Native Eyewear Backbowl
Outstanding fit and performance in a helmet compatible goggle. Rapid reacting "SnowTuned lens" cuts glare and provides excellent peripheral vision.
- Excellent helmet compatible fit
- Very comfortable
- Very clear optics with a wide range of viewing
- Dark lens works very well on bright days
- Not the best for dark, foggy days
- Can not change the lens
As a downhill and backcountry skier and avid snowshoer, I am always on the lookout for serious eye protection. I was lucky enough to get a pre-release sample from Native Eyewear's new Backbowl goggle line in February 2016.
The Backbowl goggle comes in five models and I chose the Ribbit model for testing. Testing was done in and out of bounds at a variety of West Coast ski areas in California, Utah, and British Columbia.
The Backbowl Ribbet is a large fit frameless google that is helmet compatible. The frame, rather than being built out of plastic, is produced using a bio-based oil sourced from the Castor planet. The lens is built up using a combination of injection molding and vacuum deposition which provides increased durability. They even use hypoallergenic face foam.
Putting the goggles on for the first time, the fit was really good. They worked well with my helmet and full contact was made with my face and over my nose. The goggle strap is siliconized and it helps keep it from moving around on my helmet. It's also reversible to provide a different look.
The dark lens did a very good job of eliminating glare during testing in the Sierra and the mountains of Utah where the days tend to be sunny. The "SnowTuned" lens quality was excellent and did a great job of enhancing all the little nuances of the snow. I loved the large field of vision provided by the Backbowl goggles as they added quite a bit of extra side vision compared to a full frame goggle.
Surprisingly, ventilation was quite good considering they do not have the extra vents that many full framed goggles are equipped with. I found the large shape worked well in keeping my face warm on really cold days since it covers so much of my face.
The one area where the goggles did not perform as well was in British Columbia on those foggy, cloudy at mid-mountain days where they simply were too dark to provide that crisp vision they provide on a bright day. I will say the anti-fog they use on the lens did work very well. Also without a frame, you can't change lenses but have to change goggles.
The goggles come with a nice padded, zippered hard case they call the "Fort" which has provided protection during my many ski travels.
Native provides a lifetime warranty on their goggles. If they are damaged for any reason the Backbowl model I tested will be replaced for a $40 fee. I like that a lot since we all know goggles get scratched up over time.
My final thoughts on the Native Backbowl goggles are I like them a lot and they are my go-to goggles for bright days, which in California, means most days.
- Models: Ribbet, Timber, Ranger, Dark RIP, Black RIP
- Cost: $129
Source: tested or reviewed it for the manufacturer (I kept the product after testing.)
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Historic Range: $63.93-$129.00