The Julbo Explorer sunglasses are the top of the line in Julbo’s Mountain Series of sunglasses. These sunglasses are manufactured to perform superiorly in high altitude environments, where wind, snow and light reflection can become hazardous to mountaineers. These sunglasses also provide protection from the suns reflection in other extreme outdoor activities like ice climbing, long trekking and backpacking. These sunglasses are manufactured with the wrap around concept, have mouldable temples, high-wrap side shields and incorporate airflow into the frame, for maximum ventilation. The Explorer sunglasses also come with a variety of lens options, which include the Zebra Photochromatic with lifelong anti-fogging, the Camel Photochramatic with polarizing and lifelong anti-fogging, the Alti-Spectron X6 lens and an Alt Arc 4 lens. Both the Zebra and the Camel lenses allow for progressive protection from the sun, ranging from category 2 to category 4 protections, depending upon the sunlight. Julbo states that these photochromatic lenses will adjust from category 2 to category 4 in less than 30 seconds. These glasses as tested contained the Camel lenses, were soft black with green side shields in color and contained a Julbo cord.
Once obtaining the Julbo Explorer sunglasses, I was immediately impressed with the light weight feel and flexibility of the sunglasses. The sunglasses appear to be manufactured from a soft comfortable plastic that makes them light, easy to grip and tough. Upon placing the glasses in use, I immediately moulded the temples to fit my size and found the included Julbo cord provided added security. The wrap around design and side shields seemed like they would provide excellent protection from side glare. The Explorer sunglasses also have an air flow system built into the frames that helps to prevent fogging of the lenses, during temperature changes and aerobic activities.
The Julbo Explorer sunglasses allow for a variety of lens choices to suit the variable conditions and the personal desires of the owner. The Explorer comes with a Camel lens that comes with a polarized, photochromatic, anti-fog lens, which adjusts to the sunlight level and will adjust back and forth from category 2 to category 4 protection in less than 30 seconds. The Explorer can also be purchased with an Alti-Spectron X6 lens or an Arc Alti 4 lens, both of which will provide protection to category 4. The price of the sunglasses will vary according to the lens selected and range in price from $120.00 for the Alti-Spectron X6 lens, $130.00 for the Alti Arc lens and $190.00 for the Zebra or the Camel polarized, photochromatic, anti-fog lens.
Upon putting these glasses to use, I continued to be impressed with the wrap around design and the light weight feel. The side shields provided excellent protection from side glare and the Julbo cord provided excellent security and allowed me to temporarily store the glasses around my neck if needed. By adjusting the side temples to fit my head, the glasses were immediately comfortable and fit perfectly. Even while scrambling over boulders, climbing steep inclines or practicing self arrest techniques in the snow, the Explorers fit securely and did not move around or slide on my face.
The Camel lens performed well in all conditions and automatically adjusted the protection between bright to moderate sunlight. I found this very useful, when changing from an open area that contains bright sunlight, to areas in trees, shadows or when the weather changes from clear to overcast. I was also very impressed with the anti-fog properties of these sunglasses. The air flow system that is built into the frame allows for excellent ventilation and when teamed with the anti-fog lenses, provides a proactive approach that prevents the glasses from fogging, even in cold conditions when performing high aerobic activities.
As with all sunglasses, durability is always a concern and was no different with the Julbo Explorers. This concern was dispelled after using these sunglasses for several months in a variety of weather conditions. While using these sunglasses, I stored them in my backpack, in my tent, wore them while bushwacking through rugged terrain and used them in all types of weather conditions. The Explorers proved very durable, especially considering that most of the time in the field, I was not storing them in the provided protective case, but simply stuffed them into a storage pocket of my backpack. After months of use and abuse, I found very little signs of wear on these sunglasses. The lenses remained scratch free and the rest of the glasses showed no damage. When not in use, I stored these sunglasses in my gear closet, instead the provided hard case. I cleaned the lenses with a glass cleaning cloth and found that using a damp cotton cloth was sufficient to clean the remainder of the sunglasses.
I am going to use the Julbo Explorer sunglasses on an upcoming expedition to Iceland in the fall of 2009 and expect them to continue to perform well, but will add to this review upon my return. I will continue to use these sunglasses as one of my main outdoor sunglasses to protect my eyes in all conditions, especially in high altitude areas and on snow and ice. These glasses perform extremely well, do not fog, are adjustable, and the Camel lenses are exceptional. These sunglasses are also very light weight and durable, but if you decide to get the Camel lenses, they will cost you $190.00, but are worth it.