Zeal Portal Goggle ReviewNovember 13, 2018
- “Slider” quick change lens system
- Large field of view
- Great lenses
- Lenses scratched relatively easily
- Stiff frames
The Zeal Portal is one of the medium-sized cylindrical goggles with great lenses and a “slider” quick-change lens system.
These goggles offer an impressive field of view despite their medium-sized frame. The frame was very stiff, and the nose cut was a little tight, but the lens did not fog due to the dual vents. They worked great in a variety of lighting and weather conditions, and we really liked the “slider lock” lens change system. It took a bit of getting used to—and practice to make it work on the first try—but once we got the hang of it, we loved the quickness of changing lenses. It basically work like a motorcycle helmet lens (without the helmet, of course!) where you put pressure on a certain part of the frame, and then the lens slides up and off. We loved the fact that you could not put the same pressure in the same spot during a faceplant, making the lens fly off. Our glasses-wearing testers also loved putting the goggles on without lenses, sliding their glasses in, then putting the lenses on.
Field of View
Despite the medium-sized frame, the Zeal Portal has a large field of view. The one negative we found were the black tabs on the lower outside corners of the lenses. Every tester found them a bit distracting, and would hope that this design flaw was corrected in future versions of this goggle.
Weight, Fit & Comfort
The Zeal Portal came in at 6.1 ounces, which was a little heavier than most goggles tested—we attributed this to the extra plastic required for the slider system (the 20 goggles tested ranged from 4.3 ounces to 6.7 ounces). The nose cutout and curvature of the Zeal Portal is a perfect match for larger-sized faces. The foam was nice and soft but durable, and the strap was easy to adjust. We paired them with five different helmets, and found no major issues with a goggle gap.
No significant fogging occurred in the Zeal Portals while tested in the relatively dry climate of Colorado. They performed well on wet snowy spring days and we even took the goggles out for some warm cross country days. They had little to no fogging despite our perspiring.
Lens & Frame Quality
The Zeal Portals received a 9 out of 10 in this category. We liked the lenses in all conditions, from snowy/foggy to bright sun, although the particular lenses we tested were best suited for mildly overcast conditions—they were not quite dark enough for super-bright sunny days and a bit too dark in a blizzard and at 4 p.m. The quality of the frame is great, although the slider lock system makes it have almost no flexibility. So if the curvature of your face does not match the goggles, you might need to look elsewhere.
Lens Change Ease
As we stated in our summary, quick and easy lens changing systems are the standard now, so anything short of that got points knocked off. The Zeal Portal has a great rail-slider system, where you line up the two sliders (one on each side) and then just slide the lenses down and into place. To remove the lenses, you grab them with both thumbs near the nose cutout, angle them slightly away from your face, and then they slide off. After you get used to it (admittedly, with some practice) it is very easy to swap the lenses without even taking them off your face—and the lenses never slid off despite bouncing through mogul fields or face planting. We actually found it easier to do a lens swap when you are wearing them, rather than taking them off (note that if your helmet has a visor, you need to put the goggles on your forehead first!). We were able to remove and replace lenses in under 10 seconds.
The strap was easy to adjust and it stayed in place on and off helmet due to the gummy silicon that goes all the way around the inside of the strap. The strap is one continuous piece, and the elastic was just stretchy enough for moving them from face to forehead without any issues. It comes with a lightweight storage bag.
The goggles in this test were tested in the backcountry and in-resort skiing on sunny, cloudy, and snowing days, in temperatures ranging from 10 to 40 degrees.
Leigh started skiing at 8 and converted to snowboarding soon thereafter. His first board was an original 1985 Sims Kidwell Roundtail, which he still rides on powder days. He has written articles for numerous magazines and recently published a novel. He lives and works in Denver and hits the hills on weekends with his family.