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Gear Review
Tested Gear Guide: Julbo Wave

Reviewer :The Expeditioners Roberto

Gear: Julbo Wave Sunglasses

It's not often that a pair of shades lasts more than 3 months with us. And it's not because we're careless. It's because sunglasses are one of those items that you can practically use every single day (depending on where you live.) But this frequent use, like anything else, is what usually causes there to be a high probability that you will lose them, scratch them, or break them. 

If you're an outdoor adventurer, then that probability is even higher. Which is why Bella and I literally go through about 7 lost/broken/sunken pairs of sunnies per year. In the past year, we drove over a pair that had fallen in the snow, lost 4 to kiteboarding, one got scratched so badly that their un-usable (while crawling through a section of caves 1km into the earth that were 3 feet tall and 70 feet long,) and another also got bent out of whack somehow.

 

So it's with great surprise that I still have my Julbo Wave sunglasses after 5 months. And there's a key factor why... they float. 

When we're kiting, the crashes can be pretty superb-- and for a few moments you don't know what is up, left or right. Most sunglasses don't float-- so if they came off your face, then Poseidon's got a new look. Thanks to me, he has a new collection now. 

With the Wave shades-- they float perfectly. My solution to keep them from ripping off my face (when possible) was to put one of those touristy floaty bands. Both for keeping them on my face and for greater visibility after a crash. And trust me-- these Julbos are so comfortable that you don't want to lose them!

 

With many of the glasses I lost, the band just ripped off the end of the arms. In the case of Julbo's Waves, I can tie the band to the arm tips, which kept it from tearing off like the others. The strap they supply is great for kayaking and calmer water sports, but tended to snap off with my kiting wipe-outs. Luckily, the wave's arms have holes through which you can tie the strap nice and tight.

Even if your strap does come off, with the Waves, after the confusion of a crash settles, you can easily spot them floating. Now it isn't just the floating factor that made these one of my faves, it's the incredible polarized lenses coupled with fantastic full eye-protection. When you do lots of water and snow sports, the sun is reflecting on the water or snow from beneath you- usually squeezing under your glasses and hurting your eyes. But with these, they cup your eyes just perfectly-- so that no sun squeezes through, and so that I don't get water into my eyes that's kicking up from my board. 

 

Another neat factor I like is the drainage/venting holes, so that when you do take a dunking and come out--the water just drains out nicely. They give great air circulation while still protecting you. Must have been a water athlete that designed these! Here's a few pics of mine in use!

But what if you're biking or doing a sport where you have way too much humidity and you nee extreme air circulation? Then you just snap off a section and suddenly they've got all the ventilation you could ask for. Transformer cool.

Doglotion Reviews the Monteblanco & the Bivouak

 Read the full review on Doglotion's website

For years I’d been seeing Julbo sunglasses adorning mountain athletes faces, from climbers to bikers, hikers to ski mountaineers. But I was kind of on this ‘too cool for school’ kick. You’ve seen it before… alpine skiers proclaiming that non-functional gear makes them (us) cooler than mountain nerds, in a kind of “I’m so rad it doesn’t matter if I’m going blind” kind of way. It’s akin to the “I’m so cool it doesn’t matter if my pants are falling off” mentality, and the “I’m so rad it doesn’t matter if I’m 2×4’s with alpine bindings up this volcano right now”.

Well I finally grew out of that phase, but turns out I didn’t have to, because performance eye wear brands like Julbo have also been adding some funkier shades to their line up while I was snoozing.

So we snagged 2 pairs of Julbo shades and took them each for a rip to see which model won our hearts.

First up was the Julbo Bivouak with Spectron 4 (Cat 4) lenses. I took them for a spin on Mt Baker on a mid-summer scorcher of a day – just what the shades were designed for. They were light, the removable side covers were handy, and when the sun was blazing the lenses did the trick and more. BUT, like any true mountaineering lenses, I found them too dark for morning and evening skinning and skiing.


Summit of Mt Baker. July 2014. Fully nerded out with the latest touring gear, head to toe. These things happen. That’s where the Cameleon lens comes in… 

The 2nd pair we snagged was Julbo’s Montebianco sunglasses, this time with their kick-ass Cameleon lens. These puppies were easily the winner in our books. The more casual frame fit my face better, and looks less ‘Euro mountain dude’ when you’re hanging out in the valley after a trip. Meanwhile the Cameleon solved the dilemma of changing light conditions.  It’s a photochromic, anti-fog and polarizing lens that changes its tint based on how bright the sun is. Jackpot. Their Zebra lens (which we don’t have) is apparently even faster/more responsive to changing light conditions, which would be pretty epic for mountain biking in the off season. 

Decent carrying case too. It’s a bit big, but it’s better than adding to my crushed sunglass collection.

Long story short, for hours or days on end skinning/climbing/skiing on super bright and reflective white stuff (aka snow), you might as well get some quality shades. These two will do the trick and then some.

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