Eyewear for the Avid Outdoorsman II

Eyewear for the Outdoorsman II

Two years ago, we reviewed several brands of protective eyewear for serious outdoorsmen and picked a few of our favorites.  We’re back at it again with a few new brands and what we feel are more stylish offerings.  We basically looked for two components in our review this time around in terms of style and safety standards (while of course taking into consideration quality and affordability).  While all of the glasses below meet or exceed the safety standards, the styles are up to your interpretation. Here’s a look at the lineup and what we thought.  If you see anything you like, simply click on the name or picture and check them out further!

Edge Eyewear (www.edge-eyewear.com)

First off, the price and the fact that we can acquire these at our local hardware store have these leading off the review.  We like that Edge Eyewear has a million different styles to choose from.  Ok, not really a million but check out the variety offered on their site and you’ll see what we mean.  The two styles that we tested were the BRAZEAU and the RECLUS.  Both were stylish and functioned well on the safety side of things.  The wrap-around style of both of these models fit perfectly on our domes and the overall quality of the frames seem to hold up to our abuse.  Because the sides of the frames fit so nicely on us, there was less of an issue with fit of the nosepiece, which is usually the issue for us (as you will see below).  Overall, the affordability, variety of lenses offered, and documented compliance with the ANSI Z87.1 2003 standard makes these shades literally a “safe bet” for all your outdoor activities!

BRAZEAU (Pictured on Left): Rubber incorporated into the frame makes these grip the head and stay in place.  The silver acsents on the sides of the frame make these really stand out.  Offered in a variety of lenses, the polarized models take the cake!

RECLUS (Pictured on Right): Similar to the Brazeau models, the Reclus is a smaller frame with a little less rubber incorporated into it.

5.11 Tactical (www.511tactical.com)

This company is one of the coolest out there and has way more than just tactical sunglasses.  From boots and gloves, to knives and bags, 5.11 Tactical has some of the best quality gear on the market.  Their eyewear is no different.  All the styles of glasses that we tried were superior in quality, performance and style.  Although the fit of the different styles varied on our particular faces, it wouldn’t be too hard to find the right pair for your taste.  We have small to medium sized faces and our favorite hands down was the Climb model.  The wrap around style of these glasses fit our faces the best and held up to any abuse we gave them. These glasses have a variety of lenses associated with them and some come with more than just one pair of lenses.  They are easy to change and we didn’t feel like we were going to break the frame while doing so (like with some of the others we’ve tested over the years). All of these glasses exceed the ANSI Z87.1 2003 standard and are used by military and law enforcement all over the globe (how’s that for an endorsement!).  Another nice feature on the 5.11 eyewear is the zippered belt-loop case that you get with each pair as well as a neck strap and cleaning bag.  I would love to see more of a rubber gripping “Nosepiece” that is more “adjustable” associated with these glasses but they are all a classy black color and made specifically for 5.11 by Wiley X so you can’t go wrong with these!  We tested the following models:

ASCEND: A very stylish model with an adjustable nosepiece.  Rubber incorporated into the frame to grip the sides of your head.  A very well made product.  The nosepiece was “adjustable”, but only to a point.

RAID: These are reminiscent of the Oakley “M-frame” look and have little rubber bumps on the inside of the temple part of the frame to keep the glasses in place. A nice feature for sure.  Our only issue with these was that the nosepiece seemed a little too high.  The bottom of the lenses rested on the upper part of our cheeks to hold the glasses in place rather than the nose piece resting on our nose.  We could see this being an issue with prolonged wear.  However, they seemed to fit fine on some of the other people we had try them.

DEFLECT:  The frame on these was more of a flat black finish and was a “half-frame” with the lenses exposed on the bottom.   Nosepiece on these was also “adjustable” to a point.

CLIMB: Easily our favorite model of all the glasses tested in this review.  Very Cool design and wrapped around the head nicely.  Would love to see the Ascend’s nosepiece on this model, but our pick for the most stylish!

After further investigation on 5.11, we learned that their eyewear exceeds the European standard for safety eyewear- EN 166 (F). It’s not widely recognized in the USA but certain aspects of this test are more challenging than the US ANSI Z87.1-2003. Also, while the strap on the back of each eyewear case is great for mounting on a belt, it’s claim to fame is that it is the only MOLLE-compatible (found on tactical & military equipment) protective eyewear case provided with safety eyewear.  5.11 also offers a couple of other models of eyewear on their site that we didn’t test. You can check them out HERE!

Radians (www.radians.com)

This is our first experience with this company but they offer a wide variety of protective gear including eyewear, headgear and hearing protection. Besides the price (very affordable for the nice quality), we found two unique things about this company in terms of their eyewear:  1. They offer their eyewear branded with three companies that Outdoorsman are no doubt familiar with (Dewalt, Remington and Black & Decker) and 2. They offer eyewear and hearing protection bundled in a “Performance Kit” that we found extremely useful at the range.  As with the two companies above, all of the Radians eyewear meets or exceeds the ANSI Z87.1+ standards so this company is definitely worth checking into for your protective needs.  We tested the following models:

POLARIZED ADRENALINE (Pictured on left): These extremely lightweight glasses are made of aluminum alloy with reversible hinges.  They are very durable and do a great job of blocking glare.  The nosepiece was quite adjustable and they came with a hard case and neck strap.  Probably our favorite models in Radians lineup.

CAMO REVELATION (Pictured on Right): More of a traditional shooting or safety glasses, the adjustable nature on these glasses made these lightweight frames very comfortable.  The perforated nosepiece was the best in the whole review and allowed these glasses to just “sit” on our face with the only other contact point being above our ears.  They were by far the most comfortable.

PERFORMANCE KIT (Pictured at Top): This is an all in one kit for the shooting range.  Not only do you get the fully adjustable Revelation model glasses (mentioned above), you also get the Silencer 26 model ear muffs with extremely soft padded ear cups.  Combine the comfort of the Revelation glasses with the padding of the Silencer 26 ear muffs and you’re ready for a long day at the shooting range.

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