A good pair of sunglasses is an essential piece of hiking equipment. It protects your eyes from UV rays, glare, and dust and ensures you have a fantastic visual experience on the trails. Because hiking entails being in the great outdoors and under direct sunshine for hours at a time, only the best hiking sunglasses will do.
To help you out, the hiking sunglasses reviews below take a look at the best hiking sunglasses on the market. These pairs provide excellent visual clarity, UV protection, comfort, and durability. As for choosing tips, our buying guide outlines everything you will want in a pair of sunglasses for backpacking or hiking.
How To Choose A Pair Of Hiking Sunglasses – Buying Guide
With sunglasses for hiking, the frame should be sturdy yet lightweight and flexible. Such a frame can withstand a lot of abuse without breaking and provide comfort on the trails. A wraparound design is ideal as it ensures the sunglasses will sit comfortably snug on your face. Frames with a rimless jacket design are also preferable as they maximize your field of vision.
With a pair of adventure sunglasses, you will need a higher level of durability than if you were looking for beach or pool sunglasses. Since it’s inevitable that your pair of sunglasses will get knocked and dropped, it’s important to look for frames that are highly resistant to breaking and lenses that won’t shatter or scratch easily.
Sports sunglasses are ideal as they are sturdy yet flexible and can withstand more impacts than regular sunglasses. The use of frame and lens materials such as polycarbonate and other high-quality compounds ensure their durability. Some manufacturers even market their frames as unbreakable and back this with a lifetime warranty.
Another advantage of choosing sports sunglasses for hiking is that they are constructed with lightweight polycarbonate and plastic materials. This means that they won’t weigh you down. To ensure slipping around won’t be a problem, go for a pair with a wraparound frame and soft nose pads. A well-ventilated design is also essential to keep fogging at bay.
The whole point of wearing hiking sunglasses is to get protection from UV rays, glare, and dust. Since the lenses are responsible for all these functions, they are the most important part of your sunglasses. Whether you opt for glass or polycarbonate lenses, make sure they are impact and scratch-resistant.
As for polarized vs. non-polarized lenses, polarized lenses are best as they will eliminate glare and ensure you have a clear vision when hiking in bright conditions. As you compare different hiking sunglasses, you will notice that most sunglasses come with multiple lens colors ranging from gray to blue. The kind of hue to go for comes down to the kinds of conditions you will be hiking in.
Besides protection from reflected light, the sunglasses should block harmful UVA and UVB rays. For glasses, there are five levels of UV rating ranging from 0 to 4. A zero rating means that the sunglasses offer the least UV protection. On the other end of the spectrum, category 4 offers the greatest protection.
However, most sunglasses don’t state the category they fall in. Most will only say that they offer ‘100% protection up to 400nm”. This ‘nm’ stands for nanometers which is a reference to the wavelength. If your sunglasses offer 100% UV protection up to 400nm, you can rest assured they will shield your eyes from ultraviolet light.
When hiking, your sunglasses will no doubt come into contact with abrasive elements such as a brush. Without scratch-resistant coatings, the lenses are very likely to get scratches.
A scratch on your lenses can not only affect the effectiveness of the sunglasses but it will also be a major annoyance and will most likely mean that you will have to buy a new pair of sunglasses. Due to this, be sure the pair you choose has a scratch-resistant coating on the lens.
Not only should the lenses block UV light and glare, but they should also wrap around your eyes without leaving a gap through which harmful rays or dust can find their way into your eyes. In order to do this, the best hiking sunglasses will curve to your face shape to provide maximum coverage for your eyes.
Side protection is especially vital when hiking in winter or alpine conditions and tromping through the snow. In this case, it’s smart to go for mountaineering glasses such as the Julbo Sherpa Glacier sunglasses, as they come with side covers to block peripheral light.
The weight plays an important role in how comfortable the sunglasses will be to wear while hiking. Even slightly heavy glasses can quickly make you feel very uncomfortable, especially when wearing them for a whole day of hiking.
Thankfully, performance sunglasses are constructed with lightweight materials. Having plastic frames ensures the glasses will feel light and comfortable on your face.
First and foremost, the design of your sunglasses should ensure your comfort and performance on the trails. The good thing is that the best hiking sunglasses also look good, so it’s easy to find a pair of sunglasses that will provide visual clarity, eye protection, and comfort without sacrificing style.
Q: How Important Is To Have Polarized Lenses?
It's very important to have polarized lenses if you will be hiking under intense sunlight or walking through snow. In this case, you will be exposed to a lot of glare and will need polarized lenses to eliminate this reflected light so you can an enjoy clear vision. Wearing non-polarized lenses in the face of glare can cause eye issues such as strain.
Q: How To Care And Store My Hiking Glasses So They Last Longer?
To clean your sunglasses, use a soft sunglasses cleaning cloth and clean water or a neutral detergent to wipe away the dirt. During transportation, wrap them in a soft case and stow them in a hard case. In your backpack, avoid storing them where they could get crushed.
Globo Surf Overview
A good pair of sunglasses is one of the essential hiking gear. The best hiking sunglasses should provide clear vision, protect your eyes from the elements, and withstand the rigors of hiking. All the options in our hiking sunglasses reviews meet these criteria. We hope this buying guide will help you choose the best sunglasses for your hiking and backpacking adventures.