One thing for sure about Native sunglasses, and now goggles, is that the lenses are amazing. I’ve worn Native sunglasses for years, because I appreciate the crisp clarity of their lenses. Plus, their frames fit my face.
Native is rolling out a line of goggles for winter 2016-17. Designed primarily for backcountry use, here are some of their features:
- State of the art lens protection coatings.
- Color enhancing filtration and reactive polarization.
- Eight-minute anti-fog coating (7.5 minutes longer than the average goggle lens).
- Fluted, hypoallergenic face foam for additional airflow and better temperature regulation.
- A bi-level nasal nest for easy breathing
- A two-sided strap that inverts to expose a reflective interior so that you can be seen in bad weather.
- Sustainable castor-oil resin frames to reduce weight and save resources.
While all of these specs mean something to gearheads, the bottom line for me is performance and fit.
I tried the Native Upslope Goggle, a mid-range, double-spherical lens goggle, sized for medium faces. The model I tried (Hesher in Amber with Green) will sell for $129 and does not have a polarized lens.
Still, my vision was crisp and clear in this relatively inexpensive goggle.
And while I think the goggle looks good (I especially like the variegated green and violet lens), it is too big for my face.
The nasal nest is too large for me and lets in too much air.
All faces and helmets are unique, so always try on goggles with your helmet before you buy anything.
The Native line includes six specific models with countless lens and strap variations.
While they don’t have plans for a women’s specific model, I’m told the Coldfront and Tank-7 are better for smaller faces.
Smith Women’s I/O S Goggles
A women’s specific goggle for small-to-medium size faces, I don’t have issues with too much airflow with the Smith I/O S.
Listing for $180, the Smith I/O S has two interchangeable spherical lenses (for bright-light and low-light) with an anti-fog inner lens and coatings that prevent distortion for crisp vision. They are not polarized.
Three-layer DriWix face foam keeps moisture away from your skin and there is a small, bi-level nasal nest.
I’ve got no complaints with these goggles. My vision is good. I like the wide-spherical optics. And, once I studied the directions, the lenses are easy to change.
Just one of many Smith models for women, the I/O S comes in a rainbow of colors to match every ski coat and suit every style.
Mountain Goat Ski Tote
Earlier this winter, my husband and I were singing the praises of the Bowtie Ski Carrier after bootpacking up Highland Peak at Aspen Highlands.
We’ve recently tried another strap system from Mountain Goat Ski Tote, and now we’re singing its praises, too.
Easy to attach to your skis, the Mountain Goat Ski Tote centers ski weight and mass on your back for comfortable carrying and climbing. We think carrying the skis with equal weight on both shoulders is less fatiguing. Plus the skis are secure and don’t move around, even if you bend forward.
The straps attach below the toe and heel pieces, so most of the ski is above your head. While this makes me feel a bit off-balance, it doesn’t bother my husband.
To counter this high center of gravity, I’ve attached the carrier with the straps above the toe and heel pieces. I have to be careful not to drag the tails, but I feel more comfortable with this configuration.
The straps slip on like a backpack and are easy to adjust and comfortable. When you’re done using the Mountain Goat Ski Tote, just roll it up and stuff it in a pocket.
It’s an excellent ergonomic choice for bootpacks and climbs. We’re told that the straps tighten down small enough for a five-year-old to carry skis, making it a good option for getting kids from the parking lot to the lodge.
The Mountain Goat Ski Tote also comes in a snowboard version.
Split Pea Sound Earbud Remote Enlarger
This is a “how did I live without it” product for me.
A simple rubber “pea” that slips over the controller on your earbuds, the Split Pea Sound enlarger gives your fingers purchase and makes it easier to click and hold even when you’re wearing gloves.
It’s easy to put on – just slip it over the earbud and down onto the controller and then fix it in place with a wide band. Both the enlarger and band have holes for sound, so talking on the phone is not compromised (although voices do sound slightly muffled). If anything, the Split Pea cuts down on wind and other external noises.
Available in five colors, the Split Pea also makes our earbuds easy to identify. Now, no one else in the family is going to “borrow” them.
Add additional color with your choice of five different “rock bands,” the wide band that holds the cover in place. These are sold separately.
And speaking of color, Split Pea Sound gives 5% of their profits to non-profit environmental organizations. The campaign is called World of Color and each color Split Pea is aligned with a different group. My pink Split Pea benefits Defenders of Wildlife, while a black Split Pea benefits the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and so on.
Not just for skiing or use with gloves, I’ve put my Split Pea on permanently. I think it will come in especially handy this summer when hiking and biking.
More Gear Notes:
- Gear Notes: Cubbies Keep Mittens On, “Decadent” Wine in a Pouch and Two from New Zealand, February 3, 2016.
- Gear Notes: Colorado Ski Resorts, Periodic Table, StickerKid and StöSnow Ski Pants, January 27, 2-16.
- Gear Notes: S’No Queen, Block Island Organics Sunscreen, Speet Wax, January 11, 2016.
- Gear Notes: Best Maps Ever, Better Goggle Vision and a Couple of Quick Hits, March 11, 2015.
- Gear Notes: Xperio UV Lenses, Ski Dana and Munk Pack, January 30, 2015.
- Gear Notes: Get Some Soul, Save Your Knees and Read Up on the Luxe Ski Life, October 22, 2014.
Thank you to Native, Mountain Goat Ski Tote and Splitpea Sound for providing product samples to facilitate these reviews. As always, all opinions are my own and are exactly what I would tell family and friends.
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