I recently went to the optometrist for a new prescription for my contacts. He did some kind of funky optic nerve scan, essentially shooting lasers into my pupils to see how everything was doing on the inside of my eyeballs. He declared they were in good health. Then he asked if I had any questions.
“Yeah, actually. I do. I’m up in the high alpine many days during the week, as evident by the sun damage on my shoulders and back. I always wear my hat and sunglasses each and every time I’m in the mountains, but I just want to make sure my eyes aren’t getting the same kind of fried.”
This is where I learned how important it is to wear decent eyewear on the trails here in Colorado, because if you don’t, you’re headed down the long road of cataracts and other really unfortunate blinding conditions because of UV radiation. We get a ton of it because of our altitude and geographic location. I don’t know about you, but I feel really lucky that I’m not vision impaired. I’d like to keep it that way if I can help it.
Fortunately, I never leave the house without sunglasses so my eyes are A-OK. But it’s something that all fellow Colorado outdoor adventurists need to remember – wear great eyewear out there!
I’ve been wearing their Bombers for the last few years, specifically because of the wrap around protection that’s super helpful in windy conditions. I feel like my vision is better (or clearer) because of it, too. That’s due to a combination of the wrap-around and the poly crystal carbonate lense technology they’ve created. This technology blocks 100% of the UV rays while also eliminating glare at the same time. The Bombers also have venting holes around the frame that decreases lens fogging when you work up a sweat. I bought them at Sierra Trading Post at the Fort Collins store and never looked back. I love them.
I’ve had a chance to gear-test a couple of different options from Native over the last year, including some super cool winter options. With winter right on our heels, there’s no better time to tell you about it than now!
First, there are the Haskill aviator-style sunglasses that I’ve taken a liking to. I wear those wrap-around Bombers everywhere. Sometimes it’s nice to add a little style to your day with a little less gearhead influence. Plus, I think aviators are pretty hot.
The lifestyle lenses also have some nifty polarized technology that’s slightly different than their performance lines. They block more infrared light than other polarized lenses, and reduce blue light for crisp, clear vision. Not as high-performance as their performance line, but still much better than the typical pair of sunglasses you’ll find anywhere else.
I’ve worn these on the trails and I actually prefer my Bombers when I’m hiking. The Haskills do a fine job while I’m driving and sipping a beer on the patio at the Mish after a hike (and I look great while doing it). However, since I can compare the lifestyle and the performance lines side-by-side, the Bombers truly do improve the quality of my vision in the forest. I feel like I can spot a moose in the trees a little easier, and I have more peripheral vision with the larger wrap lenses.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ditching my Haskills. I’m wearing both regularly! They each have their place for specific activities. These aviators are perfect for those sunny days chillin’ on Horsetooth Reservoir.
Alright, now for the fun part – the goggles. Native released a brand new line of goggles in August of this year, just in time for the 2016-2017 snow season. I was super lucky to get my hands on a pair last winter to take out into the backcountry and test for a full season. Generally I’d use my Bombers and be OK with it. But the more crazy high alpine weather I’d get into, the more I knew I needed goggles too. I took the Tank-7 out on blizzard days in town and in whiteout conditions in Rocky Mountain National Park. I took those suckers everywhere when the snow was flying.
Much like their performance line, their goggles have some ultra-advanced lense technology they’re calling “SnowTuned.” It’s a high efficiency anti-fog coating with some color-enhancing filtration. It essentially makes it so that you don’t go snow-blind and you have some High-Def quality vision. I did have some fogging going on when I was in a white out in RMNP, but it was manageable. That was the only time I had that issue too. In fact, it was a little condition-extreme for a lot of my gear.
But, the other times I was snowshoeing, they were fantastic. I specifically chose this pair because of the wide field of view (peripheral vision is super important to me in the outdoors). I didn’t feel like my field of sight was limited in any way, and the color-filtering provided some great depth and detail for the terrain.
I was a little paranoid about keeping these in good condition. You see a lot of people in the backcountry with scratched lenses. Native’s goggles have hydrophobic and oleophobic coatings to ensure long-lasting quality that also works to repel oils and water. They aren’t indestructible, but they aren’t going to get gashed easily, either.
Should you be one of those people who runs their gear through the wringer, Native has lifetime warranties on all of their sunglasses and goggles. You pay a little bit for the processing but then it doesn’t matter how you screwed them up – dog chewed on them, you sat on them – whatever. You get a new pair, no problem.
If you see me out on the trails – be it dirt or snow – I’ll have something from Native on my face. And thanks to their quality, I won’t be worried about fried eyeballs in the UV-saturated high country.
If these are gear items that you’d like to purchase for yourself, please consider using the gear links on Fresh Air Fort Collins sidebar! A portion of your purchase goes back to this site helping to pay for gas money to get through canyon adventures. Here are some deals available through the gear companies working with me on Fresh Air that also carry Native Eyewear products:
- Sierra Trading Post: Take an Extra 20% off $100 or more with code AVSEPT6. Valid through October 5, 2016
- Backcountry.com: Get an Extra 20% Off + Free 2-Day Shipping at Backcountry
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Haskill and Tank-7 from Native Eyewear as coordinated by WildRock PR in consideration for review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions are my own.