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Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Dual Eyewear Bifocal Sunglasses > Test Report by Kurt Papke

Dual Sunglasses

Test Series by Kurt Papke

Initial Report - February 18, 2012

Field Report - April 24, 2012

Long Term Report - July 3, 2012

Tester Information

Name: Kurt Papke
Age: 58
Gender: Male
Height: 6' 4" (193 cm)
Weight: 235 lbs (107 kg)
Email address: kwpapke at gmail dot com
City, State, Country: Tucson, Arizona USA

My backpacking background is a combination of hiking in Minnesota where I have lived most of my adult life, and Tucson, Arizona where I moved to take a new job about three years ago.  I have found with the brilliant sunshine here I need to wear a hat and sunglasses all day when hiking, especially at high altitudes.  I also need 2.0 diopter reading glasses for close-up work such as reading maps or my GPS, and using the LCD screen on my camera.

Initial Report

Product Information

Manufacturer: Dual Eyewear LLC
Model:
V6
Year of manufacture: 2012
MSRP:
US $ 49.95
Manufacturer website: http://www.dualeyewear.com
Lens material:
polycarbonate
Lens tint/coating:
Smoke gray (color tested)
Brown also available
Frame color:
Gloss black with red temple tips.
Size tested:
Only one size available (medium - large)
Weight:
0.95 oz (27 g), 1.23 oz (35 g) with carrying pouch
No measurements (including weight) were available on the website or supplied packaging & labeling
Closeup diopter:
+1.5 (tested), 2.0 and 2.5 also available
UV spectrum coverage:
100% UVA, UVB, UVC

Dual V6

Photo courtesy Dual Eyewear

Initial Inspection

The sunglasses came in a nice soft carrying pouch - I have found from prior experience with similar pouches that these really keep the lenses from getting scratched when the glasses are slopping around in my hiking pants.
Pouch

PouchI tried them on.  They seem to fit me pretty well, no real pressure on the temples and they rest nicely my nose.  Coverage of my field of vision was excellent: it didn't seem like any direct sunlight was likely to get in my eyes.


Through the lens

When I looked through the lens, the diopter effect was very apparent.  I did notice a slight blur line at the break between the flat lens and the top of the close-up area.  I tried to get a picture of this as shown above - the green arrow points to the blur line.

The manufacturer's website recommends backing off 0.5 diopters from what one normally uses for reading, as many outdoor uses are at a slightly longer distance, e.g. reading a speedometer.  I followed their recommendations.  Indeed, they are a little blurry for close up reading, but work well for material that is arm's length.  I'll see how this pans out for backpacking.

I always have two problems with sunglasses:

  1. The hinges break.  The V6's hinges look pretty robust.
  2. The inside of the lenses get scratched from the temple tips rubbing against the lenses when the hinges are closed.  The good news is these frames are hinged such that the temple tips will not rub unless pressure is held against them while folded.

Initial Use

I wore the Dual sunglasses on a few commutes to work and on several strolls between the buildings where I am employed.  I found the glasses to be very light, comfortable and they kept me from squinting in the Arizona sun.  It was really nice to be able to read the dashboard of my car, the LCD display on a gas pump where I stopped to fill my tank.  The blur line coincides with the dash/windshield border of my Jeep, which is perfect.

Summary

I am excited to use these sunglasses in the field.  My initial experience with them was a pleasant one and I feel good about the prospect of using them on all-day backpacking excursions, though I am a little apprehensive about my ability to adapt to the bifocals and the blur line between the lens areas.  Time and use will tell.

This concludes my Initial Report.

Field Report

Field Conditions

Date
Location
Trail
Distance

Terrain/ trail type
Weather
Altitude range
Feb 24-26, 2012 Organ Pipe National Monument, and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge near Ajo, AZ Charlie Bell
11.5 mi
(18.5 km)
Basalt and granite rock fragments on a Jeep trail Sunny, 50-80 F
(10-27 C)
825-1500 ft
(250-460 m)
March 30-April 1, 2012
Catalina Mountains in the Coronado National Forest near Tucson, Arizona
Romero Canyon
19 mi
(31 km)
Desert valley to high mountain canyons
50-90 F
(10-32 C)
2600-6200 ft
(790-1890 m)
April 20-22, 2012 Rincon Mountains in Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona Miller/ Heartbreak
23 mi
(37 km)
Sky Island ridgelines: from rocky desert canyons to Ponderosa Pine woodlands 40-95 F
(4-35 C)

4240-7920 ft
(1290-2410 m)

Charlie Bell

This was a two-night weekend backpacking trip to Organ Pipe National Monument and the Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge.  It was about a 3-hour drive into the setting sun from my house to Organ Pipe, and I appreciated the performance of the Dual sunglasses in dealing with the glare from my windshield and the ability to read the dashboard as well as a road map while I was driving.

The next day we drove to the trailhead and started hiking in along a Jeep road.

Charlie Bell Pass

As can be seen from the above photo of Charlie Bell Pass, this is pretty unforgiving territory.  The sun is incredibly intense, and there is no shade.  At least the altitude is pretty low.  The Dual glasses provided excellent sun protection for my eyes, and I noticed no distortion from the non-corrective lenses.  I found the "darkness" of the lenses very satisfactory, they worked well for me in the intense Arizona sun.

Overall, I was very pleased with the performance of the Dual glasses on this trip with one exception: the bifocals are distracting during steep descents when I really need to look down at my feet.  I can't quite tilt my head forward quite enough to avoid looking through the lenses, so the ground appears blurry.  I eventually got used to it, but it may take some adaptation to get totally comfortable.

Busted

busted

I wore the Duals to work the following week.  I had them in my pocket during a meeting in the carrying pouch, and when I took them out to put them on for the drive home, lo and behold one of the temple tips broke off.  The red part seems quite flexible, but the black plastic is very rigid, so if any pressure is put on the frames this joint takes all the stress.

I contacted their customer support the next day and requested replacement/repair, and they replied to me in three hours saying they would do so.  That's a quick response!  Three days later I received a note saying the replacement parts had shipped, on day seven the replacements arrived.  One week from e-mail to received/repaired glasses, I'd say that is excellent service!

Romero Canyon

Near Cathedral RockThis was a three-day/two night backpacking trip.  I have day hiked the lower sections of Romero Canyon many times, but never done an overnight there.  It is the closest backpacking trailhead from my home, just 15 minutes away, and I just wanted to get into the backcountry without doing much driving.  In addition to the Romero trail itself, I hiked up to Romero Pass and did a short section of the Arizona Trail south to the Cathedral Rock trail.

The sunshine was brilliant so I wore the duals all the time I was on the trail Friday and Saturday.  Saturday was supposed to come close to breaking a record for high temperatures, so even though I was at some altitude I was sweating profusely, and had to stop frequently to wipe the sweat off the sunglasses.

The Duals performed very well, allowing me to read my GPS, wristwatch, and maps without digging out my reading glasses.  The focus issues on descents continued to be distracting for me, so I did not wear them on the hike out on Sunday morning as it was all downhill and the sun was at my back.

The picture at left is an unflattering image of me wearing the Dual glasses on the trail.  I had just completed a section of the Cathedral Rock trail which was very steep, and I was still panting, hence my mouth gaping wide open on the photo.


Miller/Heartbreak Trails

This hike is a popular traverse of the Eastern slopes of the Rincon Mountains of Saguaro National Park that had been on my radar for some time.  My ascent on Friday afternoon was on the shadow side of the mountains, so that didn't stress the Duals very much.  The descent on Sunday morning was another matter as I was staring right into the desert mountain sun at pretty good altitude.  The following picture shows one of my biggest struggles with sunglasses: sweat dripping down the lenses:

The Drip


The sweat at the bottom of the right lens (left in the picture) is something that recurs every 10 minutes or so after cleaning the lenses on most days.  This problem is not any better or worse with the Dual glasses.

As usual the glasses worked great for ascents in the Rincon Mountains, but I found the bifocals distracting during the long descent on Sunday morning.

Bicycling

I try to get out on my road or mountain bike every weekend.  I have a handlebar mount for my GPS, and it was really sweet to be able to read the screen through the correction lenses!  They were also handy for various chores that I normally have to put my reading glasses on to do: inflate tires, check my watch, etc.  The Dual glasses did a nice job of keeping wind out of my eyes while moving.

Summary

The Dual Sunglasses are fabulous for driving and bicycling.  They work well for me on even or ascending terrain, less well on long descents where I have to look down through the correction part of the bifocals to see the trail.

Kudos:

  • Great customer service: broken temple tips were replaced promptly, no questions asked
  • Good eye protection in bright sunlight
  • Non-corrective lenses did not distort my vision
  • The bifocal lenses helped me to read my GPS, maps, watch and camera screen
  • I have received positive comments on their looks: "cool shades, man!"
  • The glasses sit comfortably on my head: I can wear them all day and not suffer any ill effects

Concerns:

  • Some worries about the strength of the joint that broke
  • The corrective lenses can be disconcerting on descents when I must look down at my feet, and I cannot tilt my head far enough down to avoid looking through them.


Long Term Report

Duals in LucerneThe week of April 30 I headed to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and from there to Lucerne, Switzerland.  The Duals came along for the ride.  I used them when driving, on the train in Switzerland, and during the occasional stroll.

The photo at left shows the glasses in action on the shores of Lake Lucerne with Mount Pilatus in the background.  I wish I could have gotten out and done a little hiking in the Alps, but that was not possible on this business trip.

Busted Part Deux

May 7, I put the Duals into my shirt pocket to walk out of the office and to my car.  Snap!  The left temple tips broke at precisely the same spot as the right ones.  Fortunately when the first ones broke Customer Service sent me a complete set, so I have a spare.  I'm thinking about not trying to wear these every single day as I have been, they just seem too fragile.  Perhaps I should reserve them for bicycling and backpacking/hiking trips.


Field Conditions

Date
Location
Trail
Distance

Terrain/ trail type
Weather
Altitude range
May 28, 2012 Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Mountains Finger Rock
6 mi
(9.7 km)
Very steep high desert canyon Sunny, 62-84F (17-29 C), 7-15% RH 3100-5465 ft
(945-1666 m)
June 21-23, 2012 San Francisco Peaks in the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff, Arizona Mt Humphreys
25.6 mi
(41.2 km)
Forests to mountain peak tundra Sunny, 50-80 F
(10-27 F)
8050-12562 ft
(2450-3830 m)

Finger Rock Trail

This was a morning conditioning day hike up one of the most challenging canyons in the Tucson area.  I was working hard enough on the ascent that sweat from my face was constantly dripping into and running down the glasses.  This happens to me with every pair I have worn -- someday I hope a company will come up with a design or technology that actually prevents this.  Other than that, the sunglasses worked just fine.  I think I am finally getting used to the bifocals during descents, as it didn't seem to bother me quite as much on this hike despite the steep terrain.

Busted for the Last Time?

Busted yet again


The day after my Finger Rock hike I was going to put on the Dual glasses to drive to dinner, and noticed an odd gap (see above photo).  At first I thought maybe the screw came loose, but no, alas, they were busted again.  I cannot imagine what I did to them on the hike - I never even had them in my pocket.  They were either on my eyes, or placed up on my hat.

After some correspondence with Customer Service I mailed them back to Dual for replacement.  When they received the return, they e-mailed me and said the pair I sent back were the 2.5 diopter lens, would I like to replace with them with the same or the 1.5 that I specified?  I was a bit puzzled because I was sure they were 1.5, but I thought they knew better than I did and asked them to please replace the glasses with the same model as I returned.  When they arrived, I noticed immediately when I put them on that the lens was much stronger than the original pair.  Sigh.

Mt Humphreys

Duals at Mt HumphreysThis was a 3-day 2-night backpacking loop hike consisting of the Kachina, Mt Humphreys and Weatherford trails in the San Francisco Peaks, including a summit of Mt Humphreys.  We were hiking at pretty good altitude, so a protective pair of sunglasses were very important to me on this trip.

The photo at left shows the Duals in action on the Weatherford trail.  About 2 hours earlier we were at the peak of the mountain in the background, where the glasses did a great job of protecting my eyes from the fierce sunlight at that altitude.  I continue to like the tint and clarity of these glasses.

On the way down the mountain the Dual lenses did not bother me as much as some prior hikes, despite the higher magnification.  I think it is because the descent trail is an old roadbed, so it was a very gentle grade with few of the big "steps" that I am used to having to navigate in the canyons I often hike.  I didn't have to focus so much on foot placement, so I was able to look up more out of the non-corrective part of the lenses.

During the 5-hour drive home from the trail I wore the Duals in the car.  Contrary to my prior experience, with the higher magnification the dashboard was too far away and was blurry when looking through the corrective lens.  I certainly concur with the recommendation from the Dual website to go with under-correction when selecting the diopter.


Summary

I like the ability to see my watch, GPS or camera screen when on the trail with the Dual sunglasses, but I have lost all confidence in their durability.  When I am packing in the backcountry my sunglasses are an essential element of my kit, and I cannot afford to be unable to wear them due to breakage.

I think the Dual glasses are an excellent choice when cycling and driving, and I will continue to use them for that purpose despite the lens correction being too strong with the replacement glasses.

I do concur with the advice on their website to select a lens strength slightly lower than used for reading -- it makes a huge difference when staring at the ground, or even when looking at the dashboard of my car.


Many thanks to Dual Eyewear and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.



Read more reviews of Dual Eyewear gear
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Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Dual Eyewear Bifocal Sunglasses > Test Report by Kurt Papke



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