SMITH TOASTER SLIDER SUNGLASSES
BY BRETT HAYDIN
June 24, 2008
Denver, Colorado, USA
5' 11" (1.80 m)
195 lb (88.50 kg)
I started backpacking in Wisconsin as a youth, being involved in the Boy Scouts programs. As a young adult, I worked at a summer camp leading backpacking, canoeing and mountain biking trips. I now generally take short weekend or day trips in rough, mountainous terrain, although I have extensive experience in the upper Midwest as well. I take one or two longer trips each year, where I typically carry about 40 lb (18 kg). I prefer to be prepared and comfortable, but I have taken lightweight trips as well.
Manufacturer: Smith Optics
|Smith Toaster Slider|
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: www.smithoptics.com
MSRP: US$ 119
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 0.6 oz (17 g)
Frame Reviewed: Smoke-Fade Platinum (available in several other frame colors)
Lenses Reviewed: Platinum Mirror (also included with RC30, Clear Mirror, others available)
Warranty: Lifetime, provided they were purchased from an authorized Dealer
Manufacturer Claims (from website):
- TR90 Grilamid frame
- TLT Carbonic lenses
- Small Fit
- Lifetime Warranty
- Interchangeable Lenses
The Smith Toaster Slider is a lightweight pair of sunglasses with interchangeable lenses. Based on the company's Slider Interchangeable Lens design, the frames use "distortion-free 9 base Carbonic lenses" which are supposed to provide "precise optical clarity and maximize coverage while minimizing peripheral exposure to sun, wind, and glare."
The sunglasses come with a black padded case offering plenty of room for the sunglasses and extra lenses. The lenses themselves can be stored in a removable pocket that has individual pouches for 4 sets of lenses. This pocket is attached to the interior of the top of the case via hook and loop tabs.
The frames are made of Grilamid, a flexible but sturdy material that is lightweight. The color of the frames fades from an opaque blue-gray color to almost a clear, somewhat smoky color at the bottom of the eyepiece. The glasses are 1.375 in (3.49 cm) tall. The 9 base shape refers to the curve of the frames, which wraps around my face. The manufacturer claims this feature eliminates visual distortion and any resulting eye strain.
|The complete package|
The arms of the frames are straight with rubber pads on the inward-facing ends that keep them in place. The arms are approximately 4.75 in (12 cm) long from the hinge to the end. In addition to the rubber pads on the arms, there are also two pads where the frames meet my nose.
The lenses are crafted to fit Smith's patented Interchangeable lens system. The carbonic lenses are the most impact resistant lenses in the world, according to the manufacturer's website. There is even a short video of a small metallic ball smashing into some lenses with no apparent damage! The lenses have an anti-scratch layer to provide additional protection. All lenses provided by the manufacturer provide 100% UVA/B/C protection.
I have used the Smith Toaster Sliders for over 9 months. They have accompanied me on numerous trips backpacking, snowshoeing, mountain biking and snowboarding as well as on my daily routines. They have been up to the top of Pikes Peak, elevation 14,110 ft (4301 m) on a particularly grueling 13 mi (21 km) snowshoe hike. They have accompanied me in temperatures ranging from 15 to 85 F (-9 to 29 C). The conditions have been anywhere from rain, sunshine, overcast and cloudy as well as snowing. While snowboarding, I was able to use them in daylight as well as nighttime, thanks to the clear lenses provided.
I have to admit, I am very pleased with the performance of these sunglasses. I wear them just about everywhere I go and I like how they feel on my head. I generally prefer sunglasses that are a smaller fit, which these are. I find that they hug my face well as they wrap around, reducing any glare from the side as I look around. The rubber pads keep them in place and I have never had them fall off my head. However, I should point out that when I used them snowboarding, I also added aftermarket retaining straps to ensure I protected my investment. Even when I am sweating, these sunglasses stay glued to my face!
I found the Interchangeable lenses to be easy to use after a few tries at switching them out. They are removed by grasping the lens between my thumb and forefinger and gently rotating the lens from the nose upward. Sliding the lens back into place is also easily accomplished. However, I still have to look twice to make sure I have the left and right on the correct side. One slight disadvantage of replacing the lens is the fingerprints left on the lens, but I have had no problems cleaning them off with a cleaning cloth. I had to obtain one on my own as the pair I bought did not come with one, although I am not sure if that was an error.
The lenses that I most often wear are the Platinum Mirror color, which provides great protection from the sun. Even during cloudy conditions, I can still see clearly and without any distortions. I have noticed that there are some scratches and slight damage at the top of the lens, which I believe is caused from my tendency to leave them out. The top of the lens is unprotected since that is where they are inserted into the frame. I have not used any additional cleaners other than a cleaning cloth, and occasionally my t-shirt in an pinch. One nuisance I have noticed is that there is a tendency to have a bright glare through the bottom of the frames where the color fades to clear. This part of the frame has reflected light, more noticeably in snow conditions under bright sunlight.
In the winter, I only noticed fogging of the lens on one instance. I did adjust the frames to be a little further away from my face, which allowed more air flow, and I was able to still receive adequate sun protection as well as mitigate the fogging. I appreciated how the curvature of the frames helped to protect my eyes from wind as well while snowboarding as well as mountain biking.
I really do like these sunglasses. If I could go back in time, I would probably have chosen a different frame color based on the glare I get in winter conditions. The manufacturer's website shows 8 different frames to choose from, so there are plenty to choose. The Slider line of frames has polarized lenses available from the manufacturer. Some models also come standard with polarized lenses. Not only are the Smith Toaster Sliders functional, but they are stylish as well!
THINGS I LIKE
- Great ultraviolet light protection, even from the sides.
- They stay put even during heavy exercise.
- Interchangeable lenses that are easy to switch out.
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
- I notice a glare under extreme bright conditions, more notably in the winter.
- Lack of protection on the top-side of lenses has caused some minor damage.
Read more gear reviews by Brett Haydin