Welcome to ThinkVail – we hope you find this article about the best glacier sunglasses helpful.
If you’re planning to do some high altitude mountaineering this winter, invest in a good pair of glacier sunglasses to ensure that your eyes are protected. The sun’s intense, UV light, as well as the glare that bounces off the ice on the ground, and peripheral light can reach your eyes from the side and cause damage.
Here are 10 choice glacier sunglasses for full protection during all your winter outdoor adventures.
What Are Glacier Glasses
Glacier glasses offer full protection for your eyes from the harsh, high altitude sun, UV rays, strong winds and biting cold all of which can harm your eyes and cause long-term damage such as:
Snow blindness – caused by prolonged exposure to UVB.
Erytropsia – exhaustion of the retina from prolonged exposure to intense light.
White out syndrome – when your eyelids freeze in extreme cold.
Corneal Freezing – which can threaten vision if not treated.
Traditional sunglasses allow between 60-30% Visible Light Transmission (VLT). A good pair of glacier glasses, only allows 5-7% VLT. You want a maximum of 10% VLT and for high altitude expeditions, look for 5% VLT.
Glacier glasses’ unique frames provide additional protection by offering 100% coverage and prohibiting light from entering your eyes from the bottom or sides of the frame. Your eyes are much more protected with glacier glasses than with standard sunglasses.
The sun at high altitude is bright, really bright and all that light and glare is very harmful to your eyes. The higher the altitude the less atmosphere and less Ozone there is to act as a buffer between the light and your eyes. At high elevations the sun’s intensity is still dangerous even in foggy or cloudy conditions.
Additionally, when hiking high altitude glaciers and snowfields, the snow reflects solar radiation from the sky and from the ground, meaning the effective intensity of UV solar radiation that your eyes receive is more than double that of sea level when mountaineering at 3,000 m (9,800’).
In addition to sun, both wind and freezing cold at altitude can be very dangerous for your eyes if not protected.
Here are the most important features when choosing the right glacier glasses’ frames
Choose a curved frame that wraps nicely around with side shields, or eye cups to provide maximum protection.
Adjustable, flexible temples are a good option to be sure that they hold well
A strap reduces the chance of losing your glasses and holds glasses securely to your head.
Comfortable fit that doesn’t slip
Rubber grip nose pads
Category 4 – Maximum filter category, letting through only 3 to 8% of visible light and recommended for hard-core winter mountaineering.
Category 3 – Provides a high level of sun glare reduction and good level of UV protection.
Mineral Lens- Highly scratch resistant
Photochromic Lenses, or Variable Tint Lenses. Automatically adjusts to the amount of light
Polarized Lens – Reduce glare especially off snow and water
Julbo is the original pioneer of glacier glasses and they have been honing their craft for 125 years. They are experts in protecting eyes from the intense sun and glare of mountain environments
Traditional mountaineering frame with round lens, a leather nose piece and leather side shields.
Category 3 lens provides a high level of sun glare reduction and good level of UV protection.
Base 6.minimal curve, means the sunglasses sit flatter on your face.
360-degree adjustable temples allows for a custom fit.
Leather side shields offers protection from peripheral light
Unisex design is perfect for men and women
Lite-weight but with excellent shock resistance
Flash treatment offers a mirror-like lens that improves visible light filtering.
100 % A, B,C UV Protection.
Lens depth-51. Distance-23. Temple length-172
Traditional rubber covered wire temple arms makes these glasses very comfortable
Maximum protection from sunlight in extreme conditions
SPECTRON 3CF Lens: blocks 89% of visible light.
The Oakley Clifden is the ultimate glacier glasses designed for maximum protection against the elements. Oakley is famous for making sunglasses and they have just stepped up their game with these.
Category 4 lens offers maximum light blocking
100% UV protection of all UVA, UVB, UVC and harmful blue light up to 400 mm.
Side shields and a bridge blocker
Lightweight Plutonite lens are impact resistant
Prizm snow black lenses are designed to see contrast on the mountain in bright, sunny conditions. Ideal for skiing or snowboarding.
VLT: Light transmission: 6%
Integrated woven leash keeps glasses secure
Adjustable nose pads for comfort and to keep the glasses from slipping
High definition optics provide superior optical clarity and razor-sharp vision.
Cleaning & storage bag Included
Lens width: 56 Millimeters
Made in the USA
Available in polarized lenses
Bertoni Cortina Polarized
Bertoni is a well-known Italian brand of sport sunglasses that has been making innovative, high-quality products for more than thirty years. They boast a wide range of styles to suit all kind of sports including mountaineering and other demanding winter activities.
Category 3 lens provides a high level of sun glare reduction and good level of UV protection
Leather side shields with anti-misting aerators
Polarized anti-reflection lens reduces reflections of horizontal surfaces like snow, ice, water
100% UV protection
Available in 2 different polarized lens versions: polarized smoke with blue mirror coating ( VLT 12.1%, blocks 88% ) or Polarized Brown ( VLT 14,1%, blocks 86% )
Curved, wrapping, flexible arms hold glasses securely and keeps them from slipping
Includes: case and soft microfiber pouch
Revo Polarized Traverse
Revo boasts the best lens on the planet. Designed by a NASA astrophysicist who first thought to use the coatings that protect satellites to shield our eyes from the sun. The idea was brilliant, and still is today, more than 30 years later. Revos are always on the cutting edge of the newest technology.
100% UV Protection coating filters harmful UV, HEV, and Blue Light
6-base lens technology creates a flatter profile
Revo high-contrast polarized Serilium+ lenses
Blue mirror coating does not alter natural colors.
Leather side accents protects against periphery light
Frames are made of a lightweight, impact-resistant, glare-reducing nylon
Elastomeric nose pad and temple tips
Lens width: 57 millimeters
Lens height: 48 millimeters
Available in Black and White frames
Two year warranty
Vuarnet Glacier Glasses
Vuarnet has created a highly technical and elegantly refined, uniquely designed glacier glasses that is sought after by professionals and enthusiasts alike.
Category 3 lens provides a high level of of sun glare reduction and a good amount of UV protection.
VLT: Visible Light absorption: 90%
100% UV Protection
Protects against 82% Infra-red light rays
Protects against 99% harmful blue light
Mineral glass lens offers the clearest vision
Removable side shields made of natural leather and magnetic fixtures that attach to the temples ensure 360 degree protection.
Increases contrast in low visibility, foggy and cloudy conditions
Pilot style frame is made in acetate and steel
Anti – reflective backside is used to to keep glare off of the backside of the lens so you don’t see reflections
Silver bi-shaded mirrored polarized lenses
Size : 136 arms -19 bridge – 60 lens
The Glacier is the same shades worn by the most famous secret agent in history- James Bond, in the film “Spectre.”
Natural leather cord with a detachable steel fastening system is included
Made in Italy
Available in two sizes
Great for medium sized faces, with a round or square shape
JULBO Sherpa Glacier Sunglasses
These high quality, affordable JULBO Sherpa glacier glasses will exceed your expectations. It’s no surprise since JULBO is one of the best known brands for glacier and mountaineer glasses and goggles. Put them to the test, these glasses can take whatever the elements dish out, beautifully.
Cat.3 lens provides a high level of of sun glare reduction and a good amount of UV protection.
VLT: visible light transmission rate: 12%
Polycarbonate lenses with flash finish and anti-fog coating
Breathable and removable leather side shields protect eyes from peripheral light and lateral rays
Lightweight with a classic look
Pre-curved flexible temples hold securely behind ears
360° adjustable temples for a custom fit on your head, under a helmet or over a hat.S
Size- 54. Lens depth- 45
Lightweight, traditional glacier glasses.
Northern Lights Optics create signature mountaineering style glacier glasses and traditional glasses for back-country adventures. They are continually challenging the status quo by adding a modern twist to classic mountaineering frames while expertly fusing the vintage with the contemporary for a bold new look
Category 3 lens offers a high level of sun glare reduction and good level of UV protection.
Features a modern, deep, squared Aviator-style acetate frame.
High-quality Aurora CR39 lenses can be fitted with prescription lenses by an optometrist
Lens width: 50 millimeters
Gift box, hard case, micro fiber soft pouch and lens cloth included
Size: Lens / Bridge / Temple: 53-18-125
Unisex style is perfect for men or women
Available in Grey and Brown
Serengeti Leandro Glacier
These frames automatically adjust to the brightness of the surrounding light. This innovative feature is just one of the many details that make these glasses stand apart from the rest. Created by Serengeti® , an industry leader in lens technology that adapts to any light condition in any setting. Try them, you’re going to love them!
Photochromic lenses automatically adjust to any light condition by darkening in bright sunlight and lightening in overcast conditions.
Mineral lenses for clarity and durability
Spectral Control® technology manages light wavelengths to give better saturation of what you need to see
Anti-reflective coating added to the backside of the lens, reduces reflective glare.
Removable magnetic genuine leather shields from entering the eyes from the sides
Base 6.minimal curve, means the sunglasses sit flatter on your face.
Temple Length 140 mm
Lens Size 53 x 47 x 56
DBL 19 mm
Trendy and sport-chic design
Electric California Road Glacier
Designed in California and made in Italy, these thoughtfully designed, meticulously crafted glasses keeps you protected from the elements whether you’re skiing the slopes, fishing on a bright day or motorcycling on the open road.
Performance-enhancing lens coatings
Interchangeable/removable mesh eye shields .
Two separate adjustable temple options ensure fit
6-base lens technology creates a flatter profile
Mold injected grilamid frame.
Innovative double action hinge system.
Adjustable arm temples.
Melanin infused polycarbonate lenses.
100% UV protection and up to 98% blue light protection.
These Ossats, are the least expensive pair of glacier glasses on this list. Although not a well known name-brand, these do offer a lot of bang for your buck. They do have a lot of great features and will be great for many situations but for hard-core exposure to the elements you may will better with one of the above brands.
Lens with 7-layer polarization coating
Titanium alloy frame
Windproof and sand-proof,
100% UV400 protective coating to prevent 100% harmful UVA and UVB rays.
Eliminates reflected and scattered light.
Ultraviolet protective lens layer to absorb ultraviolet light.
Scratch resistant and durable.
Purchase includes: a glasses case, a cleaning soft fabric sunglasses pouch and a Polarized Test card
We hope you found this article about the best glacier glasses helpful. Where do you wear your glacier glasses? Do you use them for winter mountaineering, skiing, for boating, for desert hikes, to protect your eyes or just to look cool? What is your favorite brand and why? Was your favorite glacier glasses on this list? If not let us known about them so we can share your suggestion with the community. Thanks for reading!