Hands-on Gear Review

Voile Skins with Tail Clip Review

Voile Skins with Tail Clip
Editors' Choice Award
Price:  $185 List | $138.71 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Durable, stellar grip, sturdy, easy to use, affordable, reliable glue, above average attachment, avoided glop in most conditions.
Cons:  Heavy, poor glide, bulky.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:  Voile
Weight per pair:  730 g
Weight per skin:  365 g
Manufacturer:   Voile

Our Verdict

The Voile Splitboard skin is sturdy, grippy, and reliable. At first glance, we might have overlooked it because it appears largely unchanged from this brand's previous models of skins, follows conventional skin design, and is fairly heavy and bulky. Turns out that after a few months of use, this skin rose to the top of our review rankings, earning the Editors' Choice Award due to the reliability of its glue and relative convenience of its attachment systems. Its higher than ideal weight, poorer glide, and bulk knocked it down in the rankings, but not enough to lose the top spot. The Tail-less version of this skin saves you $30 but we wouldn't recommend it.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Splitboard Climbing Skins


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
David Reichel

Last Updated:
Monday
April 4, 2016

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The Voile Splitboard skins make a strong argument for simplicity, reliability, and grip. Cutting short a glorious day in the backcountry because your skins are failing is a major bummer; the odds of that occurring with these skins is low. Weight weenies and rando racers might want to look elsewhere as these don't glide super well and are heavier and bulkier than the lightest equipment out there.

Performance Comparison


Closeup view of the nylon skin material and the sturdy tip clip Voile uses to connect the skin to the nose of your splitboard.
Closeup view of the nylon skin material and the sturdy tip clip Voile uses to connect the skin to the nose of your splitboard.

Grip


This contender has a stellar grip and the nylon fur clings superbly to skin tracks. Straight ice is tough on any skin, but if there is any soft or textured snow available, these skins will do a great job ascending it. Comparing the climbing grip on all the skins in our review, this model measured about the same as the G3 High Traction skins. Both prioritize grip over glide and the associated tradeoffs that come with super grippy fur (namely added weight and bulk).

Additionally, the sturdiness of the nylon fur allows users to confidently cross short rock section without as much concern for their skin integrity as would be the case with a nylon/mohair mix skin. Another benefit of the relatively stiff and burly nylon skin material is that it helps maintain a solid connection near the nose of the splitboard where snow often sneaks in between the skin and the board. If any skin is applied incorrectly (with any gap in this area) or in particularly challenging conditions, snow will eventually find its way in here; the stiffness of these skins helps more than some of the softer skins in our review like the Jones Nomad.

Glide


This competitor prioritizes grip, which comes at the expense of glide. They are also noticeably slow when skiing down short hills and will stop the skinner faster than someone using mixed nylon/mohair skins like the Jones Nomad. This will be noticeable on longer days that involve significant amounts on low angle and rolling terrain. It will be less noticeable on shorter and steeper ascents. Newer splitboarders who perhaps bootpacked or snowshoed previously will be less likely to notice this poor glide since any glide is noticeable and appreciated relative to those forms of locomotion.

Ease of Use


It is only necessary to trim the width of these skins, as the tip and tail attachments come attached. The tail attachment provides for ample adjustment in order to allow for the skins to be shared between splitboards of the roughly the same length. When brand new, the glue on these skins sticks to itself quite strongly and does require significant force to pull it back apart again. The strip of tape in the middle of the base reduces the amount of glue surface area and lessons the force needed. This tape also has the benefit that after a few seasons worth of use, when the glue starts to lose its sticking power, removing the tape will expose fresh glue underneath and revitalize the sticking power of the skins. The fairly high weight and large volume (when folded up) did cost these skins in the side-by-side comparison.

Attachment System


The Voile splitboard skin tail attachment is burly metal connected to a highly adjustable strap.
The Voile splitboard skin tail attachment is burly metal connected to a highly adjustable strap.
The tip attachment on these skins is stout metal, with serious rivets securing it to the skin material; it appears mostly unchanged from what this company has used for several years and we are not aware of any durability issues associated with it. The tail attachment is a newer innovation; it is a simple design that does its job well and is fairly easy to attach and remove. The rubber strap connecting the tail attachment has a helpful amount of stretch, which allows one to connect and remove the tail clip without too much muscle strain.

Glue and Glop


The Voille tip connector is securely attached to the skin.
The Voille tip connector is securely attached to the skin.
The skin glue is solid. In the beginning, it was quite close to being too strong when the skins are stored glue to glue. But after a dozen or so tours it weakened just enough to make this easier. The glue does a great job sticking the skins to the splitboard and we had very few issues with it not fully adhering to the splits. True long-term testing is beyond the scope of this review, though we can confirm that this brand of skins has a good track record in this regard.

A view of the glue side of the Voile splitboard skins near the tail. The black ribbon prevents new skins from being overly sticky but after a couple years of use can be removed to expose newer and stickier glue which can then keep the skins working for even longer.
A view of the glue side of the Voile splitboard skins near the tail. The black ribbon prevents new skins from being overly sticky but after a couple years of use can be removed to expose newer and stickier glue which can then keep the skins working for even longer.

This model avoided glop in all but the most challenging of conditions. In those conditions, we found all the skins to suffer about equally with snow sticking to them. It appears that no skin manufacturer has found a truly functional way to avoid glop when the snow and air temperatures are conspiring to make it difficult. Stopping and scraping off the sticking snow and then rubbing a soft wax on the skins does reduce the issue at least temporarily.

Best Applications


These split skins are great choices for all splitboarders looking for a skin with strong grip that will withstand years of hard use. This model also makes sense for folks who know they are difficult on their equipment. If you have a penchant for skinning over rocks, these skins and their sturdy construction are a good choice. Because these skins provide strong grip at the expense of some glide, weight, and bulk, they are even better choices for newer splitboarders who will appreciate this grip, but won't notice the negatives.

Value


Tied with theG3 Alpinist
for most affordable skin in our review at $185, this contender gets high marks for value. We expect this skin to last for many seasons of use and thus the cheap price would become even more of a bonus down the road.

Conclusion


We spun around 180 degrees on the Voile Splitboard skins. Our first impression was that they appeared boring and lacked some of the pizazz offered by other skins in our review. After a season's worth of testing, we realized that pizazz is not necessarily a quality to look for in your climbing skins. These skins are tried and true and offered very exceptional performance. After experiencing issues with some of the other skins in our review, the steady reliability of this competitor was even more appreciated.
David Reichel

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Most recent review: November 18, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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  • 5
 (1.0)

0% of 1 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 50%  (1)
Snowboarder

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   Nov 18, 2017 - 07:50pm
Paul Matthews · Snowboarder · Banff
These suck and the tail clip chipped the hell out of my board.
After two days in the back-country it is time to burn my voile skins. They ruined my trip into the back-country because they don't actually work.They are a complete waste of money and don't stick to anything.
On top of the that the tail clip also broke on day two! I ended up having to boot pack most of the time.
Worth crap, don't waste your money.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.


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