Fit: Medium to large faces
- 3-Layer Molded Face Foam
- Optimized helmet compatibility
- Spherical SCOTT OptiView Double Lens
- No Fog™ Anti-Fog Lens Treatment
- ACS Air Control System for active lens venting
Test Location: Alta Ski Area
I spent a good chunk of the season with Scott’s newest frame design, the Off-Grid. During this test, I was not only just testing the frames and lenses, but also a broad selection of Scott’s various lens tints. All in all, I was pleased with the overall performance of the goggles, their optics, and the tint selection.
This review will first touch on the frame and strap, then the optics, and then jump into the various tints that Scott offers with the Off-Grid goggles. (Should you wish for more in-depth background about Lens Selection or technology, please check out Jed Doane’s Smith Lens Guide)
Frame and Strap
The Off-Grid frame is medium / large in terms of its overall size, but the frame itself is quite low profile, which I really liked. It also features the SCOTT Fit System, which allows for adjustments to be made to the shape of the frame to further dial the fit. (The pair I have fit my face well right out of the box, so I after playing with the adjustments, I left them as they’d arrived.)
The Goggles have a fantastic field of view for the size of the frame. I really never felt like my peripheral vision was impacted by the frame the way I do on similarly sized goggles that have higher mass frames (the Smith Prodigy and POC Iris come to mind).
The strap of the Off-Grid goggles was easily adjusted with (at this point) industry standard double D-ring-style strap adjusters. There is not the fancy click-to-open-and-close hardware, which in my mind is great because that hardware never seems to work right and always lines up with your helmet’s goggle retainer clip.
The strap of the Off-Grid did get a little stretched out after 75 days of use, but no more than any other goggles I have used, and certainly less than some (Bollé for example).
One thing I wish the Off-Grid did have was a urethane coating on the interior of the strap to keep the goggles from sliding around on my helmet when I lifted the goggles onto my helmet and off my face. (I typically take my goggles off when I am riding on tram cars or standing in long lift lines on warm spring days.) Without this coating, I found the Scott goggles always slid off the top of my helmet. No big deal, but certainly a minor inconvenience.
I thought the field of view, as mentioned above, was very good for the frame size on the Off-Grid. I also found the Scott lenses to be without distortion, no weird mirror refraction artifacts, and did not feel eye strain during the test period, which I have on other goggles in the past.
I feel the highest compliment you can give eyewear is if you put it on and basically forget it’s there: everything looks natural and crisp, without any weirdness reminding you that you have funny tints and mirrors on your face. The Scott Off-Grid falls into this camp. I would also include the Oakley Crowbar and the Smith I/O here as well. Outside of the expensive POC NXT photochromic goggles, which are like being surgically implanted with hyper-reality HDTV vision, the Scott is right in there with the best in the business.
I did, however, find the mirror finish of the Scott goggles to scratch easier than some other mirrored goggles I have used in the past. I would baby them a little more the next set I owned, especially in crowded tram cars with people jamming their ski-tips in your face every 30 seconds.
Tints / Mirroring / VLT
Modern goggles work in a fairly complex way. The mirroring (or Chrome finish, in Scott speak) preferentially reflects certain colors (i.e. wavelengths) of light away from the eye. Conversely, the base tint of the lens adds a hue to the light you are seeing, meaning that the mirror and tint are directly related to one another.
The VLT, or Visible Light Transmission, is the percentage of overall light that passes through to your eyes. This is how heavy or light the overall tint of the goggles are. A 50% VLT is for low-light use, since half the light transmits, 70% is for night and storm riding only, 25-30% is all-around use, and 15% is for the brightest days only, since only 15% of the light is reaching your eye.
Putting this all together, an example would be a blue mirror lens with an orange tint and a 30% VLT, which means the goggles add oranges to your vision, both from the orange base tint and by reducing the amount of blue that pass through the lens, and will transmit 30% of the light to your eyes. If you remember from art class, blue and orange are complementary colors, or on the other side of the color wheel from each other.
Before getting too in-depth about the different tints offered in the Scott line, however, I should state my own preferences:
• I much prefer to be in a too-lightly tinted lens on a bright day than too dark of tint on a storm day.
• I also gravitate toward lenses that work well in all-conditions, rather than having several goggles or lenses and switching every day for different conditions.
This is an incredibly personal thing, of course, so I will try to justify my take on each tint, and hopefully my predilections will be easy to subtract from the lens details themselves.