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I gave up buying expensive sunglasses years ago, when I kept losing them. But I do care about getting good protection. Fortunately, having shepherded at least four different sunglass tests onto the pages of Practical Sailor, I’ve learned that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a good pair of shades that will protect your eyes and meet nearly all of your on-the water needs. With summer in full swing I thought a summary of our past findings would be helpful for those of you who—like me—just watched as another pair of drug store sunglasses descended into the murk beneath your boat slip.
Practical Sailor ran field tests and lab tests on dozens of polarized sunglasses ranging from cheap to high-end products, including those popular for watersports eyewear. Field tests included wearing the products for eyeball navigation in shoal waters and assessing glare, color brightness, sharpness, fit, peripheral vision, and any interference with reading LCD screens or charts. Sunglasses that did well in field tests, and a few that did poorly, were sent to Pacific University College of Optometry, where they were tested in the lab for lens warpage, prismatic effect, tint, and resolution. The test field included polarized glasses from Bolle, Costa Del Mar, Gill, Harken, Hobie, Kaenon, Maui Jim, Oakley, and Nike.
The importance of quality eyeware was publicly manifested by the Navy Air Corps in 1951 when it commissioned Bausch and Lomb to begin developing...
We prefer Maui Jim, but Oakley and Costa Del Mar also fare well in our test of 19 pairs from eight manufacturers.
Only a few sunglasses manufacturers featured in last summers test (July 2009) offer childrens sunglasses, and those shades are usually just scaled down versions of the adult kind. After experimenting with several different styles for kids ages 3-13, we found that the younger children, ages 7 and under, were a tough bunch to fit. Harder still were kids ages 3 and under. Uncomfortable ear pieces were a common complaint.
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One of the reason we pay premium for brand-name products is the expectation that if something goes wrong, wed get outstanding support. Some U.S. companies (think Buck knives) have built their reputations on their lifetime warranties. But in the global economy, when brands are sold and resold, it is getting harder and harder to obtain good warranty support.
More on Leaky PortlightsThis letter is in response to the leaky portlights letter in the May 1 PS Advisor. I have 11 Beckson portlights...
With its excellent user interface and large display, the Raymarine C120 squeaks by Furuno's GP1900C in a test of four big-screen units.
Has Practical Sailor reviewed sunglasses since the 2009 article? The feature wed really like to have is to be able to read our chartplotters screen without removing sunglasses. A review of that particular feature would be extremely helpful.