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Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Ryder Eyewear Intersect Interchangeable > Test Report by Richard Lyon
RYDERS INTERSECT INTERCHANGEABLE
Initial Report April 10, 2008
TESTER INFORMATION AND BACKPACKING BACKGROUND
Male, 61 years old
I've been backpacking for 45 years on and off, and regularly in the Rockies since 1986. I do a weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips. I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 13000 ft (1500 - 4000 m). I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp. Though always looking for ways to reduce weight, I'm not yet a lightweight hiker, and I usually choose a bit of extra weight over foregoing camp conveniences.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION AND DETAILS
Ryders Intersect Interchangeable Eyewear is a wrap-style pair of sunglasses with three sets of interchangeable lenses. The Intersects are a new product for 2008, not yet listed on Ryders' website. A link provided by the manufacturer's marketing representative states that these shades will protect the wearer from 100% of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays (three different wavelengths of ultraviolet light) and provide 14% (category 3) visible light transmission. The information marked as "listed" below comes from that link.
Manufacturer: Ryders Eyewear
The Intersects come as a full kit. Inside the box from the manufacturer's representative were a fabric pouch that doubles as a lens cloth, an assembled pair of glasses with the blue lenses in the frame, a medium-hard case that had inside a smaller lens case; and inside the lens case the orange and clear lenses individually wrapped in plastic. The frames had a small tag with the MSRP, and one blue lens had a label saying "Includes 3 sets of lenses." This label peeled off easily without leaving any residue on the lens. On the outside of the left temple is embossed "Ryders;" on the right is the company's logo.
Each lens has four semi-circular notches one on the lower outside edge and three at the top; these provide some ventilation to reduce the risk of the lenses fogging up.
The lens case easily holds the lenses not currently in use. A fabric divider running its length keeps the lenses from scraping each other. The lens case and the glasses with the pair of lenses in use fit easily inside the medium-hard case, with room at the top for the pouch.
My package did not include instructions on changing the lenses, nor did the link furnished by the rep, so I had to resort to trial and error. By holding the glasses in my left hand at the nose piece and tugging the lens with moderate pressure with my right thumb and forefinger I was able to remove the blue lenses without any breakage. After a couple more practice runs this became somewhat easier, though it did stick a bit. Re-insertion of the lenses is relatively straightforward. So far, the most reliable way I found to ensure that the lens was fully seated in the frame was to place the outside corner in the groove first and then rotate the rest of the lens into place. I heard a distinct snap when the lens was properly installed. I tried to keep my fingers on the edge of the lens but once in a while my thumb or finger would slip across the front of the lens, causing some smearing that had to be wiped away before I put the glasses on.
The Intersects give a tight fit across the front and sides of my face. Their wrap style is plainly intended to minimize peripheral light, and when I first wore them with the blue revo lenses this function worked very well. The fit, the wrap style, the reflective blue lenses, and the bright silver frames combine to make me look like a space cadet. The only concern with fit that I have is that the temples (the arms or sidepieces of the glasses) are a bit short, stopping just atop my ear. The hard rubber nose piece didn't slip down the bridge of my nose, however, so the temple length may not be a problem.
I like the idea of interchangeable lenses, particularly for travel on or around snow, but several bad experiences have made me skeptical of reliable execution of this concept. My problem has been that frequent changing of the lenses leads to poorly fitting lenses that soon wind up on the ground. My first testing priority, therefore, will be how well the lenses stay in their frame, followed closely by how easy it is to switch lenses quickly and reliably at home and in the field.
I'll report on performance in various light conditions, including which lenses work best at dusk, in flat light, in bright light, and around water. Other performance criteria include how well the wrap in the Intersects' design will consistently block bright peripheral light, how effective are the small notches at preventing fogging, and how well the rubber bridge keeps the Intersects from slipping down my nose. As for comfort, the best-fitting sunglasses are those that I forget I'm wearing. I'll see how well the Intersects measure up against this standard.
UV protection is a necessity; I'll report on whether wearing any of the lenses results in eyestrain, blinking, squinting, or worse.
Durability is another problem I've had in the past, partly because I tend to mistreat my sunglasses. I'll check for scratches on the lenses when I stuff the glasses in a pack or a gear pocket in a tent with other stuff, and general structural integrity.
It's bright in Texas and I have sensitive eyes, so I wear sunglasses almost every day when driving or outside for any reason. Spring and summer here and in the Rockies should provide ample testing time. When hiking I normally use a Croakies-type strap with my sunglasses, and I shall do so with the Intersects.
I have worn the Intersects sunglasses on three camping trips and six day hikes, as described in the next two paragraphs. They have also served as my everyday sunglasses throughout the past two months. I wear sunglasses whenever I am driving during daylight hours (even in low light), on daily walks with my dogs, when working in the yard, at lunchtime during the week en route to the local eateries – really just about anytime during the day that I am outdoors. Springtime in the Southwest this year has been mostly sunny and bright, so it's no exaggeration to say that I've worn the Ryders daily, with one exception discussed below.
Camping trips include a two-day, three-night car camping trip in Wasatch State Park near Heber City, Utah, in mid-April. Temperatures ranged from 25-65 F (-4 to 19 C), everything was dry, and it was constantly windy with gusts up to 40 mph (65 km/h). It was warmer and wetter on two overnight backpacks near Dallas. On the first trip, in early May, temperatures ranged from 72 F (22 C) during the day to about 50 F (10 C) at night, and the hike out was in a light drizzle. A month later it was warmer, 90 F (32 C) and humid on the hike in, with a thundershower just before we reached our campsite. After the storm a cold front cleaned things up nicely, with the overnight low at 52 F (11 C) and North Texas's normal low humidity.
Day hikes in the Southwest, mostly on paved roads, were in and around Dallas, and on one occasion in Kerrville, Texas, on a dirt trail, in April though June. Temperatures ranged from 50-85 F (10-29 C), with one brief rain shower but no sustained precipitation and low humidity.
Fit. Because of the glasses' tight fit, noted in my Initial Report, I began my testing without attaching a Croakies-style strap. The glasses have stayed in place and have held their shape so well that I have found a strap to be unnecessary. These glasses stay put, even though the temples are a half- inch or so (~1 cm) shorter than those on my other shades and don't include a piece that curls around my ear. Moreover, the glasses have stayed on without giving the bridge of my nose a red mark at the end of the day. I do sometimes notice the temples' pressing against my head slightly but this has been in no way an irritation.
The tight, wraparound design has only once produced any fogging, on my May morning hike in the rain. After wiping the (orange) lenses with the soft cloth pouch and carefully replacing them under the bill of my hat I had no further problem.
Durability. I am not a careful owner with any of my sunglasses, often simply stuffing them into the handkerchief pocket of my suit during work days or a shirt pocket when outdoors. Often I'll leave them on the dashboard of my car when I get home in the evening. They are refreshed with lens cleaner far too infrequently. The Intersects seem none the worse for this regular inattention; none of the lenses has a scratch and, as noted, the fit remains firm. While I certainly haven't measured this scientifically (and wouldn't know how to do it if I wanted to), I believe that the Intersects pick up smudges and dust less readily than some of my alternatives. Certainly there has been no recurring blurring or other impaired visibility from soiling of the lenses. Nor have I had any eyestrain, even at the end of a long, bright, windy day.
Changing the lenses. Practice has increased my dexterity in switching lenses. Following the procedure set out in my Initial Report I can now effect a change in a minute or so when I don't rush it. I am now usually able to do this holding the lenses on their edges, thus reducing smears on the lens faces. I'm also more confident when performing a switch; once I hear a small "click" of a lens into the frame I know that it will stay in place – and all have, without fail, over the past two months.
The lens case is an inspired addition to the Intersect kit. It gives an easy and familiar place for storing the lenses that are not in use and the fabric divider keeps the lenses from scratching each other.
The grey/blue revo lenses are my personal favorite, and have been in the frames much longer than the other two pairs combined. They tone down the bright Texas sun nicely, and as we approach the summer solstice are suitable from just past dawn to pre-twilight. The orange lenses are useful on shady walks or when driving at twilight. In midday dappled light I return to blue, as I'll take a bit more low light to avoid bright glare. I have used the clear lenses only twice. Following my Heber City trip I skied closing day at Alta, Utah, and the Intersects won a place in my ski pack for next winter. I hadn't brought my ski helmet or goggles, and began the morning with the Intersects, blue lenses, in bright sunlight. Windblown snow squalls, one of them approaching a short-lived blizzard, forced a change. The clear lenses were just right, keeping the snow out of my eyes and giving as much visibility as possible in these poor conditions, without fogging. I also wore the clear lenses when performing my annual gutter cleaning on an overcast day. I wanted to see what I was picking up but not risk splashes on my face. The Intersects with clear lenses fit the bill exactly.
I have noticed no distortion of images with any pair of lenses.
The rest of the kit. I've already complimented the lens case. The other two pieces that came with the kit do what they are supposed to do as well. The case has kept the glasses and spare lenses from harm when stashed in a pack or duffel bag, and the pouch has served as a chamois cloth as well as a dust protector when I remember to use it for storage in a pocket. I continue to appreciate the fact that frames with chosen lenses, two spare lens sets, and pouch all fit in the case without stuffing.
Appearance. These sunglasses will never be much good for hiding from the media; their shape and bright silver frame attract rather than deflect attention. When wearing the Intersects I still look like a space cadet. So does my friend Babar, modeling the Intersects in the photo, and they haven't kept his many fans at bay. That's a small price to pay for a highly functional pair of sunglasses, however.
WHAT I LIKE
Great fit. A really great fit, and they stay on.
The ability of the blue revo lenses to keep out glare, including peripheral light.
Easy to change lenses (a big plus!)
WHAT I DON'T
No pair of lenses is polarized. For this reason I have not worn the Intersects much around water, and chose another pair of sunglasses for a recent trip to Yellowstone Park and vicinity. Ryders does offer grey and brown polarized lenses on some of its other models, and the end of the testing period I plan to inquire if I can purchase a pair that will fit the Intersects. Fly fishing is an important part of my backcountry planning and I need polarized lenses for this activity.
My plans for July and August include at least ten days in the Northern Rockies, and non-angling days should provide many opportunities to test the Intersects in warmer weather and on longer hikes. I'll continue to use these sunglasses whenever I go outside here in Texas.
LONG TERM REPORT
August 24, 2008
The Field Conditions in the following section describe my wearing the glasses when hiking. Thanks to continued sunny weather in Texas, during the past two months I have continued to wear the Intersects daily when driving and walking around outdoors. The only time I have chosen alternate shades is when fishing, for the reason stated in my Field Report - no pair of the Intersects' lenses is polarized.
Dallas, Texas, late June. A Sunday day hike along the Katy Trail, a paved route from downtown to the north. This trail is being restored; about five miles (8 km) are easily accessible at this point in time. We hiked up and back for a ten-mile (16 km) hike. Reported temperatures for that morning were 86-95 F (30-35 C) but most of the trail is shaded so it didn't feel that warm. This was a typical north Texas summer day – no clouds and low humidity. We started early in the morning and were mostly in shade so I used the orange lenses, switching to blue revo at the end of the hike.
Big Timber, Montana, area, early July. Two long (8-15 miles/13-24 km each) day hikes, one each in the Absaroka and Crazy Woman mountain ranges. All days were sunny, with low humidity and temperatures from 70-85 F (21-29 C) – blue revo conditions. One of these trails was overgrown with brush in long stretches to the point where this on-trail hike approached bushwhacking through the branches.
Inverness, California, early August. I wore the Intersects with the blue revo lenses on a leisurely six-mile (10 km) hike along a dirt fire road to the Inverness Ridge on a beautiful day, about 70 F (21 C) without a cloud in the sky.
I have yet to encounter a problem with the Intersects, which have performed well on all fronts. These glasses are functional eye protection for backcountry or everyday use.
Fit. After two more months of constant use the fit is as good as ever. I still haven't had to add a strap to keep them from falling on the ground. This says something for their durability too. None of the tiny screws, or the nose bridge, has started to work loose.
Durability. Everything else functions as well as the first time I wore these glasses, and the blue revo lenses, the ones I wore probably 95% of the time, have no scratches or scraped-off patches despite some plunging through the brush.
Performance. The one thing these sunglasses have faced on a daily basis is bright sun, and the wraparound blue revo lenses have kept my eyes well protected from sun. I haven't noticed any distortion in what I am watching, and I have suffered no eyestrain from inadequate blocking of light. High marks here too.
On those occasions when I've worn the orange lenses, usually at dusk, I have found that they do add definition to the view; I have a much better sense of depth of vision than without any glasses. I only wore the clear lenses once during the past two months, on a rainy morning when walking my dogs. I appreciated the protection from driving rain and windborne objects. Based upon my use of the clear lenses for skiing noted in my Field Report, I expect that they will be in my ski pack this coming winter.
Utility. I still like the kit, for the reasons described in my Field Report. It's easy to take them along in my pack. When wearing them in the front country, however, the glasses' curved shape makes it a bit more difficult than usual to stash them in a jacket pocket when not in use.
Changing the lenses. I haven't changed lenses all that frequently, as I need sunglasses most during bright sunlight and the blue revo lenses are by far the best lenses for these conditions. But if I take the time to be sure the new lens clicks into place changing the lenses is easy and the Intersects' design has meant no lost lenses or groping amid the bushes or the leaves to find a lens that has popped out while hiking - a real achievement in my book.
Price. I rarely mention price in a Test Series except to note when I think it's steep. After all I am reporting on performance. But the MSRP of the Revos is low in comparison to many other sunglasses I have owned or have seen advertised, and I certainly haven't noticed any comparable decline in quality or durability. They're a bargain, and the low price reduces the nervous feeling I sometimes get when wearing my expensive bifocal sunglasses on a backcountry fishing trip.
* * * * *
My Likes and Dislikes haven't changed since my Field Report. Here's what's good:
That terrific fit
The blue revo lenses' blocking the glare of the sunlight, even at the periphery
Finally – interchangeable lenses that interchange as advertised
And here's what I might change:
For the reasons given in my Field Report, I wish polarized lenses were available.
I'd prefer toning down the color of the garish frames. Intersects are available in three other frame colors but none of the other ones, even blue, comes with the blue revo lenses.
My Test Report ends here. Thanks to Ryders and to BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test a very useful pair (three pair?) of sunglasses.
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