Julbo Rookie (boys) and Tina (girls) sunglasses
Ages: Rookie, eight to 12; Tina, 10 to 15
My kids spend a lot of time outdoors, regularly at higher elevations, where there’s less atmosphere protecting them from the sun’s UV rays. Just as much as I try to keep sunblock on them to protect their skin, I want them wearing good-quality sunglasses to protect their eyes from the damage that can result from long-term UV exposure. That’s why my 12-year-old son has worn the Rookie sunglasses, and my 10-year-old daughter the Tina, on hiking and backpacking trips from southern Utah to Idaho’s White Clouds Mountains, and will wear them on all of our family adventures until they’re big enough for high-quality adult sunglasses.
According to the American Optometric Association, exposure to small amounts of UV radiation over many years increases the chance of developing a cataract, retina damage, and macular degeneration. Children’s risk is higher because their eyes don’t block as much UV light as adult eyes. So the AOA recommends wearing a cap or hat with a wide brim and sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation, 75 to 90 percent of visible light, are perfectly matched in color and free of distortion and imperfection, and have gray lenses for proper color recognition.
All Julbo sunglasses deliver full protection against UV-A and UV-B rays. The Julbo Rookie and Tina sunglasses provide full coverage of the eyes with wrap-around frames, and have shock-resistant, polycarbonate lenses. (They also come with polarizing lenses for $10 more.) Julbo describes them as suitable for mountain environments, bright sunshine, and on water—protecting my kids for all of our activities, from backpacking to climbing, paddling, and skiing. The sunglasses frames stay put on their small faces during activity—and my kids like how they look and want to wear them.
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NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu.