When it comes to hiking we all know that we need a good pair of boots, a high-quality sunscreen and a backpack that holds all of the essentials.
However we often neglect one of the most important things we need when hiking.
Yes whether it’s a day trip or a multi-day trip, you also need a great pair of sunglasses.
Filtering out the harmful UV Rays whilst you’re outdoors is key to protecting your eyes and ensuring they stay healthy. With only one pair of eyes, we need to invest in protecting them for life.
Choosing the best sunglasses for hiking is therefore a must, so here’s 7 great tips to help you find the perfect pair.
#1 Select Lightweight Frames
The best sunglasses for hiking will be lightweight, which means choosing a pair with a plastic frame is one of the best options.
There’s nothing worse than having something heavy on your face when you’re hot and exerting a lot of energy anyway, so a lightweight frame is particularly useful when being active.
#2. Ensure Durability
Plastic frames will also be able to handle a little wear and tear as well.
This is especially crucial if you are embarking on a long or difficult hike where you have a greater risk of damaging your sunglasses.
Being left to squint into the sun is probably one of the worst things that can happen to you when you’re in the great outdoors, so make sure you pick a pair of sunglasses that are going to withstand your level of activity.
#3 Comfort is Key
Plastic frames are also known for being more comfortable. This is, of course, crucial when trying to find the best pair of sunglasses for hiking.
There is nothing worse than being distracted by something else when you are trying to enjoy your hike, and if your feet are likely to get sore, you don’t want your glasses irritating your face as well!
#4 Choose Polarized Lenses
Another great tip when it comes to choosing the best sunglasses for hiking is to buy some with polarized lenses, which will protect your eyes from the glare off rocks, snow, sand and water.
The harshness of the sun’s glare can make your eyes feel strained and give you a headache, so it’s a good idea to get polarized lenses to make sure that your whole experience is that bit more enjoyable!
The Salice CSpeed Polarised sunglasses are one of the best sunglasses for hiking, with lenses that are scratch resistant, water repellant and dust repellant.
#5 Pay Attention to UV Ratings
It’s also important to pay attention to the UV and UVB rating of your hiking sunglasses.
Lenses are rated from 0-4, with the recommended rating to choose being 3-4; these block the most UV rays and give your eyes the most protection.
I’ve included a full breakdown of UV ratings at the bottom of the article, because I know it can difficult to judge what will work best for you and your lifestyle.
#6 Go for Scratch Resistant
Having lenses that are scratch resistant is essential if you want your hiking sunglasses to survive a few hard knocks.
The Julbo RACE 2.0 polarized have great UV protection. They
They are also impact-resistant, making them great if you want high-quality protection. These guys will definitely last you more than
These guys will definitely last you more than one weekend hiking trip so they are a good buy long term too!
#7 Feel the Curve
When choosing the best sunglasses for hiking, it’s also important to pay attention to the shape of your face.
The perfect frame shape for your sunglasses are ones that curve slightly to your face, as this will be more comfortable and offer you added protection from the sides.
It is also worth mentioning that choosing a pair of sunglasses that have a wraparound frame will also increase the sun protection from the sides, your comfort and their ability to stay on whilst you explore new hiking trails.
The Oakley OO9011 FLAK JACKET XLJ tick all the boxes when it comes to the best sunglasses for hiking and also have high-grade polycarbonate lenses which are both lightweight and durable.
So to sum it up…
7 Tips for Picking the Best Sunglasses for Hiking:
- Lightweight // Look for acetate or plastic frames that will be lightweight and durable
- Durable // Plastic and acetate frames will also handle being dropped a bit better!
- Comfortable // Choose frames that fit your face lightly comfortably – you are going to be wearing them a lot
- Polarized Lenses // These are a great investment for hiking sunglasses as they reduce harsh glares and protect your eyes long term
- UV Protection // Look for sunnies which have a high UV protection rating and block both UV and UVB rays. Lenses are rated from 0 – 4, it’s recommended that you choose lenses with a rating of 3 or 4 as they provide the best protection
- Scratch Resistant // It’s a good idea to pick sunglasses that have scratch resistant coating as they’ll survive the general wear and tear of hiking better
- Curve // Try and pick a pair of sunnies where the frame curves slightly – wraparound sunglasses are the best for active pursuits
Lens Category 0
These lenses let in 80-100% of UV light, thus they are not a practical solution for protecting your eyes. They are generally fashion lenses, suitable for cloudy and overcast days with little sunshine.
Lens Category 1
Let in around 43-80% of UV light and are also likely to be fashion lenses, rather than practical sunglasses for active wear. Cloudy or overcast days with low sun exposure are the best place to wear these lenses.
Lens Category 2
Let in around 18-43% of UV light and are suitable for days that are partially cloudy, with not too much sun exposure.
Lens Category 3
These lenses let in 8-18% of UV light and are your ideal choice for protection against strong sunlight. Making them great for day to day use, driving, hiking and bright, sunny days.
Lens Category 4
Let in 3-8% of UV light and are the darkest lenses available, they offer the highest amount of UV protection but are not perfect for everyday use. They should only be used in extremely sunny conditions, for example, at high altitudes or at sea, they are not meant for use whilst driving.
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So those are my 7 great tips to help you choose the best sunglasses for hiking.
Do you have any to add?
What are your favourite sunglasses for hiking?