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REVIEW: Julbo Shield Sunglasses

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The Julbo Shield are a sizable pair of sunglasses

With a photochromic lens that adapts to light levels, the top-end version of Julbo's Shield is a pair of sunglasses that you can wear anywhere from high altitude peaks to the hills of home. Rob Greenwood has been living in his for several months, and like John Belushi he barely even takes them off at night.

 



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 Graeme Hammond 20 Oct 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

For those that don't know it might be worth including a table about what the different categories mean, particularly as "category 4 lenses only transmit between 3% and 8% of light and are not suitable for driving at any time. Sunglasses with these lenses should, by law, be labelled 'Not suitable for driving and road use'" - source AA website.

In reply to Graeme Hammond:

> For those that don't know it might be worth including a table about what the different categories mean, particularly as "category 4 lenses only transmit between 3% and 8% of light and are not suitable for driving at any time. Sunglasses with these lenses should, by law, be labelled 'Not suitable for driving and road use'" - source AA website.

I'm never quite convinced what 3% to 8% actually means to anyone, because it certainly doesn't mean anything to me. To put it another way, but has anyone ever walked into Outside and asked for a pair of sunglasses that have a 5% transmission rate? I suspect the answer is a resounding 'no' - they come in asking for a pair of sunglasses for use within the Alpine environment (or whatever else they're looking for). As a result, what I went into detail on were the practical differences in between the various categories and their usage, because that - at least from a laymans perspective - is something that everyone can understand.

I was also convinced that I'd mentioned driving, but that must have been edited out somewhere along the line (which is strange, given that it's actually a serious point). Due to the Reactiv nature of the glasses, the chances of them actually 'reacting' up to category 4 whilst you're driving is very, very unlikely, as there's simply not enough light (on a glacier, in the sun, yes; in a car, no...). Comparing them to my previous Cat. 4 Julbos side-by-side there's a marked difference in how much light they let through, particularly in the shade - hence driving in them isn't a problem.

Post edited at 09:31
 Doug 20 Oct 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Did you try them in cold conditions ? For many years I had reactolite (?) glasses for day to day use and in winter I found that although they went dark very quickly when the light increased, even at minus a lot (Alps, Norway) they were quite slow to go the other way.  So if I walked into a shelter I couldn't see anything for a while with my specs & if I took them off I couldn't see much as I'm very short sighted.

But that was some time ago, is the modern technology any better ?

In reply to Doug:

Hi Doug,

Due to the nature of travel throughout 2020 I only had a chance to use the Shield throughout the UK, so the lowest temperature I got down to was in/around the 5 degrees, which certainly didn't make a difference to the speed in which the lenses reacted. That said, I - much like you - was curious as to how they'd react at super low (i.e. alpine winter) temperatures so did a bit of digging...

Julbo say that the REACTIV High Mountain 2-4 lenses "get lighter or darker regardless of the temperature". This is marketed quite actively within their range of ski goggles, which use the acronym 'NTS', which stands for Non Temperature Sensitive. This is obviously a major selling factor for snowsports, where the weather is consistently cold (and a delay in adapting to the light + environment would be consistently annoying). Clearly the same could be said for mountaineering too.

Hopefully that goes some way towards answering your question, even if it isn't from personal experience.

 Flinticus 20 Oct 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Do you know if replacement lenses are available? 

For years I used a pair of Julbo Tensing glasses, simply replacing the lenses every so often. However Julbo no longer make the model and the supply of replacement lenses has dried up. Shame as I loved them: cool orange frame!

I've since bought the Julbo Explorer 2.0 which has replacement lenses.

That saves money on replacing the full kit and also less waste.

In reply to Flinticus:

> Do you know if replacement lenses are available? 

A very good question indeed, and not one I know the answer to, so I've dropped their UK distributor a quick email to see if I can find out. 

Bear with in the meanwhile

 neuromancer 20 Oct 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Pretty sure Julbo lenses don't react inside a car as the UV required to trigger them doesn't penetrate the windscreen.

 Basemetal 20 Oct 2020
In reply to neuromancer:

Car windscreens (and side windows) filter UV 100%?

In reply to Flinticus:

Just received the following: "we can get replacement lenses for all models and all lenses".

It sounds like your best bet is to go back to the retailer you bought the glasses from in the first place, then they can place an order for the replacement lenses direct from Lyon (Julbo's UK distributor).

Glad to have had such a positive outcome/response to that one!

 Frank R. 20 Oct 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> To put it another way, but has anyone ever walked into Outside and asked for a pair of sunglasses that have a 5% transmission rate? I suspect the answer is a resounding 'no'

I did  

Well, not exactly - it was an optician's shop, asking if they could put prescription lenses into the old-style round Julbo frames. Sadly we couldn't find anything dark enough...

 kathrync 20 Oct 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> Hi Doug,

> Julbo say that the REACTIV High Mountain 2-4 lenses "get lighter or darker regardless of the temperature". 

I use Julbo Monterosa sunglasses with lenses from the REACTIV high mountain range and I've been more than happy with them for ski touring and alpine mountaineering. They are the only pair of sunglasses with reactive lenses I have had so I can't compare them to anything else, but I didn't notice any problems with them being slow to change. Most of the time I am not really aware they are doing it

In reply to kathrync:

Perfect, thanks for the feedback.

It's always good to know what a manufacturer claims a product does within their own literature tallies with what it does in real life.

 chris_r 20 Oct 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

I'm sure photochromic lens are great, but I've always wanted Peril Sensitive Sunglasses when I'm climbing.

In reply to chris_r:

> I'm sure photochromic lens are great, but I've always wanted Peril Sensitive Sunglasses when I'm climbing.

I might have to make a note of this for April 1st

p.s. since writing this all I can think of is what it could entail: loose holds, areas subject to rockfall, potentially dubious climbing partners, and an ability to verify what someone has claimed they've climbed vs. what they've actually done...

Post edited at 16:01
 JX0 20 Oct 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

About 10 years ago I bought some Rudy Project cat 3 w/ polarisation — not cheap — but good for summer alpine, piste skiing, cycling and sports, road legal. And impressively tough, but scratched up now after being in my jersey pocket and surviving a bad “car vs bike”. Their polarised lenses are fine with phone and gps etc screens and it is useful but maybe not worth whatever the premium was at the time!

I haven’t wanted cat 4 ever, above 4000m in the alps in July was ok on cat 3 for me. Any eye doctors can explain what I am missing...

 ianstevens 20 Oct 2020
In reply to JX0:

There must be some degree of personal preference here I suspect. I've used cat 3 in bright snow conditions and end up squinting/getting a headache after a day or so. I actually have a cat 4 pair of these reviewed glasses that I use quite a lot, even in the UK. But of course, not for driving...

Post edited at 17:55
 Frank R. 20 Oct 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I bought Julbo goggles with Reactiv cat. 1-3 last year and I haven't noticed much sluggishness in the reaction time in the cold either. But it was just a few extended weekends and we didn't use huts, as we mostly bivvied overnight. Unfortunately, March events put a further stop on any experimentation...

I quite like them so far though. The goggles do fog up when slogging uphill, but then everything does for me! I have been a little torn up whenever to get cat. 1-3 for normal use or 2-4 for the higher elevations, but I figured I'd get more use of the goggles even when it's lower elevation with abysmal weather blasting in my face, than bright days up high in the Alps (I still have cat.4 glasses with prescription inserts for that).

Post edited at 18:57
 Frank R. 20 Oct 2020
In reply to chris_r:

> I'm sure photochromic lens are great, but I've always wanted Peril Sensitive Sunglasses when I'm climbing.

Can't you just put what, a black bandanna over your eyes? That would nicely simulate Peril Sensitive glasses for me, at least going by how I mostly feel in almost any situation


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