8 Great Sunglasses for Backpackers

8 Great Sunglasses for Backpackers

8 Great Sunglasses for Backpackers


While on the trail, it’s essential to protect your eyes. In addition to protecting your skin, your head, your body, and yourself from danger, many forget that the eyes need to be just as protected. For those who wear glasses and even those who don’t, there’s plenty of eyewear out there that will keep your eyes shielded from the sun, while still being able to see properly.  

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Before You Choose:

Before you just choose any old pair off the rack, it’s important to know what kinds of glasses there are to choose from. You can go for casual glasses, sports glasses/goggles, or glacier/mountaineering glasses/goggles. All three protect your eyes, but sports glasses and glacier glasses are specifically designed for those environments where the sun is more intense, whereas casual glasses are for simpler endeavors.

Once you decide which kind you’ll need based on where you’re going, then it’s important to know what type of lenses are out there. Most hikers go for polarized lenses, which help reduce glare. There’s also photochromic lenses, which adjust to the light conditions as you move, as well as interchangeable lenses where you can change the lenses to different colors based on where you are and what you desire.

Beyond that, there’s of course other features, like the lens coating, the type of glass, the shape of the lenses, and how it feels when it wraps around your head. Ask an optician for help, especially if you already wear glasses or need extra care for your eyes.

Proof Ontario Wood Sunglasses

The Proof Ontario Wood Sunglasses are a great option for those in need of a casual pair. The bamboo frames are light enough that you won’t even feel them on your head, though you’ll be happy to show them off. The lenses are polarized, and you can customize your pair based on what you like.

Price: $100

Julbo Venturi Sunglasses

Julbo makes a lot of great glasses and goggles for the outdoors, and the Venturi sunglasses are a good pick. These glasses use the photochromic lenses mentioned, meaning that they adjust quickly to various conditions where the sun may be stronger or weaker. If you’re a dedicated backpacker, the strong material on the lenses will last you a very long time.

Price: $180

Kaenon Burnet Black Label Polarized G12 Sunglasses

What makes these Kaenon glasses so ideal are the lenses, which are made of glass and are of course, polarized. This means that the wearer gets to see everything crisp as daylight, and the tint protects your eyes so nothing gets in the way of your gorgeous mountain-top view. Additionally, the style of the glasses is pretty retro and sporty, so you don’t have to feel too awkward wearing them.

Price: $175

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Rivbos 805 Polarized Sports Glasses

These Rivbos glasses come with a set of 5 interchangeable lenses based on the type of outdoor activities you’re going to be doing. They’re made with poly-carbonate frames which are shatterproof, in case you’re going to be anywhere where little rocks might be falling or you tend to drop things a lot. They work great in any weather condition, and the polarized lenses block out the sun when it’s brightest.

Price: $20

Spy Targa 3

If you’re planning on hiking high slopes up to snowy peaks, it’s important to keep in mind that the sun is much brighter in higher altitudes, and the powerful winds can be harmful to your eyes. Therefore, a good pair of mountaineering goggles like the Spy Targa 3 provides great protection at a good value. The lenses will deflect the glare away from your eyes, and the flexible fit will mount comfortably to your face. There’s tons of colors to choose from, too!

Price: $55

Optic Nerve Amino

If you’re a power-through hiker or rock climber, then you don’t have time for dust getting in your eyes or anything else getting in your way. The Optic Nerve Amino will ensure that your eyes stay protected in any condition, due to the hydrophobic coating. There’s interchangeable lenses you can switch up depending on what color is more ideal for your environment. Seriously; water, dirt, dust, oil, snow; you name it, it’s not getting past these babies, which will allow you to see wonderfully.

Price: $109

Spy Optic Screw

The Spy Optic Screw glasses are ideal for someone who hikes all year round. The lenses have 100% UV protection, and will block out the sun no matter how bright it is in the sky. The frames are shatter-resistant and you can buy interchangeable lenses to customize to your wants and needs.

Price: $150

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Rudy Project Rydon Running and Cycling Sunglasses

Though you may not quite be using them for running and cycling, the Rydon has gotten great reviews for its reliability, longevity, and its sleek style. They come with photochromic lenses that can transition from clear to black, and though they are a bit more pricey, you’ll never have to get another pair again.

Price: $275

These are just a few of the many options out there for protective eyewear. Feel free to explore all options before making a choice, and let us know if you have a favorite!

hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.