the skin glue will lose stickiness faster with the kick waxed base.  That's OK since nothing lasts for ever, and you can renew the glue.  I never had any problems using the kickers over my kick wax on my waxable skis, but I have used skins mostly on my waxless Karhu's. 

For my Karhu waxless base, I have learned to NEVER go on a trip without first at home applying a layer of EasyGlide (liquid glide wax and water repellant sealer for the scales).  Its another topic, but I mention this here on your question just to assure you that EasyGlide in no way impedes the application of skins.  Apply the EasyGlide and then wipe off with a rag before it dries to ensure the scale edges stay sharp.  EasyGlide or other similar products is a liquid sealing base that makes the scales hydrophobic.  This is extremely important as you approach the freezing point, and pass it into the +1 to +2C ish zone.  The EasyGlide will prevent icing and caking.  If you have just raw plastic scale base, it may want to cake up, and if it does your ski trek is over.  This is especially a problem around the freezing mark on bush trails as you hit sunny patches above freezing and then shady patches below freezing.  I will also apply the EasyGlide to my toboggan or pulk base for the same reasons if I know the temps will approach freezing.

Anyways I digress.  Absolutely no worries using skins on waxless.   With waxless skis I have hit snow conditions many times where I could not haul the sled without skins, so I consider skins core essential gear.
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"I firmly believe that far from hurting the planet, the growing knowledge of Bushcraft is helping our natural world. When we employ bushcraft skills, it may seem as though we are consuming natural resources.  But of course, the more we learn about the trees, the plants, the animals around us, the more we respect them. The more we respect them, the more we cherish them, the more we nurture and take care of them. That is the underlying principle of Bushcraft.

Offline Kaifus

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Re: Kicker skins on waxless skis?
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2014, 11:15:38 pm »
HOOP, thank you for the assurance on the skins sticking and the info on the EasyGlide.

Offline yardsale

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Re: Kicker skins on waxless skis?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2014, 07:59:40 pm »
It would  seem to me that kicker skins are largely redundant with a no  wax pattern.  I don't think they will give you that much extra climbing ability. I use full skins on my no wax skis.

Offline HOOP

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Re: Kicker skins on waxless skis?
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2014, 07:25:26 am »
It would  seem to me that kicker skins are largely redundant with a no  wax pattern.  I don't think they will give you that much extra climbing ability. I use full skins on my no wax skis.

I have used kicker skins for years on my waxless pattern, because I was getting too much slip hauling a heavy sled.  The kickers allowed me to do the trip.  This includes climbing on hills on old logging roads.  Logging roads have been graded of course for trucks, so the hills are gradual, but even with these gradual hills I have been unable to haul up with my sled unless I had kicker skins on.

I have been in very dry non-packing fresh powder snow where even when the ski's kick zone is punched down every stride, the snow underneath shears when hauling sled on an otherwise packed trail under 6 inches to a foot of fresh powder.

With waxless base alone, its sometimes even impossible to get off the lake!  The snow on the edge of the lake is windblown deep, like the upsweep edge of a saucer, so it has a slight slope.  The skis sink down in this and hit alot of transformed airy dry snow, and the skis shear and you cannot move at all, even a few meters.   Going across unpacked portage trails between lakes in deep snow, with all the hills can be impossible in our snow with just waxless base alone, and often with wax base.  It requires climbing skins to do it.

Full length skins are much more powerful for grip than the kickers, so ya I agree with you that if you really want to climb and haul a sled with no slippage, then full length skins are the way to go.  But I have found that I could maintain a small glide with the skins, or really just less friction on the forward stride, and it makes all the different for me between going nowhere and making progress with a sled, or when breaking trail in unpacked conditions. 
My Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Wintertrekker

"I firmly believe that far from hurting the planet, the growing knowledge of Bushcraft is helping our natural world. When we employ bushcraft skills, it may seem as though we are consuming natural resources.  But of course, the more we learn about the trees, the plants, the animals around us, the more we respect them. The more we respect them, the more we cherish them, the more we nurture and take care of them. That is the underlying principle of Bushcraft.