Starting out and question on Eye Glasses

10:38 a.m. on May 28, 2017 (EDT)
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Hello! I am getting back into hiking to help lose some weight and get healthy tho eventually I want to get into backpacking and maybe even do the AT some day.

Right now I am ordering a few things to try out, got some Merrell Moab Ventilators for hiking and waiting on a hammock to try out some hammock camping. I would definitely be open to some suggestions on this as well as help with regards to packs.

Also, I wear glasses and was wondering if anyone had tips or maybe suggestions on brands that can be used while hiking and backpacking? My current pair are thick plastic and hold up well but I want something that won't break if I decide to go on a multi-day backpacking trip and ideas on what to do to prevent fogging, smudging and them falling off.


Thanks and I really appreciate any help.

11:50 a.m. on May 28, 2017 (EDT)
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I wear glasses, have for 50 years. I wear Croakies to keep my glasses on. Clean them with a alcohol cloth prior to wearing in rain,fog or snow and they will stay unfogged longer. I always keep my old glasses when I get new ones for spare back-ups in case my new one get broke. I get my glasses with the built-in sun glasses, the kind that change when I go outdoors. 

9:43 p.m. on May 28, 2017 (EDT)
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Awesome, thanks for the tips!

8:15 p.m. on May 29, 2017 (EDT)
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When I am backpacking I bring an older pair of regular glasses and a pair of prescription sun glasses. I like having prescription sunglasses as you can get tints that work well at higher altitudes and when on snow and the frames of my sunglasses wrap around providing good side protection. I always make sure to bring a hat with a brim or bill so that it helps protect my glasses in the rain. My eyesight isn't too bad and if its really misty and I can't keep my glasses clean, I just pack them away as my eyesight is good enough to be able to continue to plod down the trail. For anti fogging I do have and use a product called Cat Crap for my motorcycle helmet visor that I like, but I haven't brought it backpacking as I am really trying to minimize what I carry to hold down my overall pack weight.

6:38 a.m. on May 30, 2017 (EDT)
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I bring an older pair in a case accessible but protected. Not sure it is applicable to those wearing glasses constantly as I only need reading glasses, but I use these while on the trail to look at maps or take notes. 

11:05 a.m. on May 30, 2017 (EDT)
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Mr. Fox,

I bring regular eye glasses with me on all trips and if you aren't doing anything off-trail or otherwise getting whacked in the face you should have no issues with most modern frames and lenses.

On some off-trail trips I bring a case to put them (because, well, I do tend to get whacked in the face on those trips). On paddle trips I bring a strap to keep from losing them if I "swim" unexpectedly.

I just bought new ones and I looked at getting a second pair of the athletic models but they were way too expensive for me.

I wound up buying a relatively cheap ($125) of Titanium frames made by Bulova. The eye glasses tech told me they were very durable but honestly I think she would say that about everything on the wall. All of the sport frames were in the $300 range which would exceed my insurance allowance for frames. (I could get multiple cheap pairs for less than one special pair).

So I say go with bendy titanium if you must spend some money on this.


7:33 p.m. on May 30, 2017 (EDT)
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A company I use for my backcountry glasses is Opticus. They are located in Boulder, Colorado. They have a range of styles. I use a pair that is designed for skiing, one that is intended for use on glaciers, and one that is intended for bicycling use.

One thing you might think hard about is the question of multi-strength glasses. I use bifocals a lot (with the color-changing coating). But one problem I find is the dividing line between the "distance" segment and the "reading" segment. When hiking on steep or rocky trails, moving your head can make irregularities in terrain (a rocky section for example) jump if you move your head up and down, which can cause a bit of uneasiness (depends, of course on how much correction is in each section). I don't find the much problem when skiing, but do on rocky trails, hopping from rock to rock when stream crossing, etc. So I often use "distance-only" glasses on the steep rocky trails and when rock climbing. Of course that means I have to switch to reading glasses to look at the map - standing still, of course.

For skiing, I sometimes use a pair of ski goggles that fit over the distance glasses - this helps a lot in windy conditions.

$300 for a frame???? WOW!!! That's a lot more than I have spent on any glasses. Then again, I go to Costco for a lot of things and have found their optical division to be reasonable price and good quality. Years back, I used to use one of the big national optometry chains. But I found that Opticus and Costco were much below the chain shops and just as good quality.

I don't use polarized lenses, though some people find them useful on and around water and snow fields.

Be sure to use an optometrist who will guarantee your prescription. Both Opticus and Costco will guarantee the final glasses and have some sort of breakage warranty.

6:57 p.m. on May 31, 2017 (EDT)
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I've worn glasses most of my life.  Typical recreational backpacking and hiking pose no special considerations, other than use a dedicated storage container; otherwise the contents of your pocket or pack my scuff the lenses as you move about.  Since you will be away from convenient places to set your glasses consider using a lanyard to wear them around your neck between uses.

The only problem I've ever had with glasses outdoors was with metal frames with glass lens in extremely cold weather.  Under these conditions the frames expanded and contracted such that the lens popped out in direct sun.  Probably has something to do with differing expansion coefficients of the materials.  I have not experienced this problem in similar conditions with plastic frames.


10:03 p.m. on May 31, 2017 (EDT)
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I also wear glasses all the time, and maybe I've just been both stupid and lucky but when backpacking I just wear my same everyday glasses. No case for carrying them because I'm always wearing them. At night they go into a mesh pocket in my shelter, then in the morning right back on my schnozz. I carry a cleaning cloth the optometrist gave me when I got the glasses and wipe the lenses clean with that.

I use clip-on sunglasses and those I've broken a couple of times, not while wearing them but trying to store them loose in my pocket.

I also have been using a trekking umbrella the last year and a half or so, and it's a great piece of gear for glasses wearers -- with a hooded rain jacket your lenses will get wet and obscure your view but with the umbrella my lenses stay dry and I can see in the rain.

8:45 a.m. on June 1, 2017 (EDT)
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I wear glasses and keep them on. I just bring an extra old pair with me.

Breaking them is unlikely. Getting them dirty and scratching them from not cleaning them is much more probable.

5:56 p.m. on June 1, 2017 (EDT)
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I also take both pairs, regular glasses and prescription shades.  One time I was tending a small fire and removed my glasses and got up and crushed them flat with my foot.  Had the extra in the pack.

I've always worn wire rims for the last 50 years---and now I get whatever is light with the thinnest lense option--also lightest.  I also bring some alcohol lense cleaner swabs---good for my glasses and my camera. 

6:04 p.m. on June 4, 2017 (EDT)
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I wear my eyeglasses but sometimes, depending on where I'm going, I wear my gas mask inserts.   Not everyone can unless you were in the military.  But there's a reason they are called BCG's (birth control glasses)!

6:29 p.m. on June 4, 2017 (EDT)
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Tipi's comment on cleaning glasses reminded me of a recommendation I got from Opticus and a couple of other lens makers. The optomerist shops I used to use said this approach shortens the glasses lifetime, but Barbara and I have both run into problems with the "official" advice. 

Two approaches - Opticus and one of the companies that regularly attend the Outdoor Retailer show recommended using this procedure:

1. Start with clean hands (wash thoroughly with soap).

2. Spray the glasses front and back with Formula 409 (do NOT spray in your eyes!)

3. Using your clean fingers, gently spread the 409 over both front and back of the lens surfaces.

4. Spray front and back again

5. Rinse thoroughly front and back with Clean tapwater.

6. Dry using a purpose-made lens cloth, a microfiber cloth, or a soft paper towel.

We have taken to carrying a small squirt bottle of Formula 409 on backpacking trips. We have never gotten any scratching or problem with polarizing or other coatings. But we have had an optometrist over-tighten the lens frame (cracking the lens) and conversely, insufficiently tightening the frame (lens fell out).

I actually found out about this at an optometrist's office when I recognized the smell and asked him about lens cleaning.

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