High performance and stylish snow goggles with interchangeable magnetic lenses.
Brand new in 2020, the Panda Optics RS1 Goggles are the ideal optical companion for all mountain exploration in unpredictable conditions. With quick (and I mean quick!) changing magnetic lenses and a bold style, these high quality snow goggles aren’t just reserved for the ski racers they are designed by. Read why I’ll only ever need one pair of goggles in my life from now on.
Panda Optics RS1 Goggles: The stats
|Type of goggles:||Frameless|
|Features:||Interchangeable magnetic lenses|
|Lenses included:||Mirrored chrome and yellow low light|
Features of the Panda Optics RS1 Goggles
LensesThe RS1 goggles come with two lenses: a mirrored chrome UV400+ polarised lens and a maize yellow low light HD lens. They are cylindrical lenses which means they are curved horizontally to follow the shape of the face, but vertically the lens is flat. Both lenses feature top and bottom bumpers to help protect them, and also a small notch on the bottom corner to help prize the lenses off the frames when changing them over. Plus, the lenses have GUMA anti-fog technology that coats the lenses to fight fog build-up.
The TPU grade 4 rigidity frame provides a load of flexibility to conform to the face, but also to protect against high level impacts. The construction is stress-resistant and features vents both at the top and bottom of the frame to keep air flowing and help with moisture management. Additionally, there are 10 magnets on the frame for the lenses to attach to.
The frame is lined with three layers of foam of different densities. These ensure the goggles fit snugly creating a comfortable seal. The comfort is further enhanced by a fleece finish that sits on top of the foam layers.
To help keep the goggles securely in place, the strap features two silicone grip bands. These prevent goggles from slipping off your helmet. The straps are also adjustable to fit different sized heads and helmets, and they are also detachable from the goggle frames.
Panda Optics RS1 Goggles review
I had high expectations of the brand new (in 2020) RS1 goggles. Panda Optics claim that they are “the strongest, quickest and most robust lens/frame structure on the market.” Wowzers! Time to pick these things apart.
First up, regular skiers and snowboarders shouldn’t be put off by their intended use: the RS1 (Race Series 1) goggles are geared towards performance piste skiers and ski racers. In fact, Panda Optics roped in 4x Olympian, Chemmy Alcott, and their team of British Alpine racers to help develop them.
Yes, if you happen to be a ski racer or performance piste skier then you’ll most certainly love these goggles! But what about for the rest of us? Are they overkill for cruising the slopes and exploring the backcountry? Is the price tag on point and worth all that high performance if we’re not planning on flying down the mountain at 200kph? Well, if you’re after a pair of premium goggles that are comfortable, versatile, protective and offer superb optics, then yes, they are worth every penny, in my opinion. Plus, having such reliable interchangeable lenses means there’s no need to have two pairs of goggles in your life.
“The strongest, quickest and most robust lens/frame structure on the market”
Comfort and fit
The straps need to be cinched in a little tighter than you might initially prefer to create an appropriate fit around your face. However, the tightness only results in a superbly snug and comfortable fit that is also highly secure. It doesn’t feel tight at all. The silicone grips on the inside of the strap also add to the secure feel. The strap doesn’t budge at all once it’s in place. My helmet (annoyingly) doesn’t have a goggle clip at the back. This means I have to be super careful every time I lift up my goggles. The grippy strap almost acts like a clip, keeping the strap stuck to the back of the helmet.
The super soft fleece layer that tops the foam on the inside of the frame is a really nice addition that feels luxurious on my face.
Cylindrical lenses provide excellent peripheral vision, though not quite as wide a view as spherical lenses. I can just about see the sides of the frames if I really try. But mostly I don’t notice them at all. What I do notice, however, is the inside of the frame at my nose and below my eyes. The deep frames and plush foam cushioning makes them sit quite far off my face. I have to crook my head right down to be able to see what I’m doing when I do up my jacket or secure the waist belt on my backpack. Once I’m riding, however, my field of vision focusses right past this and I don’t notice it at all.
I’ve also had zero issues with fogging up, thanks to the well vented frame and anti-fog coating on the lenses.
The chrome lenses are ideal for bright sunny days and light cloud cover. They even provide pretty good vision in the shade. Whiteout, flat light and very low light days requires the use of the yellow lens. Thankfully, they change over with incredible ease.
Ease of use
Did someone say ease? Changing the lenses over on these bad boys is a piece of cake! Not to mention mega speedy. The small notch on the bottom corner of the lenses is an essential feature. It allows you to prize the lenses away from the frame without grappling at the edges of the lenses. It also enables you to do this with gloves on AND without taking your goggles off of your head.
What I love the most about the Panda Optics RS1 Goggles
It’s hard not to love the ease and reliability of the interchangeable lenses. Invaluable in unpredictable conditions. It’s also hard not to love how stylish the goggles are. But comfort is what wins for me. Gear that I don’t notice – because it’s performing perfectly and fits fantastically – is the most noticeable kind of gear!
What I don’t love so much about the Panda Optics RS1 Goggles
Struggling! I guess the lenses are fairly large. I can’t / would rather not hold the spare one in my pocket. For me it’s not an issue as I usually ride with a bag, especially in changeable conditions. However, something to consider.
Whether you’re a top level ski racer or like to explore the mountain at a more leisurely pace in all conditions, the Panda Optics RS1 Goggles are a superb option to consider. They provide excellent optics, high levels of comfort and lenses that swap over with incredible speed, ease and convenience. They also come at a price that is worth their high quality and functionality.
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Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.