Our gear editor Maarten takes the Julbo Trek's for a giant test spanning multiple continents, sports and seasons.
The Julbo Trek sunglasses are a no-nonsense take on multifunction sunglasses that can stay on throughout the day.
With several unique features, these glasses are comfortable all day and adapt to many situations: road or mountain biking, trail running and all forms of climbing.
In the package is an oversized hard-case (we failed to figure out when one would use this) and several useful extras: coloured side-shields, a sweat-blocking band, soft case, retention cord and cleaning cloth.
We left the side-shields mounted at all times since they provided additional coverage (especially useful on glaciers).
By using the adjustable legs (see Features) it was easy to achieve a comfortable fit. The coloured, soft rubber end pieces of the legs were easily moldable to a person’s head shape.
The resulting fit was actually so good we never used the retention cord!
The width of the frame makes it a poor fit for most women and some men with narrower faces.
One of our favorite features are the adjustable legs. Whether you prefer the legs bent or straight, they easily stayed on during long bike rides or climbing.
Unlike many other sunglasses, these end pieces are not removable, meaning they won’t get lost. The material was sturdy enough to retain it’s shape while in your pack.
The sweatband was a love-or-hate feature for our testers, it is useful for high-intensity sports such as trail running and road biking though.
Where these glasses (and most of Julbo’s line) really stand out are the lenses. By using photochromic lenses, the light intensity is adjusted according to the available light. Julbo has a variety of lenses for each model of sunglasses. Our test set contained the Chameleon lens, Julbo’s premium lens. In addition to being photochromic, this lens is polarizing and anti-fog.
Light transmission rates range from Cat 0-4, with the Chameleon covering Cat 2-4, which means the lenses let through anywhere from 40% to 3% of the available light.
While this is initially subtle, it starts to seem indispensable after wearing them for a while. The adjustment is gradual but quick. Never during our testing were the lenses letting through too much light; if anything, they were sometimes on the dark side.
The Trek is considered user serviceable and to this end Julbo has made many spare parts available online.
Whether you are looking to replace your lenses or get set up with some disco-coloured side-shields, there are plenty of options.
Personally, I’m usually looking for sunglasses to protect me both from harmful UV radiation as well as physical objects. The NXT material used in the Chameleon and Zebra lenses is extremely impact resistant and much harder than the polycarbonate used in many other outdoor glasses. This means your eyes will be protected in case of a bike crash or that fiddly piece of gear popping out.
We tested these glasses during the later part of the summer of 2015 through the beginning of the winter season in the Rockies. In addition to half a dozen backpacking trips for work, they’ve come along on several multi-day climbing trip and numerous multi-pitch rock & ice routes.
While attempting Mt. Columbia from the British Columbia side of the Great Divide, the glasses performed well on the bright sunny glacier. While I usually don’t wear sunglasses while ice climbing due to fogging issues, the Trek passed the test with flying colours.
While marketed as an outdoor set of sunglasses, the Julbo Trek has become my go-to for all activities. The adjustability of the legs and the photochromic lenses make it an excellent choice for any adventures, from road biking to ice climbing.
They don’t replace a set of clear lensed glasses for overcast biking, but cover everything else! Since sunglasses have more fragile parts, I appreciated the excellent availability of spare parts and lenses.
- Adjustable legs allowed for an excellent fit
- Photochromic lenses provided good contrast and varied light transmission
- NXT lenses are exceptionally strong and more scratch resistant than polycarbonate
- Many spare parts available, at least 3 years after discontinuation of model
- On overcast days, the lenses were sometimes slightly too dark
- A smaller hard- case would have been more useful
- Poor fit for narrower faces
Though the Julbo Trek was sent to Mountain Moxie for reviewing purposes, this has not influenced our opinion on the glasses. Mountain Moxie aims to use multiple testers for each review, to get you reviews on the most thoroughly tested gear.