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

Maui Jim Ho'okipa Sunglasses
By Raymond Estrella
April 13, 2008


NAME: Raymond Estrella
AGE: 47
LOCATION: Huntington Beach California USA
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.

Product Information

Maui Jim

Manufacturer: Maui Jim Inc.
Web site:
Product: Ho'okipa
Year received: 2007
MSRP: $159.00 (US)
Weight listed: N/A
Actual weight: 0.7 oz (20 g)
Fit range: "round, oval, pear and diamond shaped faces"
Color reviewed: Gloss Black (also available in Tortoise Shell)
Lens reviewed: HCL Bronze (also available in Neutral Grey and Rose)

Product Description

The Maui Jim Ho'okipa sunglasses are one of the company's MJ Sport line. Ho'okipa is a Hawaiian word meaning "to entertain". I can say that they have been with me for a lot of outdoor entertainment.

The glossy black frames are made of what the manufacturer calls Grilamid. They claim that it is the ultimate in light weight durability. They are extremely flexible and feel soft, not brittle. The arms are straight and have a thickened area at the end where they go behind my ears. Black rubber insets with six gripping nibs help keep them in place. The same soft rubber covers the flexible nose pads, which are ribbed to help them stay on my large nose. The frame on this model is semi-rimless, with the lens being held only at the top of the frame

The optically correct polycarbonate lenses are polarized and are said to block 100% of UV. They have Clearshell, a proprietary silicone coating on both sides to protect them from scratching. The lens is wider than it is high giving a lot of wrap-around coverage.

with case

My Ho'okipas came with the black MJ Sport case seen above. It is a 2.3 oz (65 g), hard neoprene case that Maui Jim says provides an all-weather cocoon. The zipper that runs around it allowing clam-shell type access is not waterproof though. It has a swiveling hangman swivel clip at one end. The case has what seems to be micro-fleece lining it and has the Maui Jim logo embossed on the top.

Field Conditions

I backpacked over 550 miles (886 km) last year and the Ho'okipas were with me for most of it. They have been to the top of Mount Muir and Whitney, both over 14000 ft (4267 m) along with a bunch of lower peaks. They have been with me as I trudged through the desert near Palm Springs at 600 ft (183 m) elevation. They have been in snow, fog, rain, high winds and lots of bright hot sun.

I have worn them scraping through slot canyons in Canyonlands National Park (NP), following wild rivers in Kings Canyon NP, bothering buffalo in Yellowstone NP and playing by a giant boulder in the shadow of Grand Teton in Grand Teton NP. I also wore them all over the big island of Hawai'i, where this picture with my wife was taken.


They have also been used as my everyday sunglasses for driving and our daily walks where they rack up another 20+ miles (32 km) a week of use.


In December of 2006 I was snowshoeing with my now-wife Jenn in Utah on a very bright day. I was wearing some expensive sunglasses from another manufacturer and Jenn (who has been a Maui Jim fan for years and has a few pairs) asked me if I wanted to look through hers. I did and was surprised by the clarity of them, and how much light they let through without it being glaring. Two months later Jenn gave me the Ho'okipas.

I was absolutely blown away by how light they are. These are hands down the lightest glasses I have ever owned. And they are one of the fullest coverage models too. And as I said the amount of light they let in allows me to wear them when conditions get marginal, like under clouds or near dusk when my other glasses would have been long put away.

On the PCT

I wore them on one 11.75 hour, 36-mile (58 km) hike for about 10 hours straight. (The picture above is at the start of it.) I was never bothered by them, indeed I often forgot they were on. The frame material is the most flexible I have felt. (I am testing some right now that may give them a run for the money, we will see.) While they are not rigid and brittle feeling, they still hold on my face wonderfully. I wore them parasailing to 1200 ft (366 m) in Hawai'I and they did not budge.

And I have to say that I am very impressed with the Clearshell coating they use. I can not help but be hard on sunglasses because of all the places I use them at. The Ho'okipas have fallen to the ground more than a few times when I stuck them on my head or in my shirt, or set them on a boulder while looking at maps then knocked them off, that sort of stuff. They do not have a single vision impairing scratch on them. Looking though a magnifying glass I can see very small scratches, most near the bottom of the unprotected lenses, but they are not noticeable to my naked eyes.

San Gorgonio

While they are the best sunglasses I have ever owned they are not perfect. I found that use on snowfields in very bright conditions was not the best. I am wearing them in the picture above on the way to the peak of Mt San Gorgonio with Mt San Jacinto across the valley behind me. I got enough light coming through the bottom and sides to force me to pull out the glacier glasses. But they are made for lounging on the beach right? Not slogging up some frozen mountain…

I also had fogging issues with them when hiking hard in cold weather. I would have to pull them away from my eyes to let them clear which defeats the purpose as that just lets my light and glare hit my peepers. That is why they were not with me for all of my backpack distance last year, and this winter. Maybe I need to look at some of their other models to find one that is optimized to my kind of use. The Rose lenses may be better in snow also. If I do I will write about it. Until then I will continue to wear and enjoy my Ho'okipas, the sunglasses I use but can't pronounce…

On the way to Whitney and Muir

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