G3 Splitboard+ Universal Review
Cons: Awkward folding
Compare to Similar Products
G3 Splitboard+ Universal
|Price||$189.00 at Amazon||$200 List||$250 List||$169.95 at Amazon||$195 List|
|Pros||All-purpose, good ratio of grip to glide, camming tail clip, easy to align tip clip||Secure and easy attachment system, efficient skinning||Lightweight, efficient, packable, good climbing ability||Durable, good grip to glide ratio||Good glide, rolls and folds small, robust adhesive|
|Cons||Awkward folding||Adequate grip, particular rolling technique||Expensive, difficult tail clip installation||Can be hard to pull apart, steps required to get them field ready||User effort to get from package to field, small range of size adjustments|
|Bottom Line||A great choice for nearly all splitboarders||A solid choice for experienced splitters who don't want to sacrifice glide for grip they don't need||A solid skin the is best suited for Jones boards||This well-rounded skin is suitable for all skill levels||No frills option for everyday backcountry use|
|Rating Categories||G3 Splitboard+ Universal||G3 Splitboard+ Glide||Jones Nomad PRO||Ascension Splitboard STS||GlideLite Splitboard Mix STS|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Attachment System (15%)|
|Glue Icing Glop (20%)|
|Specs||G3 Splitboard+...||G3 Splitboard+ Glide||Jones Nomad PRO||Ascension...||GlideLite...|
|Manufacturer||G3||G3||Jones Snowboard (Pomoco)||Black Diamond||Black Diamond|
|Weight per pair||674 (g)||560 (g)||460 (g)||658 (g)||650 (g)|
|Weight per skin||337 (g)||280 (g)||230 (g)||329 (g)||325 (g)|
|Material||Nylon plush||Nylon plush||70% Mohair, 30% Nylon||Nylon||65% mohair and 35% nylon|
|Glue||Non-toxic adhesive||Non-toxic adhesive||Non-toxic adhesive||Non-toxic adhesive||Non-toxic adhesive|
|Tip Attachment||Asymmetrical steel Hands||Asymmetrical steel hands||Universal clips||Snap-fit attachement||Coated cable|
|Tail Attachment||SPLITBOARD+||SPLITBOARD+||Hooked attachement||STS||STS|
|Cheat Sheets Included?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
G3 makes a wide range of skins for skiing and splitboarding. The Splitboard+ Universal updates their previous design with thoughtful improvements. This particular model is appropriate for most splitboarders.
When we are setting a skin track, we are selecting our route based on our security and efficiency. We primarily rely on our technique to provide our security. In certain times, that might not be enough, and we need our skin to provide the additional grip to boost our security, especially when learning. The G3 Universal provides a 100% Nylon plush with medium length hairs to offer plenty of grip.
G3 claims that the Universal is evenly balanced between grip and glide. After several months of use, we agree. With reasonably good skinning technique, we felt confident in the grip provided by these skins; blown out switchbacks at our local go-to areas are great testing grounds for the grip of a skin. Even after a couple of days of cold, clear nights and some near-surface faceting made the switchbacks slippery, the Universal skins gripped well.
For intermediate and advanced skinners, glide becomes the bread and butter of the skin. Glide can provide the efficiency benefits we need to make it through a long day in the backcountry. The Splitboard+ Universal delivers an impressive balance of grip and glide, making it a great choice as an everyday skin, no matter how far you are skinning.
It offers effortless and silky glide in every stride and condition. Glide is critical for conserving energy during your tour to ride your best on the way down. Mohair skins generally provide the best glide, but this nylon plush provided mohair like glide; our testers were impressed by the versatility offered by its fine-tuned balance of grip and glide.
Ease of Use
The Universal is a thoughtfully featured skin that creates a positive user experience. From the box to a windy ridge, the Universal is easy to handle and use.
The skins come out of the box with a pre-cut edge that aligns perfectly with the straight edge of your splitboard. Not only does this cut your time in half from box to trailhead, but it allows for one perfect edge, which helps on every transition. The included skin trimming tool was ergonomically designed for easy handling and bracing against the edge of the splitboard. The tool helped us achieve our cleanest cuts on the review fleet.
The secure attachment system features a camming tail clip and a bulky yet user-friendly tip clip. However, the system makes this skin a challenge to roll and can increase difficulty when compact folding. We found this to be a trade-off we were willing to make for the ease of use and security brought by the Universal's attachment system.
Splitboarders rejoice. The true camming tail clip has arrived. Camming tail clips have been found on ski climbing skins for years but have been slow to make their way onto splitboard skins. Fortunately, those days might soon be over. The tip and tail systems on the Universal are excellent.
The camming tail connector provides an intuitive and secure attachment. During our testing, the tail clip never fell off; the plastic has held up well to our use and abuse without showing much evidence of wear. As the sport has grown, splitboard manufacturers have been exploring and refining different shapes from blunted tails to swallowtails. Certain styles of tail clips are insecure on these unique shapes. The Universal tail clip is living up to its name by bringing security to these shapes. The actual camming action is very secure. G3's camming tail connector is the best solution we have tested so far for traditional and surf styled shapes.
When switching between splitboards of different lengths, we recommend adjusting the camming tail connector at home and not in the cold, at the trailhead, while your friends wait. It is a bit cumbersome to adjust the length properly, but this is really not a problem because after you fit it to your splitboard once, you shouldn't have to adjust it again. Additionally, because adjusting the camming tail connector requires specific manipulations of the tail material, it is very secure and unlikely to work its way loose. Once the proper length is selected to achieve the optimum tension on the ski, it holds the skins securely on the splitboard.
We found the metal clips to do an excellent job of holding the skins to the splitboard; they are reasonably easy to attach and are up to the task of keeping the skins in place.
Keeping snow from building up under your skins can be a preventative way to avoid skin failure. We had hypothesized that G3's plastic nose connector would prevent snow penetration underneath the skin. Our testing showed that the plastic connector did not prevent snow from building up underneath the skin. To be fair, no other style of connector has cracked the code on this either. We did not find the G3 connector to fare any worse than other skin designs, but it still required that we methodically attach the skins and make sure that they were perfectly attached (to avoid snow intrusion).
Glue and Glop
Glue failures and glop are two components that can drastically decrease the efficiency of your day. The Universal Splitboard uses strong but user-friendly glue and the carpets resited glop, so we weren't lugging bricks on our feet.
The Universal skins performed very well in avoiding or minimizing glop. During testing in Argentina, we encountered periods of warm temperatures while cold snow remained; these are ideal conditions for horrendous glop. The Universal skins almost entirely avoided glopping while some of our partners experienced a build-up of several pounds of snow. We have just over a year of significant use of these skins, and they are still performing well at avoiding glop. Big props to G3 for achieving excellent waterproofness on their skins with a PFOA Free treatment.
If skins don't stick to your base, they are worthless, and the glue is the unsung hero of skins. Unless the owner maintains extreme vigilance, the glue magically collects all manner of dog hair, dust, pine needles, and dirt. After a solid two months of use, the Universal skin glue performs as well as it did when it was brand new. We've kept them clean of contaminants but have also used them in South American huts and driven home from the trailhead stuffed awkwardly in wet packs, to be left there overnight when the Apres Asado went late. G3 deserves credit for finding a glue formula that is non-toxic and still functions well.
For a nylon skin, the Universal is priced on the higher end compared to the rest of the skin market. Through extensive testing, the Universal was awarded our top award for its distinctive performance. Performance and durability are the two driving components of inherent value. While a score for durability is not assigned in this review, the skins are well made, and we have high hopes for their longevity. Both of these factors combined make the Universal a solid value for performance seeking splitboarders.
Inherent in the name, the G3 Splitboard+ Universal is perfect for most splitboarders in the majority of conditions and objectives. The skin made notable accomplishments for balancing grip and glide. This model stands out even more when you factor in its streamlined and reliable attachment system. The product is thoughtfully featured and is an easy to use, reliable skin. We recommend the Universal for any splitboarder looking for a well balanced and straightforward skin that is at home anywhere.
— Isaac Laredo & David Reichel