Star Rating: 5/5
Aero Pros: Lightweight, no bottom frame, durable, adjustable nosepiece, Air Link temple dampening system
Aero Cons: None
Stunt Pros: Durable, protective lens, good fit
Stunt Cons: None
Are sunglasses a dime a dozen? For $20, you can get a pair of wrap-around sunnies at the gas station. They might have someone’s thumbprint smeared across the lens, but they should work just fine. So why do dedicated outdoor recreationalists and professionals wear more expensive sunglasses? When I look for a pair of sunglasses, I look first for the quality of the lens. The lens is the protective barrier between my ever-so precious eyes and destructive solar rays that have the potential to cause both short and long-term damage. A good lens not only repels ultraviolet rays, but is equally adept in durability and resistance to scratching. Second, I look for fit. I don’t want a pair of sunglasses to be constantly slipping off my face every time I look down for a foothold or as sweat begins to bead on my face as I walk on a glacier. Finally, I look for style – how will this day’s adventure go down in history on social media!? Will I look like a pro in the magazines or the dude walking down the street wearing the Kum & Go hat and his gas station sunglasses?
Over the last year, I have been wearing the Julbo Stunts and the Julbo Aeros. Julbo, a tried and true name in the industry, is known among outdoor enthusiasts as the best of the best; so, I had high expectations. People who know me well are well aware of my mental skills in critical discernment of outdoor equipment, climbing ethics, and honestly, just about everything. I am both surprised and happy to say that I have absolutely nothing critical to say about either of these sunglasses. Let me tell you what I liked and how I used them.
The Aero sunglasses were my first choice to use during the summer rock climbing and alpine season, where I spend the majority of time off snow climbing steep rock cliffs in the areas around Boulder, Colorado and in Rocky Mountain National Park. I also used these sunglasses while crack climbing in the Utah desert near Moab. For rock climbing, I like to use sunglasses with a partial frame where the lens rest directly against my cheek. Why? So that when I look down to quickly search for a foothold, there is no frame blocking any part of my view. The lenses are designed with a curve that wraps around my cheeks, providing broad coverage. Brilliantly, Julbo created a surprisingly durable nose piece that adjusts to the shape of one’s individual nose that is comfortable and snug so the sunglasses stay put when frantically thrutching for a good handhold. One final innovation I will bring up is the Air Link temple dampening system. “What is that,” you might ask. I’m not sure exactly, but I think they are referring to the slim stretch of rubber over the ears that is far more durable than it looks and creates a softer and more flexible seat than a traditional harder plastic earpiece.
The Stunt sunglasses have been my go-to for anything and everything to do with snow for a year now. From teaching avalanche courses, to guiding skiing and ice climbing, to climbing glaciers on multi-day expeditions, the Stunts have performed perfectly in each application. Both the Stunts and Aeros have a slender tip at the end of the earpieces, allowing them to slide easily under a helmet. The lenses repelled solar radiation coming from the sky and from the reflection off the snow. In the alpine environment, I appreciate the flush contact of the full frames against my cheeks and up and around through my temples – blocking any and all sunlight from entering behind the lenses. Both pairs of sunglasses are available in a variety of lenses, from lighter to darker options, as well as the Stunts being available in polarized lenses, making the Stunts and Aeros good for not only climbing, but whitewater activities, mountain biking, and running in dappled light and in overcast weather. Like the Aeros, the Stunts look way-Euro, and they make me feel like Ueli Steck, the famous Swiss speed alpinist. So, rather than writing any more about these amazing sunnies, I’m headed back out to the mountains to live my fantasies of climbing like a pro – I may not climb like one, but I can at least look like one!