If you can’t see you can’t ski. This simple fact means your goggles are probably more important that any other item of ski kit – yes even the selfie stick. In this review of Panda Optics Funnel goggles, I will look at what difference they make and whether they are the best frameless ski goggles around.
Panda Optics are a British company making goggles using the latest technologies but charging a reasonable price. They have spent three years researching all aspects of goggle construction to create the highest quality google at the lowest possible price.
Every detail such as frame material, straps, grip, lens changing technology, anti-fog treatment, polarisation options, helmet compatibility, low light vision, and lens quality have been studied in finite detail. The result is goggles that are certainly good to look at, but are they also good to look through?
This review was conducted over an April weekend in Les Arcs. We mainly experienced sunny skies with some high clouds. On the first morning, we were snowboarding in and out of low cloud, in varied conditions from sunny to foggy.
The advantage of going frameless if not just that they look awesome but that there is less to impede your vision. So before I even hit the slopes I had a play with the Panda Funnel’s comparing the field of view to my Oakley Canopy and Julbo Universe goggles. My test was walking in a straight line until I saw a post in my peripheral vision.
When I first got the Oakley Canopy goggles I raved about their improved field of view, and how it meant you could see more and spot danger in your peripheral vision sooner. However through the Panda goggles the post appeared in my peripheral vision around a meter sooner.
The Julbo universe, which are not quite frameless, came somewhere between the Oakley’s and Pandas. But wearing the Funnel goggles I could see the post around half a meter sooner.
To put this in perspective if you are travelling at 30kph this means you move at just over 8m per second. So being able to see objects in your peripheral vision up to a meter sooner gives you an extra 1/8 of a second to react, helping you to avoid collisions.
The Panda Optics Funnel goggles come with two lenses that are easily interchangeable. The REVO coated, polarised lens, is rated UV400+ and ideal for most conditions. The high definition ‘HD’ low light lens is perfect for white outs or extremely flat light.
Most of the time during this review of Panda Optics Funnel goggles we were riding in sunny conditions, with the odd high cloud – perfect for the polarised lens. The lens has a glacier blue colour, which provides excellent snow definition in sunny and cloudy conditions.
The blue gives a very crisp and clear view of everything, which at first I found a little too bright. However, the polarised lens significantly reduces glare meaning my eyes didn’t get sore, and the snow definition they provide, even in shady sections, was exceptionally good.
I was not quite so keen on the blue tint for looking at the views. It’s the first time I have gone blue and I am used to an orange, brown or rose tint, that in my opinion makes sky and mountain views a little nicer. If you are not keen on blue, Panda Funnel goggles polarised lens also come in Pearlescent Red or Mirrored Grey .
Unfortunately for this review of Panda Optics Funnel – but fortunate for us snowboarding – visibility was mostly very good so I only used the Polarised lens. Even on the first morning when we kept passing through low cloud they still did a good job, but the flatter the light got the less effective the blue tint was.
Although good conditions meant I didn’t snowboard with the maize yellow low light HD lens, I set them up and had a look outside at dusk. As always the yellow tint provided far superior definition in low light conditions and I am confident they would be very useful in a whiteout and good for night riding.
The triple layered, comfort performance foam, helps the Funnel goggles sit comfortably against the face. They do not have any pressure points across the nose or cheeks but distribute it evenly. The two way adjustable strap means you can easily get the tightness you want.
They fit perfectly with my helmet with the “wide-rig” ensuring the goggles fit flush with the helmet and help to avoid any pesky gaps. Also the silicone lined straps keep it securely in place.
The frame is made from strong TPU that is flexible enough to mould to your face, while being rigid enough to keep it’s shape. The frame is also stress-resistant, can handle temperature extremes, is lightweight, impact resistant and durable.
The Funnel comes with integrated Guma® anti fog technology, which must have done a good job as I never fogged up. But I tend not to fog up unless it is snowing, or I end up face first in powder – being spring conditions neither of those things happened.
I have not tested it, but if you need to wear prescription eyewear the Panda Optics Funnel frame is glasses compatible. The goggles are also covered by a lifetime guarantee, and have a 20 day return policy in case they do not fit your lid, or match your outfit.
The Panda Optics frameless technology provides significantly better field of view than my other goggles, which themselves were a significant improvement on earlier goggles. But are the Pandas the best frameless ski goggles on the market?
Well I have not tried them all so I can’t give a definitive answer on this. However, priced at just £85 and including two lenses, Panda Funnel are certainly one of the best value frameless ski goggles on the market. For example, if you want the similar Oakley Flightdeck with two lenses the RRP is £185.
Concluding this review of Panda Optics Funnel, the polarised lens is very good at reducing glare, providing a crisp view and great snow definition. I was not sure about the blue tint lens, but Panda Optics also offer red or grey tint lenses.
In short they help you see more when skiing or snowboarding, are comfy and packed with similar features to the top brands. Don’t be put off because you have not heard of Panda Optics, as the Funnel is one of the best frameless ski goggles on the market, offering great quality and exceptional value for money.
I hope you found this review of Panda Optics Funnel useful. If you fancy getting yourself one of the best frameless ski goggles visit: www.pandaoptics.co.uk. They currently (Sept. 2016) have a sale on, making them even better value.