Skeats – Pocket sized ski and splitboard crampons
Ski crampons are helpful for treacherous touring conditions. When traversing across icy, at steeper angles, and for getting a grip when you start losing it. But, they can be bulky and I often forget to pack them. Enter Skeats. The pocket-sized alternative to ski and splitboard crampons.
Ski crampons – great tool and sandwich protector
Ski and splitboard crampons are very helpful. They attach securely to the ski and provide extra traction on sketchy traverses. They are also rather bulky and take up precious space in a backpack. Or you can have them attached to the outside of a backpack and hope they don’t get caught on a branch or swing and hit someone. They do make a decent sandwich protector in a backpack though. So hats off to crampons for that. Skeats are a minimalist approach.
Skeats – funny name, seriously helpful
How many times have you left the ski crampons in the truck? Thinking that you probably won’t need them or not wanting to carry them? Personally, this happens often. I feel like the times I need them, I don’t have them. Ironically, I seem to have them when I don’t need them. Not sure if that is human error on my part or just random luck. Probably the first option, in all honesty. I came across Skeats on an Instagram post and was instantly intrigued. Could this little cleat strap thing really work? I purchased one and set out to lay a ridiculous skin track, pretty much straight up the mountain. I was impressed. My touring partners were impressed.
How do they work?
They are very easy to set up and use. Basically, they are a durable strap attached to a metal or plastic bar of teeth. The teeth go under the ski and the buckle clips together, as buckles tend to do. Tighten the strap down and start skinning. Note – the Skeat go under the ski, in front of the binding. I placed one Skeat under the binding (without having risers engaged) and crushed the plastic buckle on the first step. Imagine that, 220lbs of force pushing metal on top of the plastic. Dugh! Completely my fault. So don’t do that. Place the Skeat in front of the binding and all will be good. Or, if you plan on having the touring risers engaged, then stick them underfoot. Just don’t forget to take them off before disengaging the risers!
4 wheel drive for your backcountry set up
Every tester that used these refused to give them back. I can’t blame them, these Skeats work great! In fact, I carry two sets of them on tours. One for me and one for someone else. They are super light, pack up small and can easily store on your hip belt. How often have you been on a tour and your partner did not bring crampons? They are having a demoralizing time on the tour (and it is frustrating for the group). Why not do them (and yourself) a solid and have a backup set of Skeats? Just look at the picks of Alex touring up Mt Russel. The angle she is taking is steeper (and more controlled) than what we would usually take. She still has not given back this set of Skeats! Oh well. Looks like they are now going to be a gift to her. Might as well get them as a gift for others too! The price is right $25 for plastic and $25 for metal – Get them here.
The team at Skeats has designed a genius simple tool for getting more out of touring. They are not perfect though. They are not a replacement for real crampons for more serious situations. They are, however, a very worthwhile investment and I would recommend them to any backcountry skier or splitboarder. Plus, the guys that make them are rad. Go get some and get gripped!