NOTE: This is an ongoing review of these goggles through the years beginning in January 2014.
Here's a little bio of the company:
ZEAL Optics is a unique line of eyewear born out of this need to create. To define ourselves among the masses of sameness. Defending the desire to be different and embracing the need to constantly evolve.
Our people: me, you, them, us; we are all driven by similar things. The need for adventure. For a journey, and a story, striving for more than just a basic existence.
From our friends to our families, the moments you make become you. And this is what we live for, creating new memories while living life through our lens.
And here's their description of the goggle:
"The VOYAGER lives for the journey and consists of pattern from around the globe. From the mountains of Taos, to the peaks of British Columbia, VOYAGER will help you stay hungry for action. The rimless design offers superior visual clarity, allowing for maximum versatility while on the mountain. Change a lens, add some color, mix and match, VOYAGER is your all around, go-to goggle." Anti-Fog Infused Lens Process Impact Resistant Frame Technology High Density Lens Technology 100% UV Protection Helmet Compatible Dual Strap Adjustments Optimum™ Lens Every VOYAGER comes with a bonus Sky Blue Mirror low-light lens!
So, it's been a few years, time for some new goggles. What do I look for? Goggles that are just above the basic with the right price point. Goggles the have a sunny day lens and come with a bonus low light lens and be super easy to change out lenses. Nothing fancy really.
I decided to give Zeal Optics a go, being that they are a Colorado based company, and I am a big supporter of Colorado based companies. Being the authorized Zeal dealer they are, I walked into Telluride's locally owned, independent outdoor gear retail store Jagged Edge Mountain Gear to try on every style of Zeal goggle they had. Of all they styles, I loved the way the Voyager the most. It seemed to fit perfectly snug on my face, very cozy. They provided a huge amount of visual range and looked cool to boot. I ended up going with the Green Tea color which came with the Metal Mirror and Sky Blue Mirror lenses.
How they performed:
The Voyager goggle quickly became the best goggle I have put on my face to date. It wasn't often that I needed to change out the lens due to low light. The Metal Mirror lens was up to par with how I wanted my main lens to perform, even when the clouds were nuking big 'ol fatty flakes. I was able to make out every bump and obstacle effortlessly. It was only when the sky was so overcast and gray and just absolutely miserable looking that I had to whip out the Blue Sky low light lens. Once that bad boy was on there it was almost as if the sun was shining through a very thin layer of clouds.
After about a month and a half of use and the first massive dump with nonstop snow puking I had a very odd thing happen while, during or after one wicked powder morning. I wore the Metal Mirror lens and had a bunch of moisture build up on the inside after taking a few good, deep, powdery tumbles on the snowboard. I didn't care, not gonna let a little thing like not being able to see stop me! I went to work later that day after putting all my gear safely away, goggles back in their baggy, skis back on the rack. Nothing out of the norm. That weekend I threw my goggles back on the helmet and noticed weird scuff looking marks randomly around the Metal Mirror lenses. I felt them, and concluded they were definitely not scuffs or scratches. Knowing that Zeal has a great warranty, I rushed them back into Jagged Edge to have them take a look, they agreed and right away and got on the phone with their Zeal rep to get them sent in and get me a new lens. They told me that Zeal had apparently had a ton of issues with the manufactures of that particular lens and had since moved on to another manufacture. They offered to replace my lens free of cost and I could pick any color I wanted. Well, to look even cooler, I chose to get the Phoenix Mirror lens.
The Phoenix Mirror lens performed no differently than the Metal Mirror, with the exception that it seemed to have a very slight color gradation from top to bottom, lighter to darker, when looking through the lens which I actually like very much! It seemed to make all the variations in light on the snow more visible. And when the massive snow came, I never had that strange fog up issue again with the Phoenix Mirror lens.
The Phoenix Mirror lenses did me well through the remainder of the season. But low and behold, after an entire summer of being properly stored in the lens bag in my ski backpack, I pulled my goggles out for an early season play day in November on Lizard Head Pass and there is was again. That same weird scuffed scratchy, coating peeled off, cracked mirror thing.
The moment the Zeal rep came to town, I hit him up with the problem. He replaced the lenses again on the spot with a fancier version, the Phoenix Polarized. SWEET!
So all went well with Phoenix Polarized lenses. And holy cow, I will never not shred with a polarized lens ever again! They were incredible in all light conditions. They were an awesome lens, right up until are end of February/first week of March massive storm that brought in some very heavy, wet snow. Standing in the powder line, lifts down due to the power outage, just waiting. As the wet snow piled up on my helmet and goggles, I noticed a stripe begin to grow. I thought it was just fog or water condensation. There was no way in heck I was going to take everything off to inspect it! Once I was on the lift, it grew, into a bunch of them. I skied all morning till my legs couldn't handle any more. Once I got back to the office and inspected the goggles, sure enough it was what I thought, that same crackled broken mirror looking stuff. As you can see from the images below, it was pretty dang bad!
You bet the moment the rep came back to town, I was all up in his grill. Apparently, all of the mirrored lenses were all manufactured at the same factory which Zeal had since canned. There are still a bunch of malfunctioning lenses floating around out there. The Zeal rep took my lenses and gave me an entirely new goggle with the Polarized Dark Grey lenses, as well as two pairs of the Bluebird HT Polarized lenses which he assured me can't possibly do what the older mirrored lenses have done. Can we say HOOKED UP? I have only used these lenses for the last month of the season which was nothing but hot and sunny. But I'll say, they performed fantastic in that!
The Zeal Voyager goggle has been a super comfy, basically a new best friend, can't shred without, essential addition to my shred gear! Honestly, after the first lens screw up, I was leery, after the second I was uncertain and said that would be the last time i deal with Zeal. After I gave them a third chance, I was officially done. But they just keep on replacing my lenses and I think, I highly doubt any other goggle company would have gone that far and provided such excellent customer service. I know that through Zeal's warranty and the awesome folks at Jagged Edge and Zeal's awesome reps, if there is ever another issue, I will be well taken care of. For the price point of $149 smack-a-roos, that is a very good feeling! If you have had the same issue, don't fret, contact your dealer or Zeal right away!