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Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Numa SWAT Sunglasses > Test Report by Russell Curry


NUMA SWAT TACTICAL SUNGLASSES

Test series by Russell Curry

Numa Logo
Numa Logo from Numa website

Initial Report - March 2, 2008
Field Report - June 3, 2008
Long Term Report - August 1, 2008

Tester Biography:

Name:                           Russell Curry
Age:                              60
Height:                           6'0" (1.83 m)
Weight::                         182 lbs (83 kg)
Email:                            mrqcace@yahoo.com
City, State, Country:          Orange, Texas, USA

Backpacking Background:

My hiking experiences began while stationed near the German Alps in the Army in 1966.  I have hiked in many countries across the world as well as most states in the US.  I hike in all seasons, in temperatures as low as 5 F (-15 C) to as high as 110 F (43 C), in rain, shine and snow and from desert to forest to mountain.  My pack weights vary from 25 lbs (11 kg) to 10 lbs (5 kg). I frequently bike over road and mountain, and kayak and raft when possible.

Product Identification & Technical Details:

Item:                              Numa "Swat" Tactical Sunglasses
Year of Manufacture:      2008
Website:                         http://www.numatactical.com/
MSRP:                           US $145.00
Listed Weight:                 26 g (0.92 oz)
Weight as Received:         31 g (1.1 oz)
Frames:                          
Proprietary "Memfibr"TM   Flexframe Fiber
Frame Colors:                  Tan, OD Green, Black                   
Frame Sizes:                    Medium to Large
Lenses:                            Regular low light orange and clear, Reflective "fire" lens, Polarized "smoke" lens
Lens Technology:             Distortion free ocular clarity, impact and scratch resistant, 100% UV400 protection, interchangeable.
                                       All Numa glasses exceed ANSI z80.3 test
Warranty:                        Lifetime warranty for standard use - US $30 processing fee required                    
Tested Color & Size:        OD Green frames,  4 lenses, (light orange, clear, fire, polarized (smoke)

Product Description:

The Numa "Swat" eyewear system consists of a proprietary fiber frame,"Memfibr", available in 3 colors, with up to 3 different lens systems.  The regular lens system consists of smoke, light orange, and clear. Also available is the reflective lens system in fire and ice, and polarized lens in smoke and light yellow.  Different combinations of the lenses can be ordered. The "Swat" model features the largest field of vision of any Numa model, and is used as standard issue eyewear of the Swiss Police SWAT Team. The frame offers an "extreme wrap" design for complete protection. The hinges and nosebridge is reinforced for enhanced durability. The larger lenses offer optimal eye protection from wind, dust and debris. The frames feature rubberized temple pads to prevent slippage. There is a venting feature between the frame and the top of the lens. The frames fit medium to large faces.  The lenses are offered in sets consisting of Regular or Reflective, Polarized, All Weather and Extreme System. Different lens combinations are available depending on which lens set is chosen. The lenses offer 100% UV400 protection and are interchangeable. Numa indicates the lenses are also "perfect distortion free ocular clarity, impact and scratch resistant". Numa asserts the Numa Tactical system is "kid-proof, crash proof, smash proof", with a "No-questions-asked lifetime manufacturer's warranty, the last pair of glasses you'll ever need".

INITIAL REPORT

Initial Observations:

The Numa Swat Eyewear System arrived in a zippered fabric container with the frames mounted with the smoke polarizing lens and the other 3 sets of lenses wrapped in plastic and in their own secure slot in the foam inside the box.  Also in separate packing was a smaller frame case for use when traveling, as well as a bag with a drawstring for use to protect the frames and lenses. 
There was also a small brochure highlighting the frame technology of the glasses, and information on other Numa products and lens options. Also included were 3 postcards featuring Numa photos on one side and a Numa decal.  I was expecting a small manual on recommended materials to use for lens cleaning and showing the proper technique to change the lenses.  I did not find a manual included. While changing the lenses is a straight-forward procedure, for a lens system of this quality an insert on the proper way to change the lenses and recommended fabrics to use for cleaning the lenses may be appropriate.


Field Use:

I am leaving in less than two weeks for a three-week hike to Spain and Portugal. I expect to wear these glasses everyday while on these hikes. Elevations are expected to range from sea level to 5000 ft, (1500 m). I expect temperatures to range from 45 to 75 F, (7 to 24 C). Some of my time on this trip will be at sea, so my expectations are to use all of the lenses that came with this Swat system in as many different conditions as are available.  I also have other smaller hikes here at home that I will be attending, so I will be using the glasses for those, as well as just everyday use around town and while out and about. I talked to the owner of Numa Tactical who indicated that the Swat system was also designed for bike riding, so being a mountain and road bike rider, my plan is to use these glasses on every ride. I expect my usage to be considerable.

Swat Sunglass Kit
The Numa Swat Sunglass Kit - 4 lenses total

Vent Feature on Swat Glasses
The vent feature on the Numa Swat Sunglasses

Anti slip feature on the temple arms
This is the anti-slip feature on the temple arms. The green shown on Numa's website is much brighter than what I actually received. I like the color of this green.

Summary:

The Swat model of the Numa Tactical Sunglass system is a straight forward design that looks and feels great when worn on my head. I especially like the snugness of the glasses, the design of the frames cause them to be a bit "spring loaded" and exert just the right amount of side pressure on my temples to keep the glasses secure and adjusted when worn.  The rubberized temple pads, at least during my initial trial, have worked well to prevent slippage.  The hinge pin system is taught, with the temple arm mounted to the frame with a screw mounted from the top, so no worry about it coming loose and falling out.  The vent system is at the outside corner of the lens, and does provide some space. I have yet to really test this feature but will be doing so on my bike in the upcoming days and weeks. I can change to other lenses by grasping the lens and pulling first from the end by the nose bridge while exerting opposing pressure on the frame at the opposite end of the lens. To put the lens back I position the end near the temple arm first and then snap in the other end at the nose bridge. The lens is easy to change, but is still very firm and secure in the frame once properly installed. It is easy to determine if the lens is correctly installed by the way it fits at the top and along the nose bridge, any improper installation is readily apparent.
 
Likes:

I like the snugness of the fit of these glasses. 
I like having different lens options for different conditions.
I like the simple but functional design and robustness of the frames. They are also very stylish.
I like that for the first time, I have a sunglass system that has vents, especially useful when bike riding.

Dislikes:

I would have liked to see a manual on the proper techniques of changing the lenses, and correct cleaning solutions for the lenses, as well as what not to clean the lenses with.

This concludes my Initial Report. Please check back in approximately two months for my field report.


FIELD REPORT

Field Conditions:

I used the Numa Swat sunglasses for many bike rides that totaled approximately 750 miles, (1200 km) over the course of the last two months. The temperatures ranged from 25 to 85 F, (-4 to 29 C).  I also used the glasses on a 3 week hike and bike trip to Europe. There were 12 hikes total in different countries in Europe.  Most days were sunny, and two days were at sea in sparkling bright sunny skies. The hike in Funchal started out sunny at sea level, but became foggy and overcast the higher we hiked.

I have also worn the sunglasses practically every day at some point, whether it be driving, cycling, hikes at my local park or doing yard chores.  The glasses are impact resistant and I wear them for weed eating, push mowers, blowers, etc.

Observations:

So far I have not had any failures with the sunglasses.  I use the polarized and Fire lenses the most.  I like that the polarized lens does an excellent job of reducing glare from reflections and proved especially helpful on our sea days.  I use these also for daytime driving and around the home on bright days.  The Fire lens is my choice while on my bicycle.  It provides great protection from the wind and flying insects, etc. I like the way the glasses brighten the look I get while riding in the country, where there are fields, trees and other natural habitat. The frames provide me with a lot of protection from the sides but do not affect my side vision.  The low light lens does exceedingly well for me in low light situations.  I used these in Funchal, changing from the Fire lens to the low light lens as the light changed during our hikes up the terrain.  The low light lenses really make more of a difference than I thought they would.  I have not found an application yet for the clear lenses. I haven't done anything at night that would require these, however I am thinking of joining a bike ride in downtown Houston that occurs from approximately 2 to 3 AM in the morning.  I could definitely see wearing these under these conditions to protect my eyes from insects and the wind.

The frames have performed very well when I use the glasses on my bike.  I get a nice snug fit to my head and the glasses have always stayed firmly in place.  The vent features perform well, but I am able to overpower this feature on the longer rides, especially now that the heat and humidity is back in force in my area of Texas.  Under these high heat and humidity situations, I usually stop once or twice on my rides to rehydrate and am able to clean the lens at this time.  I had to purchase a small optical grade eyeglass cleaning cloth for these situations, since Numa does not provide one with the kit, nor do they suggest what to use to clean the lenses with.  I suspect that paper, being made from a wood product, would not be a good choice and I have been careful to try to keep scratches from occurring to the lenses from cleaning.

When traveling, I carry the extra lenses in the larger case.  For my hikes, I carry the clamshell case, and can fit an extra set of lenses in with the frames if needed.  I don't always find it convenient to put the frames into the clamshell case when riding or hiking.  I most often will wrap the frames with my cleaning cloth and put them into a shirt or vest pocket.   The clamshell case provides a lot of protection for the glasses, and closes securely. The glasses are held firmly in place inside the case and do not move once placed inside.

It is very easy to change out the lenses.  The only drawback is that I get finger prints all over the lens when doing this so having a good cleaning cloth is a must.  I have deliberately tried to dislodge the lenses from the frames by twisting, bending and flexing the frames but so far the lenses have always stayed in place.  I do not have any fear of losing a lens as long as I insert them correctly the first time.  When I initially received the glasses, I did have a lens pop out when the glasses were in my shirt pocket, when I leaned over a wooden fence rail and put pressure on the frames.  I am sure now that I did not have the lens correctly inserted in the frames. 

Summary:

Overall, I am very pleased with these glasses.  It is nice to have a choice of lenses for differing conditions. So far the lenses have stayed scratch free. The frames have lived up to Numa's claims on their website. Please check back to see how they perform in the long term.


LONG TERM REPORT

Field Conditions:

I have worn these glasses on almost daily bike rides that have ranged from 18 to 80 miles, (29 to 129 km), in temperatures averaging 85 F, (29 C).  I have taken two day hikes at Sea Breeze State Park, on the Gulf of Mexico, temperatures averaging 90 F, (32 C). Winds were very gusty at +/- 20 mph, (32 kpm).  I also did a day hike in Galveston under the same conditions.  All hikes were approximately 10 miles, (16 km) in length.   I did a night bike ride in the early morning hours with escort of 30 miles, (48 km) in temperatures of 75 F, (24 C).  All of these hikes and rides were at sea level or just above sea level (10 ft, 3 m).

In addition to these bike rides and hikes, I have worn the glasses with some combination of the lens every day, either while driving or doing outside chores.

Observations:

I love these glasses while on my bike.  The wraparound design extends all the way to the side of my face and completely shields my eyes from wind, rain, and the occasional insect or other flying debris while riding.  I have mostly used the Fire lens while on my bike.  Unfortunately, I have begun to notice a few minor scratches on the Fire lens, probably from changing the lenses and handling them more than I would have if I had just left them in the frames.  This has not affected the performance of the lenses, but I can tell a bit of a difference between them and the other lenses due to the scratches. As long as I ride in the 15 to 16 mph range, (24 to 26 kmph) the vent on the glasses keeps them from becoming fogged up, even in my high humidity area on the Gulf Coast, where the humidity averages above 85% most of the time.   I can overpower the vent on hard rides at speeds ranging from 18 to 22 mph, (29 to 35 kmph). In these instances, the snugness of the frames allows me to pull the frames a bit forward on my face and increase the venting, while still holding the glasses firm against the sides of my face.  This allows me to continue to wear the glasses to protect my eyes.

Riding Glasses
At the end of an 18 mile (29 km) ride, temperatures of 96 F (36 C), humidity at 90%, speeds
averaged 15 mph (24 kmph). The glasses remained fog free.  Lots of eye protection evident
from the way the glasses wrap around at the sides.

On the days at Sea Breeze State Park and on the beach at Galveston, I wore the polarized lenses.  All three of these beach hikes turned out to be very windy, and again the design of the frames and lenses worked very well to keep out sand and salt spray while hiking near the water.

I participated in an early morning bike ride in my area, from 2 to 4 AM, using the clear lens.  Again, the protection afforded to my eyes by the glasses was exceptional.  My vision was not impaired at all, even though we rode through areas with very little street lighting.

I did some night driving using the low light lenses. They definitely make a difference while driving after dark.  Everything is a bit clearer, and I found I did not squint from having tired eyes as long as I had the glasses on. 

The frames have held up very well, no problems encountered at all. The tension of the frames feels the same as when new. I have not had a lens come loose or pop out of the frames at any time.  I have dropped the frames a few times on hard surfaces with no consequence. I use the clam shell case most for transporting the glasses. The larger case and the clam shell case both do a good job in storing the frames and lenses, but the clam shell case is easier to stow.  I super glued a length of hook and loop tape to one side of the clam shell case, and another strip on the side of my smaller backpack to use to carry the smaller case while hiking.  I found it easier than having to dig for the case when I wanted to stow the glasses or change lenses.  I can carry one extra set of lens in the smaller case with the glasses.  It would be nice if there was a smaller case that could accommodate two extra sets of lens.

Summary:

Other than the minor scratches on the Fire lens, I am very pleased with the glasses.  They are now on my gear list for every outing. I especially like the protection they afford me while on my road or mountain bike.  The vent feature works great while hiking, but is not sufficient for high speed, longer bike rides in warmer weather.  However, I am able to adapt the frames to allow for extra venting.  I plan to continue to use these every day, and it is comforting to know I can order another set of Fire lenses if mine become too scratched up.  It is also nice to have a combination of lenses to choose from for various outings.  I use the Fire most, followed by the Polarized, the low light and the clear.  It sure beats having to deal with 3 or 4 pair of different glasses or using just one type lens for all types of outings.

Thanks to NumaTactical and Backpackgeartest for this opportunity.

Russell Curry







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