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Explorer 2.0 review

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By Mark YANCEY, ACMG Apprentice Ski Guide

When asked to test and review a pair of Julbo sunglasses, I was at first hesitant. I am notoriously hard on eyewear, and on one level sunglasses have been looked at as a dispensable and replaceable piece of gear. I was pleasantly surprised at the staying power and my change of attitude with the Julbo Explorer 2.0. I have since taken better care of my eye protection.

I tested the Julbo Explorer 2.0 with the Zebra Photochromic lenses. It was my first Photochromic lens used in the ski mountaineering environment. I loved it! The glasses turned out to be my go to shades for most outdoor pursuits. The Zebra photochromic lens will change from category 2 thru category 4 (VLT 42% through 7%) There is also the Zebra Light which transitions from category 1 thru category 3 (VLT 80% - 16%). I tested the darker Zebra lens.

Frame, Fit, and Feel

I found the frames fit my face well. Stylish and cooler looking shades than I have had in the past. They contoured the side of my face and grabbed the back of my ears with enough pressure to stay with all activities. The ergonomic frame shape wraps your face and allows adequate airflow to help with fogging issues. The glasses come equipped with side shields which are easily removed for personal preference. The grippy nose pads took a little to get used to, but I found them convenient and functional. No loose nose pieces held on with duct tape after a day of touring. The nose pads give a tighter fit to the bridge of the nose helping with wind penetration. The wide lens is great for my peripheral and feels less confined, less claustrophobic. I have been in the bad habit of wearing glasses when I should be wearing goggles, relying more and more on a snug contoured glasses design. I found the Julbo did just that, which helped me to continue with my bad habits.

Features of the Zebra Explorer 2.0 Lens and Frame

  • The Zebra lens transitions from category 2 > category 4 (VLT 42%-7%)
  • The Photochromatic technology is within the lens. It can’t scratch off.
  • The Zebra Lens is super high reactive. Changes from cat. 2 > cat. 4 in 18 second. Fastest in Julbo’s line.
  • Anti-fog coating on the inside; hydrophobic coating on the outside.
  • Brown tint for high contrast contour recognition.
  • Shatter proof, highly scratch resistant.
  • 100% protection from A,B,and C UV rays.

Quality

The glasses at first seemed light and flexible. Which is a good thing if you’re wearing them all day, but as previously stated a concern with longevity. Turns out the Julbo frame and lenses kept up with my abuse and punishment throughout my winter and summer. The lenses are made of the same materials helicopter windshields are made of and proved their durability. The coating on the lenses have held up to cleaning and show very few if any scratches. They felt compact even with offering a wide field of view.

Pros

I like the fit. I love the Photochromatic lens. No more taking out the amber lens to replace it with the dark lens…Great for high sun exposure.

Brown tint lens was good for contrast. Good durability and staying power.

Cons

I think I would prefer the Zebra Light with the visual light transfer of category 1 > category 3 for darker days. I found at dusk the Zebra lens would not allow enough light in. I still found myself switching to a clear or amber lens at dusk and in the forest.

Conclusion

Great pair of glasses for ski touring, mountain biking, summer glacier travel and hiking. Customized fit with wide field of view. Versatile, lightweight, and abuse resistant offering a durable eye protection option. Choose lens (Zebra or Zebra Light) type based on activity.

 

Mark YANCEY is an ACMG Apprentice Ski Guide, and the owner/operator of Boulder Hut Adventures in the Purcells.

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