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OutdoorMaster has indeed found its niche in snowsport optics- their goggles come with a competitive feature set and technical specifications comparable to our favorite goggles. Their packaging is impressive, as are the many accessories included in a single goggle order.

But of all this begs the question: How well do they really do on the slopes? We hunkered down with a pair of their Ultra XL goggles for some long days of hard skiing and came away with the following conclusion. The Ultra XL goggles perform just about as well as you’d expect them to for their price.

Below, we’ll dig a little deeper into the technical details and performance specifics that shaped our impression of the Ultra XL- we’ll also discuss who will get the most out of a pair and a range of alternatives.

I’m all for supporting small companies in the outdoor industry, particularly when they’re doing their best to help the consumer out affordable alternatives to functional gear. But I’m wary of low price tags with flashy marketing, having myself been burned a few times by deals that seemed too good to be true.

The OutdoorMaster Ultra XL Goggles aren’t in any way disappointing. They offer a competitive product specifically within the budget range with many extras and no surprises. You get exactly what you pay for based on their current (seemingly permanent) markdown price.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    Packed with features and comes with a healthy handful of accessories
  • check-mark
    High-value product that meets the needs of most intermediate skiers
  • check-mark
    Magnetic lens swap that actually works

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markSome minor manufacturing defects that could use more polish
  • check-markAwkward fit that feels too much for some faces

Where to buy:

Outdoormaster Ultra Xl Product Image

OutdoorMaster Ultra XL

Specs & Features

  • Toric Lens Shape
  • Color Optimization Technology
  • Magnetic Lens Swap
  • 3X Anti-Fog Treatment
  • Polarized UV Protection
  • Over The Glasses Fit
  • Replacement Lens
  • Hard Shell Protective Case
  • Carrying Bag
outdoormaster-ultra-xl-ski-goggles

Lens Quality

In terms of pure, box-checking tagline technical details, the Ultra XL does more than alright. Following Anon’s lead, they’ve implemented a “toric” lens shape. This lens-style combines the complex shape of a spherical lens with the low profile-wide peripheral view typically exhibited by cylindrical lenses.

Practically speaking, the lens works. I’m used to a little warbled warping near the extreme edges of my vision for most budget goggles, and the OM toric shape did an adequate job of mitigating this common issue. But, compared to other models with complex lens shapes that I’ve tried, there were a few shortcomings- but more on that later.

The Ultra XL is firmly in the middle of the pack when it comes to day-to-day visual quality. Where they far outperform the most affordable goggles (like those from Wildhorn), they can’t hold a candle to brands with industry tenure and the up-and-comers on their tail.

The focal point of their lens performance is Color Optimization Technology. Similar in practice to both Smith’s Chromapop and Oakley’s Prizm technology; Color Optimization filters out select (blue) wavelengths from the visible light hitting the lens. Ideally, this should make it easier to pick out details in the snowpack and comprehensively improve visual quality.

The Ultra XL still delivers results well and above most of the other budget options out there but falls well short of the best goggles that we’ve tested over the seasons—as with the toric lens above, emulating top technology doesn’t guarantee equal results. Our set came with two lenses, which we’ll be taking individual looks at below.

Silver VLT 10% Lenses

I have a love-hate relationship with dark lenses. On the one hand, they’re the best option for dealing with the scorching conditions of bluebird days, but this comes at the cost of pretty marginal or outright poor performance in other conditions.

This is precisely the case with the Ultra XL Silver Lenses. I thought they were fine on bright, balmy days and performed about on par with my usual high-light sunglasses setup. But if even a couple of stray clouds happened to wander over the resort, I found myself relying on feeling a little more than I’m comfortable.

In variable conditions, the difference between OutdooorMaster’s Color Optimization Technology and premium alternatives becomes the most apparent. As is such, you should be proactive about changing your lenses to suit the conditions as they change.

utdoormaster-ultra-xl-silver-lens

Related Reviews

Light Blue VLT 85% Lenses

I have my concerns with variable weather, but I loved the Light Blue Lenses for what it’s worth. They suffer from the same “pretty good but not great” contrast issues I mentioned above, but they look good and adequate when conditions aren’t too tricky.

I haven’t had the chance to go night skiing with them yet, but I think that they would be a great option in that regard. While unsuited for any days you may get patches of direct sunlight, they’re a fun novelty and seem a worthy pairing at the extreme opposite of the Silver lens.

The one problem I had with the blue lenses was some very noticeable glue bubbles that fixed the lens to the plastic portion with the magnets. I’m not yet concerned about these parts becoming separated, but to me, it’s a pretty glaring piece of oversight on the QA side of things.

outdoormaster-ultra-xl-blue-lens

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    Packed with features and comes with a healthy handful of accessories
  • check-mark
    High-value product that meets the needs of most intermediate skiers
  • check-mark
    Magnetic lens swap that actually works

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markSome minor manufacturing defects that could use more polish
  • check-markAwkward fit that feels too much for some faces

Lens Change System

If there’s one thing that the Ultra XL absolutely nails, it’s the magnetic lens swap system. Their process for swapping out lenses on the fly is as efficient and as sturdy as any other I’ve tested, at any price range. OutdoorMaster took notes from the best and executed to a degree I’ve yet to see from anything else in its price range.

If I had to pick a point of comparison, it would be Anon’s M4 Toric and Glade Optic’s MagFlight. These models have pull-off lenses that don’t require any other locking mechanism to change them out. They also are among the goggles that have had no issues with me accidentally losing a lens on the hill during a crash or sudden stop.

Given the visual quality issues noted above, a well-functioning swap system is an excellent feature for the Ultra XL. I found myself capable of switching them on the chairlift, confident that the included hard case would keep my spare lens safe in my bag. 

Outdoormaster Ultra Xl Toric Lens Shape

Ventilation and Fog Mitigation

It’s been unseasonably warm during my testing phase for the Ultra XL. While that hasn’t been great for my powder skis, it’s been the perfect condition to push the boundaries of what the 3X anti-fog treatment on the goggles’ lenses can do.

So far, I’ve had the same experience that I’ve had with most goggles that I’ve tested, save some rare exceptions. The Ultra XL will prevent most fog buildup during an average day of skiing and efficiently ventilate moisture, provided you keep air moving through it. 

But don’t expect any miracles. As is the case with most goggles, any heavy aerobic activity will eventually lead to fog buildup. I noticed this in the Ultra XL during long, sunny bump runs to the point where I was eager to get back onto groomed snow to pick up some speed and get more air moving.

I wouldn’t entertain any ideas of keeping the Ultra XL on your face if you’re planning on going uphill, though this isn’t different from most goggles.

outdoormaster-ultra-xl-fog-ventilation

Where to buy:

Outdoormaster Ultra Xl Product Image

OutdoorMaster Ultra XL

Fit and Field of View

My biggest issue with these goggles is in fit and comfort. It’s also where the trappings of their budget price are most apparent.

I wasn’t thrilled with the way the Ultra XL fit my face. Specifically, I couldn’t find a way to make them sit comfortably on my face. Either they were too high up on my forehead and pushed my helmet back or sat too low on my face and pinched my nostrils closed.

I’ve tried other “XL” goggles and haven’t run into this issue- it feels like something pretty major overlooked in the design process. I often found myself fidgeting with the frames between runs to find a comfortable arrangement. OutdoorMaster also makes an “XM” version of these goggles that may mitigate the issue to some degree.

To quickly reference the above “Visual Quality” section, the toric lens should provide a wider field of view than other lens shapes. This is true in my experience, but the toric lens shape usually gets paired with an intentionally subdued frame that sits closer to the face. This combination maximizes your field of view for the most peripheral vision.

In the case of the Ultra XL, the frame is quite bulky. Conceptually built to accommodate glasses underneath them, this adds considerable material that can get in the way of seeing the hill around you. I noticed this in every direction, though most pronounced around the bridge of the nose.

Helmet Compatibility

One of the benefits of an oversized frame is typically better compatibility with helmets. In my experience with the Ultra XL, it fit well and looked good with all of the several helmet models that I tried.

A thick band with generous amounts of silicone grip strips made me feel confident that my goggles weren’t going anywhere. They’re among the models that I felt okay with leaving up on my helmet for a run or two while letting some fog clear or waiting for a cloud to pass.

outdoormaster-ultra-xl-oversized-frame

Conclusion

The Ultra XL does many things well, but almost nothing great. Except for their slick lens change system, quite a few polishing issues make it fall short of our top performers. Factors like the offset performance benefits of a toric lens and a bulky OTG frame, comfort issues, and visible manufacturing inconsistencies make me pause before giving the Ultra XL my full recommendation.

There’s a lot of pressure to stand out in the outdoor industry. Regardless of the product, an ever-growing checklist of “essential” technological specifications forces smaller manufacturers to make quality sacrifices to compete with top brands, at least on paper. I think that OutdoorMaster perhaps bit off more than they could chew in an effort to make something with the same long list of features as a pair of Smith or Oakley goggles.

Reservations aside, these are serviceable goggles that include an impressive array of details and accessories given their price. If you’re going on a handful of ski trips a year and want something a bit better than entry-level, I’d wholeheartedly endorse the Ultra XL.

There’s value packed into there- and those in need of a dependable option on the affordable side of things should give the Ultra XL some serious consideration.

The Competition

OutdoorMaster is on the more affordable side of the spectrum, and there are plenty of alternatives around the same price if you want to continue your search. The Glade Optics Challenger doesn’t have the same overwhelming amount of features as the Ultra XL, but it tested better in visual quality and comfort. Their MagFlight goggle is a better-realized version of the Ultra XL, a bit pricier but still well below the cost of premium models.

If you’re looking for a pair of goggles with greater industry backing, the Giro Blok, the Spy Ace, and the Smith Squad are three affordable alternatives with some industry staying power to support their quality.

Finally, those looking for goggles with the same ambitious specifications and feature set as the Ultra XL but with high-performance results should look to our favorite premium models. The Anon M4 Toric is probably the best direct analog. But other options like the Smith I/O Mag and Oakley’s Fall Line are also great options for people who want the best out there.

Specs & Features

  • Toric Lens Shape
  • Color Optimization Technology
  • Magnetic Lens Swap
  • 3X Anti-Fog Treatment
  • Polarized UV Protection
  • Over The Glasses Fit
  • Replacement Lens
  • Hard Shell Protective Case
  • Carrying Bag

Do you want more?

Stay updated with guides, reviews and more about paddling.

FAQ

Frequently asked questions

What are the best ski goggles?

High quality ski goggles are a crucial component of a basic ski kit. It pays to be able to see where you’re going on the hill to keep you and other skiers safe. We’ve assembled a comprehensive guide on how to choose the right pair for you, as well as a list of some of our favorites in our buyer’s guide. In the meantime, here’s a shortlist of some of the best.

Best ski goggles

  • Smith Mag I/O
  • Glade Optics MagFlight
  • Anon M4 Toric
  • Oakley Fall Line
  • Smith Squad
Are OutdoorMaster goggles worth it?

OutdoorMaster is a smaller brand that manufactures a wide array of ski goggles targeted toward skiers on a budget. Our testing has found them to perform pretty consistently in the middle of the pack, but haven’t really disappointed us in any respect. They come with a handful of accessories and an extra lens, so for any skier in need of something serviceable and high in value, they’re an easy choice.

If you have questions about how we tested OutdoorMaster’s goggles or want to see our top picks for this season, head over to our best-of page for a breakdown of our favorites.

Where are OutdoorMaster goggles made?

OutdoorMaster is an international team, but their goggles, like most others, are manufactured in China. They specialize in high-value, easily accessible outdoor gear- and we’ve had the chance to try out their Ultra XL at length. To see how the Ultra XL stacks up to other favorites from this season, take a look at our buyer’s guide.

Why use clear ski lenses?

Clear ski lenses are great for low light conditions. Night skiing and socked-in, cloudy days necessitate the right tool for the job, and opaque lenses allow you to navigate the ski hill to the best of your ability.

We’ve tested all the best from the last few seasons, and have side-by-side comparisons of our favorites, as well as in-depth looks at models from Smith, Oakley, and more.

What is color filtration in ski goggles?

Color filtration technology, known as Prizm Technology and Chromapop by Smith and Oakley respectively, allows lenses to filter out select wavelengths from the visual light spectrum. This allows you to have a clearer view of details hidden in the snowpack, and helps you ride your best regardless of the weather.

Though this technology is nearly standard in high-quality goggles, it can go by different names and is approached by slightly different angles from all the goggle manufacturers. We’ve taken a look at how well optics hold up on a pair-by-pair basis on our buyer’s guide, and invite you to see how the competition shook out this season.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    Packed with features and comes with a healthy handful of accessories
  • check-mark
    High-value product that meets the needs of most intermediate skiers
  • check-mark
    Magnetic lens swap that actually works

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markSome minor manufacturing defects that could use more polish
  • check-markAwkward fit that feels too much for some faces

Where to buy:

Outdoormaster Ultra Xl Product Image

OutdoorMaster Ultra XL

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