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Backpacker Magazine – August 2012

Gear Review: Smith Gibson

Frontcountry looks meet backcountry performance with these shades.

by: Kelly Bastone and Kristy Holland

Photo Courtesy
Photo Courtesy

[go-anywhere style]
“Frontcountry looks, meet backcountry performance,” says a tester who reports that the polarized lenses cut glare and prevented eyestrain during blazing, blue-sky hikes in Colorado National Monument. The ultralight plastic frame flexes (instead of breaking) when squished in a pack. Hydrophobic nose and temple pads get stickier as you get sweatier, so they lock the frames firmly in place on hot, hard-effort days. Testers offered props for optical sharpness; the brown-tinted polycarbonate lenses are curved (like your retina) and tapered (thinner near the edges) to reduce distortion. Downside: Without anti-fog coatings on the lens or vents cut into the full-coverage frame, they steam up during stop-and-go hikes in temps below 40℉.

> Price $119
> Weight 1.8 oz.
> VLT 15%
> Info

See the Light Use the VLT* percentage to choose the right lens. Less than 8 percent is ideal for open water, above treeline, and on snow; 9 to 18 percent is an all-purpose range; higher VLTs are best for low light, like overcast days and rainforest.

*VLT Visible Light Transmission = how much light passes through a lens

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Michael Reynoso
Aug 14, 2012

I am a current subscriber and really like Backpacker Magazine. I do find it appalling that paper subscribers have to pay for a second subscription to get the publication on their iPad. Are you doing anything about that.. I know I'm not the only one that knows you should.


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