By Amos Whiting, the 20th American to become a IFMGA guide — the highest guide qualification in the world. He is owner and Head Guide of Mallorca Climbing Camps, a deep water soloing school in Mallorca Spain & is Head Guide for Aspen Expeditions in Aspen, CO. He is also a senior instructor/ examiner for the American Mountain Guides Association. He lives in Basalt, CO with his family and has been known to salsa dance on frequent trips to Mexico.
I started using the Julbo Universe Goggles with the Zebra Lenses in December of 2014. They have been put to use in the field on numerous days for a variety of mountain adventuress. From ski and ice guiding in Colorado and Canada, to dust and wind protection on Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
The Universe is a new goggle from the longtime eyewear heavy-weight Julbo, and includes their fantastic Zebra lens. The Universe does a great job of combining a low-volume frame with a large field of vision. The ultra-flexible frame provides a very comfortable fit both on and off a ski or climbing helmet.
The Zebra photochromic lens gets lighter or darker depending on the day’s light. The adjustment is very quick and one can go from the darkest protection to the lightest in around 30 seconds. This makes it a very versatile goggle for the avid adventurer or guide who travels often. Guides carry a lot in their packs, so it makes sense to have one pair of goggles for all conditions. The Universe excelled during blue-bird Colorado days, and in the low-light storm skiing of Revelstoke, BC. Its anti-fog coating and in-frame ventilation held up steam-free during hot-to-cold cycles heli skiing as well as ice climbing.
On a side note I wear light prescription glasses and don’t use contacts. The Universe was able to accept prescription inserts well. I also did not have any issues with fogging after I added the inserts.
One small qualm I have is that the band is not very easy to adjust. There are days I where a helmet skiing and days I don’t, and often need to change the length of the band. If I need to loan the goggles to clients, the sizing process takes a bit of time and is not easy in gloves.
The frames and bands are simple but with a bit of flair, and they fit an average-sized face well. They come in seven different colors to make sure you don’t clash with your helmet or beanie.
Overall, the Universe with the Zebra Lens is an excellent choice for a guide or expert recreationalist who wants a low profile frame with a highly functional lens. I plan to keep my pair with me all winter!
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