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Home Forums Splitboard Talk Forum Ultralight Splitboarding – Save kilograms or pounds and perform better

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    I have been perfecting my ultimate splitboard setup over the years by reducing weight and increasing performance so I figured I would share the hours of researching I have compiled which I hope might be useful to someone.

    Ultralight is a term used in long distance thru-hiking. Everyone should know that if your equipment is lighter, you will:
    – Use less energy by being more efficient
    – travel longer distances, gain more altitude, more laps, more fun
    – be easier on your body, joints, muscles
    – have more maneuverability over terrain, scrambling over rocks, bootpacking etc.
    – be safer. Time is important in the backcountry.

    I have weighed every piece of my gear and saved over 3kgs (7lbs) from my original setup. Here is my current kit with thoughts.

    Amplid Milligram 163cm 2.6kgs – The lightest splitboard on the market. Not only is it the lightest, its arguably the best in riding and skinning performance. Swapped k-clips to ranger fixed clips (50g savings).

    Kohla Skins 645g – far lighter but dont grip as well as g3 high tractions

    Phantom Binding Plates each 454g – Non-hardbooters I run into still often dont understand that carrying bindings in your pack while skinning is far superior to sliding your foot every step with a 500g binding attached. It is also not uncommon to see very poor skinning technique akin to lifting each foot like walking with snow shoes which makes efficiency even worse. Another benefit of this system is the ease and quickness of transitions, especially strapping bindingless skis to pack for boot packing.

    Phantom solo cleats 148g – less icing, lighter again

    Dynafit TLT6 Mountain Boots each size 12 1240g – obvious game changer. Enough has been written about the
    benefits of hardboots (walk mode, safety with crampons, kicking steps, etc etc). Hardboots also last far longer than softboots, I have literally had Deeluxe spark boots fall apart after 10 days of usage, not uncommon for people to blow through a pair a season. I also removed the metal piece from heel cup to save further weight.

    Mammut Light Removable Airbag 3.0 30L w/o cylinder 1600grams – lightest airbag on the market as well as the cheapest. plenty of room, comfortable. Literally half the weight of fan airbags and probably a third of the price.

    Carbon Cylinder 319g
    Refillable Steel Cylinder 692 g

    Arva Ultra Shovel 302g – small blade, not the most efficient shovel but the lightest metal bladed shovel I could find.
    Mammut Barryvox Pulse 328g – I see people with 2 antenna beacons all the time and I always tell them to upgrade. This is not a piece of equipment to save money on. You will give yourself far more chance of surviving if people can locate you quicker. No brainer to upgrade for a couple of hundred bucks.
    Arva 2.00 Carbon probe 98g – lightest I could find. You might get something longer and more sturdy if you do a lot of probing work.

    Locus Gear CP3 Carbon Poles each 177g – A very underrated piece of gear. Everyone always recommends BD expeditions which weights 330g a piece. These CP3 poles are about the same price $130usd, hand made in Japan, have super quick delivery worldwide and are top quality. Widely known amongst long distance hikers as the best poles. Moving 150g less per hand thousands of times a day adds up.

    Petzl Irvis Boot Crampons 330g – Half the weight of my old grivel haute routes. Comes in steel front points as well as all aluminium.
    Dynafit 130mm Crampons each 115g – Another benefit to hardboots. The crampons are half the size.

    Idol Ice Rock Carbon Ice Axe 188g – On my wish list, I currently use the Camp Corsa Nanotech Ice Axe 244g

    Camp USA Alp racing harness 92g – or Black Diamond Couloir Harness 220g depending on situation. No need for those super heavy climbing harnesses.

    Carabiner Camp HMS 2 Lock Gate 82g
    Carabiner Camp HMS Compact Screw Gate 88g
    Carabiner Camp Nano 22 22g
    Carabiner Camp Photon Wire Straight Gate 29g
    Sling 38g
    ACR RESQLINK+ 162g
    SOL emergency blanket 109g
    500mm ski strap 26g

    Petzl sirocco climbing helmet 170g – rarely take a helmet, but a climbing helmet is better than no helmet, skimo racers use these.

    LED Lenser Headlamp 105g or I usually take my emergency Petzl Elite 30g

    Patagonia Refugitive Jacket Goretex 424g – I often see newbies using their super heavy resort jackets that dont breathe at all. You can easily save 500g-1kg here.

    Mont Bell Plasma 1000 Down Jacket 130g – well reviewed, probably has the best warmth to weight ratio of any ultralight down jacket.

    Patagonia Kniferidge 538g – Again I see newbies with heavy pants with poor ventilation.

    Dynafit Performance Dryarn 3/4 Tights 92g

    montbell exlight wind parka 59g – I rarely take this layer off. It protects my body and head when its windy, enough for light rain.

    Patagonia Capalene2 Lightweight 188g warmer days – has chest zip to regulate temperature. Breathes so well. It goes without saying that you shouldnt be wearing a t-shirt as a baselayer but I see it all the time. Usually soaked with sweat.
    Patagonia Capalene3 Midweight 246g colder days

    Oakley Holbrook 27g
    sunglass case 59g
    Julbo Aerospace goggles – I rarely wear goggles, saves time and faff transitioning but I bought a set of these for their open lens gimmick. Not totally convinced about it yet as I rarely use them for their intended purpose.

    Mammut Fleece Beanie 21g – getting rid of those huge ass beanies means you can easily swap between a beanie, sun hat and buff in your pocket while on the move.
    buff 30g – can wear it on your head as a headband, for wind protection on your face, neck etc.
    outdoor research rain cap 22g – sun protection, lighter than a trucker hat, folds down to nothing.

    montbell outdry overglove 85g
    montane tornado goretex glove 112g
    Hestra glove Liners 34g
    salomon mountain running gloves 23g – always take a spare set of liners. They weigh nothing, and swap when one set gets wet.

    Smartwool Ski socks 70g

    Exped Synmat Winterlite M 447g
    Katabatic Gear Grenadier 5c Quilt 850g

    This is what I have come up with and refined over the years. I have used and tested in conditions ranging from Japan Pow, Georgia (the country) winter, Norway spring, Australia spring. No doubt everyone has their different preferences on fit, style, whatever, but weight is weight and I am always searching to save weight with an increase in performance, albeit now with diminishing returns. I have met plenty of experienced Splitboarders who have simply been unaware of certain products, such as Locus Gear CP3 poles, montbell downjackets etc,. I’m not saying these are the best products, but so far they are the best products I have used. Feel free to add products you use, comment and discuss.


    That’s quite a list you have there friend. Do you have enough money left over to buy beer for mates you left in the dust? And it’s thoughtful for you to remind us Georgia is a country and to translate those sissy metric units into Imperial for us troglodytic Yanks. LOL!
    All ribbing aside, you’ve done your homework and thanks for sharing. \m/

    3 kilos lost is fairly impressive; can you give us a total weight so we can infer a percentage lost?

    Have you thought of Scarpa Aliens for boots? Flexy boots out of the box and lighter than TLTs.

    “Light is right” is generally a good mantra. There are two areas where I think it deserve some consideration.
    Usually, there is a trade off between weight chatter; as boards get lighter, they handle frozen chop/chunder worse. Amplid have some special sauce they impregnate into the Miligram so this is not an issue.
    A probe & shovel are not a things I wouldn’t skimp on to save weight.
    If you ride in terrain-trappy areas, 300 cm is the minimum length I’d go out with. I teach avalanche safety and have seen way too many ultralight probes bend like a wet noodle when inserted into normal snow; avalanche debris is harder. I prefer a “girthy,” stiff probe over most ultralight ones.
    Arva’s Ultra was designed to be ISMF race-compliant— much like the CAMP Crest— not for rescue. I’d prefer it if my partner had a burlier shovel: G3 SpadeTech, CAMP Rocket, or BD Deploy 3. I know they’re all almost twice the weight; it’s just something to consider. Also, small blades— when using the ‘paddle technique’— move as much snow, over time and for the same energy, as larger shovels with normal shovel technique.

    For a beacon, Pieps Micro is 150g and pretty sweet; less than half weight of the Pulse.

    Did your CP3s come with a powder basket (90+ mm) or is that sold separately as well? Cool option. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    What is up with those cotton t-shirt baselayer people?! I just don’t get it.

    You “rarely use them for their intended purpose.” How else do you use goggles?
    I get cheap sport sunglasses from the drug store or supermarket (“Solar Comfort”? polarized lenses from China) and I coat them in Z-Clear anti fog (wax suspended in a quick-drying alcohol paste). The glasses only have a frame on the top (not surrounding the entire lenses like your Oakleys). I can pop the lenses off, wrap them in a cotton handkerchief, and it all lies flat (frame included) in a pants pocket. The system never fogs; blocks light from the sun above, the snow beneath, and the sides; I can push them closer to my eyes so they don’t water when I ride into the wind; AND I don’t have to carry a separate case.

    Two thumbs up on bringing an extra glove liner. “I am sure glad I saved that extra ounce by leaving that pair of gloves at home,” said no one; and yet everyone has wished they had a dry pair at some point.

    I also have a BD CoEfficient Hoody that I rarely take off. It’s their knock-off of the R1 hoody by Patagucci. I’ve hydrophobicly teated mine with Nikwax and it’s feaking magic! It keeps me warm, breaths like egyptian cotton, and never gets heavy with sweat. On single-day missions where I am moving the entire time, it has replaced the puffy in my pack and the fleece/wool cap in my cargo pocket.

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    Pack weight is 4.5kg with 2 litres of water, carbon cylinder. came from a bca float 32 airbag. lost over 1 kg.
    swing weight I’d estimate per foot is around 3kgs, board and boots. I came from a burton spliff with spark bindings. went to jones ultracraft and then milligram and phantoms. lost more than 1kg here.
    worn weight is now about 2kgs, I dropped 1kg with mostly from down jacket, shell, windbreaker, pants and gloves.

    I have not thought about another pair of boots besides the pierre gignoux boots but couldn’t justify it and also want to wait for more feedback.

    Agreed on the paddle technique. I tend to do guided expeditions nowadays so know that someone else in the group will have a big shovel for cutting blocks. Can you recommend a probe?

    will check out the pieps.

    you will need to add the snow basket option but I had a pair of broken poles which I just swapped the baskets over.

    Goggles- The Julbo Aerospace goggles have the pop-out lens for airflow to reduce/clear foggy lens while climbing/skinning. I have yet to use them for this purpose as I wear sunglasses 99% of the time. I am waiting for that super stormy, windy, snowy day where I might actually use goggles and test if it does indeed work or is a gimmick.


    Nice work ozsnowbum. I have almost the same basic set up.

    158 Milligram and will be adding a 157 Millisurf

    Kohla skins

    Phantom bindings with solo cleats

    Phantom board hooks

    I do have pair of well used TLT6s, but have switched to the Gignouxs

    Mammut Light RAS and Ultralight RAS. I cannot get the carbon cylinder in the US unfortunately (I have tried).

    For low to no avy danger days I will also use the Mammut Spindrift Ultralight 20 and Spindrift Light packs. They are super lightweight.

    Camp 390 crampons

    Camp Nano Ice Axe

    Pulse beacon

    I do use heavier duty avy gear and a full length probe.

    I have a super light and small headlamp.

    Thanks for the tip on the Locus Gear poles. I’ll have to try a pair. I almost always skin with a Whippet though, so until someone makes a light one, I choose self arrest ability over light weight.

    Some model of lightweight Patagonia puffy

    I wear Arcteryx Gamma SL top and bottom soft shells and running tech top and bottoms underneath unless it is quite cold. I will sometimes carry a super lightweight hardshell top and bottoms just in case it is really windy.

    I use a thin balaclava as a beanie / balaclava and carry a sun hat.

    I never carry goggles. I have a low light and a sunny day pair of motorcycle sunglasses that have a removable inner
    face seal to keep my eyes protected from wind or snow if needed.

    When I need approach shoes, I use a pair of Evolvs. They are super light canvas shoes.

    With all the effort and expense you have put into the rest of your gear, it seems like it is time to try the Gignouxs. They are over a pound lighter per foot than the TLT6s, which are not even that light. The Atomic Backland Ultimate looks like another promising boot. It is likely that a spring system can be developed to control / adjust the forward flex. Some riders have already made that mod on other models of Backlands.


    LInk to the Backland mod photos. Scroll down the thread.

    Backland Spring System.


    I am unable to commit to the Gignouxs yet as they are so expensive and I am waiting on more testing before I think about them.
    Any further thoughts on them?
    are they crampon compatible?
    do they hold up well to abuse from kicking rocks? steps?
    do the soles grip well walking on rocks? ice?
    do you get cold feet?
    how do they fit compard to tlt’s
    are they comfortable to wear 12 hours a day, on week long winter camping expeditions?

    anyway…im keeping a close eye on them. too many question marks for me.


    Sick thread guys. You covered most everything. Let me see what I can contribute…

    TLT boots – removed the metal heel cleats, removed a lot of material from the upper cuff with a hole cutter.
    <more later>


    I am unable to commit to the Gignouxs yet as they are so expensive and I am waiting on more testing before I think about them.
    Any further thoughts on them?
    are they crampon compatible?
    do they hold up well to abuse from kicking rocks? steps?
    do the soles grip well walking on rocks? ice?
    do you get cold feet?
    how do they fit compard to tlt’s
    are they comfortable to wear 12 hours a day, on week long winter camping expeditions?

    anyway…im keeping a close eye on them. too many question marks for me.

    Yes, my Camp 390 crampons fit perfectly. They are the same size as the TLT6s.

    They are holding up well, except for the edges of the rubber gaiter. I did take them on a massive schwack, boulder hopping, and loose rock steep sidehilling. I have an email into Gignoux to find out what adhesive to use to glue it back down. The carbon finish scrapes just like the TLT6s, just not as deep. I generally get a couple of years out of my TLT6s and hope for the same from these. They are not quite as tough on rocks and scree as the TLT6s.

    Soles grip just like the TLT6s. Because of the low profile and upper cuff range of motion, they walk better than the TLT6s.

    The Gignouxs are a little colder than the TLT6s.

    I wear a 25 to 25.5 TLT6 and a 25 GIgnoux. They are much lower profile than the TLT6, which is really nice.

    I have recently had them on a 9 hour and a 10 hour, 7000 foot days and they are perfectly comfortable.


    ozsnowbum, you motivated me to lighten my set up some more.

    I did manage to get my hands on a Mammut carbon canister. I am super stoked.

    I ordered a pair of Locus Gear poles. Now I need to create an aluminum Whippet for them. Aluminum should work well most days (probably still use steel for bullet proof spring mornings).

    I also picked up an Arva 2.40 compact carbon probe, an Arva Snow Plume shovel and an Arva Ultra shovel to test out. The probe and the Snow Plume seem like they would work just fine. I expect the Ultra will at least be plenty adequate for days when I am not going into serious avy terrain. I will test their limitations next season, but for the days I use the light shovel and probe, combined with the carbon canister, I just dropped about 1 1/2 pounds (700) grams from my pack. The Locus poles drop even more weight.


    Got my Locus Gear Poles. They seem really nice. I’ll have to see how they hold up. At 145 pounds, I am not very hard on gear.

    ozsnowbum, my Locus Gear poles are 168 grams each which is a bit lighter than the weight you measured. The weight I get for one of this season’s Expeditions is 260 grams, instead of the 330 grams in your original post. 92 grams is still a significant difference though, but not as much as you measured.


    Nice work Buell.
    Quick delivery from Locus Gear as usual.
    My expeditions were a few years old, so maybe they were a heavier model.
    Also I have added some tennis racket wrap below the Foam handle for extra grip on my Locus Gear poles which is why mine are slightly heavier.

    I might add another item I have found for a lightweight headlamp.
    Nitecore NU20 seems to be one of the best value powerful ultralight headlamps.

    Something else I have been trying to figure out is if there is some type of spray or coating that can be applied on the topsheet of our boards which will keep snow from sticking to the board making it heavy. I have developed the habit of constantly pushing snow off the top of my skis with the handles of my poles as I walk but wish the snow wouldnt stick in the first place.


    Never used that but my initial opinion would be: overpriced if it is the same nano-tech as neverwet. But we’ll see. I’ll try it if available. I treated a black board with Neverwet coating. It initially worked great. Eventually snow would get on the deck and the coating did not endure much scraping before it lost most of its ability and left a slight haze on the board and not a great deal of repellancy. I would say it took a regular gloss finish board and initially made it as good as the textured nylon topsheet like dps skis uses and I think Chimera still uses.

    It might just be a liquid teflon like Zardoz Notwax which would probably work well for the first climb or two of a race. Anything that repels water seems to work temporarily, but a durable water shedding coating still seems unavailable.


    How have the Locus Gear CP3 poles stood up to use? Any issues or concerns with the plastic flick locks?

    I am looking to replace my BD AL compactors for something lighter.


    “2 litres of water”


    I never carry any water, maybe its a little different with the thick air here but a Jetboil with a full fuel canister that all together weighs 500g and will give me 10-12l of water. Stopped using an airbag the last couple years too.



    my cp3 poles are 3 seasons old and ive only had to replace the baskets with a set from my other poles.
    no issues with flick locks, remember you can always buy spare parts from locus gear if you do somehow break them.

    whistlermaverick, i’d hate to be your touring partner. let me have a quick drink. waits 30 minutes to boil water and let it cool down. *rolls eyes*


    Going to shoot off a few more questions to Locus and hopefully pick up a pair. Now to see if I can get a carbon canister (fingers crossed) for the RAS and cut .75lbs off the pack.


    As I just destroyed my old BD poles, I was delighted to read of the Locus Gear CP3 poles. First time, I see actual weight savings from using carbon on poles…
    (except for Z-folding poles, which I however don’t like, as I want to attach the poles to the backpack on the outside)

    Too bad though, the CP3 poles aren’t available in 140cm or 145cm length…
    (I’m 192cm tall — 135cm poles are simply to short for me)

    Shawn Taylor

    good info in here…. thanks guys!


    whistlermaverick, i’d hate to be your touring partner. let me have a quick drink. waits 30 minutes to boil water and let it cool down. *rolls eyes*

    i dunno why you’d boil and cool water?? Jamie just melts snow!!
    you do have snow where you go snowboarding, no??
    takes about 5-10 mins and he has plenty of water to offer his partners, which is nice.
    you just gotta make sure you replenish your electrolytes, snow is pure

    light is right for sure, as long as performance and durability are covered.

    never summer snowboards
    phantom splitboard bindings
    dynafit touring
    atomic boots

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