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As an avid mountaineer – I never knew how big of a difference a good pair of mountaineering sunglasses would make.

Glacier glasses have made my hiking and climbing much more fun and safe, protecting myself from UV rays on sunny days and providing me with eye protection in heavy winds and snowy days.

Our Picks for Best Glacier Sunglasses


Best Overall Glacier Glasses

Julbo Explorer 2.0

Price: $239.95

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Best Category 4 Glacier Glasses

Julbo Vermont Classic

Price: $159.95

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Best Lightweight Glacier Glasses

Julbo Tahoe

Price: $89.95

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Best Budget Glacier Sunglasses

Julbo Camino

Price: $59.95

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What To Consider When Buying Mountaineering Sunglasses?

Lens Type

Glacier glasses can be summarized into four categories.

Polycarbonate lenses that provide good clarity, they’re lightweight and are resistant to impact.

Polarized lenses reduce glare and block reflected light, polarized sunglasses are excellent when out in the snow or in the water, reducing the chances of getting snow blindness.

Photochromic lenses darken when exposed to UV rays, these are great when hiking in mixed conditions

Glass lenses are heavier and more fragile but provide great clarity.

Lens Color

The color of the lens will have a direct correlation with the amount of light that passes through your lenses.

VLT (Visible light transmission) is represented in percentages – the lower the percentage the darker the lenses are, the darkest being category 4 lenses.

UV Protection

UVA & UVB rays are harmful and can cause damage to your eyes and sometimes can even lead to permanent blindness.

When choosing glacier glasses, you want to take into consideration the amount of sun you usually expose yourself to.

If you hike and climb mountains in sunny conditions, you’d want to have a pair of glasses that will protect your eyes.

Side Shields

Most glacier glasses will have side and bridge shields for full sun protection.

Side shields will make sure that no debris, wind or any light reflections enter your eyes.

In our opinion, in it, one of the most important features for mountaineering sunglasses to have.

Best Overall Glacier Glasses

Julbo Explorer 2.0 Mountain Sunglasses ($239.95)


  • Transition Lenses
  • Nose Pads & Adjustable Side Shields
  • Anti fog


  • Expensive

The best mountaineering sunglasses award goes to the Julbo Explorer, and it wasn’t even that hard to pick!

If you’re a professional looking for the best mountaineering sunglasses, then you must have these for a few reasons.

The Reactiv 2-4 polarized transition lenses change between category 2 and category 4, giving you the best of both worlds – meaning that in low sunlight areas or days, the lenses will block 65% of the light while on sunny days, they will block 93%.

The 360 adjustable arms and the nose pads that prevent slippage will make these glacier glasses sit really well on your face.

The side shields are removable and can be adjusted based on the conditions you’re in.

The frame is plastic, which is great for durability.

The Julbo explorer are superb, and the only downside is their price.

Other than that, if you can afford them, then don’t hesitate, just go for these and you won’t be disappointed.

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Best Category 4 Glacier Glasses

Julbo Vermont Classic Mountain Sunglasses ($159.95)


  • Adjustable arms
  • Durable
  • 100% UV Protection


  • Expensive

The Julbo Vermont Classic are the perfect pair of glacier sunglasses.

The metal frames are durable and lightweight, the leather side shields protect your eyes from any debris and wind, the lens width is 138 mm.

The lenses are made of polycarbonate, which provides you with 100% UV protection.

Fully adjustable – they have a curved temple end and can be adjusted as you like for maximum comfort and fit.

A bit expensive in comparison with other glacier glasses, but they really are worth it.

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Best Lightweight Mountaineering Glasses

Julbo Tahoe($89.95)


  • 100% UV Protection
  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight


  • Not for extreme conditions

I’ve been mainly using the Julbo Tahoe, the reason being these are very affordable, and I like how well they feel on the face.

The lenses are category 3, having a VLT of 12%, which is nice when you’re not hiking in harsh conditions, they let more light through while also giving you a 100% UV protection.

The suede-like side shields are removable, and the nose grip fits well on the face, providing a lot of comfort and also protection.

They only weigh 48g, and you won’t even notice they’re on your face, great option for casual use.

I recommend using these on casual hikes and climbs and not in extreme snow conditions.

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Best Budget Glacier Sunglasses

Julbo Camino Mountain Sunglasses ($59.95)


  • Light & Comfortable
  • Category 4 Lenses
  • Inexpensive


  • Not Polarized

I like to think about the Julbo Camino as the little brother of the Julbo Explorer, it has the same style but is made of cheaper materials and has fewer features.

The Spectron 4 lenses are great for blocking light in very sunny conditions, only 5% of the light comes through them, they’re polarized, so the color perception is a than in polarized glasses.

The plastic frame ensures durability and the temples are curved for maximum fit on your head and ears.

They’re super light and just feel great on your face.

The best part is the price – only $59.95. For that kind of quality, it’s a bargain.

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Julbo Fury Performance Sunglasses ($139.95)


  • Versatile
  • Inexpensive
  • Shock Absorbent


  • No Category 4 Lenses

The Julbo Fury are the most versatile pair of glasses – you can wear them for mountaineering, you can use them for climbing, for sports and even as casual eyewear glasses.

You can choose from 4 different lens types: Spectron 1 that blocks 51% of light which is great for low light conditions and Spectron 3 which blocks 87% of light, then you have 2 lenses with the Reactiv technology, 0-3 and the 1–3 lenses – these will change the amount of light the sunglasses will block based on the current light conditions.

There’s a nose grip making sure they stay on your face without slipping, very light sunglasses.

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Prescription Glacier Glasses

Many people ask if glacier glasses can have prescription lenses, and the answer is yes!

Typically, you can put prescription lenses on most mountaineering sunglasses, but it is important to check with the manufacturer before ordering.

It may also be beneficial to visit an eye doctor to assess your vision and needs before buying a pair of glacier glasses.

What’s Julbo’s Reactiv Lenses?

The Reactiv lenses will automatically adapt to the current light conditions.

You can use them in sunny conditions and in cloudy conditions.

The Reactiv level is different and can vary, the range isn’t necessarily from 0 to 4, and can be 1-3, 2-4 and so on, having a minimum and a maximum level.

Having glasses with Reactive technology is great because it gives you a lot of versatility, so if you often hike in different conditions then getting yourself a pair of mountaineering sunglasses with Reactive technology is a must!

Ski goggles for mountaineering?

Due to the similarities between mountaineering sunglasses and ski goggles, we get asked here and there if you can use them for mountaineering.

The answer is NO, you shouldn’t use ski sunglasses for mountaineering, as they do not provide good protection from the sun.

Final Words

We’ve gone over all the factors about how to choose to mountaineer sunglasses and reviewed some of our favorite mountaineering sunglasses.

We’ve explained what’s Julbo’s Reactive lenses and picked our winners.

Hopefully, we were able to provide you with guidance on how to find a great pair of glacier glasses.

Written By David Ignatchuk

April 29, 2023