One aspect of reviewing gear on Wildsnow is that we’re able to test gear for long periods of time. A few pieces of gear I’ve tried stand out above the rest, particularly in terms of durability. Consider my POC Synapsis helmet and Iris X goggles. I began using these items almost four years ago, and have been abusing them almost exclusively since. Nearly everything else I ski with has been worn out in that time, some items several times over.
Helmets are fairly durable, and can hold up to a few seasons of abuse if not damaged or asked to absorb a hard fall. The Synapsis is no different. It’s in superb condition, only with some of the interior padding worn out. Goggles, however, are much more fragile. A key element of the Iris X goggles’ longevity is their easily replaceable, relatively cheap lenses. I prefer flat lens (as opposed to spherical lens) goggles. Not only are the lenses cheaper, but they are smaller and more flexible for stuffing in the backpack. Replacement lenses for the Iris cost about $20 (as opposed to $80 for spherical lenses), so it’s a trivial cost to buy 2 or 3 pairs a season. Looking through clear, non-scratched goggle lenses is priceless.
So that’s the lens, but what about the Iris X frames? I’ve been using them for four years of about 100 days a year. They have held up incredibly well. There aren’t any parts that are noticeably worn out–pretty impressive with the amount of abuse they’ve handled. The frames are fairly simple, made of soft plastic, with adequate venting. The soft plastic makes the goggles super flexible, and keeps them from breaking when they’re stuffed into a pack. They also provide a bit of safety with some padding and protection for your face.
Besides durability, Iris X boasts other impressive features. The goggles are simple but have some of the most impressive anti fogging tech I’ve ever seen. Out of all the goggles I’ve tried they fog the least — almost never. The only times when I’ve had a bit of an issue is after leaving them in a wet goggle bag overnight. (Effective venting is built into the goggle frame, along with an anti-fog treated double lens, and more.)
For more details, check out this review I did a few years ago shortly after I started using the Synapsis Iris combo.
Shop for yours here. Highly recommended for backcountry skiing.
Louie Dawson earned his Bachelor Degree in Industrial Design from Western Washington University in 2014. When he’s not skiing Mount Baker or somewhere equally as snowy, he’s thinking about new products to make ski mountaineering more fun and safe.