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Sunglasses for the Avid Outdoorsman
Sunday, September 20th, 2009

 Sunglasses for the Avid Outdoorsman

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From Left to Right – Front Row: Numa Point, Bobster Prowler, Edge Kohr
Middle Row: Numa Sparta, Bobster Low Rider II, Edge Dakura Camo
Far Row (On Hats) : ESS Naro, Smith Aegis

If you’re active in the Outdoors, you’re going to want a good pair of sunglasses.  Whether you’re hanging a new stand location in the heat of July, sighting in your new rifle or just joy-riding those ATV trails, your eyes need protection from the Sun and the activity you’re doing.  For this review, we set out to contact a variety of sunglass manufacturers with four components in mind; Style, Performance, Fit, and Overall Value.  Hey, we know that everyone’s preferences are different when it comes to what they put on their face.  We’re hard on our eyewear and we just wanted to find some optics that we could showcase for your consideration.  After a summer’s worth of Heritage Hunters activities we think we’ve got a good arrary. 
Here’s a look at 5 different companies whose eyewear we tested. There’s got to be a style here that suits your particular Outdoor Lifestyle!

Category Explanation: When we came up with the idea behind doing a review on sunglasses, we looked at qualities that are important to us in pretty much any review situation.  These qualities are:
Style: If you’re spending good money on a quality pair of sunglasses, you want them to be stylish.  Something that I can wear to my kid’s soccer games and also be able to clear an ATV trail with a chainsaw.  Why spend money on two different types of sunglasses when one pair can perform how I want them to while making me look “Cool”.  I know, that’s asking a lot!
Performance: This area gets into how the glasses perform in the safety department and how they hold up after hard use.  Do the lenses scratch easily?  Can they handle the wear and tear of my Outdoor Lifestyle? and above all, Do they protect my eyesight? 
Note: We didn’t shoot any projectiles at our faces while testing these glasses, duh! But they all held up well in all of our outdoor activities and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of these brands to you in the protection department.
Fit: Everyone has a different size melon and the bridge of our noses are all different as well so this category is a tad subjective in terms of how you like your sunglasses to fit.  Regardless, if the glasses don’t fit properly or are uncomfortable to wear, you’re not going to like them.  It’s a necessary component in our field test.
Overall Value: You’re either the type that wants to spend good money on a pair of sunglasses and wants them to be indestructable or you’re the type that doesn’t want to spend much with the mindset that you’ll just get a new pair when they break.  After all, why would you want to spend a lot on eyewear just to have them break during heavy use?  Is there such a thing as the perfect balance between cost and performance?

Numa Optics:

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Let’s get this out of the way right now! Out of all the eyewear we tested this summer, we liked Numa’s the best.  We couldn’t put them at the bottom of the list because, well, that wouldn’t be fair.  Numa Optics have a combination of style, performance and value that simply could not be beat by any of the other brands.  Their website is cool and their glasses are crazy indestructible.  They’re a new company with more styles on the horizon so let’s take a look at why we thought they deserve our top honor in this review.  We tested Numa’s “Point” and “Sparta” models.  These two models represent the two different Swiss Fiber formulas for Numa Optics.  The Points are constructed of “Tough Flex” fiber that can be bent, smashed, stretched and take an all around beat down without breaking!  The Spartas are constructed of a “Lite-Flex” fiber that represents a combination of lightness and stability.  In short, if you’re looking to buy one pair of glasses that are ballistics rated and indestructible, go with the Tough Flex models.  If you’re looking for a really tough pair of lightweight sunglasses, go with the Lite-Flex models.  Each pair of Numa Optics comes with impact resistant lenses.  The Point comes with a 3 Lens Set of Anti-fog smoke, Clear and Lo-lite Orange.  All of which are Ballistic-certified.  The Sparta’s come with Polorized Smoke, Mandarin Orange and Clear Lenses.
All lenses on the Numa are super easy to change with a pop-in / pop-out method and many of the models have a design to allow air-flow around the lens, detering any fogging.  Many of the brands below have tested their eyewear to meet specific standards and specifications as did Numa.  But Numa went a step further!  Check out the video below to see what we mean.

Numa Sport Optics: Blunt Object Impact Tests from Jake Bennett on Vimeo.

Our Marks on the Point and Spartas:
Style: 5 out of 5:
Numa currently offers 7 different styles with new ones arriving shortly.  We thought the Point and Spartas are very stylish with their truly wrap-around design.
Performance: 5 out of 5  The video above speaks for itself!
Fit: 5 out of 5: We found the Numa Glasses to fit right regardless of Nose size or head size.  The wrap around design causes the glasses to grip the sides of your head nicely and the “grippy” nosepieces hold them at the right height on the bridge of the nose. 
Overall Value: 5 out of 5: Numa falls into the High-end to Mid-range price level at $100 and $120 respectively for the Point and Spartas.  After testing these glasses, we agree with Numa that these are the last pair of sunglasses you’ll ever have to buy.  Because of this, they get a 5 out of 5 rating.  To check out the complete line of Numa Optics check out WWW.NUMAOPTICS.COM

THE REST OF THE BRANDS IN THIS REVIEW ARE IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER!

ESS Eyewear:

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ESS is a company that manufactures eyewear for the Military and Law Enforcement and you can be sure that if their optics can stand up to that type of testing, it can withstand pretty much whatever our Outdoor Lifestyle could dish out.  We tested the Military Grade “Ice Naro’s“.  The “Naro” signifies that these frames are narrower for smaller faces.  Yep! That’s us!  There were 3 things that stood out on these glasses for us.

1. They are on the US Army’s list of approved protective eyewear…..(I mean, hey, that right there tells us these things not only can protect our eyes but withstand punishment!)
2. The “Naro” frame fit great and the earpieces were bendable to aid in that fit
3. These came with a complete set of clear glasses.  They’re included as standard!
 

Our Marks on the Ice Naros:
Style: 4.5 out of 5:
The Ice Naro’s style is comparable with the popular “M-Frame” design that Oakley has made famous for athletes.  If you have a smaller face, the Naro’s are the way to go.  They look sharp and their lightweight “frameless” design provides an unbelievable field of view.
Performance: 5 out of 5: We could give you terms like “ESS Tough Zone Anti-scratch coating”, “.15 caliber ballistic impact test”, and “100% UVA/UVB Protection” but we already know what the deal is on safety with these glasses.  They fit great, protect your eyes in an unbelievable array of situations and look good….Nuff said!
Fit: 5 out of 5: The two features of the Ice Naro that we feel aid in their fit are the bendable earpieces and the U-shaped rubber nosepiece.  Because of these, the Naro’s fit great and you can “thumb” those earpieces to make them fit even better.
Overall Value: 5 out of 5: At an MSRP of $75, you get Two fully-assembled ICE NAROâ„¢ eyeshields with Clear & Smoke Gray lenses, an elastic retention strap, a micro-fiber lens pouch/cleaning cloth, a bottle of McNett OpDropsâ„¢ anti-fog solution, and a semi-rigid protective case.  I’d say that’s pretty good bang for your buck! To check out the ESS line of Military Grade Optics, visit WWW.ESSEYEPRO.COM

Smith Optics: 

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Smith is a well known name in eyewear and has a great reputation in action sports and outdoor markets.  We tested the AEGIS Ballistic Eyeshield from Smith’s Elite Military Division of Eyewear.  The AEGIS’ are very similar to the Ice Naro’s (above) in style and like the Naro’s, meet and exceed MIL-PRF-31013 and ANSI Z87.1 standards.  The AEGIS’ are larger than the Naro’s and because of this, would be a better fit for larger faces.  The AEGIS Eyeshields include a spare Gray lens,retaining strap, microweave bag for storage and cleaning,No-Fog cloth, and a protective case.  Changing the lenses is easy and one look at the case tells you the AEGIS is high quality piece of eyewear.
Our Marks on the AEGIS:
Style: 4 out of 5:
A matter of preference we know, but we would like a narrower fit.
Performance: 5 out of 5: Along with the Ice Naro’s, these babies can hold their own when the debris is flying.
Fit: 4.5 out of 5: They fit well and the Rubber nosepiece helps with this.  The Ice Naro’s have the edge on the AEGIS’ with their bendable earpieces however.
Overall Value: 4 out of 5: We found the 3 lens kit for $95.99 and we have no doubt that the AEGIS would provide years of effective use.  But is it the best deal out there?
To check out Smith’s complete line of optics, visit WWW.SMITHOPTICS.COM

Edge Saftey Eyewear: 

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Edge and Wolf Peak Safety glasses are well known for manufacturing stylish saftey glasses and are probably hanging out on a display in your local hardware store right now.  We tested the Kohr and 2 Camouflage Dakura models (Smoke Lens and Driving Lens). The nice thing about Edge Eyewear is no matter what style you choose, you can be sure that any models meet ANSI standards as well as U.S. Military Ballistic Impact Resistance requirements.  Not that the previous brands we’ve reviewed didn’t, but it’s nice to know that any model on Edge’s website  is a solid piece of safety eyewear.  That’s what they do, make stylish safety glasses. One of the nice things about the Edge glasses are the price. At $15 and $12 respectively, the Kohr and Dakura models will protect your eyesight for much less than the other brands mentioned in this review. 
Our marks on the Kohr and Camo Dakuras:
Style: 5 out of 5:
These glasses are definitely stylish and frankly, it would be tough to go to the Edge Website and not find a style you like.
Performance: 4.5 out of 5: These glasses are made to protect your eyes and they do just that.  There was a difference in fit (see below) that could effect performance.
Fit: 3.5 out of 5: The Dakuars fit the best but we would have prefered some rubber on the nosepiece (it’s bare frame that rests on the nose).  The Kohr glasses were larger and although we liked the looks of them, they didn’t seem to rest on the bridge of our nose right nor did they cling to the sides of our head tight enough to be comfortable during periods of activity.  Simply put, try the style on at your hardware store to make sure they fit right before you buy them.
Overall value: 4 out of 5: If you’re the type that isn’t comfortable spending a lot on your eyewear, these glasses are for you!  They definitely protect your eyes, are affordable, and are stylish. 
To look at more offerings from Edge, visit WWW.WOLFPEAK.COM 
 

Bobster Convertibles: 

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Bobster is a company that has quite an array of styles to suit your needs.  We decided to test two “Convertible” styles that can be worn as sunglasses or googles with a click of a button on the side of the frame: The Low Rider II and the Anzi Z.87 Camo Prowlers.
The Low Rider II is a low profile frame that comes with a carrying case, 3 sets of polycarbonate,lenses (smoked, Amber and Clear) and a stap that can convert these into goggles.
The Ansi Z.87 Prowler glasses are much more “goggle-like” in appearance than the Low Rider II’s and don’t really transcend into a “do-all” type of style sunglasses.  The Prowlers however do have removable side shields, Anti-fog lenses and come with an adjustable strap for conversion into a true goggle.  Both pairs of Bobster convertibles had a layer of open cell foam (the Prowler has Neoprene) on the inside of the lens to contact your face.  We found this to a nice feature when riding our Artic Cat ATV’s.  The only downside to this was found with the Low Rider’s in that the inside layer of foam traps your perspiration making them a little bit harder to clean.
Our Marks on the Bobster Convertibles:
Style: 4 out of 5: Although you’re probably not going to want to wear the Prowler’s to your kid’s soccer game, Bobster has a whole array of styles on their website to suit your taste.
Performance: 4.5 out of 5: We found the foam / Neoprene on the inside of the frames on these “convertibles” to be a catch 22.  The foam made the glasses fit better but it also made them harder to clean after sweating in them.  The Prowler’s are ballistics approved and the Low Rider II’s meet 166 high speed impact testing at 45m/s in extreme temperatures.
Fit: 5 out of 5: Not only does the Foam / Neoprene aid in the fit of these glasses, the convertible strap allows for an adjustable fit.
Overall Value: 4 out of 5: The Low Rider II’s and Ansi Prowler’s come in at $59.98 and $49.98 respectively.  This isn’t bad but we’re not sure the open cell foam is for everyone in every situation. 
To look at more styles from Bobster, visit WWW.BOBSTER.COM

As with any of our reviews that showcase multiple brands at one time, the purpose is to give our members / visitors a variety of choices.  We hope this review has given you some information on an array of protective sunglasses for your outdoor needs.  Maybe we’ve introducted you to a new style and / or company in the process.  We’d like to thank all the companies that participated in this review.  As you can see, they all make quality protective eyewear for your outdoor needs.  After that, it boils down to preference. Do us a favor and let us know which style you’re partial to on our FORUM

Suunto X10 Watch
Thursday, September 3rd, 2009
Review of the Suunto X10 Watch

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Ok, right off the bat we’ve got to tell you that this is not your ordinary watch!  This thing is pretty sophisticated and has so many features that we figured James Bond would show up sometime during our testing to ask for it back!  The X10 is better thought of as an “Outdoor Wrist computer” and we had a great time exploring its capabilities, even if it was a “loaner”.

We’ll start off with the general appearance of the Suunto X10 and move on to it’s features.  We liked the size of the X10 in that it’s nice and big but not huge.  The surface of the watch is smooth and doesn’t have a bunch of buttons protruding from the surface to snag on your hunting gear.  The rubber coating of the watch is also a nice feature in that it provides shock protection and there is no glare to alert game.  The watch fit our wrists quite well and we liked the solid metal posts on the buckle strap.  We got the sense that this watch was indestructible, although we stopped short of testing that theory since the watch was a loaner.  We have no idea how many people tested this watch before us, but it looked in great shape and the battery life was outstanding!  We didn’t notice any battery depletion in the time we had the watch.

Now, on to the features of this watch.  Here’s a general rundown of the features of the X10.  For a complete listing of its attributes, click Here 

Altimeter 
Altitude alarm 
Vertical speed 
Temperature compensation 
Resolution to 1 m
Altimeter/barometer lock 
Altitude range -500m – 9000m/-1600ft – 29500ft 
 
Chronograph 
Stopwatch 
 
Compass 
Automatic magnetic declination adjustment 
North-South indicator 
Guided calibration 
Heading in degrees 
Declination setting 
Cardinal directions 
Bearing tracking 

GPS 
Distance 
GPS Resolution 1m / 3ft
Routes-50 
Speed 
Tracks-25
Waypoints-500

Watch 
12/24h 
Stopwatch 
GPS time syncronization 
Calendar clock 
Dual time 
Daily alarms-3

Weather 
Absolute barometric pressure 
Weather memory-7 days
Weather alarm 
Trend graph 
Altimeter/barometer lock 
Temperature 
Sea level pressure 

Power 
Battery power indicator 
Rechargeable battery 
115-240V AC charger 

PC Software 
Suunto Trek Manager and Suunto Track Exporter

Other 
Weight- 76 g
Operating temperature -20°C – +60°C/-5°F – +140°F
User replaceable straps 
Water resistance 100m/330ft
Selectable metric/imperial units 
Menu-based user interface 
Dot-matrix display 
Backlight type Led
Backlight option for night use 
 
 Suunto X10 – Accessories: The X10 comes with an AC battery charger, PC interface cable, Extension Strap, User’s guide, Pocket “Quick Reference” guide (which came in handy when working the GPS functions), and Software.

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Aside from using the X10 as your day to day watch, the features that hunters may be interested in are as follows:

GPS Navigation Mode: The ability to store up to 50 routes or 500 waypoints makes this watch attractive to those of us that hunt in areas other than our “back 40″.  The included Pocket Guide made it easy to use the Navigation menu and create or recall a route. With the use of the included PC software, you can edit GPS information that you’ve stored in your X10 or create new data using the included interface cable. 

Altitude: The X10 calculates the altitude from the barometric pressure.  Although we really don’t see a direct need for this feature on a NY State hunt, we could see it coming into play on let’s say a hunt in Alaska or the Rockies. 

Barometer: Most hunters that I know of have some sort of barometer in their house that tells them when a pressure change is occurring.  The X10 gives you a trend graph along with a 7 day weather memory.  Not only would this be ideal before and during a hunt, it would allow you to chart pressure trends in your hunting log.  The barometer screen on the X10 also gives you current temperature.  We really liked this set of screen functions!

Compass: The compass mode is another great hunter tool that gives you heading in degrees and cardinal whole and half points (ex. N, Nw ect).  You can lock the bearing and travel to a target location using the compass. The X10 gives you left/right degree deviation to keep you on your course. 

Activity Mode: This is a nice feature that allows you to track and record your current performance in an activity.  The X10 provides you with information on your current speed, distance traveled, time, and the time from the start of your activity.  We thought this might come in handy when training for that upcoming Elk hunt. 

Alarms: Mentioning the time alarm on the X10 is almost boring, so we’ll focus on the cooler of the alarm options.  The X10 can be set to alert you of changes in the weather, altitude and/or barometric pressure.  We told you this thing was cool!

Undoubtedly, we may have missed some of the features and “coolness” of this watch in this review.  If you’re interested in taking a deeper look into the X10, you can visit this cool demonstration of it’s use here

Our Marks on the X10 by Suunto

Quality:  5 out of 5
The X10 is obviously well built to withstand the rigors of outdoor life and it looks good enough to wear as your day to day watch.

Features: 5 out of 5
The features of the X10 are what set this watch on another level above most watches on the market.  They are relatively easy to figure out how to use and are attractive to the avid outdoorsman.

Price: 3 out of 5
This is our only beef with the X10.  With a current price between $450 – $550 (depending on which site you google) the X10 is a little steep for our tastes.  Sure it’s an awesome watch for hunters but I’m not sure the wife would be so easily convinced that I needed all these features.  We’d like to see the price come down a bit.  Having said that, if you’re thinking about buying a GPS unit, you may want to check out the X10 and weigh the options of combining the GPS capabilities of this watch with all of it’s other features. It may be a better deal in the long run. 

Another option to purchase the X10 for all you Ebayers comes directly from the Suunto website. All the ebay auctions for X10s are listed on the right hand side of the screen. 

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