I've never been a fan of sunglasses and so, in the lead up to a mountaineering trip to New Zealand I began searching the internet for alternatives to standard category 4 sunglasses. I did this for weeks until I was caught by one of my sunglasses wearing co-workers who put me onto the idea of Julbo's Aerospace goggles. These goggles, designed with both the uphill fight and downhill charge of ski mountaineering in mind provide photo-chromatic 'transition' lens protection, while allowing for the venting of excess heat that builds up in the goggles. The Chameleon or Zebra lens allows you to seamlessly move through different lighting situations without any reduced performance, offering protection in the range of Category 2 to Category 4. The Zebra lens being the lighter of the two with the Chameleon being darker and extending further into Category 4. This suited me perfectly as I planned to put them on in the morning and leave them there until I returned to the hut.
I found the venting system to be easy to use and despite initial concerns that it would not be able to dump enough heat quickly enough, it certainly proved me wrong. Over my 7 days in the mountains, in diverse weather conditions varying from freezing 100km/h winds and sleet, to beautifully warm days I did not once feel that the goggles were retaining too much heat or that they did not provide adequate protection. The vents can easily be operated with gloves and are a simple mechanism that can be operated without removing the goggles. On top of this, I found these goggles to be surprisingly light on the head. I was most impressed with their ability to 'set and forget' for the day.
I found these goggles to be quite good for the inclement weather we often experience in the mountains. Hence these goggles would make a great as a backup to your sunglasses for those type 2 fun experiences. Obviously I’m a long way in the minority with the dislike of sunglasses, but for me, I quite liked the goggles as they allowed me to comfortably leave my sunglasses in the backpack. For this reason they have become my ‘go to’ eye protection for the hills.
Product review by Dan Butler