Cylindrical lenses that strike the perfect balance between performance and price.


oakley_fall_line-goy_h.jpg
(Charles Dustin Sammann)

Oakley Fall Line ($190)

Old-school goggle lenses were formed flat and then bent to fit goggle frames, inducing headaches by warping the light and forcing your brain to make sense of the distorted images. Then early iterations of lenses thermoformed on a cylinder (no need to bend them) took over the high end, only to be replaced with top-dollar spherical lenses that mimic the shape of the human eye. But recent refinements in how cylindrical lenses are built—less distortion for less money—have led to their resurgence. All the goggles we tested this year feature cylindrical lenses, but our favorite was Oakley’s Fall Line, which uses a deeply wrapped lens paired with a rimless frame to create the most peripheral vision we’ve ever had in a goggle. This alone makes it Gear of the Year worthy. But then there’s Oakley’s best-in-class Prizm lens tech, which cuts glare and adds contrast so you see the terrain better. And two nearly imperceptible cutaways at the temples mean you can fit a pair of prescription glasses inside. Finally, Oakley’s Ridgelock system lets you swap in separate lenses for different conditions but ensures a tight fit to keep out wind and weather. We ran the highly versatile rose lens in storms and full Colorado sun, but those with more sensitive eyes might want to opt for an Iridium (mirrored) unit. You could spend another hundred bucks on goggles tricked out with electric defoggers and rhinestones, but trust us: you won’t ski the fall line any better.

Buy Now


shred-simplify-natural_h.jpg
(Courtesy Shred)

Shred Simplify Natural ($220)

Best For: Enviro-conscious skiers.

The Test: Tired of consuming petroleum products—like goggles? The Shred Simplify’s rig (the plastic lining around the lenses) is molded from recycled epoxy that’s a by-product of snowboard manufacturing. The strap is organic cotton. Even the bag is made from recycled water bottles. All that and it’s still a top performer. A special valve equalizes pressure between the two cylindrical lenses so they don’t bend and warp your vision as the weather or altitude changes. And a simple but effective groove system lets you swap in the included low-light lens on stormy days. The fit was on the big side, but it matched up well with Shred’s helmets. 

The Verdict: Help save the planet while you shred pow.

Buy Now


giro-ella_h.jpg
(Courtesy Giro)

Giro Ella ($180)

Best For: Women looking for top quality. 

The Test: Like the Oakley, the Ella fits a medium to small face but still offers a big field of view. Our testers praised the sleek design for aesthetics, but this is a fully featured goggle loaded with updates. The Zeiss lens has a new Vivid technology that, like Prizm (Oakley) and ChromaPop (Smith), cuts “bad” or “flat” light (the kind that dulls contrast) out of the spectrum to boost definition and expose nuances in snowpack and terrain. We were also impressed with Giro’s new quick-action swappable system, which relies on four magnets to help align the four corresponding pins that anchor the lens to the largely rimless frame.

The Verdict: Finally, a women’s model that doesn’t make any compromises.

Buy Now


dragon-nfx2_h.jpg
(Courtesy Dragon)

Dragon NFX2 ($179)

Best For: Small faces.

The Test: The NFX2 is a unisex model that just happens to fit small to medium faces particularly well. The women on Dragon’s pro teams love it, as did our female testers. The goggles aren’t totally rimless—there’s a slight frame around the cylindrical lens—but that rim is so thin it goes unnoticed. Dragon’s contrast-boosting technology—dubbed Lumalens—is just as good as most of the competition, and two lenses come included: the gray mirrored one was our daily driver, but the uncoated amber lens excelled in flat light. Swapping was quick and easy, and the frames kept all the wind out. But a heads-up: the lenses tended to pop out in a crash.

The Verdict: Petite faces don’t have to swim in large goggles anymore.

Buy Now


smith-squad-xl_h.jpg
(Courtesy Smith)

Smith Squad XL ($130)

Best For: Larger faces, smaller wallets. 

The Test: As the name implies, the Squad XL is the biggest cylindrical goggle Smith makes. But it’s by no means egregiously large. The Squad fit seamlessly with a range of helmets we wore during testing, and it matched up just fine with medium faces, too. But the real story here is value. For $130, the Squad XL comes equipped with two lenses, both of which feature Smith’s ultra-sharp, contrast-boosting ChromaPop tech. We ran the nonmirrored ChromaPop Sun on bluebird days and the time-tested Chroma-Pop Storm—still the best blizzard lens we’ve ever tried—when it was dumping (which happened a lot last winter).

The Verdict: Plenty of protection at an affordable price.

Buy Now


electric-egv_h.jpg
(Courtesy Electric)

Electric EGV ($120)

Best For: Skiers and snowboarders who are hard on their goggles.

The Test: If, like this reviewer’s teenage son, you tend to toss your goggles into your boot bag without a covering, then your goal is economy above all else. That’s the EGV, except they’re also damn capable. Three layers of face foam and a pliant, conformable frame let them fit pressure-point-free. And the peripheral vision is unobstructed. Is the lens as crystalline as those in the Oakley or the Giro? No, but you can pick up a replacement lens for $30 online. We tested the EGV on a storm day at Loveland and had no problem making out terrain features, nor did we ever have to contend with fogging.

The Verdict: Save your money so you can buy a burger at Vail.

Buy Now


salomon-four-seven_h.jpg
(Courtesy Salomon)

Salomon Four Seven ($120)

Best For: All-day comfort.

The Test: The brand-new Four Seven (Salomon was founded in 1947) is hands down the most comfortable goggle we tested—and also quite affordable, like the Electric EGV. The comfort credit goes to unique cutaways in the frame and foam that create soft hinge points so the goggle is free to contour to your face. A wide-wrapping cylindrical lens changes tints in response to the light conditions so you don’t have to swap, except in the most extreme weather. Our test pair came with a lightly mirrored option, but if we were shopping for value, we’d buy the cheaper lens and own these versatile goggles for $100.

The Verdict: The goggle you need for days when you don’t even stop to eat lunch.

Buy Now

Fitness

The Best Packs of 2018

Load them up, kick them through the snow—these haulers will serve you well no matter what. (Charles Dustin Sammann) Mystery Ranch Saddle Peak ($229) We demand a lot from our packs: they need to accommodate a variety of loads, move with us, and carry comfortably on our backs. Until pack makers design the one that can do it all, we’re left weighing pros and cons. Of all the packs we tested this year, the Saddle Peak demanded the fewest compromises. Mystery Ranch—based in Bozeman, Montana—designed it to tame the local Bridger Bowl Ski Area. There are runs right off

Read More
Fitness

The Best Snowsports Helmets of 2018

Just remember one thing: it’s all about fit. (Charles Dustin Sammann) Petzl Sirocco ($130) Stop thinking of helmets as accessories. They are crucial tools that have gotten so many major upgrades in the past few years it’s hard to keep track of them all. Take the new Sirocco. Weighing in at about a third of a pound, Petzl’s new lid is the lightest one we’ve ever tested. It’s also one of the most breathable, with an astonishing 24 vents. “I forgot I was wearing a helmet!” exclaimed one tester after summiting Mount Shasta on an 80-degree day. There’s not

Read More
Fitness

The Best Recycled Gear of 2018

Even outdoor gear deserves a second chance. (Courtesy Woolrich) Woolrich Civil War Gettysburg Wool Blanket ($115) These thick 1800s-era blankets were  first issued to Union soldiers to keep them warm. The modern version is still tough as nails, but now it’s made of 80 percent wool gathered from the cutting-room floor. Buy Now (Charles Dustin Sammann) ShotzSki Shot Ski (From $175) No après-ski throwdown is complete without a shot ski. Our favorite maker, ShotzSki has a host of recycled planks to choose from (fat, skinny, old, and new). Pick a design or get a custom graphic, and ShotzSki will

Read More
Fitness

The Best Winter Hats of 2018

It’s true: your head loses around 7 to 10 percent of your body’s heat—whether you’re spending winter nights in the desert high country or riding Colorado’s lifts—if it’s not well insulated. Still, though you should keep your dome swaddled, there’s no reason not to look good while doing so. (Courtesy Snowshed) Snowshed 3-Season Helmet Beanie ($35) Top of our list for high-output winter activities is the 3-Season Helmet beanie from up-and-coming Chicago company Snowshed. It’s made from fine merino wool and  fits nicely into your pocket. We wore the 3-Season beneath our bike and ski helmets without any bulk,

Read More
Fitness

The Best Sunglasses of 2018

Wherever your cold-weather escape trajectory leads, these best-in-class shades improve the view. (Courtesy Sunski) Sunski Plover ($58) Sunski, as ever, delivers quality and style that could easily cost twice as much. The Plover’s synthetic lenses are both polarized and mirrored—often premium upgrades. We put the optics to the test on a relentlessly sunny weekend on and next to the Pacific, where inferior lenses would have left our eyes fried. Buy Now (Courtesy Spy) Spy Cyrus Whitewall ($130) Aggro, loud, some screamingly unnatural red-orange color—you may not love such things in your president, but we dare you to ignore the

Read More
Fitness

The Best Cameras of 2018

Tools that make it impossible to take a bad picture. (Courtesy Pentax) Pentax KP ($1,100) Stop shooting vacation photos on your iPhone and use this lightweight 1.5-pound box instead. The 24.3-megapixel APS-C sensor captures bigger, richer files than your cell, making for better prints. Plus, the KP has a massive ISO range—up to 819,200—for crisp low-light shots. It can snap seven frames per second and has a weather seal to keep you firing in rain and snow. You’ll need a fast lens to get the most out of this Pentax, but it’s a setup worth building out. Buy Now

Read More
Fitness

The Best Après Shoes of 2018

Comfy, classy shoes for ski-beat feet. (Courtesy The North Face) The North Face ThermoBall Traction Bootie ($60) This PrimaLoft-insulated kick was like a puffy jacket for our feet. The North Face also slapped on a lugged rubber outsole that had mind-blowing grip even while we were drinking beers on parking-lot ice. Bonus points: that outsole is made from recycled materials. Buy Now (Courtesy Vans) Vans Remedy Boot ($160) Vans ventures away from its home in Southern California and toward the wintry north with this boot that features a durable galosh-like lower section and a Sorel-like leather upper. The company’s

Read More
Fitness

The Best Après Tailgating Gear of 2018

Win the parking lot post-ski scene. Tembo Tusk Skottle Kit (Courtesy Tembo Tusk) Tembo Tusk Skottle Kit ($275) The skottle—think a shallow wok with legs—makes an ideal grilling surface for post-pow steaks and veggies. Invented by South African farmers who repurposed old disc harrows from tractors, the propane-fueled cooking tool has gained popularity among U.S. overlanders because of its simple design and giant grilling surface. Buy Now (Courtesy Patagonia) Patagonia Iron Forge Hemp Canvas Double Knee Pants ($79) Ditch your crinkly, uncomfortable ski pants for these soft, warm, nearly indestructible work pants made from industrial hemp, recycled polyester, and

Read More
Fitness

The Best Gloves of 2018

Care for your digits. Arc’teryx Rush SV ($275) Arc’teryx debuted the Alpha glove a couple of years ago, with a revolutionary build: it sealed the membrane stitches with waterproof tape, making the Alpha the most weatherproof glove we’ve ever tested. The Alpha has now been upgraded to the Rush, with a removable quick-drying liner. Think of it as hard-shell armor for your hands. Buy Now Black Diamond Helio ($200) Versatility was on full display during a ski tour in Crested Butte, where the three-in-one Helio proved to be our best friend. We skinned up in the fleecy

Read More
Fitness

The Best Winter Camping Gear of 2018

Survive a night (or two or three) in the snow. (Courtesy Mammut) Mammut Trion Light 38 Pack ($160)  Mammut’s Trion lets you jam in gear for days in the backcountry but is optimized for fast-and-light summit bids. Removable hip pads and top pouch slim things down when ounces count. Buy Now (Courtesy MSR) MSR Remote 2 Tent ($800) The Remote 2’s spacious, 33-square-foot interior and cavernous vestibule made waiting out a storm almost pleasant. The burly composite poles held steady in 30-mile-per-hour winds. Buy Now (Courtesy Leatherman) Leatherman Rebar Multitool ($60) With styling reminiscent of Leatherman’s original multi, the

Read More
Fitness

The Best Watches of 2018

Rugged, refined timepieces for nights out, the depths, and, yes, even space. (Courtesy Luminox) Luminox Navy SEAL 3500 ($375)  Luminox took the perennial favorite Navy SEAL model and gave it an update, with a less cluttered dial and the minor flourish of a red second hand. The 3500 is a remarkably tough piece of horology for such a reasonable price; the carbon-compound case is a perfect combination of lightweight and durable, and the luminescent markers will glow for up to 25 years. Buy Now (Courtesy Nixon) Nixon Station Chrono Leather ($250) Less rugged and waterproof than the others, the

Read More
Pinterest Icon