The Bolle Carve is a general use, all-purpose snow goggle, at home skiing or snowboarding, snowmobiling, or snowshoeing and can be used either with or without a helmet. The Carve is a solidly-performing basic model with no frills, bells, or whistles, but it performs well for its price range. Their smaller frame tends to fit smaller faces well. One of our testers summed things up nicely: "It's pretty darn good for a cheap goggle."To step it up dramatically in performance, check out the Best Buy-winning Smith Squad.
Bolle Carve Review
Cons: Difficult lens swap, lack of style, low-budget lens
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Carve is the least expensive model we tested by a large margin. This very budget friendly goggle is incredibly basic, but it certainly protects your eyes from the sun, wind, and other elements that you encounter on the slopes. It lacks the high-performance optics, easy lens changing systems, and modern style of its higher-priced competition, but it is a functional model at a very reasonable price.
Though not in the same league as the higher-level performers in our test like the Oakley Airbrake XL, we were surprised at how well the Carve's vermillion gun lens did, especially in low light conditions. On partly-cloudy to overcast days, the Carve creates a pleasant rosy, non-polarized view of the world. Clarity was quite good, though with a degree of distortion from the flat lens. The frame is more visible than other goggles in our test, as it protrudes out from the actual lens a bit, contributing to the "Lens Quality" rating of 4 out of 10. This characteristic also made the goggles more likely to experience snow and moisture buildup that was difficult to clear completely. On bright sunny days, the blue fade sunrise lens would be more effective at blocking bright light. Bolle constructs the Carve lens with double lens technology. Lens fogging is decreased with Bolle's embedded P80 Plus anti-fog layer on the inner lens and the outer layer receives a protective Carbo-Glas coating. If the Carve's lenses are damaged, they are replaceable, although with some difficulty.
Triple density foam is used to cushion the goggle, providing a soft connection, though not quite as plush as a goggle like the Oakley Airbrake XL. The Carve is a smaller goggle and suits small to medium faces, while creating mild pressure points to the cheekbones and noses of wearers with larger faces and more pronounced facial structure. With those factors in mind, the Bolle Carve scored a 4 out of 10 in the "Comfort" metric. Whether worn with or without a helmet, the Bolle Carve provided a good comfortable feel, although when used with a helmet, the strap did tend to migrate a bit since it lacks the no-slip silicone bands that our other test goggles possess.
The Bolle Carve provides enough ventilation through the Flow-Tech Venting at the top of the lens for all but the most demanding conditions. We put all of our goggles through test conditions beyond typical real-world situations and the Carve received a very respectable 8 out of 10 rating. Although the lens has an anti-fog feature, we were able to fog the lens slightly while hiking uphill at an aggressive pace on a warm and sunny day. For more demanding users, a goggle like the Oakley Airbrake or Smith Squad may be a better choice. Unless you're likely to use the goggle in high output aerobic activities like hard uphill backcountry skinning or snowshoeing, the Bolle Carve breathes well, keeping the lens clear for lift-served skiing and snowboarding.
Ease of Changing Lenses
The lenses of the Carve are among the most difficult to change of all the models we tested. Bolle uses the relatively standard system of notches on the edge of the lens that snap onto small posts within the inner lip of the frame. There are several models in this test that use a similar style of attachment, like the Smith Squad and the Giro Blok, although the lens of the Carve goggle is much flimsier than either of those goggles which makes snapping the lens back into the frame more challenging. If you're the type who likes to change lenses for varying light conditions this isn't the model for you.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Carve's durability seems on par with other pricier goggles and even after several days of hiking and skiing, we didn't note any damage to the goggles. It seems all too often that lower-priced equipment tends to suffer in the durability department, but even the lenses retained like-new condition after testing.
The Carve isn't fancy but is a basic, classically-styled goggle which may not appeal to everyone, especially snow riders who are looking for a more contemporary design. For a more modern design, the Dragon NFX may be more appealing.
This simple goggle is a great option for beginners, infrequent skiers, those on a really tight budget, or people who don't feel the need to spend a lot of money on goggles. Backcountry skiers who typically ski in sunglasses may also find these useful as an emergency pair to stash in the pack for when an unexpected storm rolls in.
With a retail price of only $40, these goggles are clearly a good value. They are less than half the price of the next lowest priced competitors. They are far from high-performance, however, but these basic goggles are functional and will get the job done for beginners or occasional skiers on a budget.
This contender's smaller size and lighter weight may be a good choice for backcountry skiers, especially those who tend to wear their sunglasses more often than not. The Bolle Carve would be great to throw in the ski pack on those "just in case" days. Otherwise, this is a functional ski goggle at a very affordable price for the skier on a budget.
— Jason Cronk