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Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Optic Nerve Pipeline Sunglasses > Test Report by Ryan Lane Christensen

Optic Nerve
courtesy of

Optic Nerve

Test Series by
Ryan Christensen

Last Update - December 03, 2013

Pipeline Pipeline Pipeline

images courtesy of


July 9, 2013
December 3, 2013

July 09, 2013

Reviewer Information Backpacking Background
Name:  Ryan L. Christensen
Age:  48
Gender:  Male
Height:  6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:  235 lb (107 kg)
Email:  bigdawgryan(at)yahoo(dot)com
City, State, Country:   Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA

I began backpacking at twelve, continuing until 25. After an extended hiatus, due in part to a bad back, I resumed cycling, hiking, and backpacking several years ago. I also began snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. I share my love for backpacking and these sports with my children. I am a midweight backpacker, but carry a full array of necessary gear.

Product Information:

The information below came from Optic Nerve's website.

Manufacturer: Optic Nerve
Manufacturer website:
Place of Manufacture: China
Year Manufactured: 2013
Materials: Frame: TR90 Grilamid Nylon
Lenses: polycarbonate
Sizes Available: one size: for medium to larger face shapes
Colors Available: Matte Black, Matte Red, Matte White

Optic Nerve Lifetime Limited Warranty:

"Optic Nerve will warranty any sunglasses against manufacturer's defects for the life of the product. Optic Nerve will either replace or repair your glasses."

$49 US

Product Specifications
Manufacturer's Specifications  


Tester's Actual Measurements


0.95 oz (27 g) [frame and one set of lenses]

Product Description:

The Pipeline is one of nine models of sunglasses that constitute Optic Nerve's Deuce Series. According to the Optic Nerve website, the Pipeline sunglasses are "Great for getting outdoors hiking, road/mountain biking skiing, running, you name it." The sunglasses in the Deuce series include two interchangeable lenses. One set of lenses are smoke w/flash mirror, which Optic Nerve says are for use in bright sun. The other lenses are copper, which Optic Nerve claims work best in variable light. The lenses have an anti-reflective coating intended to reduce light reflection from behind. They also have a hydrophobic clear coat, which is intended to repel water, dust and oil.

The Pipeline sunglasses have Tactilite™ rubber bridge and temple pads to reduce slippage.

Initial Impression:

Albeit intended for value-conscious shoppers, which I take to mean entry-level or no frills, I was immediately impressed with the look and style of the Optic Nerve Pipeline sunglasses.

Initial Testing:

After I pulled the Pipeline sunglasses from their zippered clamshell case, carry bag, and protective plastic bag, my initial testing included a quick inspection of the sunglasses. I found everything to be in order; there were no noticeable flaws in the material or workmanship. With the sunglasses in hand, I immediately noticed that they are extremely lightweight. I liked the fact that the carry bag also held the extra interchangeable lenses. After inspecting the extra lenses, I quickly became interested in trying to replace the lenses. Not wanting to damage the lenses, I quickly proceeded to look for instructions. Alas, I could find none included. Refusing to be beaten, I went to the website in hopes of learning the proper procedure for replacing the Pipeline lenses. Once again, I found none. Finally, I sent a quick email to Optic Nerve Customer Support. I received what seemed to be an immediate response, with links to "How-To" videos posted on YouTube. I clicked the supplied link, which took me to a video demonstrating how to replace lenses in the Pipeline sunglasses.

clamshell case carry bag plastic bag

Finally, I donned the sunglasses. They fit my medium-size head/face nicely; not too loose and not too snug. The frame wraps around my face, which I hope will help keep the wind-blown particles out of my eyes and contacts. I liked the optical quality of the lenses. Although the lenses are not polarized, they seem to provide excellent visual clarity. I look forward to putting these sunglasses to the test.

Initial Pros:

Initial Potential Cons:

  • style
  • fit
  • interchangeable lenses
  • anti-reflective coating
  • hydrophobic coating
  • zippered clamshell storage case
  • protective cloth storage bag
  • no instructions on how to replace the interchangeable lenses were included

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December 03, 2013

Field Locations and Test Conditions:

Pipeline In June, I wore the sunglasses for five days traipsing the trails of the Grand Teton Council's Rise Up! Encampment near Hell's Half Acre National Landmark. The elevation of Hell's Half Acre is approximately 5,300 ft (1,615 m) above sea level. It is a 66,000 acres (26.73 ha) lava field and is the youngest of the eastern basaltic lava fields of the Snake River Plain of southeastern Idaho. The actual campsite was approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The temperature was in the upper 90s F (35+ C), winds were calm, the sky was clear.

In mid July, I wore the sunglasses on a 4-day backpacking trip to Copper Basin, which is located in the Pioneer Mountains (Idaho's second highest mountain range) in the Sawtooth and Challis National Forests. The Pioneers stretch nearly 50 miles (80 km) in length, trending generally East-West and reaching nearly 25 miles (40 km) in width. The Broad Canyon campground and trailhead is approximately 150 miles (241 km) northwest of Idaho Falls, or approximately 45 miles (72 km) northeast of Sun Valley, Idaho. The trailhead begins about 7,800 feet (2,377 m) above sea level. We hiked about 5.2 miles (8.4 km) to Baptie Lake where we base camped. Much of the 2,320 feet (707 m) elevation gain to Baptie Lake occurs in the last mile or so. The high temperature was 95 F (35 C) and the low was in the mid 30's F (2 C). Skies were clear, not a single cloud in the sky for two of the days. There were occasional breezes, which helped combat the heat during the day.

In August, I wore the sunglasses on an overnight backpacking trip to Lake Marie, which sits on the north side of Mount Jefferson, located in Idaho's Fremont County. Lake Marie is approximately 100 miles (161 km) north of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The lake itself sits at 8,829 feet (2,691 m). The 6 mi (10 km) hike to the lake is relatively easy.

In early September, I wore the sunglasses on another overnight backpacking trip. This one was in Hawley Gulch, approximately 30 mi (48 km) northeast of Idaho Falls, Idaho in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Starting at the Hawley Gulch trailhead, which sits at approximately 5,700 feet (1,740 m), the Wolverine Creek-Hawley Gulch Loop circumnavigates Lookout Mountain. This loop is approximately 10.5 mi (17 km) in length.

In addition to the outings listed above, I wore the Pipeline sunglasses nearly every day while driving. I also wore them on two separate trips to shoot pistols and rifles at an outdoor gun range and three trapshooting outings with my family along the Blackfoot River.


The sunglasses performed well. They fit my head nicely and the Tactilite™ rubber bridge and temple pads held them in place nicely, even when I was sweating rather profusely. With other glasses, I have had them slip off my head when bending down due to the sweat; not so with the Pipelines. This is a definite plus in my opinion. The way the Pipelines wrap around my face, they did a great job keeping the dust out of my eyes, which is huge for me (hard contact lenses) as Idaho can be windy and dusty at times.

The smoke w/flash mirror lenses did a great job blocking the bright sunlight without compromising vision. This was true for all my outings be it the backpacking trips listed above, driving to/from work, riding my bicycle, shooting, or kicking about town. The copper lenses were great on my Copper Basin and Hawley Gulch trips where I passed in and out of the trees.

The lenses have a hydrophobic coating that the manufacturer claims will repel water, dust and oil. Maybe it is just me, but I can not say with conviction that the Pipeline lenses did a better job repelling water (sweat) and dust than other sunglasses I own; no points here. However, I do believe the anti-reflective coating did reduce the amount of light reflected off the backside of the lenses and into my eyes. This is another plus in my opinion.

After learning how to replace the lenses via the internet, the actual procedure was not overly difficult. To me, there are only two downsides associated with replacing the Pipeline lenses. First, it takes a little work and the lenses end up covered in fingerprints. Because the fingerprints are easily removed with a clean, soft cloth one might believe this to be innocuous. However, when the lenses are covered with sweat and dust, this could be a problem if one does not clean them prior to replacing the lenses. I did clean the grime off the lenses before swapping them. The second issue I see, is simply an observation. Because the frame must flex\stretch, it seems to me that frequently changing the lenses may weaken the frames. Personally, I have not noticed any signs of weakening or a need to be concerned thus far. However, I only changed out the lenses a few times during this test series.

I have not scratched the lenses or frames. This is great, especially since I dropped them a couple of times (once on the pavement and once in the dirt).

To summarize, for me, the pluses outweigh the negatives of the Optic Nerve Pipeline sunglasses. They fit me nicely, and stay put. They did a very good job keeping the sun and dust out of my eyes. The ability to swap lenses for given light conditions and\or activity is nice! They perform well and are affordably priced. I will wear them for years to come.



  • style - I think the look good
  • fit - comfortable, wrap nicely around my face
  • stay in place - always a plus
  • interchangeable lenses
  • anti-reflective coating
  • zippered clamshell storage case
  • protective cloth storage bag
  • no instructions for replacing the interchangeable lenses included

This concludes my test series. Thanks to Optic Nerve and for allowing me to test the Pipeline sunglasses.

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Read more gear reviews by Ryan Lane Christensen

Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Optic Nerve Pipeline Sunglasses > Test Report by Ryan Lane Christensen

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