Hack Your Gear: Leggings Will Save Your Skin(s)

Avoid a sticky mess in the backcountry with this easy trick

A passing glimpse at Lordly in his natural Japanese habitat. PHOTO: Kade Krichko
A passing glimpse at Lordly in his natural Japanese habitat. PHOTO: Kade Krichko

After spending a few weeks hand-delivering “Help Wanted” flyers to snow shamans in western Mongolia, we’re finally back with the latest installment of Hack Your Gear—the semi-regular column dedicated to helping you get the most out of your ski gear.

This week, we’re turning our fashion leggings into backcountry skin savers. The tip came from a world-roaming Canadian snowboarder named Matt Lordly, who imparted some serious mountaintop wisdom on a powder/onsen mission in Hokkaido, Japan. While we all did our best Stretch Armstrong impressions prying climbing skins apart in a blinding snowstorm, Lordly showed us his efficient trick with a pair of cheap leg covers.

Here’s how to skip dropping $40 on a pair of skin-savers and best utilize those simple closet-fillers, straight from the wise Canadian horse’s mouth.

1. Grab a pair of $5 leggings from Walmart (author’s note: other outlets, such as Kmart, have also yielded success). Make sure they are fairly thick and dense, so that they don’t fall apart on you.

2. Cut leggings to about one-fourth of the size of your skins.

Other things found at Walmart. PHOTO: People of Walmart.
Other things found at Walmart. PHOTO: People of Walmart.

3. The idea is inside-out doggy bag. Grab one sleeve and put your hand and arm all the way through it. With your other hand, grab your skin folded in half with glue side out, ends hanging down. Now with the sleeve hand, grab the skin at the fold and use your other hand to pull the sleeve over the top half of the exposed skin. The sleeve sticks to the glue and rolls over inside-out, like a doggy bag.

4. Reach down and fold each exposed end of the skin up onto the outsides of the sleeve and then slide it into your skin sack. Repeat for for the other skin and ‘booya!’

Lordly notes: When it comes time to get your skins back out, it’s effortless. I can’t tell you how many times this trick has saved me from wasting valuable energy, especially in cold windy weather.

One last thing: I don’t recommend storing your skins in the sleeves as I’ve learned the hard way that the glue sticks to them over time.

Have more gear hack ideas? Let us know at powder@powder.com for a chance to be featured on the next Hack Your Gear.