Colltex Mohair Mix Review
Cons: Moody tail clip, sticky glue
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
Colltex Mohair Mix skins are good to great all-around skins for your typical backcountry skiing. They glide better than average, stick to your ski better than average, and have pretty mediocre grip and accouterments. The supple construction is light and compact but is prone to tangling at transitions. We expect softer fabric backing to be more prone to ski/glue interface snow creep, but the tenacious CollTex glue stops this before it can even begin.
We couldn't discern any major glide differences between the Colltex and our top-scoring products, which is a good thing. Some types of pure mohair glide faster. In the case of skimo race-tuned skins, pure mohair will glide much more easily than the Colltex. For all-around backcountry skiing, you will get as much glide as you need out of the Colltex Mohair Mix.
We could say almost the same thing about the grip of the Colltex Mohair Mix as we did about its glide. We were pleased with the balance Colltex strikes with this product. Certainly, you can find skins that have greater traction than the Colltex. With that increased traction, you will lose gliding efficiency. With that increased traction, you will be able to skin more sloppily or more steeply, both of which only compromise your biomechanical efficiency. We won't argue with you here, but we will assert that some skins grip more steeply than your body's geometry is optimized for. Essentially, steeper is rarely "better". Therefore, when balancing inherently conflicting grip and glide, more grip isn't better. More technique and lower angle skin tracks are better, regardless of how you are equipped.
Colltex's glue is the most robust in the business. Like anything to do with skins, "the most" isn't always the best. Sure, getting your skins to stick tenaciously to your skis is great. On the flip side, every transition will be harder due to the greater stick. We've tested this particular Colltex long enough to know that the glue grip doesn't wane. Further, limited and anecdotal, but compelling, prior experience suggests that, up to a point, the Colltex glue formulation only gets stickier with time. With wide skis and wide skins, the Colltex formulation can be too sticky for non-strenuous transitions.
The good news of the glue grip equation is that the backing can be more supple without risking ski/glue snow intrusion and subsequent failure "creep". The thin and flexible backing of the Colltex makes them lighter and more compact than almost any comparable option. The flip side of this flip side (skin reviewing and selection is an exercise in understanding compromises and meta-compromises…) is that the super supple Colltex form is more prone to tangling in the wind and in clumsy transitions. That sticky glue becomes yet another type of liability when the skins fold themselves lengthwise and twist around, thanks to the supple fabric form.
We noticed absolutely no difference between the icing proclivity of the Colltex and that of any other nylon/mohair blend skins. Across the board, there is less differentiation in this scoring metric than in any other. Icing is more a function of conditions, technique, and waxing period (after all, bare skis can ice up. If a waxed, bare ski base ices up, your skins definitely will. And do so in even more conditions). The Colltex isn't particularly bad, nor is it significantly more prone to icing than the average skin available.
Packability and Weight
Here the Colltex shines. The fabric backing is thin and supple. As compared to the next heaviest skin, the Colltex Mohair Mix (depending on, but corrected for, size) is at least a couple of ounces lighter. Of all the performance attributes, absolute weight isn't a huge concern. You will notice differences in bulk and packability more than you will notice differences in weight. Nonetheless, the Mohair Mix is a lightweight skin.
You buy these for length and approximate width, and then cut to length. Colltex offers this model in sizes that cover most options, but the selection and sizing isn't comprehensive. The rigid wire tip loop is shaped in three dimensions to accommodate tip profiles across the whole spectrum. The heel clip works on smooth and flat tail profiles, but sits off kilter on tails with notches. It'll also slide off rounded tails. We also didn't like the way the tail clip slides around, when not mounted and under tension, on the strap. Grab it wrong, and you can pull the tail clip right off the end of the strap. This is annoying in quick transitions. Further, you could conceivably lose that tail clip quite easily.
They aren't inexpensive, but their performance is in line with the cost. You can sometimes find them on sale.
If you are absolutely sick of skins coming off your skis, check out the Colltex Mohair Mix. They are the stickiest. That stickiness comes at a cost (transitions are harder), but you will skin assured that you won't suffer glue failure. Good technique and some care will prevent or mitigate the effects of glue failure in other models, but you can get sloppy with the Colltex and have some glue stickiness left over. All the other performance attributes of the Colltex Mohair Mix are average to above average.
— Jediah Porter