"Best of the Backcountry"
"Best New Product"
"Hundreds of miles from nowhere in frozen, isolated wilderness with 70 pounds of camera equipment and backcountry gear, your skins CANNOT FAIL - and need to be quick on the transition. I rely on Geckos – the thought of going back to glue skins scares the pants off me."
"I have skinned everything from cold smoke to man-made at the resort. The skins have performed exceptionally well in all conditions. The glide is much better than other skins I have used in past seasons, but they are also climbing very well. I am a fan of euro-style low angle skin tracks, but I have followed some near vertical paths this month and not had any moon-walking experiences. In my book they climb as well or better than anything I have ever used. The adhesive is better than anything I have seen and the low weight is just an added bonus in my book. I would be very confident to take this as my only skin on any BC mission, anytime."
"Geckos are the most progressive skins on the market and their light weight/mohair combination makes them perfect for extra wide freeride touring setups - and they are by far the easiest skins to use! They are extremely easy to apply, remove, and manage quicker transitions. The other advantage is that they don't strip the wax and moisture out of the bases of your skis."
"The last critical piece of the hardware puzzle: skins. Gecko's mohair splitboard skins are welterweight and stick to your ￼ board via silicone adhesive. Get dog hair or pine needles on 'em? You can stick them under the faucet, unlike most skins." Outside Magazine Buyer's Guide 2012 & as seen nationally on Outside Television "When you take skins off and on three times a day, every day, the little things make a difference. Gecko skins are light weight, low bulk with exceptional adhesion and glide. Gecko skins are a vast improvement in the world of ski touring. Exceptional glide combined with light weight and ease of use will change your view on traditional skins. Gecko's revolutionary glue-less technology takes the hassle out of ski touring."
"it was an idea the folks at Gecko never stopped believing in, and thanks to a new technology, they have developed a better glueless climbing skin. Rather than using glue to adhere to the base of your ski, these skins use a proprietary suction technology that sticks to any smooth, flat surface, and they stick in all conditions: wet or dry, extreme cold or extreme pine needles."
"I posted a video clip and information about the the new Gecko glueless climbing skins back in November. At the time, I had yet to use the skins on snow. With the season underway, I have now had the Gecko skins in about every condition possible except bitter cold. The results have been great. They work every bit as good as any skin I have used. In fact, they function incredibly similar to a typical glued skin, in a good way. The biggest difference being that they are very easy to peel apart from one another. Although they are called glueless, the Geckos are still adhesive. It's just not a skin glue like we all know. It's a proprietary tacky silicone adhesive and, according to the specs, requires no reapplication. Debris like pine needles, leaves and dirt can be washed off with warm water. Will it last forever? I don't know. The adhesion has been great for the two months I have had them, and I plan to keep testing them (if we could just get some more snow). They work every bit as good as they did the first day I opened the box, and the adhesive side is every bit as clean and smooth as it was when new. Interestingly, they actually stick to my skis better than some of the glued skins I have used. Not that I have really had trouble with glued skins staying on my skis, but the Gecko's grip to the ski is actually more vigorous than a glued skin when it comes time to rip skins for the descent. They still peel just fine, but it's comforting to know they are securely attached. One characteristic the Geckos share with traditional glue skins is that you need to keep them out of the snow. Snow on the adhesive side has the same effect as snow on a glued skin. So when dropped in the pow, they need some attention. The good news is they are easy to clean, just rub them along your ski edge or pop them inside your jacket, and they return to full functionality just fine. The bottom line thus far with the Geckos is all good. The tip and tail work well and the mohair plush glides (and climbs) very nicely. The glueless adhesive has been treating me great, and I look forward to more time with them, not to mention some fresh snow for the forecast!"
The biggest thing to hit skin design in the last couple of years has been the Gecko 'glueless' technology. Without going into an extensive description of the chemistry, the short description is that Gecko skins do not use a traditional glue, but they do use an adhesive. Confused? Read on. The adhesive on the Geckos is a rubbery compound that works by sticking to smooth, flat surfaces only. The skin does adhere to itself, though the effort required to pull your the two sticky interfaces apart is far easier than any type of traditional glue skin. The make up of this adhesive has not been advertised, but the words 'molecular fusion' have been floating around various online discussions. The closest description I think of is the patch of rubbery glue that magazine publishers use to stick Cds and booklets onto the front of their publications. When you peel that yellow strip off the magazine it leaves no residue, you can screw it up into a ball and then unfurl it again. It sticks to flat things and doesn't get contaminated with hair, dust and other inconveniences, such as snow. So too with the Geckos. Dropping your skins in the snow is no longer an issue, as you simply pick them up and brush them off. They stick back onto the ski as if the careless rookie mistake of skin contamination never happened. In terms of utility, the Geckos are unmatched. Where before you had sit down with tweezers to pull off the pine needles, with geckos you just have to brush them off, or if you really want, rinse them with warm water. The adhesive doesn't out-perform regular skin glue in stickiness, but the time and effort saved makes transitions that much easier. Geckos also come with the advantage of weighing less and packing down into a smaller volume. The fast and light crowd will find this a boon. All All Geckos skins are mohair and the plush has a similar glide to grip ratio to Dynafit Speedskins or Black Diamond Pure STS. I'll not bother with comparisons to nylon plush, as this information can be easily found elsewhere. One note on the Gecko plush, it doesn't fray (unless cut improperly) and will not require sealing or burning. The tip attachment is permanently fixed and it had no trouble fitting over the tips of every ski in the the local backcountry store. There may be an issue on the 'round noses' of the K2 freeride/twin tip models, (such as the Obsethed or Hell Bent) though anyone spending over $220 on a skin is probably looking to use it on a light dedicated touring ski. The biggest drawback on the Geckos is the tail attachment. It uses a clasp to secure a nylon strap, which works effectively on backpacks. But because there is almost no stretch in the the strap it is difficult to maintain tension. The strap is more durable than the rubber and plastic tail attachments, but with just a bit more elasticity the tail would not be such a weak point in the system. The conditions for testing were a mix of wind affected snow, dry powder and breakable crust. While the skin fared well in these conditions, a follow up review will be posted after testing the skins in wet, coastal snow. Verdict: Gecko Skins have an innovative design with their adhesive and they just make life easier. But they are not immune to snow contamination. All the same tricks need to be used for long hauls in the backcountry.
"User friendly climbing skins? That's like claiming a tire rotation system for your truck you can do in your kitchen. Yeah, we've all gotten used to climbing skin glue that was probably invented during WWII to secure uniform badges. We've made the stuff work, though doing so has engendered phrases such as "climbing skin hygiene." I mean, hygiene? I have enough trouble remembering to brush my teeth twice a day, let alone handling climbing skins with heart surgeon techniques. Gecko climbing skins review abuse, they held up fine. I tore into the things like a mountain lion dining on mice. For comparison, I also ripped apart a pair of old nylon skins I had laying around. Gecko and nylon were of similar strength. In the field, I skied them over some rocks just to make sure. They came through with no more damage than any other quality skin I've used (though we of course don't recommend skinning on rocks.) Gecko skins use a different kind of adhesive, a sticky silicone formulation that adheres to smooth non-porous surfaces such as ski bases. Yet it's not "sticky" in the conventional sense. For example, you can use Geckos as a head turban if needed,and they'll part from your hair with hardly pulling apart one small bit of your coiffure. Or, let the wind blow them to your fleece jacket — no stickum. You could even let your dog sleep on them, adhesive side up, and they'd still work. Perhaps best, Gecko skins come apart easily after storage, and come off your skis much easier than some of the positively molecular glues on some climbing skins these days (little concern if you're a sasquatch, but smaller guys and gals may have a struggle with conventional glue.) Brief history: A few years ago, the Gecko developer, a ski tourer, noticed that the sticky cell phone tray on his car dashboard. In an aha moment, he thought, "I wonder how that stuff would work on climbing skins?" Development ensued. The adhesive appeared to work, but a few years of hit and miss with their skin textiles put a damper on what was otherwise a viable alternative to conventional stickum. We'll, I'm here to tell you that any concerns about Gecko skin durability should be put aside. The test skins I have here have no raveling on the edges after trimming, and plush that's holding up as well as any other mohair skin I've used (though we do need to realize that no mohair, which is goat hair, will last like synthetic). Thing is, because of its glide, mohair is the latest greatest thing in skin technology, even though it's been around for at least 40 years. With today's wider planks, one simply doesn't need to haul rugs on his feet with the glide of steel wool. When it comes to glide, mohair rules. (Caveat: Most mohair skins are built to optimize glide; don't expect them to provide the climbing traction of nylon. If you like super steep skin tracks, mohair of any brand is not your best choice unless you have world-class skinning technique and strong arms.)So, with durability questions out of the way, how do these things work? The adhesive is virtually unchanged from several years ago, when I tested a pair of Gecko with about 30 days of backcountry skiing in Europe and Colorado. Following is from previous review, edited: Gecko adhesive is viable alternative to conventional skins, but follow directions to the letter. Moisture on the adhesive surface of the Gecko skin also compromises adhesion, as it does with conventional skin glue. Thus, you still have to practice a modicum of care if you're doing multiple laps and thus changing out your skins in the field. Though some folks are running Gecko skins without tail fix, we strongly recommend you use a tip and tail fix that lightly tensions the skin. Also, when trimming, be sure the skin is centered on the ski, so later you won't inadvertently tension the skin to the side while applying to your ski base (this true of skin with any type of glue). For single laps or fitness uphilling, Gecko type adhesive should be anyone's top choice. It's that nice and I have no hesitation giving the stuff my highest recommendation for that type of use. Indeed, I'd predict that within a few years nearly anyone doing fitness uphilling or fairly simple backcountry days will be yearning for a pair of skins with Gecko adhesive — or already have a pair.
In The News
Gecko Climbing Skins Magazine Appearances:
- Outside Magazine
- Backpacker Magazine
- Off-Piste Magazine
- Vermont Sports Magazine
- Backcountry Magazine
- Backcountry Skiing Canada
- Telemark Skier Magazine
- Mountain Magazine
- Elevation Magazine
- Mountain Sports & Living
- Wild Snow.com