PlanetSKI Gear Review #5 Winter 23/24

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by Kisia Cove

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02.01.2024


In our fifth edit of the season Alf Alderson checks out some must have accessories for skiers and snowboarders. NEW

PANDA DUAL VISION GOGGLES WITH TORIC POLARISED LENS £160

If you’re wondering what a Toric lens is, it mimics the curvature of your retina, so gives a more natural and comfortable field of vision.

You get two such lenses with the Dual Vision goggles (the ‘spare’ is a low light HD lens, standard issue with all Panda goggles), which can be changed in seconds thanks to a super-effective magnetic retention system built into the frame.

Talking of which, Panda’s new Dual Vision frame features reduced moulding, resulting in a 20 per cent increase in field of vision without adding to the goggle size; it’s something I noticed as soon as I put them on, and a winning formula since who doesn’t want to be able to see as much as possible when they’re hooning down the slopes?

In addition to a spare lens, you also get a microfibre bag and microfibre cleaning cloth.

It all comes in a neat custom moulded box for safekeeping – it’s not something you’d use on the mountain, but it is useful when transporting your goggles to and from the mountains (and you can also buy a stretchy lens guard and/or a moulded case for the second lens for protection and easy carriage on the mountain).

VERDICT:  Super-effective, good-looking and versatile eye protection

Panda Dual Vision Goggles with Toric Polarised Lens £160

 

BUFF MOUNTAIN BANDANA £29.95

I sometimes wonder how we managed before the invention of the Buff, which is simple but effective, like all the best designs.

The Mountain Bandana takes buffoonery (sorry) a step further with a more technical design than a regular buff, featuring a wind-resistant, lofted Carvico fabric upper, beneath which a PrimaLoft thermal fleece extension tucks well down below your collar to keep out cold and snow – Buff claims the ‘snow sport-specific bandana shape offers maximum insulation’, and it does indeed do a sound job as long as you make sure it’s well tucked in.

The upper comes with ventilated mouth holes for better breathability and to reduce fogging up of your goggles, and it comes in a range of colours and patterns.

VERDICT: A very effective if slightly pricey way of keeping warm

Buff Mountain Bandana £29.95

 

DARN TOUGH OUTER LIMITS OVER-THE-CALF LIGHTWEIGHT SKI & SNOWBOARD SOCKS £35

Yes, £35 is a lot to pay for a pair of socks, but if they keep your feet warm and comfortable – as do these – it’s probably worth the price as few things make a day on the slopes more miserable than cold feet.

Made from lightweight, thermos-regulating merino wool which is moisture wicking and anti-microbial (so no stinky feet), the Outer Limits have low bulk which prevents bunching up inside your boots and possible blisters.

They also have a padded shin cushion.

I used an earlier incarnation of these socks all last winter for everything from piste skiing to backcountry touring and couldn’t fault them.

VERDICT:  Not cheap, but they keep your feet warm, dry and comfy which is everything you need from a ski sock

Darn Tough Outer Limits Over-the-calf Lightweight Ski & Snowboard socks £35

 

POCKETALK S PLUS £299.99

What a handy little gizmo!

When you’re struggling to order your meal in a French restaurant, buy a lift pass in an Austrian ski resort or chat up the man or woman of your dreams in an Italian bar due to language issues (as is usually the case with most Brits) the Pocketalk S Plus will come to the rescue.

It provides quick, one-button translations of 82 languages when you speak into it as well as having a text-to-translate camera for translating menus, signs etc; plus, you also get a conversion feature for currency, length, width and temperature.

The device, which operates on both mobile and wi-fi networks, looks and feels much like your smartphone, so it’s easy to become familiar with using it.

This new model has 1.5 x better battery life than previous models, although at the time of writing I was unable to judge how well the battery will survive the cold of an alpine winter (I say this given that my iPhone rarely makes it past lunchtime on a very cold day – there again, you wouldn’t need to have the Pocketalk turned on all the time as you do with a phone).

The device translates more languages, more quickly, than Google, and comes with a complimentary two-year mobile data plan which gives you coverage in some 130 countries around the world.

VERDICT: Not cheap, but fast, efficient, easy to use and transport and a real boon for monoglot Brit travellers

Pocketalk S Plus £299.99

 

HELLY HANSEN ULLR SOGN HT GLOVES £100

Featuring premium water repellent goat skin leather and a Helly Tech Performance waterproof and breathable insert, these plain but stylish and functional gloves feel lovely once your hands are snuggled up inside them, and when they’re in there, they’re kept warm thanks to 3M Thinsulate 150Gr insulation.

The anti-pilling microfleece liners is very tactile, whilst the combination of a high gauntlet with one-hand adjustable closure and a buckled wrist closure ensure snow can’t get inside the gloves however hard you wipe out.

And should you need to text your buddies to let them know you’ve just scored a great powder stash, the fingers and thumbs are smart phone compatible, so you can send messages without your fingers freezing up.

VERDICT: Plain, stylish and very functional ski gloves

Helly Hansen ULLR Sogn HT Gloves £100

More Gear Reviews for Winter 2023/24:

Gear Review #1 Winter 2023/24

Gear Review #2 Winter 2023/24

Gear Review #3 Winter 2023/24

Gear Review #4 Winter 2023/24

© Planetski



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