ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST HIKING SUNGLASSESHIKING SUNGLASSES REVIEWSOAKLEY FLAK 2.0 XLMAUI JIM HALEAKALAOAKLEY HOLBROOKJULBO TREKJULBO BIVOUAKOAKLEY RADARLOCK PATHCOSTA DEL MAR BLACKFINSMITH PIVLOCK V2 MAXPEPPERS CUTTHROATDUDUMA TR90COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST HIKING SUNGLASSESHOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST HIKING SUNGLASSESHIKING STYLELENS TYPEVISIBLE LIGHT TRANSMISSIONUV PROTECTIONPOLARIZATIONPHOTOCHROMIC LENSESLENS MATERIALFRAME MATERIALDESIGNPRESCRIPTION GLASSES As hikers, we are always thinking about hiking safely, protecting our bodies from bumps and bruises and ensuring we get home to our friends and family. But, how much do you think about protecting your eyes? Would you know how to choose the best hiking sunglasses? From frame materials to space-age lenses and ergonomics, the technology of sunglasses is complex! Here at The Adventure Junkies, we’ve done the research and identified the six most important things you need to think about when choosing the best hiking sunglasses. Choosing the right pair of sunglasses isn’t a trivial matter. Your eyes are one of the most fragile and least resilient parts of your body, so it makes sense to invest in the best protection for your style of hiking. For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: Tents | Hammocks | Bivy Sacks | Tarps Sleeping Bags | Sleeping Pads | Stoves Backpacks | GPS | Headlamps | Poles| Watches Boots | Shoes | Sandals | Pants | Shorts Base Layers | Fleeces | Down Jackets | Rain Jackets QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST HIKING SUNGLASSES Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Maui Jim Haleakala Oakley Holbrook Julbo Trek Julbo Bivouak Oakley Radarlock Path Costa Del Mar Blackfin Smith Pivlock V2 Max Peppers Cutthroat Duduma Tr90 MULTI-DAYHIKING PACKING LISTDon't forget important gear at home!Print out this free hiking packing list to prepare for your next adventure.Plus, you'll get exclusive content in our newsletter to help you make the most of your time on the trail!UNLOCK THIS LIST* You will get weekly emails with practical hiking advice that complement the information contained in the packing list. You can always opt out of these emails. HIKING SUNGLASSES REVIEWS OAKLEY FLAK 2.0 XL Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Hikers looking for the best light weight, multi-purpose sunglasses that won’t get dislodged during physical activity. POLARIZED: Yes LENS MATERIAL: Polycarbonate PROS: Light weight, rubberized grips at ears and nose, extremely good optical performance CONS: Some hikers may prefer a larger lens for extra protection MAUI JIM HALEAKALA Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Hikers wanting the very best in lens technology, while looking good on and off the trail POLARIZED: Yes LENS MATERIAL: Glass/Polycarbonate PROS: Extremely light weight, very high impact resistance, excellent optical performance, stylish CONS: Edges of frame may obstruct peripheral vision OAKLEY HOLBROOK Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Day hikers needing a pair of sunglasses that can take a real beating on the trail, and yet still look good on the street POLARIZED: No LENS MATERIAL: Polycarbonate PROS: Simple and extremely tough frame, very stylish CONS: Lenses are not polarized, not as much peripheral coverage as other sunglasses JULBO TREK Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Backcountry BEST FOR: Hikers wanting sunglasses that provide the ultimate protection for their eyes from sweat, glare and debris in all conditions POLARIZED: Yes LENS MATERIAL: Polyurethane PROS: Adjustable frame, tough lenses, removable side-shields, removable sweat barrier CONS: In low light conditions the lenses can be a little dark JULBO BIVOUAK Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Hikers wanting ultra light sunglasses providing excellent all round protection POLARIZED: Yes LENS MATERIAL: Polyurethane PROS: Adjustable frame, light weight, good side protection, tough, fit a variety of face shapes CONS: Lens transition time can be slow, in bright light the lenses may not be dark enough for some hikers OAKLEY RADARLOCK PATH Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Hikers wanting a super light weight pair if sunglasses with an excellent field of view POLARIZED: Yes LENS MATERIAL: Polycarbonate PROS: Excellent field of view, removable lenses, light weight CONS: Small size and may be tight fit on larger faces COSTA DEL MAR BLACKFIN Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Hikers that spend a lot of time on or near the water, and needing excellent glare reduction POLARIZED: Yes LENS MATERIAL: Polycarbonate PROS: Rubberised nosepad and temple tips, good protection, excellent glare reduction CONS: May fog up more easily than other sunglasses SMITH PIVLOCK V2 MAX Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Hikers wanting extremely good visibility and field of view, in an ultra light pair of sunglasses POLARIZED: No LENS MATERIAL: Polycarbonate PROS: Ultra light, excellent field of view and visibility, frameless design CONS: Nosepiece may need adjustment to prevent fogging, may be too large for some face shapes PEPPERS CUTTHROAT Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Hikers needing sunglasses that are uncomplicated and provide a good level of protection from all angles POLARIZED: Yes LENS MATERIAL: Plastic PROS: Good clarity and glare reduction CONS: May be too large for some face shapes DUDUMA TR90 Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Hikers needing comfortable sunglasses for all day use and excellent wrap-around protection POLARIZED: Yes LENS MATERIAL: Plastic PROS: Excellent wrap-around protection, very comfortable, stylish CONS: Polarization not as effective as other sunglasses LEARN HOW TO CHOOSE HIKING GEAR FOR YOUR NEXT ADVENTUREJOIN THE FREE HIKING GEAR COURSEJOIN THE FREE HIKING GEAR COURSE COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST HIKING SUNGLASSES PICTUREHIKING SUNGLASSESBEST USEPOLARISEDLENS MATERIALPRICERATING PICTUREHIKING SUNGLASSESBEST USEPOLARISEDLENS MATERIALPRICERATING Oakley Flak 2.0 XLOverallYesPolycarbonate$$4.8 Maui Jim HaleakalaOverallYesGlass/Polycarbonate$$$4.8 Oakley HolbrookOverallNoPolycarbonate$$4.5 Julbo TrekPhotochromicYesPolycarbonate$$5.0 Julbo BivouakPhotochromicYesPolycarbonate$$4.3 Oakley Radarlock PathPolycarbonateYesPolycarbonate$$$4.6 Costa Del Mar BlackfinPolycarbonateYesPolycarbonate$$4.5 Smith Pivlock V2 MaxPolycarbonateNoPolycarbonate$$4.5 Peppers CutthroatBudgetYesPlastic$4.6 Duduma Tr90BudgetYesPlastic$4.2 HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST HIKING SUNGLASSES HIKING STYLE Before you dive into all the technical considerations, sit back for a moment and think about the type of hiking that you’ll be doing most often. Are you simply looking to escape to the trails for a few hours on a weekend? If so, then you’ll be wanting a good “all-rounder” that doesn’t cost the earth. Perhaps you’ll be spending most of your time above the snow line? Protecting against glare is critical when you’re in the snow. Or maybe you’re a trail runner? In this case, you’ll be looking for sunglasses that are lightweight and ultra-durable. You’ll be encountering a lot more debris than a regular hiker, and you need to know that your sunglasses will be up to the challenge. Each style of hiking has its own unique requirements. By keeping these in mind when reviewing the technical criteria, you can guarantee you’ll invest in the best hiking sunglasses! LENS TYPE Among all the different considerations when choosing hiking sunglasses, the lenses are the most critical. They are the barriers between your delicate eyes and the sun, protecting against skin cancer and allowing you to enjoy your outdoor activities without painful glare. VISIBLE LIGHT TRANSMISSION At their most basic, sunglasses lenses reduce the amount of light that is transmitted to your eyes. This is known as the level of Visible Light Transmission (VLT). Sunglasses with a low VLT level (less than 40 percent) are generally excellent for outdoor activities in bright conditions because they block most of the light trying to get through the lens. While sunglasses with a high VLT level are not as common, they can be useful if you’ll be hiking in mostly dim or overcast conditions. UV PROTECTION While we can’t see ultraviolet (UV) light, the effects can be extremely damaging to our eyes and health. There are three types of UV light, UVA, UVB, and UVC. Of these, UVB is the most dangerous as it can cause skin cancer. Check to make sure that the sunglasses you are purchasing block 100 percent of UVB light. There is still considerable debate regarding the danger posed by UVA light. Recent research suggests it may be harmful, so it is recommended that you err on the side of caution and ensure your sunglasses also protect against UVA. Thankfully, there’s no need to worry about UVC as the earth’s atmosphere stops any of it from reaching us! POLARIZATION Another important aspect of lens design, particularly if you’re planning on doing a lot of skiing, alpine hiking, kayaking, or hiking near large bodies of water, is the provision of polarization. When light reflects off a surface, such as snow or water, the light becomes “polarized.” Polarizing sunglasses are designed to filter out this reflected light, and the difference is incredible. Glare is significantly reduced, colors become richer, and your depth of vision into lakes and rivers will be improved. PHOTOCHROMIC LENSES Photochromic lenses are created from materials that automatically adjust to the level of ambient light and have a variable VLT level. If it is dark, then the lenses will remain clear, but as the sun comes out the lenses will automatically darken to protect your eyes. Some users do report that they aren’t quite as good as a dedicated pair of sunglasses, but sometimes you don’t always want full light reduction and might prefer something halfway. This technology is also excellent for those with prescription glasses, as we discuss in more detail below. LENS MATERIAL It used to be that you only had one option when it came to lenses; glass. While glass is still an option, advances in technology have brought a myriad of new materials such as polycarbonate, polyurethane, and plastic. Glass provides the best scratch-resistance and has excellent optical qualities (ie. clarity and lack of distortion), but it is also the heaviest and can shatter when struck. Polycarbonate is a plastic with very good optical qualities and a very strong, impact-resistant molecular structure. This makes it a natural choice for hikers, but it’s worth knowing that it can easily scratch, so care is needed when outdoors. Polyurethane is another synthetic material that brings together the best of glass and polycarbonate, making them optically excellent, light weight, and extremely tough. As you might expect, they are also the most expensive. Plastic is a very cost effective option, being light and having good optical qualities in most cases. However, they can scratch easily and aren’t as impact resistant as polycarbonate or polyurethane. When researching hiking sunglasses be sure to check whether the lenses are coated. More advanced materials such as polycarbonate don’t normally need a coating. However, the deficiencies of other lens materials can be overcome through the application of a coating to provide benefits such as anti-fogging, anti-reflection, water repellency and scratch resistance. FRAME MATERIAL When it comes to sunglass frames there are many different materials to choose from. Metal frames, such as steel, aluminium and titanium, may look great. But, these aren’t practical as they can get extremely hot in the sun and provide poor impact resistance. Instead, keep an eye out for materials such as acetate, nylon or nylon/plastic combinations, as these are low cost and will provide an excellent combination of durability and flexibility. Plastic frames are most cost-effective of all, but aren’t as suited to the tough conditions you’ll face when hiking. DESIGN You’re going to be wearing your sunglasses in all types of conditions when you’re hiking, so you need to know that they will be comfortable, functional and effective! If you’re looking for excellent protection from wind and rain, then you may want to go for a “wrap around” design. For more ventilation and less likelihood of fogging up, you may want a more open pair of sunglasses. Consider the nose-piece and arms of the frame, as they will be resting on your nose and ears for considerable periods of time. Some sunglasses come with additional padding in these areas, or are adjustable to ensure a great fit. If you enjoy trail running, rock climbing or mountaineering, then you may also prefer sunglasses with rubberized contact points to ensure they don’t slip around during extreme activities. If you’re purchasing online then do try and ensure that the website has a great returns policy, as sometimes trying a pair of sunglasses on is the only way of finding out whether they fit the unique contours of your face. PRESCRIPTION GLASSES If you need to wear prescription glasses in your everyday life and can’t wear contact lenses; don’t worry, this isn’t going to stop you hiking! Many manufacturers and retailers of sunglasses now provide you with the ability to provide your prescription details and they can either custom build or order a pair of sunglasses to meet your needs. Alternatively, photochromic lenses might be of interest, as they too can be custom built to your needs and can be used not only when hiking, but at home as well. The last option is to find a pair of “clip on” lenses, or a large pair of “fit over” glasses that can be worn over the top of your regular prescription glasses. HIKING RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSHIKINGTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. FUNDAMENTALS 5. HIKING TRAILS 2. HIKING GEAR 6. HIKING WITH KIDS 3. HIKING CLOTHING 7. HIKING WITH DOGS 4. CAMPING 8. WOMEN'S HIKING 1. FUNDAMENTALS 2. HIKING GEAR 3. HIKING CLOTHING 4. CAMPING 5. HIKING TRAILS 6. HIKING WITH KIDS 7. HIKING WITH DOGS 8. WOMEN'S HIKING Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.