Gear Review: Julbo Explorer XL Sunglasses

So let’s get one thing out into the open to start this review: the difference between the Julbo Explorer XL sunglasses and the regular Explorers is the frame size. Why does that matter? If you have a “hard-to-fit face,” you’ll care. Beyond that, The Explorer XLs are essentially identical to the standard Explorers – just all-around, high-performance mountaineering sunglasses.

Julbo’s newest pair, the Explorer 2.0, combines features of the original Explorer with the size specifications of the XL, creating the ideal combo of fit and performance.

product photo: Julbo Explorer 2.0 sunglasses glacier

Julbo’s Explorer 2.0 combines the original Explorer’s features with the Explorer XL’s size. Photo: REI

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Fit and Protection

Developed in partnership with the French national skiing and mountaineering school, the Julbo Explorer XL sunglasses were designed for serious high altitude, backcountry mountain use. These are the real deal. They block harsh snow glare, cut down on UV rays, and generally make life livable for your eyes in the high country. The wrap-around design is also a performance feature, great for blowing snow and high winds. They even offer a little extra protection on the periphery.

Like Julbo’s other mountain glasses, the Explorer XL features removable side shields, which offer lateral protection against the harsh sun, and 360-degree adjustable temples that make the glasses easy to fit whether around a helmet or on their own.

Sunglasses that fit? Score one for the Explorers.

Additional Features

Beyond the fit, the glasses also feature Julbo’s Grip Tech compound for a comfortable fit on the temples and nose, along with front venting for airflow around the lens and frame. At home, that doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but once you’re in the backcountry, this proper venting really shines. Lens fogging, condensation, and constant wiping are minimized thanks to the shape of the Explorer’s frame, and that’s a real benefit on the trail.

Julbo even includes an adjustable stretch headband that helps keep the glasses in place no matter what you take on. Julbo’s Explorer 2.0 is available in two colors, black and blue.

For more information, visit Julbo USA. In addition, you can purchase the Julbo Explorer 2.0 sunglasses at REI or Amazon.

Have you used the Julbo Explorer, Explorer XLs, or Explorer 2.0 sunglasses? Share your review or experience of the Julbo Explorer models with us in the comments below.

This article was first published on June 1, 2012, and most recently updated on June 21, 2022. 

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  • Tim Sprinkle

    Tim Sprinkle is a Denver-based writer and editor whose work has appeared in dozens of publications, including Outside, Backpacker and Wired.

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