When I first found the Julbo Nomad sunglasses I was a little skeptical. They were from a french company that I had never heard of, they were expensive, and they were a little different style than I was used to wearing. I was actually looking for some big white sunglasses at the time, so I ended up with the complete opposite.
The Nomad’s are a sleek pair of sunglasses from french eyewear producer, Julbo. They’re designed for mountaineering and other sports where you’d need dark lenses and lots of light coverage. They also stick to your head like glue. No amount of moving around are going to pull these off your noggin.
Quick and Dirty about the Nomads
What I like
Fits closely to my head and almost never comes off
Photochromatic lenses get darker in brighter light
Polarized lenses reduce glare off snow or water
Additional side widgets reduce the amount of light coming in around the sides if you’re in a really bright place
What I don’t like
They fit so close to my face that if I’m sweating a lot, they touch my face and get sweat on them
Too dark for some places
The ends of the arms are quite pointy and I have to be careful if I don’t want to stab myself in the face
The Nomad’s are awesome sunglasses. They fit close to your face and don’t let much light in. When you’ve got the side covers on, even less light gets in. If you’re out on the water or a glacier on a wicked sunny day, you’ll appreciate the covers. They are like the new age explorer goggles that had the leather covers on the side. The downside to them being so close to my face is that when I’m sweating buckets in the sun, drips of sweat get onto the glasses and smear them up good. They do have an anti-fog coating on them which works well against fogging up but not against drops of sweat.
The Nomad’s that I have from a few years ago use the Julbo Camel lens that are polarized and photochromatic. The polarization reduces the glare from water or snow and has helped me a lot when I’m out on the water sailing. The few times I’ve been out on the snow with them, they’ve worked wonders as well. No more squinting in the snow with crappy sunglasses on. The photochromatic part changes the darkness of the lens from category 3 in lower light to category 4. They’re quite dark to start with and get even darker when the sun comes out. Julbo recommends that you don’t drive with them because they’re so dark. On the Julbo website there are images of using the category 3 lenses in the woods. I found they were too dark for mountain biking. You could use them hiking if you were moving a bit slower and were moving in and out of the trees into bright places. The new Nomad’s use the Zebra lens which transitions from category 2 to 4.
I’d highly recommend the Nomad’s to anyone. They’re aren’t the perfect fit for highly active sports with a lot of sweat or in the dark trees but for bright days sailing, climbing in the mountains or skiing they fit the bill perfectly. Just don’t go try tumbling down a hill to see if they’ll stay on your head. They probably will.