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Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Costa Del Mar Tag580P Sunglasses > Test Report by Gail Staisil

Costa Del Mar
Tag 580P
Sunglasses
Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan

Page Contents:

Initial Report:author
June 19, 2011

Tester Information

Name: Gail Staisil
Age: 58
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 145 lb (66 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com

For the last 19 years, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.

Product Information

Manufacturer
Costa Del Mar
Website http://www.costadelmar.com
Model Tag 580P
Color of Frame
Silver
Lenses
Gray 580 P (polycarbonate), ML eye coverage
Frame Fit 
Fits small faces
Manufacturer  Weight  NA
Tested Weight  Sunglasses: 1.0 oz (28.35 g), case 1.9 oz (54 g)
Model Year 2011
MSRP $169.00

Initial Impressions and Product Description 
Costa Del Mar Tag 580P Sunglasses

The Costa Tag Sunglasses arrived in great condition in the requested color of silver with gray polycarbonate lenses. The glasses were encased in a durable semi-hard shell holder where they should be stored when not worn. This particular style of sunglasses is also available in three different frame colors and a host of lenses including both glass (copper, gray, and blue, green and silver mirror) and polycarbonate (amber, copper and gray) selections. They can also be fitted with prescription lenses.

 

Design and Technical Features

As stated above the glasses I received are fitted with gray lenses. Gray lenses are a common all-around choice for sports on land or water. Based on the manufacturer's description, many of the other types of lenses are more specific to certain conditions with many pertaining to water (open and inshore). In my opinion gray would most likely be chosen by many backpackers depending on their environment.

The glasses have hinges with corrosion-resistant stainless steel. The integrated or non-removable nose pad has a silicone grip.

The 580P lenses are glare-resistant polarized glasses made out of polycarbonate. They have a proprietary coating called C-WALL. This reportedly anti-reflective durable coating is a molecular bonding process with an oleophobic and hydrophobic hard coating that repels water, oil, dust and scratches.

The lenses are lightweight and impact resistant. They meet or exceed many ANSI (American National Standar
ds Institute) regulations.

What makes these lenses special? The 580P lenses eliminate much of the yellow light while raising the red, blue and green areas in light transmission. This is patented by the company. This reportedly offers purer vision, deeper colors and sharper contrast. The lense color is no fade and offers a 100 percent protective ultraviolet ray shield.

 
Trying Them ON:

Glasses in protective case
The Costa Tag Sunglasses fit me perfectly. The frames are marketed for those with small faces which normally means the measurement of the temple area is about 5 in (12.70 cm) or less. This measurement is my own having experienced a problem finding frames to fit through the years. However the lenses themselves have medium-to-large coverage over the eyes. I am looking forward to having more coverage over my eyes for more sun protection as most of my sunglasses have had much smaller lenses.

The sunglasses were easy enough to try on. The temple ear pieces have Hydrolite inserts. Hydrolite is a rubberized composite compound that is fused into the frame of the glasses. It allows the frame to grip the ears and temple so that the glasses stay in place. The earp
ieces are flexible so that they can adapt to my head. The ear pieces taper in width from the temple back towards the ears.

The website says that each pair of Costa sunglasses are hand built in Florida, USA. Inside one of the temple pieces it says "CE TAIWAN 10", not sure if that is possibly where the materials are from.

 

Care

Side view
The glasses have a lifetime guarantee against manufacturing defects. Care is simple enough. They should be cleaned with a neutral dishwashing liquid such as Dawn (PH 6.5) or a lens cleaning solution. A premium micro fiber cloth is the best option for drying.

An important consideration suggested by the manufacturer is that to protect the anti-reflective coating, the sunglasses should not be subject to a PH higher than 8 or lower than 6 (hence the suggestions for type of cleaner).

The sunglasses should be stored in their protective case when not in use and they should not be stored in an area exposed to extreme temperatures. The manufacturer also suggests tightening the screws if they are loose and not to buff any scratched areas as the latter would distort vision.
 
I'm looking forward to wearing the Costa Tag 580P Sunglasses over the next four months during many backcountry pursuits. 

First photo of Costa Tag 580P Sunglasses is courtesy of the manufacturer

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Field Report:

August 25, 2011

USA Locations and Conditions

During the field test period, I have worn the Costa Del Mar Tag 580P Sunglasses on a daily basis. Besides two backpacking trips totaling 14 days, I have also worn them during mountain biking, day hiking, trail running and sea kayaking. Locations in Michigan, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Maine, USA ranged from and included boreal and deciduous forest communities, islands and rocky mountainous terrain. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to over 5,000 ft (1500 m).


Late June-Early July Backpacking Trip

Location: Isle Royale National Park - Michigan, USA
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance:  49.5 mi (80 km)
Length of Trip: 8 days/8 nights
Pack Weight: 30 lb/13.6 kg(including 2 qt/1.89 l of water) 
Sky and Air Conditions: Mostly cloudy, rain, and sun
Precipitation: 1.53 in (3.89 cm) rain
Temperature Range: 49 F (9 C) to 82 F (28 C) 


August Backpacking Trip

Location: White Mountains National Forest, New Hampshire, USA
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 32 mi (52 km)
Length of Trip: 6 days/5 nights
Pack Weight: 20 lb (9 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, rain, fog and sun
Precipitation: 0.55 in (1.40 cm) rain
Temperature Range: 45 F (7 C) to 84 F (29 C)


Day Activities

Activities:
Mountain biking, day hiking, trail running, and sea kayaking
Distance:
Not measured but most activities ran 2 hrs to 4 hrs, some longer.

 


Performance in the Field
Tester wearing Costas during 8 day trek at Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
The Costa Tag Sunglasses had arrived not long before an extended backpacking trip. I was able to wear them a few days before the trip for mountain biking and trail running and noted that they were comfortable and allowed good light transmission in the woods.

That gave me the confidence to bring them as my only pair of sunglasses during the backcountry trip of 8 days to Isle Royale National Park in Michigan, USA.

I knew that I would be experiencing a variety of conditions as I would be in and out of deep forest as well as along stretches of exposed ridge line. I also would be hiking and camping by many inland lakes on the island as well as hiking the coast itself.

The glasses performed beautifully on that first trip and thereafter. My eyes never seem tired while wearing them and I didn't squint even though the sun is often bright. I have often worn them in combination with a sun hat but they have also been worn in bright light without a hat.

People have asked me what makes these glasses different. I have mentioned that the lenses take the yellow light out and this seems to make a huge difference in clarity. Many friends have asked to try them on and they also took note of the difference.
Tester backpacking in the White Mts, New Hampshire
The glasses fit comfortably on my face even while I am heavily sweating. That has often occurred this season with higher temps than normal. When I bend over to tie my shoes or whatever other task, the glasses stay in place and do not attempt to slide down.

The nose piece is very comfortable as well as the ear pieces. On rare occasions I have lifted the glasses to sit on the top of my head and they hav
e stayed there until I was ready to wear them again. The glasses are so lightweight I barely realize they are on my face.

For non-trail usage such as driving I have appreciated the great eye coverage and the fact that the frames don't get in the way of my line of
vision. I recently ventured out east for a six-day backpacking trip to the White Mountains in New Hampshire, USA. After I took a plane there, my sister drove the rental car through a couple of states while I navigated the old fashioned way with state maps and compass. Since I needed both reading glasses and sun glasses to figure out where we should be heading, I put the Costas right over a pair of small reading glasses and it worked just fine. Of course I continued to wear the Costas during my entire backpacking trip in conditions that were from sunny to foggy. Much of the trail was very exposed being above treeline.

I have also worn the glasses for mountain biking. The glasses nest nicely with the side straps of my helmet and they have provided great coverage for my eyes. Biking in and out of shadows in the forest hasn't been a concern as my eyes have adjusted nicely while wearing the Costas. Ditto for trail running.
  
Wearing the Costa Tag 580P while sea kayaking
Near the end of the field test period I participated in a four-day sea kayaking symposium on Lake Superior (Munising, Michigan, USA). Most days I was on the water about five hours and outdoors on the beach for additional training hours.

I did wear a sun hat in combination with the glasses but was pleased with the exceptional vision and lack of eye strain. It was neat to see into the depth of the water for any obstacles that might occur. We were often doing classes close to shore so it gave me the perception I needed to not bottom out or to kayak out deep enough to do a wet exit or other feats comfortably.

When I am not wearing the sunglasses, I have stored them in the provided case. It is especially handy during backpacking trips as I have a safe place to store them until morning.

During all of these activities I experienced temps from near freezing (32 F/0 C) to the low 90's F (33 -35 C). It's actually been a hotter summer than norm here and everywhere I've traveled.


I haven't had any issues with durability or care so far. I wipe them with a small microfiber cloth when needed and have used mild dish soap to clean them when necessary.



General Thoughts on Performance

Overall I have been really pleased with the Costa Tag 580P Sunglasses. My eyes are very sensitive to light and I wear sunglasses in most outdoor conditions. I like how the glasses protect my eyes by having great peripheral coverage. Even though the glasses fit well I have had to get used to liking the appearance of the glasses on my face. (I am used to small lenses on all my glasses so this is just a cosmetic or appearance thing). I am happy to say that I have adjusted readily as the extra protection benefit, and the great clarity are a bonus to me.
 
Last photo courtesy of Bill Thompson

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Long Term Report:

October 29, 2011

USA Locations and Conditions

During the long term test period, I have worn the Costa Tag Sunglasses every day while outdoors. Backpacking usage totaled 16 days during this period alone. Locations were all in Michigan and Wisconsin, USA and terrain ranged from and included hilly boreal and deciduous forest communities on islands as well as the mainland. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to nearly 2000 ft (610 m).

Early September Backpacking Trip

Location: Grand Island National Recreation Area
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 12 mi (19 km)
Length of Trip: 2.5 days/2 nights
Pack Weight: 18 lb (8 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny, cloudy, little rain
Precipitation: 0.10 in (0.25 cm)
Temperature Range: 60 F to 85 F (15 C to 29 C)


September Backpacking Trip

Location: Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 112.5 mi (181 km)
Length of Trip: 13 days/13 nights 
Pack Weight: 34 lb (15 kg) with 2 qt/1.89 L water for first part of trip, approximately 36 lb (16 kg) with 2 qt/1.89 L water after I secured food drop for second part of trip
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, sun, rain, fog and heavy frost 
Precipitation: 1.11 in (2.82 cm)
Temperature Range: 25 F to 86 F (-4 C to 30 C)


Day Hiking, Trail Running, Mt Biking and More

Location: Various trails and bushwhacks in Houghton and Marquette Counties in Michigan, Sheboygan and Fond du Lac Counties in Wisconsin, USA
 Distance: Normally 5 -15 mi (8 - 24 km)


Performance in the Field
Costas under hat
During the Long Term Test Period I continued to wear the Costa Tag Sunglasses on every outing. This not only included my sports activities but also for driving and virtually anytime that I was outside. I am still smitten with these comfortable and light weight glasses and really there is nothing that has changed my opinion of them. I continue to wear them often with a brimmed hat and at other times without.

The lenses have worked in all light conditions. I have sensitive eyes so I even wear them when there is absolutely no sun (which happens often here). Many of my other glasses haven't worked nearly as well in low light conditions. I love the fact that in changing light conditions there is virtually no adjustment or discomfort to my eyes when the cloudy skies are suddenly bright.

I have also worn them during light rain with no issues. The lenses haven't fogged although of course the outside of the lenses were wet from precipitation.


Durability
Author wearing the Costa Tag Sunglasses during long backpacking trip
Recently while hiking on a gloomy day near a series of waterfalls, I rested the Costas on top of my hat while I took a relaxing break. I forgot they were there, resumed hiking and thirty seconds later immediately hit a tree branch hard resulting in the glasses falling off and hitting an escarpment of rock. I cringed but when I looked at my glasses there didn't seem to be any evidence of damage. I was so relieved! Their durability has exceeded my expectations. I continue to store the glasses in the sturdy case when not in use.

In conclusion I love the Costa Tag 580P Sunglasses. They have performed well not only protecting my eyes but allowing for super clear vision. I look forward to wearing them for a very long time.
 

Pros
  • Great clarity
  • Comfortable frames
  • Lightweight
  • Great eye coverage
  • Sturdy glass case
 
Cons 
  • None :)

Tester Remarks 

Thanks to Costa and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity to test the Tag 580P Sunglasses. This concludes my Long Term Report and the test series. 
 

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