Colltex Clariden Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
Colltex Clariden climbing skins are simple, reliable and our testing has proven them to be a good choice for you and your all-around backcountry skiing. They balance the competing demands of climbing skin design with aplomb. Some others are slightly better in one way or another, but the Colltex Clariden still, generally, rises above the main pack.
While striding, the Colltex Clariden slides forward better than most but not quite as good as the best. Ergonomic, efficient skinning has you sliding your skin-clad skis forward along the snow with each stride. In doing so, you want your skis to offer minimal resistance between steps. This attribute is, mostly, diametrically opposed to a skin's primary goal of gripping. Skin design is a stew of competing interests. The Clariden balances things nicely for beginner to intermediate backcountry skiers, especially as it pertains to glide.
We tested the Colltex Clariden on very small ski mountaineering skis. They fold up to fit easily in typical pants or jacket pockets, if that is how you so choose to carry them. They are also relatively light, for the size. Few on the market are as compact and light as the Clariden.
Just like every other attribute of climbing skins, glue integrity is a balancing act. You want it to stick when and where you ask it to, but also to let go as needed during transitions. Earlier tested Colltex products have very, very stout glue. In use this was good. At every transition, though, it was exhausting. The formulation of the Clariden is way better optimized for your use. The glue is as good as any we have used. All glue will break down on a long enough tour or over a full season. This stuff is no exception. But it holds up as good as any. Colltex uses a proprietary, unique acrylic form of glue on the Clariden. This is our only experience with that adhesive and we found it to work well.
All skins really need to do is provide grip. It is literally why we purchase and use them; to grip on the way uphill. We want as much grip as is efficient. Not as much as is possible, but as much as we can without greatly compromising weight, bulk and glide. With that in mind, we found that the grip of the Clariden has exactly the grip you need, plus a little more. They generally grip better than most.
We noticed nothing real notable about the icing resistance of the Colltex Clariden. The primary determinant of skin "glopping" is conditions; if the snow is cold, dry and powdery alternating with damp to wet, icing is possible. The next major criteria is your technique; keep your skins moving, stop only in the dry shade, and wax the skins periodically. Beyond that everything is minimally impactful. Essentially, skins resist icing by resisting water. Synthetic fibers better resist water. Proprietary treatments at manufacture resist water. The Clariden seems about average in resisting icing.
Colltex Clariden skins are sold by length and approximate width. You then cut them to shape. The tail strap is non-stretchy vinyl and the tail hook slides along that, camming in place when tensioned but able to slide when not hooked over the tail of your ski. We wish the tail hook would better stay in place during storage and transitions.
Should you buy the Colltex Clariden?
Yes, we like these skins. They aren't quite as polished as some other offerings, but they are sometimes available at a discounted rate and the overall function is very well tailored to all-around, enthusiast-level backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering.
What Other Climbing Skins Should You Consider?
If you like the easy release acrylic glue of the Colltex Clariden we feel you would also like the "hybrid" glue of the Contour Hybrid Mix skins. If you like the inexpensive, all-around balance of attributes in the Clariden skin, the Best Buy Pomoca Climb 2.0 will do you quite well also.
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