Your Guide to the Best Sunglasses for Mountaineering

Your Guide to the Best Sunglasses for Mountaineering

When you are getting ready for a big objective, whether it is a multi-day trip or you’ll just be out for a day, every item you pack is carefully selected. The space in your pack is precious and you don’t want to carry even an ounce of extra weight you don’t need.  A great pair of sunglasses is important to bring and will help protect your eyes from sunny trails on the approach, wind and dust once you’re above the tree line, and glare if you’re crossing snow fields or glaciers. 

When we design sunglasses specifically with mountaineering in mind, there are a few essential features we like these sunglasses to have. 

  • Easy-adjust, QuickFit temples for a customized fit. This means you can bend the stems of the sunglasses for an even more secure fit. 
  • Goggle-inspired retainer straps add another layer of security to keep them in place through technical ascents and high-speed descents, so you can focus on what’s ahead of you, not whether your sunglasses will fall off. 
  • Removable TPU side shields that block peripheral light when you need them, so you can pop off and stow away when you don’t. 

The Best Sunglasses for Mountaineering 

The Best Sunglasses for the Ski Mountaineer

Designed in collaboration with Cody Townsend, the Pursuit is a pair of sunglasses that are designed to be able to sub in for a pair of snow goggles. They’re made to be pack-friendly, with screwless hinges that create a fail-safe backcountry design, and a low-profile case ensures minimal storage in your pack. You can also swap out the lenses on these sunglasses so you’re ready for any weather. 

The Best Sunglasses for the Climber Who Loves the Classics 

Inspired by the silhouette of classic glacier glasses but updated with modern technology, the Venture sunglasses have the best of both worlds. The Venture has a nosepiece in addition to its side shields. Once you’re off the mountain these pieces can be easily removed transforming your shades from technical glacier glasses to stylish causal sunglasses. 

The Mountaineering Sunglasses with a Little Bit of Everything

While the Pursuit has an oversized goggle fit, and the Venture is compact, the Embark meets them in the middle. With a medium fit and large coverage, the Embark is a Smith community favorite with over 150 reviews singing its praises

Selecting the Best Sunglasses Lenses for Mountaineering

Once you know which model of mountaineering sunglasses is the best for you, it’s time to look at lenses. We offer both polycarbonate and glass lens options, as well as photochromic, ChromaPop™, and polarization. 

Lens Materials

When it comes to which lens material is best, polycarbonate or glass, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Polycarbonate lenses are lighter weight, but can be more prone to scratching while glass lenses are more durable but heavier, so when deciding it’s important to think about which is more important to you, being lightweight or more scratch-resistant. 

Lens Technology

When you’re looking at lenses for mountaineering sunglasses, there are three lens technologies you will see.

  • ChromaPop™: Our top-of-the-line sunglasses feature our cutting-edge ChromaPop™ lens technology to enhance clarity, optimize color, and reduce glare. An advanced lens option, ChromaPop™ filters crossover light wavelengths that cause color confusion. 
  • Polarization: Polarized lenses cut surface glare and increase contrast to make the details pop. 
  • Glacier Photochromic: Photochromic lenses are designed to be UV and visible light-activated so the tint automatically adjusts based on your lighting conditions, however traditional photochromic lenses can be temperature sensitive, which makes them slower to react. Our Glacier Photochromic lenses are specially formulated to perform in cold conditions so you always have the best possible view. 

Still not sure which lens is right for you? Our goal is to help you spend less time looking at gear and more time on the mountain. If you have any other questions we can answer, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of experts.