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Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Ryders Eyewear Defcon Sunglasses > Test Report by Kristine Mar

Ryders Eyewear Defcon Sunglasses

Test Series by Kristine Mar

Initial Report - July 24, 2011

Biographical Information:

Name: Kristine Mar
Age: 45
Gender: Female
Height: 5'3" (1.6 m)
Weight: 120 Pounds (54 kg)
Email address:
City, State, Country: New York, New York, U.S.A.

Backpacking Background:

My love for the outdoors began about ten years ago, while I was living in Northern California. Most of my hiking experience includes day hikes with an occasional 2-3 day backpacking trip. I'd consider myself an all season hiker and generally like to keep my pack as light as reasonably possible. I am currently living in New York City. I've hiked in various parks in several states and countries and enjoy hiking in various terrain, but prefer mountainous terrain for the vistas and views, and enjoy forest/river hikes for the scenery.

Product Information:

Manufacturer:  Ryders Eyewear
Year of Manufacture/received:   2011
Manufacturer Website:
Model Received for Testing: Polarized - Black Frame/Brown Lenses
Other Models and Colors Available:
  • Regular: Black Frame/Brown Lenses, White Frame/Clean Lenses, White Frame, Yellow Lenses, Black Frame/Orange Lenses, Camo Frame/Brown Lenses
  • Polarized: Black Frame/Brown Lenses, Camo Frame/Grey Lenses
  • Photochromic: Black Frame/Brown Lenses, White Frame/Light Grey Lenses
  • Polarphoto: Black Frame/Grey Lense
  • Regular: USD $39.99
  • Polarized: USD $69.99
  • Photochromic: USD $69.99
  • Polarphoto: USD $89.99
Size: Medium Small
Dimensions: Shown below in report
Listed Weight: 1 oz (28 g)
Actual Weight: 1 oz (28 g)

Product Description:

The Ryders Eyewear Defcon sunglasses are advertised as a lightweight aggressive full-rimmed style sunglass in a small-medium frame which allows for superior performance during active pursuits and endurance sports.

Photo: Front View with Case

The frames are made of a special thermoplastic material called TR90 Switzerland. This is a Swiss technology which is lightweight, yet allows for extreme flexibility. The temple grips and nose pad are made of a hydrophilic (anti-slip) technology that provides a slight grip and actually grips slightly better when it's wet.

Photo: Hydrophilic Temple Grips

The actual measurements of the frames from the Ryders Eyewear website are shown below:

Photo: Courtesy of Ryders Eyewear


Manufacturer's Website

Actual Measurement

Temple to Temple (Front)

124 mm (4.88 in)

127 mm (5.0 in)

Temple to Temple (Back)

88 mm (3.46 in)

95 mm (3.75 in)

Nose Bridge to Temple

170 mm (6.7 in)

165 mm (6.5 in)

Lens Height

41mm (1.6 in)

38 mm (1.5 in)

All of the Defcon lenses are made of a polycarbonate which is a durable thermoplastic used in bulletproof glass, riot shields, and astronaut helmets. The polycarbonate material is impact resistant, light weight and provides UV protection, blocking 100% of UVA, UVB and UVC rays and harmful blue light to 400 mm (16.75 in). The lenses are also shatterproof and optically correct. Upon strong impact, the lenses might get damaged, but they will never break into small pieces. The lenses are manufactured by injecting molten polycarbonate into a mold specifically shaped to eliminate distortion, a process which allows for optical correctness, preventing eye fatigue and maximizing comfort.

One of the distinguishing features of the Defcon line is that the lenses come with a variety of different technologies to suit the activity and preferences of each user. In addition to the regular lens available in different colors for different light conditions, the sunglasses are also available with Polarized, Photochromic and Polarphoto lenses. The polarized lenses are made to eliminate glare from concentrated light hitting a surface and reflecting back to hit your eye. The polarized lens allows eliminates glare from roads, water, ice, snow, etc. providing sharp detail and reducing eye strain.

The Photochromic Lens automatically change in response to the amount of sunlight available at any given time depending on time of day, light conditions, weather, or simply a change in location or direction of travel. According to the manufacturer's website, when exposed to sunlight, the lenses will start to darken instantly. The time they take to reach maximum darkness depends on a number of factors including the intensity of sunlight and air temperature. In general, the adjustment from light to dark is quite rapid. The adjustment from dark to light will begin instantly but occur more gradually. The website notes that most car windshields block the UV light that is required for the Photochromic reaction to take place. Therefore, while driving, the tint of the lenses will not darken even when driving in bright conditions.

The Polarphoto lens is a combination of both the polarized and photochomic technologies. The lens will eliminate glare and automatically lighten and darken as required to suit the light conditions.

Initial Impressions:

I received a pair of the polarized sunglasses with the black frame and brown lenses for testing, which also came with a case. My first impression of the Defcon sunglasses was that they were lightweight and the frames felt durable and sturdy. I immediately tried the sunglasses on and thought that they fit nicely around my face. The hydrophilic technology on the nose pads and on the tips of the temples feels like a soft rubber, but provided added comfort to me. The polarized brown lenses seemed to do a good job of eliminating glare, and providing a crisp clear view while blocking out the sun. I chose the brown lenses because I am expecting most of my use to be outdoors in bright to very bright sunny conditions.

I plan to test this product by determining if the sunglasses are comfortable to wear especially for prolonged periods during active outdoor pursuits. I generally have a difficult time with sports sunglasses because they are either too heavy and slide down my face when I perspire, or hurt the tops of my ears, where the temples rest, after prolonged periods. I will evaluate the hydrophilic technology to see if this technology combined with the weight of the sunglasses works for me. I will also comment on the glare elimination from the polarized brown lenses and overall comfort and fit of the design of the Defcon.


So far, I like the weight, the fit, and the overall feel of the Defcon sunglasses with the polarized brown lenses. In the coming months, I will test the overall comfort and features of the sunglasses while on active outdoor pursuits and determine if the sunglasses work for me.

Field Conditions:

Since my initial report in July, I have continued to wear the Ryder Defcon polarized sunglasses at least 3 times a week over the last two months. The sunglasses were used on all of my outdoor activities which included hiking, cycling and kayaking. I also used them on sunny days while walking around town, or while traveling, and excursions to the beach. We have had a hot, humid summer here on the East Coast over the past few months with temperatures ranging from approximately 80F to 95F (26C to 35C). The day hikes were approximately 6 to 10 miles (10 to 16 km) in Harriman State Park and Minnewaska State Park in New York, a hike in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and two hikes in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts. The trails were all easy to moderately difficult and never exceeded 1,500 feet (450 m) in elevation gain. I also wore the sunglasses on two kayaking excursions on the Housatonic River in Connecticut. One trip was approximately 5 miles (8 km) and the other was approximately 10 miles (16 km) in length and the cycling trips were around Manhattan and on mostly flat terrain and ranged from 5 to 10 miles (8 to 16 km). I used them at least once or twice a week while cycling throughout the test period. There were approximately four beach excursions in Croatia around the cities of Split and Dubrovnik.

Performance in the Field:

So far, I have been very happy with the comfort and fit of the Ryder Defcon sunglasses. I have a small nose bridge, and quite often, I have a difficult time finding sunglasses that are lightweight and comfortable, and that don't slip down my nose and hurt my ears. I have tried many brands of sunglasses, and most of them feel fine when I am trying them on in the store, but when I actually put them to use in the field, they end up disappointing, either because they don't stay on my face or the frames are so heavy that they begin to irritate my ears. I am pleased to say that these sunglasses are only one of two pairs that I have been very happy with so far. The hydrophilic technology used for the non-slip temple and nose pads seemed to work very efficiently without adding any noticeable weight to the frames.

I found that the lenses were a little too dark for my hiking excursions which occurred mostly in forested areas. I did not keep the sunglasses on for the entire duration of the hikes, since I felt like I could see better without them, but this was most likely due to the lower light conditions.

On all of my other outdoor activities which included cycling, kayaking, excursions to the beach, and just wearing them around town in bright sunny conditions, I found that they performed excellently. I am a contact lens wearer, and my eyes are generally sensitive to light, so a good pair of sunglasses is a necessity for me when outdoors. The lenses did a great job of blocking out the sunlight from all angles and the polarized lenses provided a crisp clear view with no noticeable distortion. Also, the lenses never fogged up or formed condensation, even with the high humidity that we have had over the summer.

The frame is very lightweight and comfortable to wear even for extended periods of time. The frame is soft and forgiving, with flexibility, but yet feels solid and durable at the same time. The curvature of the frames seemed to work very well for me.


Since my eyes are sensitive to sunlight, I require a good pair of sunglasses especially for bright sunny days. Overall, I have been very happy with the performance of the Ryder Defcon sunglasses. The frames are lightweight and flexible, but yet they feel solid and durable. The non-slip nose and temple pads also provide added comfort while preventing the glasses from slipping. The polarized lenses in the brown color, while dark for low light conditions, do an excellent job in bright sunny conditions, blocking light out from all angles, while providing a clear vision with little or no distortion.

Field Conditions:

In addition to the testing reported in October, I continued to wear the Defcon Ryder sunglasses at least 2-3 times a week over the last few months on day hikes, bike rides, jogging and for general use while walking around town. I went on approximately four day hikes at various state parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and nature reserves in the states of New York and Connecticut which ranged in distance from 3 to 10 miles (5 to 16 km) with maximum elevation gains of 1500 ft (457m). The bike rides were all in Manhattan and ranged from 5 to 15 miles (8 to 19 km) on mostly flat terrain and there were about six bike rides since July. I also included approximately ten jogs during this test period which took place in Manhattan and ranged from 3-5 miles (5 to 8 km) also on mostly flat terrain. I also wore the sunglasses while driving or while walking about town on errands. The temperature throughout the test period ranged from 35F to 60F (2C to 16C) and the conditions were usually sunny with some cloudy days, but no rain.


My impressions of the Ryders Defcon sunglasses have not changed from the previous test period. I still feel that they are a durable, comfortable, lightweight pair of sunglasses which are excellent for most outdoor pursuits. I still feel as if the lenses are a little dark for low light conditions, especially when hiking in forested areas, but in bright light conditions, these sunglasses performed excellently for me. For this last test period, I included some jogging while wearing the sunglasses to further test the non-slip nose and temple pads, since I seem to perspire quite a bit, especially on my nose and face,while I jog. Even with sweating and perspiring, directly under the sunglasses, they did manage to remain on my face without slipping or fogging up during my jogs. I found that the temple pads were especially comfortable, as most sunglasses seem to irritate my ear lobes after having them on for a while.

During the test period, I felt like the polarized lenses provided crisp clear vision, with no noticeable distortion and the shape of the frame did a good job of protecting my eyes by blocking the sun from all angles.

I did not like the case which came with the sunglasses as I felt it was too bulky and not practical. The case did not fit easily into my pocket or back pack, so many times I would use a soft case, or put the glasses directly into my pocket. Even with a soft case, the lenses remained scratch-free and the frame never got bent out of shape.


Overall, I really like these sunglasses for active outdoor pursuits. While the lenses that I tested are a little dark for low-light conditions, the sunglasses did an excellent job in protecting my eyes from the sunlight in bright conditions. The frames are very lightweight and durable, but yet soft enough to be flexible to fit nicely on my face. The non-slip nose pad and temple pads are a great feature which provide added comfort especially on the ears, while preventing slippage on the nose, especially for those of us who tend to perspire a lot during some activities.

I look forward to continue using these sunglasses as one of my primary sunglasses for active outdoor pursuits.

    Things I like:
  • Comfortable lightweight fit
  • Great design to block out light
  • Excellent lenses
    Things I don't like:
  • The design of the case that came with the sunglasses

This concludes my Long Term Report on the Ryders Defcon Sunglasses. I would like to thank Ryders and for allowing me to test this item.

Read more gear reviews by Kristine Mar

Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Ryders Eyewear Defcon Sunglasses > Test Report by Kristine Mar

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