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Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Tifosi Backcountry Orange Fotec Lens > Test Report by Will Dalen Rice


INITIAL REPORT - November 23, 2009
FIELD REPORT - February 02, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - April 06, 2010


NAME: Will Rice
EMAIL: will.dalen at
AGE: 28
LOCATION: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
HEIGHT: 5' 7" (1.70 m)
WEIGHT: 150 lb (68.00 kg)

I began backpacking at the age of 13 when I first went to summer camp (1993). In 1999, I started working with a college tripping organization in outdoor trip logistics (in gear preparation), and then as a leader. My most frequented hiking locations are in the Carolina Appalachians and the Smoky Mountains during the cold early spring and the summer. I stopped being a trip leader in 2004, and now I average about 4 backpacking trips and 4 day hikes per year. I carry between 25 and 35 lbs (11.3-15.8 kg) on multi-day trips.



Manufacturer: Tifosi
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US$ 59.95
Listed Weight (frames with lenses): 1 oz (26 g)
Measured Weight: less than 1.8 oz (50 g)
Measured Weight (with case): 3.5 oz (100 g)
Claimed time to change from light to dark shades: 12 seconds
Light Transmission: 45-15%
UVA/ UVB Blocking: 100%
Model: Dolomite
Color: Magnesium
Style: T-V390

Wearing Them

Seeing through them


When I first got these glasses and took them out of the packaging, I was impressed at how they looked. They are very stylish and lightweight. The orange color seems to enhance my vision without giving me a headache from brightness. I did originally expect that the frames would be metallic. The frames are instead plastic, which makes them light enough that I forget that I am wearing them. I am concerned about their ability to withstand a fall onto conrete or any kind of impact my face might otherwise experience. The legs of the glasses are secured by a screw and typical sunglass hinge. The lenses have vented holes in the outer top and outer bottom locations. The legs of the sunglasses also have cutouts that reduce the weight and increase ventilation. The parts touching the ears and the bridge of the nose have rubber padding for better comfort and fit.


I have worn them on a couple specific occasions I want to talk about. First, I wore them out to a wooded area I was doing my thesis research in. The glasses aided in my seeing, even in shadier areas. They also protected my eyes from tree branches that I apparently walked right into without seeing. I eventually forgot I was even wearing them. They are very comfortable. The second occasion I wore them for was a rainy/misty evening run. It was late afternoon when I started but then it transitioned to pretty much night time. The glasses still worked well to keep rain and mist out of my eyes while not impairing my vision in the darkness.


I am excited to test these glasses. I usually go for a darker shade of glasses to keep light out. These glasses seem like more of a usable tool in my conditions, so it will be interesting for me to see if they perform well enough to change my sunglass preference.

- Lightweight
- Fantastic looks
- The tinting works well in all light conditions

- Not sure if I can replace the lenses or not.



Me, in the sun

Date: 12/24/2009
Location: Charlotte, NC
Activity: Running, cross-training

I started out wearing these glasses to go running in. They stay in place well and were very light feeling on my face. I also did some pushups, jumping, stairs, and squats interspersed with the running. The glasses still did not move. The comfort aspect of the glasses is great. However, the color has been something new for me that I have had to get used to. Sometimes I just want less light to reach my eyes. These glasses, while they do in some cases make it easier to see, they also make everything appear orange. I have had trouble with contrast when the orange mixes with darker, grey-blue colors. The rest of the time though, everything does seem to stand out a little better, especially in shady areas on sunny days. I also wore the glasses on a different occasion right around dusk. I was able to keep the glasses on and still run in a darker setting.

Date: 12/28/2009
Location: Kings Mountain, NC
Weather: sunny, windy (10-15 mph, 16- 24 km/h), 49 F (9 C)
Activity: Hiking to top of mountain (1000 ft/ 300 m elevation gain), 3.4 miles (5.5 km) roundtrip

These glasses continue to surprise me with their comfort and how lightweight they are. They also didn't fog up when I was breathing hard and pushing up some steep hills. It was pretty windy on this day and the glasses helped to block some of that wind.

Date: 1/1-1/3/2010
Location: Gatlinburg, TN
Weather: Overcast to sunny, windy (10-15 mph, 16- 24 kph), 30-40 F (-1-4 C)
Activity: Snowboarding (1500-2500 ft/ 450-800 m)

It was super cold

I wore these as my primary eye protection while snowboarding. I also was wearing a ski mask to cover my mouth/nose and the rest of my face. As a result, the glasses fogged up a lot when I was not moving (i.e. lift line, riding the lift). When I was going downhill though, they stayed free of fog. This was possibly due to the wind that was coming through the cutouts on the sides of the lenses (at 5-20 mph/ 8-32 kph). As far as the lighting on a ski slope goes, the glasses seem to work well in both bright, snow-blinding conditions as well as lower light conditions towards the end of the day. However, due to the amount of wind that comes into these glasses at high speeds, I won't likely wear them as my primary snowboarding eye protection again.

Date: 1/9/2010
Location: Latta Plantation, Charlotte, NC
Weather: Cold and sunny, 16-37 F (-8-2 C), windy (8 mph, 13 km/h), 48% humidity
Activity: Orienteering (off-trail running for 3 hours, hiking for 1.5 hours)

The lenses seemed to fog up more on this day. I tried cleaning them with my soft long-underwear, but that didn't fix the problem completely. The place these glasses performed really well on this day was in serving as eye protection. With running through underbrush being part of the activity, there were many branches that would have otherwise got me in the eye. The Tifosi's did a good job of diverting branches, briars, and whatever else brushed across my face. Even in doing this, they still have not shown any real signs of wear and tear. They look as good as the day I got them.

Date: 1/30/2010
Location: Charlotte, NC
Weather: Snow, Overcast
Activity: Cross-Country Skiing

A peculiar thing happened when I took these glasses out to cross-country ski with me. The lenses didn't seem to get darker enough in overcast conditions. Since there was snow covering the ground, it was very white outside, and the glasses made all the snow seem brighter. The glasses also fogged a bunch when I began to ski. So, I put them on my head. They stayed in place through the day, with me falling here and there and occasionally crashing on down hill parts. I didn't even remember they were there until we were taking off our skis and I reached up and found them.

Other Testing

I was skeptical about the lenses changing darkness. You can see different levels of dark in the pictures, but also I stood in the sun and had a friend of mine bring me the glasses from the shade. As I watched the lenses, they indeed became darker in the sunlight.


I have dropped the glasses a few times on varying ground materials (gravel, dusty ground, carpet, snow). They have not acquired any scratches or nicks yet. They look new still. All the rubber, padded components are also in good condition. The hinges work fine. Their appears to be zero wear-and-tear on the glasses despite my wearing them pretty much everyday the sun is out.


Close Up

I have worn these glasses in all of the outdoor activities and fitness activities I do. They feel very light and have shown good durability. They started out pretty good in terms of not fogging, but lately they have been fogging more. Also, in doing activities that involve high speeds, they let lots of air in through the vents. In the winter time, this is not preferable for me.

Usage summation/ durations:
Over the 2 month field test period, I wore these glasses a minimum of 30 days (whenver the sun was out)
This included a minimum of:
10 days of hiking
2 days of running
2 days of orienteering
1 day of snowboarding

-fits well and comfortable

-the way the orange contrasts with muted blue colors
-vents let in too much cold air at high speeds
-fogging a lot lately



Date: 3/7-3/13/2010
Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Activity: Light Hiking, Construction
Weather: Ultra-sunny, 75-95 F (24-35 C)

These glasses handled the sunny weather in the desert of Mexico very well. The side vents let air in and out so I never felt my eye area sweating due to the glasses. The frames of the glasses also fit really well against my eyebrows and cheekbones, but didn't seal off the space in front of my eyes. Since the glasses are resting so close to my eyes and the lenses are the size they are, I have full field of vision and didn't feel at all claustrophobic or as if I was losing peripheral vision.

Although unintended, I wore these glasses while doing some light construction with concrete. They acted as safety glasses preventing me from getting concrete in my eyes. When I was done there was a large amount of concrete splatter on the glasses. This led to the discovery that these lenses are amazingly scratch resistant. I didn't have my special lens fabric with me, so I just wiped them off with my t-shirt. They ended up with one minor scratch across the bottom of the right lens, but otherwise came through undamaged. Considering the grit level present in the concrete mixture, I was very surprised that the lenses weren't completely destroyed. The second thing I learned, along these same lines, is that these glasses are difficult to clean. All the parts of the frames that are wider than the lenses where they connect collect fine grained dust and dirt. Then, it is hard to get in these locations and hard to get the glasses ultimately clean. This is more of an issue when using the glasses in muddy conditions (mountain biking, trail running).

Date: 3/19-3/20
Location: Mountains to Sea Trail, Marion, North Carolina
Weather: Sunny and clear (Cold overnight, 40 F/ 5 C , Warm day, 80 F/ 27 C)
Activity: Backpacking (5 miles/ 8km, out and back)

The tinting of these glasses still worked well even in the "Green Tunnel" effect that is so prevalent in the rhododendron of the North Carolina Appalachians. I left them sitting on a tree branch though when we stopped to shed layers while hiking. I didn't think of it before, but since these are supposed to be "backcountry" glasses, they might benefit from frames not the same color as dead leaves or tree bark. The glasses were sitting on a leaning tree trunk, and they were nearly the same color as the tree. If I had not remembered that they were there, I would never have seen them (as evidenced by me not seeing them when I originally walked off).

Date: 3/27/2010
Location: South Mountain, North Carolina
Weather: Sunny
Activity: Stream Research (wading), hiking (4 miles/ 6.5 km roundtrip)

The glasses fit really well to my face. This was really important as I did a lot of bending over and sticking my hand in the stream while doing rock sampling.

Before getting in the stream, I reached into my backpack to pull my glasses out. They fell on the blacktop and one of the lenses popped out. I am not sure if they are meant to pop out, but the left one did. After putting it back in, I noticed that the glasses seem to be shifted to right side. This could also be the cause of a gap in the right lens (upper portion of right side of right lens). The asymmetry doesn't effect the performance of the glasses and they still fit well, but they do look funny once you notice this issue. Since they are not metal frames, I don't believe they have been bent through my use. So, I wonder if there was some manufacturing defect that caused this.

Shift to right

Gap on right side of frame

Date: 4/1-4/4/2010
Location: Emerald Isle, North Carolina
Weather: Sunny, breezy
Activity: Walking on beach, in and around coastal marsh

I used the glasses when looking out over the marsh and at the ocean while walking. At one point I was looking at some animal very far away in the ocean. When I took my glasses off and then put them back on I could see that the orange contrast lenses helped to enhance what I was able to distinguish, especially in terms of differentiating the sky from the ocean. Although they enhance the contrast though, they didn't reduce glare much from what I could tell and so I wished they were polarized too.

Other Activities

Jogging- I still wear the glasses when running. They work especially well in the woods in keeping the spider webs out of my eyes.

Cycling- I finally got my bike put together and these glasses work for moderate speeds on my bike. There is noticeable wind coming in through the vents, so I would not want to use them at high speeds.


Dropped them and the lens popped out, but popped back in very easily.

The lens went through hell in terms of the concrete work in Mexico, and they still are mostly scratch free. The right lens did get one major scratch on the bottom of it.

Scratches on Lens

The rubberized parts of the frame and the frame itself show no signs of ware-and-tear.


These glasses are super-light, very comfortable, and do a good job shielding my eyes from the sun without giving up any ability to see. They even enhance it in some cases.

- Comfort
- Weight
- Look
- Vents good for keeping eyes cool

- Frame color (almost lost them)
- Crooked? Manufacturer defect?
- Vents not good for snowboarding or fast cycling

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
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