Comparing weights with skins is a bit difficult, because the final weight of a skin varies with the cut and ski that it’s cut for. G3 claims that, relative to their Alpinist or Momix, “the Mohair LT is roughly 10%-13% lighter.”
Frankly, I don’t care that much about the specific weight of my skins for a couple reasons:
(1) Performance characteristics like traction, durability, or glide all matter far more, since skins are a piece of fabric that often picks up plenty of extra weight in water.
(2) Tip and tail attachment systems are an obvious place to save weight, but the last thing I want are skins that don’t stay on my skis. Compatibility concerns with any skis that have odd tip shapes are one of the major reasons that G3 stands out, so I’d hate to see them ditch that in a quest for lightness.
(3) Boots, bindings, and skis represent a much better and more consistent weight savings than skins. Focusing on how light your skins are seems excessively peevish unless you’re wearing a rando race suit. (And even then, you’re carrying three pairs of skins because they’re going to fail throughout the race, so it’s a moot point.)
Rather than weight, the packability of a pair of skins seems more valuable to me. The Mohair LTs do very well in this regard, scrunching down to about three quarters of a standard size Nalgene in my pack. Black Diamond Momix skins cut for the same skis were about 30% larger.
Most skins are made of two materials on the bottom surface: nylon and / or mohair. Nylon is fully synthetic, a plastic, and brings durability and traction to a skin. It’s also heavier and glides poorly.
Mohair comes from the wool of the Angora goat, and it gives far more glide to a skin. Such glide often comes at the expense of durability and grip, meaning that 100% mohair skins are often the provence of people who know a little more about skinning technique and aren’t bashing their gear.
To get the benefits of both materials, some manufacturers mix mohair and nylon to create hybrids that combine the strengths of both materials. G3’s Alpinist Momix is a good example, as it uses 70% mohair (for glide) and 30% nylon (for traction, durability).
Again, G3’s Mohair LT is not a hybrid. It’s 100% smooth-and-fast-on-every-stride mohair. The individual hairs of the plush seem slightly shorter than those of the G3 Alpinist, and also the Black Diamond Momix or Mohair Pure.
G3 claims that “the number of hairs and the length of those hairs is similar between Alpinist and Mohair LT, but the mohair fibres are softer and finer than the nylon fibers, resulting in lower weight and a softer, thinner, more packable plush.” I’d completely agree with that.
The Mohair LT glides far better in cold conditions than any nylon skin or mixed skin I’ve used. Despite testing them in different temperature environments (mid-winter vs. edge of spring) on skis of different widths (98 mm & 102 mm vs. 116 mm underfoot respectively), the G3 Mohair LT glides on par with the Black Diamond Mohair Pure.
In colder conditions, the glide of the Mohair LT is its strongest attribute. This spring, I’ve done some A/B-ing with the Mohair LT and the G3 Scala, which uses their Alpinist nylon plush, and the difference in glide is very noticeable for my skinning style. These days, I prefer a lighter boot with large range of motion (Dynafit TLT6) and try to keep a fairly fast, consistent pace on the skin track. I live on my middle risers, and cut long, flatter skin tracks. It’s easy to feel the difference in glide resistance between skin materials because my skis don’t leave the ground, and I tend to travel a little further since my switchbacks aren’t as steep.
Skinning on the flats really benefits from such a technique, and skins like the Mohair LT, (because of the added glide on each step) allow you to go further with less effort. Uphill skinning is easier because there’s less resistance every time I pull my ski forward across the snow.
However, such nuances of glide don’t matter as much for other skinning styles. If you spend very little time on flat approaches, or if you like steep skin tracks, or if you tend to slog your way along by picking your feet up, glide won’t mean that much.
As Paul Forward mentions in his skin overview, I’ve dealt with far worse snow glopping on the Mohair LT than I have with similar Black Diamond skins.
To be clear, the Mohair LT worked well in colder snow temperatures, so if you’re planning on primarily skinning in a consistently cold region, the Mohair LT’s should be just fine.
But much of this spring saw overnight snow, with warming temperatures by mid-morning and schmoo / mank by afternoon in northwest Montana. Days like this started out okay on the Mohair LT, but as the snow softened up, the Mohair LTs would become soaked with water and begin to glop horribly. Skin wax and liquid glide treatments only did so much, usually going away within twenty minutes of skinning. It was nothing short of infuriating, especially since the skins performed so well when the snow temperatures remained colder. Many unkind things were yelled into the trees in the middle of nowhere.
(As a note, I’ve had exactly zero problems with glopping on the Black Diamond Mohair Pure, even in conditions where the snowpack was deteriorating to mush.)
This is conjecture now, but the reason why skin wax and glide treatments are relatively ineffective may be related to the fact that the plush hairs on the Mohair LT don’t have much in the way of volume. They’re easily soaked by water from the snow, and they don’t have as much room to hold skin wax or liquid glide treatments.
Long and short: In my experience, the Mohair LT is a cold-temperature skin. So if you’re planning to use them in warming temps, you’ve been forewarned.
I’m hard on my gear. It gets used thoroughly, for long outings, and pretty frequently: I got fifteen days on these in just over nine weeks with the skins in my possession. As I mentioned above, Mohair offers excellent glide at the expense of durability.
Spring is also a hard time to test skins. Temperatures don’t stay consistent, skins are often wet, and there’s a lot more dirt and rock to walk around on than during the depths of winter. Skin glue is formulated to do well at very cold temperatures, not in the slush and wet bases I experience every year at this time.
Under my onslaught, the Mohair LTs have not fared too well. They’ve had random strings of the backing between plush and glue coming off the sides of the skins despite cutting them twice (which eliminated the first round of strings).
Rocks have not been kind to the plush; the print continues to wear off the base of the skin. On my last five day / four night trip, so much glue came off and was stuck to my bases that I could see the outline of the rip strip on the tail of my ski. Ski straps were a must on every up for the last day of the trip.
The Black Diamond Mohair Pure skins were subjected to some similar abuse, and have held up much better: I did a bit of grass skinning early season, and certainly smoked a couple rocks on narrow ridgelines; they experienced similar temperature swings while touring on a hut trip in the Pioneers of Idaho; and I’ve used them for ten days longer. And all they have to show for it are some rocks dings.
Admittedly, this is a strange thing to comment on, but since I’ve never noticed this with any other skin, it’s worth mentioning.
The Mohair LT have had a pungent, chemical smell since I first cut them. I don’t quite understand, because I’ve been vigilant to properly dry them after every trip, but the reek has gotten even worse. Keeping them in the skin bag (once fully dried) concentrates the odor, as Cy Whitling found out when I offered him a whiff while in camp during our voyage through Olympic National Park. He made that sort of face you’d expect if you found yourself smelling, and I quote: “a raccoon that had drowned in a porta-potty at Burning Man.”
So, yeah. They smell. And not like flowers.
While it doesn’t have the durability or temperature range of many other skins, the small details, packability, and glide offered by the G3 Mohair LT make it a good choice for skiers who value glide in their skinning style, ski primarily in cold temperatures, and are not particularly hard on their skins.