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Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Maui Jim Ho okipa Sunglasses > Owner Review by Greg McDonald

July 07, 2008


NAME: Greg McDonald
EMAIL: gdm320 AT yahoo DOT com
AGE: 21
LOCATION: Boynton Beach, Florida
HEIGHT: 6' 0" (1.83 m)
WEIGHT: 225 lb (102.00 kg)

I have been camping for 15 years, 11 of them have been spent hiking in the backcountry. My hikes are almost exclusively in Florida and generally range between one and three nights. My all-time favorite hike was a 10 day expedition in the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimmaron, New Mexico. I consider myself a lightweight but comfortably equipped hiker, with a pack averaging between 25 and 30 lb (11 and 14 kg).

Product Information

Photo Courtesy of Maui Jim
Maui Jim Ho'Okipa Sunglasses

Manufacturer: Maui Jim
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US $159.00
Measured Weight: 0.6 oz (18 g)
Frame Color: Gloss Black (Also available in Tortoise)
Frame Material: Grilamid
Lens Color/Hue: Neutral Grey (Also available in Maui Rose and HCL Bronze)
Lens Material: Clearshell coated polycarbonate
Polarized?: Yes
Prescription Available?: Yes
Recommended for round, oval, pear, or diamond face shapes.

Description and Features

The Maui Jim Ho'Okipa sunglasses are a very lightweight and extremely durable pair of glasses from Maui Jim's "MJ Sport" line.

The glasses have impact resistant polycarbonate lenses, mine are the Neutral Grey color but they are also available in Maui Rose and HCL Bronze. To increase durability the inner and outer sides of the lenses are coated with Clearshell, a Maui Jim proprietary scratch resistant silicon-based hard shell coating to protect the lenses from both major and micro scratches.

The lenses also sport Maui Jim's Polarized Plus 2 treatment, which blocks 100% of UVA, UVB, and UVC light up to 400 nm. According to Maui Jim, the polarization filter and bi-gradient mirror filters out 99.9% of direct and reflected glare. The inside of the lenses have MJ's Anti-Reflection treatment which absorbs what is called bounce back glare, which is glare that comes in from from the sides or from behind the wearer.

The frames made of the extremely flexible, durable, and lightweight Maui Jim proprietary material Grilamid. The nose cushions are contoured and rubberized. The Ho'Okipas are semi-rimless, with a narrow frame running across the top on the back side of the lenses with a thin nose bridge. The arms are of the hinged variety, and taper from thick on the ends and narrow in the middle. The thickest ends are the tips that run behind the ears, where there are rubber grips similar to the nose cushions to prevent slipping.

Field Use

The Ho'Okipa's doing their job.
I have owned Maui Jim Ho'Okipa sunglasses since 2003, the current pair since 2006. I never leave home without them, so over the last 5 years I would estimate that I have used these sunglasses for over 1,500 days and have spent thousands of hours wearing them. They were with me while my friends and I backpacked through Europe for a month after graduation and have seen use in over a dozen countries across two continents.

As I am a Florida boy, I don't have a great deal of higher elevation or cold weather experience with the Ho'Okipas, although there has been some. I would estimate I have used the glasses at elevations ranging from sea level to approximately 6,000 ft (1800 m) with the vast majority of usage between sea level and 500 ft (150 m). They have also seen action in temperatures ranging between 25 F (-4 C) and 110 F (43 C).

These glasses always accompany me on the trail, so they have seen extensive use on the Florida Trail over the years. My glasses have been subjected to the rough and tumble of the outdoors including torrential rain, howling wind, and of course the blinding Florida sun.

Not only do I use the Ho'Okipas on the trail, but I use them in my daily life as well. I go boating at least once, usually twice, every month and my MJs are always there. I generally wear them for about an hour per day in the car while commuting, and another hour or so outside walking my dog. On occasions when I get to go trap or target shooting outdoors, these glasses serve as my shooting goggles as well. If I'm outside, it's a safe bet I'm wearing my sunglasses.

Experiences, Opinions, and Observations

My initial thought when I picked up a pair of the Ho'Okipas in a boat show all those years ago was how amazingly light they were. This is one of my favorite things about these glasses, they are so light both in hand and on my face that I flat out forget that I am wearing them. I can't count the number of times that this has happened to me, and I couldn't be happier about it. But make no mistake about it, from all my years of use I do not see that Maui Jim has sacrificed performance or durability in any way to make the glasses as light as they are.
Don't worry, they won't break.
Frames bent to a 90 degree angle.

The second thing that really struck me is the flexibility of the frames. I had a person demonstrating them to me at the boat show, and the way that he was bending the frames and flexing them all over the place made me cringe in fear they would explode into their basic elements from the stress. Amazingly, they never have - even after all the punishment I have subjected them to. They've been dropped, stepped on, sat on - you name it. The have never relented, which is fantastic. Even the lenses have held up extremely well, the only visible scratch I have on my glasses from the last 2 years of abuse is from a dog that stepped on them while out boating. In my opinion, this is merely a cosmetic blemish as it does not seem to be detrimental to performance in any way.

The best thing about the Ho'Okipa sunglasses is how well they protect my eyes and improve my vision under the harsh sun. As I mentioned previously, these glasses block out 100% of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. When I bought my first pair, the dealer had a reflective block that demonstrated how the sunglasses cut through the glare to bring out vibrant colors and patterns that were invisible to the naked eye. Over the years, I have spent a lot of time with these glasses in hundreds of different situations and they have proved to me that they cut down an astounding amount of what would normally be blinding glare. The biggest place that I notice the difference is when I am on or around the water. The Ho'Okipas cut through the glare so I can see under the surface - which is particularly useful when I am fishing or when I need an unobstructed view of what is underneath the water. When fishing, this allows me to gaze through the glare to spot the fish below the surface from any angle. Another great example is when it comes time to jump out of the boat to set anchor or wade to shore. With the Ho'Okipas I can check the bottom for hazards such as rocks, glass (as unfortunate as that is), or animals. Believe me, the last thing I want when I'm boating is to jump into the water to set an anchor and land right on top of a stingray. The way these glasses cut through surface glare has kept this from happening on more than one occasion.

Another one of the great things about the Ho'Okipas is the amount of light that the lenses allow through while still filtering the glare and UV rays. This translates to me being able to wear them as I transition through higher and lower light settings, such as when I cross out of an open prairie into a densely wooded forest. Instead of having to take the glasses off and stow them only to have to locate, unpack, and put them back on a few minutes later when the trail leads me back out into the clearing I can just leave them on and still be able to see.

In my limited high altitude and cold weather experience, I never noted any sort of noticeable drop in performance. In my opinion, the lenses performed consistently against glare regardless of altitude. Further, the frames remained strong yet flexible even in lower temperatures.

Not only are the Ho'Okipas extremely functional, but I personally think they are stylish. I'm not much for fashion, but I find personal appearance to be pretty important and I feel strapping and confident in how they look so I have no qualms about wearing them anywhere I go.

I have found a flaw in their durability, however. On both of my pairs of Ho'Okipas, they have eventually developed a small diagonal crack where the nose bridge connects to the lens.The crack is covered by the frame itself, so it does not obstruct my view in any way and does not seem to be detrimental to performance but it could possibly effect durability. However, Maui Jim's customer experience is second to none in my opinion and they really turn a negative into a positive. After nearly 2 years, I sent a pair of these glasses back to them for this issue, and they sent me back a brand new pair.

There is only one other small design issue that I'm not happy with, which is the overall negative buoyancy of the glasses. Unfortunately if the glasses get knocked off my face in the water they sink, albeit it rather slowly. This keeps me wearing a sunglasses leash when I'm out on the water in case they go for a swim either with or without me. I'm not too big a fan of those leashes, but it's a small price to pay for the overall performance of the Ho'Okipas.

Final Thoughts

The Maui Jim Ho'Okipa sunglasses are light years beyond any sunglasses I have used. Out of all the sunglasses I have worn over the years, I have never been happier nor more impressed with the quality and performance than I am with the Ho'Okipas. They have been faithful companions of my every day life for over 5 years now, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

Never Stop Exploring,
Greg McDonald

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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