Whether you’re climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or going on a day trek, the sunglasses you wear are essential. You should wear UV protection sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays, dirt, debris, and distracting glare, especially when hiking in the snow.
Hiking on rugged terrain in harsh conditions can be more damaging to your eyes than you realize. Hiking sunglasses are handy here.
What To Look For In Hiking Sunglasses
The finest hiking sunglasses should be robust, lightweight, and offer adequate UV protection.
100% UV protection
Look for sunglasses with a clear UV 400 label, which means they block out about 100% of UV rays.
The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) energy penetrates the Earth’s atmosphere and reaches your eyes as UVA and UVB rays. You are in danger of acquiring cataracts, macular degeneration, photokeratitis (commonly known as “snow blindness”), and other serious eye problems if you do not protect your eyes from UV radiation.
When buying hiking sunglasses, consider polarized lenses. These lenses reduce glare caused by light reflecting off flat surfaces and can be useful when trekking in the snow or near water.
Polarized sunglasses make it easier to see in bright places, like when you want to see what’s below the surface of the water or enjoy a sunset along the horizon.
The lens material
You should also think about the lens material of your sunglasses. High-quality lenses are made of robust, long-lasting materials like polycarbonate, Trivex, or plastic. They should also have scratch-resistant and other protective coatings to ensure they can withstand the weather.
Polycarbonate is a plastic that is thinner and lighter than standard plastic lenses. Because polycarbonate has an impact-resistant structure, sunglasses with this lens material are an excellent choice for trekking.
Trivex lenses are made of a newer material with the same properties as polycarbonate lenses. Trivex lenses are lightweight and impact- and scratch-resistant, but they are also more expensive than other types of lenses.
Plastic lenses are frequently the least expensive, but they are also more readily scratched and broken, making them less durable than other lens kinds.
You might also want to consider using wraparound shades to protect your eyes from brightness and even wind.
Best Sunglasses Options For Hiking
Depending on the type of hiking you intend to do, here are some fantastic eyewear selections that will cover the majority of terrain while providing the best bang for your buck.
1. Oakley Flak 2.0
The Oakley Flak 2.0 is made of a robust, lightweight O Matter frame material with elliptical metal emblem accents and earsocks and nose cushions built for comfort and performance. These sunglasses are available with Prizm lenses, which improve color, contrast, and detail to help you see the beautiful Sierra throughout your desert trip.
2. Costa Del Mar
More than ten fashionable sunglasses styles are available in the Costa Del Mar Collection, making them great for a day hike with friends. All have scratch-resistant polarized lenses that reduce visible glare from water, snow, sand, and pavement, minimizing eye strain. The Del Mar Collection also provides 100% UV protection with 580 glass lenses that filter out harsh yellow light for improved color definition and contrast.
3. Ray-Ban Andy
The polarized lenses of the Ray-Ban Andy sunglasses minimize 99% of visible glare from water, snow, sand, and pavement for improved visual clarity and less eye strain. Hiking in Alaska in the winter should be a piece of cake. Green-tinted flash lenses have a blue multilayer mirror coating to reduce glare and improve visual comfort. Propionate-nylon frames are lightweight and comfortable.
4. Julbo EXPLORER 2.0
The Julbo Explorer 2.0 has retractable shields that prevent lateral rays and enable greater airflow. These sunglasses have a flex nose design, Grip Tech, and 360-degree adjustable temples to keep them from falling off as you race up a hill or scale a slope. The Explorer 2.0 also has an adjustable cable, Spectron 4 polycarbonate lenses, and an anti-reflective coating to help prevent eye strain and glare.
5. Oakley EVZero Path
The Oakley EVZero Path sunglasses have Plutonite lenses, which provide superior UV protection by filtering 100% of all UVA, UVB, UVC, and harmful blue light up to 400 mm. Prizm lens technology improves color, contrast, and detail, while HD polarized lenses eliminate 99% of reflected glare.
If you don’t already have sunglasses that will handle your tough hiking activities, keep these tips in mind while you look for your next great pair.