After having had my old sunglasses for over 3 years I thought it was time to upgrade my sunglasses to a newer model. As we interviewed Julbo on the ISPO 2016 in Munich I decided to have a look on their product range and came across the Julbo Swell which could become my new sun glasses for our packrafting trips.

Julbo Swell Review

Alternative sunglasses to Julbo Swell

Alternatives to the Julbo Swell which I would have considered as packrafting sun glasses are the brand new Julbo Race 2.0 Nautic which Konstantin is going to review for HikeVentures within the next weeks and the Julbo Wave which is a few grams heavier than the Julbo Swell but features a natural front air flow.


Weight: 28 grams Lens: octopus lens cat. 2-4 Frame: floating, blue-yellow, polypropylene Strap: adjustable Temples: curved

Wearing a Julbo Swell in Sweden

The Julbo Swell features also a fresh and stylish design.

Field Testing

Julbo provided me with a brand new Julbo Swell with Octopus lenses to test it on our hiking and packrafting trips and 2 weeks ago I had the opportunity to test the Julbo Swell on the Swedish Packrafting Round-Up 2016 on the Voxnan river in Sweden.

We were actually quite lucky with the weather. The week before it was still cold and cloudy but on the days we were paddling the sun was shining every day and I even burned my face except there where I was wearing the Julbo Swell. The sun in the Nordics can be quite strong - so lesson learned - I will use sun lotion on my next packrafting trip in Scandinavia.

The Julbo Swell is made from ultralight material to ensure that it floats on the water. This was one of the main features I was looking for in my new sun glasses as there are plenty of opportunities on a rapid to lose your sunglasses.

Packrafting in Eastern Poland

Konstantin wearing the Julbo Swell while packrafting in Poland.

The curved temples and the adjusable cord on the Julbo Swell provide a good hold on the face and head. Actually, the Julbo Swell never fell off by itself during the whole packrafting trip in Sweden.

The wrap-around + style which was featured also promised to be true. I hardly had any issues with disturbing light shining through the edges of the Julbo Swell.

The Octopus lenses were also new to me and this lens feature was also quite useful especially when you paddle from a brighter spot on the river to a more shadowy place. The lens automatically adjusts the amount of light (photochromic) it let’s through depending on the light which reaches the lens. The Octopus lens is also a water-repellent and polarizing lens especially developed for all water sports which were also useful while paddling on the river and my glasses were cleaner during the packrafting trip than with regular lenses.

In a swamp in Poland with a Julbo Swell

The Julbo Swell is also great for hiking or backpacking. In the picture above you can see Konstantin walking in a swamp in Poland wearing the Julbo Swell.

Paddling with a Julbo Swell

Sun glasses for packrafting need to stay on your face even when the rapid gets rough.


The lens comes with a stuff sack which can be used to clean the lenses and a hard cover box.

What's in the box - Julbo Swell - unboxing


The Julbo Swell is also suitable for prescription lenses as a RX Trem version. There is also a Julbo Swell available with a polarized 3 lenses.


The Julbo Swell checked all boxes which I had from a packrafting sunglass. The Julbo Swell is super light and very comfortable to wear.

If I could think of something negative about the Julbo Swell then it would be that the lenses grew damp a few times since there are no openings on the lens where the air could circulate. Fortunately, the lens only grew damp two times during the whole trip and was not a major issue. I would recommend the Julbo Swell to anyone who is looking for light packrafting glasses with a fresh design.

You can get the Julbo Swell on Amazon.

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