110 x 40 x 5 mm
+1, +1.5, +2, +2.5, +3
Nooz Optics reading glasses aren't designed for backpackers,…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $19.95
Nooz Optics reading glasses aren't designed for backpackers, but they hit all the right notes: lightweight, comfortable, incredibly easy one-handed use, versatile, and virtually indestructible.
- Lightweight (0.6 ounces, including case)
- Easy to operate
- Versatile design
- Very tough
- Possibly easy to lose
- More expensive than some
- Not available in 1/4 strengths
If you're old like me, you might have started carrying reading glasses with you everywhere you go, and the backpacking trail is no exception. Adjusting camera settings, reading maps, or courting sleep with a few chapters of pulp fiction all demand that mighty presbyopia chaser, the reading glasses.
For some time I've carried small wireframes in a hard case. They've been ... fine. The case is a bit heavy but without it the glasses get too mangled. I can unmangle them to some degree, but even with the case have to do so often, which is tiresome after a while. They're fiddly to get on and off with a hat, requiring two hands, and tricky to use in the bright sun.
The Nooz Optic readers solve all these problems. These glasses have no temples, and are worn by letting them grip the bridge of the nose. But don't leave just yet—because unlike every other nose-gripper I've tried, these glasses are flat out comfortable. I can wear them for long periods of time without even feeling them, because the tension of the molded plastic is perfect, and the nose pieces broad and smooth. The grip tension is also adjustable, just by pulling the frame apart with your fingers. Nor do they fall off easily—the grip is firm but never tight.
Which brings me to the second point of construction for these glasses: they are made of a strong, yet very flexible plastic. They could probably bend fully in half without stress, but I'm afraid to try. Here you can see me stretching them a bit. I am not the least bit concerned about breaking these frames by sitting, or even stepping on them. Nor will I have to reconstruct them after doing so, like I would with my wireframes.
The glasses slide into their hard-sided case by squeezing them slightly. Encased, they measure 4" long, 1.25" wide, and 1/8" thick. They weigh 0.6oz on my Esacali scale at home. The case has a lanyard loop, and so long as the case is tied to something (so I can just drop it), I can easily pluck the glasses from their case and pop them on my nose with one hand, even wearing gloves. What's more, it is just as simple to replace the glasses into the case with one hand.
But it gets even better: you can't miss with these glasses because they are reversible. I have no idea how the optics work to achieve that, but these glasses are symmetrical, and either side works just as well as the "front" or "back". Just grab and go.
Being reversible is one facet of these glasses' versatility; another is that the lack of temples makes them very easy to use with tangled hair, hats, hoods, earmuffs, or best of all sunglasses. Particularly in desert or high alpine terrain, at midday, the last thing I want to do is remove my sunglasses in order to try to read a map or take a picture. No need to with these little beauties, just pop them right on as usual, in front of the sunglasses I'm already wearing.
So I'm sold on these glasses for backpacking, but they do have a few drawbacks. First of all, the translucent plastic and thin construction can make them a little hard to see, if you happen to drop them at the wrong angle (can you spot the Nooz Optic readers in the grass?). This effect might be mitigated by purchasing the glasses in one of the many more vibrant colors available; I selected "black" as usual for me. Also, I couldn't say for sure that wireframes aren't equally as easy to lose.
Second, these glasses run nearly $20USD, so on par with more expensive readers like Foster Grants, but much pricier than cheapo dime store readers.
Lastly, these readers are not offered in 1/4-strengths (e.g. +2.25), only 1/2-strengths. I usually wear a +1.75, so this was almost a deal-breaker for me, but I've found that with the right nose-placement I can get by on the +2's for now (and I'm sure I'll "grow into them", as it were, eventually.)
Overall, I'd highly recommend these readers. They are just a cut above others I've tried in terms of ease of use. On the trail the simplest of tasks can become arduous, and these glasses have made getting older just a little bit less painful—at least in the backcountry.
This is my first experience with Nooz Optic reading glasses. I've used mine regularly on the trail in both sunny and rainy conditions over the course of the past six months, mostly to take pictures and read maps on my phone.