JULBO RACE SUNGLASSES EYE PROTECTION
TEST SERIES BY ARNOLD PETERSON
September 21, 2007
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Wilmington Massachusetts USA
5' 8" (1.73 m)
165 lb (74.80 kg)
Presently almost all my experience has been hiking in New Hampshire, Florida, Colorado USA, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia Canada using an 11 lb (5 kg) day pack. I have backpacked on Mt. Washington and at the Imp shelter located between North Carter and Mount Moriah mountains in New Hampshire. The gear I will be writing about has been used a lot hiking mostly all year around in New Hampshire. I have recently completed the forty-eight 4000 footers (1219 m) of New Hampshire. My day hikes have been as long as 12 hours covering almost 20 miles (32 km).
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: http://new.julbo.fr/
Manufacturer's USA Website: http://www.julbousa.com/
MSRP: US$ 120.00
Listed Weight: not listed
Measured Weight with band: 1.48 oz (42 g)
Measured weight without band: 1.06 oz (30 g)
Color: race asphalt brilliant
Lens: Zebra photochromic
I received the following items; a beige colored semi rigid clam shell case, a pack list, and 2 small pamphlets in several languages. One gave a description of the NXT lenses and the other further described the lenses, safety standards, cleaning and guarantee.
The frames are asphalt colored with florescent green rubber inserts placed where the head makes contact with the frames. This material absorbs shock, resists movement but does not stick to skin or hair. The bows are slightly curved to form around the head. The frame is curved to fit closely to the shape of the head around the eyes. The nose piece is adjustable in such a fashion that enables the frames to move away from the eyes to allow for more ventilation if needed. Permanent ventilation is provided by a slit between the lens and the frame near outer edges of the lenses. All parts are precisely formed so that when the Julbo sunglasses are in place the space between the hinged parts appears as a curved line. This makes it extremely difficult for anything to get caught in any part of the sunglasses.
The lenses are curved to fit the frame. All the corners of the lenses are tapered and shaped to provide maximum viewing area. The outer edges of the lenses are tapered to a dull point. Near the outer edge there is a slight space between the lens and the frame to provide ventilation. The lenses are amber in color and as light intensity increases on them, they appear to be like looking into a mirror. In lower light conditions there is no reflection and other people can see my eyes.
The straps are made of an elastic material. The strap is about the width of a thumb and is black on the outside with Julbo in white letters near the ends of the strap. The inside of the strap is the opposite with black letters on a white background. The ends of the strap form a loop around a plastic piece that is slightly flexible. The plastic snaps into place on the bows near the hinge that joins the bows to the frame. There is enough effort to snap in and out so they will not become separated easily. The overall look is graceful.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
Cleaning is easy; just wash in warm soapy water, rinse and dry with a soft cloth. It would be nice if the cloth had been provided. The lenses are guaranteed against breakage but not scratching. Julbo lenses are available in 3 types of materials mineral, polycarbonate and NXT, which is what I received.
TRYING IT OUT
Initial experiences with the product.
I first put the Julbo sunglasses on with the thin elastic strap attached. I could tell they were on but only barely. I adjusted the strap so if I wanted to take the Julbo sunglasses off I could drop them to my neck. This is better than trying to keep them suspended above my eyes like I do with my other sunglasses. I was able to wear the Julbo sunglasses 10 hours the first day and had them off for only a few minutes at a time. The lenses filter all light entering the eye and the frame does not interfere with vision. I was outside mowing the lawn with a non motorized lawn mower and I spotted a branch that need to be sawed down. I put a ladder against the tree and climbed as far as I could then I raised the saw above my head looked up and started sawing. The sawdust fell all over me but not one particle entered my eye. I did not cut the branch all the way though, I descended the ladder and threw a rope over the branch and brought it down safely. I went to the gym and did my complete routine wearing the Julbo sunglasses and did not have any fogging or need to remove them during any of the exercises. The routine includes cardio exercises, free weights and various weigh machines. I finished the program by taking my usual shower with the Julbo sunglasses on. I had no problem with fogging. I did have to dry some water droplets with a soft tissue. I drove in bright daylight with the Julbo sunglasses on and there was no glare from the windshields of oncoming cars.
Test plan for JULBO RACE SUNGLASSES
My test plan will be built around comfort, ease of use, dependability, and safety. I will be testing in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont USA. The temperatures could be as low as 20 F (-6.66 C) and as high as 95 F (35 C). Rain is almost a certainty on some trips. If I am not wearing good sunglasses I get headaches. This condition is year round. Even on cloudy days there are UV rays that are not good for me. I have many pairs of sun glasses as I tend to loose and break sunglasses.
Will I be able to wear the Julbo race sunglasses for long hours in warm hot humid weather and not feel the need to remove them? Will I have sensitive spots on my nose, ears or where the bows come in contact with my head? When it gets hot and steamy will I need to remove the Julbo race sunglasses and have to wipe off excess moisture?
The glasses I received are made with NXT an unbreakable polymer. The adjustable bow will be interesting to test. I will be concerned about the stability of the adjustment. Will they need frequent adjustment? Once adjusted will I need to readjust as environment changes?
Ease of use.
Do they go on and come off quickly and easily? Do I have to take a lot of precaution to prevent breakage, or lens scratches? Do they store easily with the rest of my equipment?
Will these Julbo race sunglasses fit so well that after I have them on, I will forget that I am wearing them?
Recently I was removing a pair of sunglasses; they slipped from my hand and landed on the tip of the bow. Result the bow broke in half. Never had that happen before. Will they be durable when bumping into trees, and other objects? How resistant will they be to scratches? How well will the photosensitivity work? My recollection on using photo sensitive lenses is after a few changes they change quickly when the light becomes strong. The reverse is not as quick. Going from very bright to dark sometimes is a problem. An example would be driving in bright sunlight and then going into a tunnel.
Anticipated testing locations and conditions
Testing will also be done in the mountains of New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, USA. I will also be testing the Julbo race sunglasses in some local Massachusetts State forest. My outdoor activities last year consisted of hiking over 50 4000 foot (1219m) mountains. Tenting about 12 weeks and going on numerous walks. Walking is part of my daily routine. I also did a couple backpacks. So far this year I have 7 weeks of tenting, 4 mountains and daily walking. My plan is to mostly hike the mountains of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire that I have not hiked before. These will also be used while driving and in some indoor locations where there are a lot of florescent lights.
My experiences with the Julbo sunglasses so far have exceeded my expectations. One of the reasons I have so many sunglasses is I have not really found a pair that I could put on and forget that they are on. It appears that I will be able to wear the Julbo sunglasses during daylight hours and take them off occasionally. I am looking forward to wearing the Julbo sunglasses daily during the test period. I wish to thank Julbo and Backpackersgeartest for choosing me for this test.
|top view of adjustable nose piece|
This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be amended to this report in approximately two
months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information. My thanks to Julbo and Backpackgeartesters for the opportunity to test the Julbo Race sunglasses.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I will wear the Julbo sunglasses for all my outdoor activities during daylight hours and most of my indoor activities during daylight hours. These places include walking and outdoor work in my neighborhood. Going to the gym, shopping and all my driving needs.
Mountains include Mt Lafayette 5260 ft (1603 km), Mt Lincoln 5089 ft (1551 km), Mt Wolf 3500 ft (1.1 km), all located in New Hampshire.
Kayaking on Horn pond in Woburn Massachusetts as part of an REI paddle day. This was a hot day in the 80's F (27 C) and almost cloudless. I was there from about 10:00 AM to 4 PM. I spent most of the time on the water trying out the various kayaks they had to offer.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The performance to date has exceeded my expectations. I have been wearing the Julbo sunglasses during the daylight hours every day except two, when it was dark due to heavy clouds. I have worn the sunglasses to the gym and used them on all the typical gym equipment. After exercise I took my shower with them on and there was no fogging. They did get wet and the droplets of water had to be wiped off. I have used them painting my house which is white and had no trouble with glare, I have never been able to paint this house in direct sunlight. They reduce and in most cases eliminate glare while driving.
At the end of May I hiked Mt Lincoln 5089 ft (1551 m) and Mt Lafayette 5260 ft (1603 m) by the Falling waters trail. The trail had patches of ice and snow which increased with elevation until just below the tree line. At that time of year the snow is not as reflective due to needles and other debris. Many of the rocks were water covered and reflected a lot of sunlight. The sun came in at between 10 and 2 o'clock and I was protected. I ran into a face full of bushes a couple times to avoid ice patches and my eyes were completely protected. The glasses stayed on my head and did not need any adjustment. Although it was hot just before reaching the falls, I could see my breath going past the falls. I did get a few droplets on the lenses which dried very quickly. There was no fogging during the passage. The hike lasted 9 hours and I never felt the need to remove the Julbo sunglasses. The hike on the ridge was open with bright hot sunshine.
The next weekend I hiked Mt Wolf 3500 ft (1067 m) with 5 other hikers. The trail was not well groomed and several times we did some bushwhacking to get back on the trail. The glasses did not come close to coming off my head and my eyes were always completely protected. This was an overcast day, but I'm sure the UV levels were high. It's on this kind of day when I did not wear sunglasses that I get headaches. The hike lasted 6 hours and ended up hiking in a light rain.
The next weekend I went to an REI kayak day at Horn pond in Woburn Massachusetts. It was a hot day with little on clouds. I tried 8 kayaks and was on the water for almost 6 hours. There was a lot of reflection from the water and from some of the kayaks. My eyes were completely protected from the sun.
In July I did Mt Lincoln 5089 ft (1551 m) twice in warm sunny weather. The snow and ice were completely gone but there were plenty of places where the water covered rocks and there was a lot of glare. Both trips were successful.
I never thought I would find myself comfortable wearing any type of glasses after over 20 years of wearing contact lenses. Most of the time I am not aware that I am wearing the Julbo sunglasses. The ability of the sunglasses to change with light intensity means there is no fade out when walking from a bright area into a shaded area. The transition time is a lot faster than I have ever experienced in the past. The only thing I was unable to do was to look directly into the sun.
I will continue to wear the Julbo sunglasses every day during the daylight hours. I will be going hiking or backpacking almost every weekend. Next weekend I will be spending the weekend at the Lowell folk festival in Lowell Massachusetts. This is mainly an outdoor event with little or no shade during daylight hours. There will be lots of people milling around among the 3-5 main attractions going on at various location as well as the ethnic food area and many exhibits, some in tents. In August one hiking weekend has been scheduled and others will be planned in the days preceding the weekend. I will also be doing some local hikes during the week.
I will be looking more into other features as the adjustable nose piece and the cloth strap.
This concludes my Field Report. The Long Term Report will be amended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information. I wish to thank Backpackgeartesters and Julbo for the opportunity to test these sunglasses.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
For almost 5 months I have been wearing the Julbo sunglasses daily during daylight hours with very few exceptions. I have used them in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I have worn them with snow on the ground in the mountains and in rainy conditions everywhere. There have been times when the wind on the ridge between Mt Lincoln and Mt Lafayette was pushing me around. I have been in swamps, near waterfalls and on water with kayaks. I have used them for all my driving needs. I have used them under high reflection conditions in painting a white house in direct sunlight. I have gone bushwhacking with them and gone on many local hikes with them.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The performance in the field is just short of miraculous.
Once placed on my head, the Julbo sunglasses feel part of me. I still find myself doing a reality check to feel that they are still on my head. I have never felt the need to remove them even after wearing them for 14 hours straight. The adjustable nose piece in the closed position allows almost no direct path for the sun to reach my eyes. This closeness also protects my eyes from dust during windy conditions. Being a hard lens contact wearer, dust in my eye can be very painful. Not once did I have a problem with dust under the wind conditions that were pushing me around in the mountains. I did not have any small insects getting between the lenses and my eyes. As a side benefit, I found I had a lot less debris collecting in the corners of my eyes and that happened after wearing the Julbo sunglasses almost daily. The only thing that is able to get in is smoke and even that is reduced. Initially I wore the removable strap that came with them. I found it worked well and I thought I would be using it to hold the glasses when I would not be using them either for comfort purposes or low light conditions. When that did not happen I stopped using the adjustable band but do keep it handy in case I do need it. I soon found out that the adaptability from light to dark and dark to light was quick enough not to be a problem. I just never felt any discomfort wearing the Julbo sunglasses. Countless times while hiking, I would find myself walking into bushes. This was especially true when there was snow on the trail and I would slip off the trail or side step to avoid some ice but would end up with a face full of spruce tree. During all the bushwhacking or high wind conditions the glasses never moved out of position. One of the benefits I did not foresee in my planning the testing was that the lenses provided a larger viewing area than any other glasses I have ever worn. I found myself seeing things that were hidden by the frames on other glasses. The amount of frame that can be seen is quite small. I did not experience fogging. In the spring I hiked on an 80 F (26.7 C) day with snow and ice on the ground and when I approached a waterfall, I got mist over the glasses even though the water was near freezing, but this temperature difference did not cause any fogging. I used them several times taking a hot shower after a long hike and there was no fogging. Glare from water can be a problem. These glasses do reduce glare but not as much as a polarized lens. The inserts in the temples did come loose and I was sent another temple. While waiting for the temple I wore the glasses with one insert missing and could not feel any appreciable difference. About a month after having both inserts, both came loose and I put them in the packing material. I wanted to see if I missed the inserts, turns out I did not.
I found that even with daily use the Julbo sunglasses lenses did not get dirty and required very little in the way of maintenance. Occasionally I put the glasses under running water and used tissue paper to absorb small droplets. About once a month I would use a cloth from another pair of glasses to wipe the lenses. This leads me to believe that the anti static system is working because I expected to find dandruff and dust that I find with other glasses I have. After almost 5 months of daily use I see no evidence of scratching despite not taking special precautions. I think a cloth for cleaning should be provided. My idea of soft may not be appropriate for lenses made of a high tech material.
The glasses case, although larger than most cases, did fit well in the upper portion of my Gregory Z backpack. The case is larger due to the curved nature of the temples. The extra space in the case is not wasted as I can use it for my headlamp, wiping cloth, Julbo head band and a couple spare AA batteries.
Removing the head band was tricky the first time I removed it. I had some concern about being able to remove it. When I looked carefully at the construction, I tried holding the left temple in my left hand. Then with my right hand, I placed the V attachment device between my thumb and forefinger and applied pressure upward and toward the template hinge, it worked. Putting it back, I placed the point into the deep end of the hole and then applied a small amount of force on the front point and it snapped into place easily. After the first time is was easy to remove and replace the band.
The adjustable nose piece is great if extra ventilation is needed. I was in temperatures around 100 F (37.8 C) and did not feel the need for extra ventilation. The opening of the nose piece allows some sunlight to reach the eyes directly and I prefer to be completely protected from unfiltered sunlight.
Comfort has to be at the top of the list. The Julbo sunglasses just float on my head, yet they don't get out of position. This is followed closely by the glasses being able to adjust quickly to changes in light intensity. The anti fogging and anti static worked very well. Keeping my eyes dust free is important to me. Looking through the glasses with unrestricted view is great. The adjustable band piece is comfortable and works well, and although I don't feel a need to use it, I carry it for a condition where it might be needed. The adjustable nose piece functioned well, but my preference is for better sun protection. Although the inserts in the temples came loose, I could not feel any appreciable difference without them.
These are the best sunglasses I have ever used; I don't think it gets any better for eye protection.
I would like to have an appropriate cloth supplied in the case.
These glasses are so great in the daytime but after sundown they have to be removed. All hikes don't end at sundown and I still would like protection from wind, dust and protection from branches. Exchangeable lenses would extend the use of these fine glasses.
I will continue to use the Julbo sunglasses daily during daylight hours except for days when it is really dark. I sometimes have a need to wear polarized lenses and I will be wearing different glasses on these occasions. I am looking forward to wearing the Julbo sunglasses while hiking in fresh snow, knowing that I will be protected from sun reflections. I am also looking forward to hiking when it is windy and not worry about fine sand and dust getting into my eyes. This will provide more hiking opportunities for me.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
I would like to thank Backpack Gear Test and Julbo for the opportunity to test these fine sunglasses.
Read more gear reviews by arnold peterson