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Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Tifosi Swank SL Sunglasses > Test Report by Kurt Papke

Tifosi Swank SL Sunglasses

Test Series by Kurt Papke

Initial Report - March 16, 2019

Long Term Report - July 7, 2019

Tester Information

Name: Kurt Papke
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Height: 6' 4" (193 cm)
Weight: 230 lbs (105 kg)
Email address: kwpapke (at) gmail (dot) com
City, State, Country: Tucson, Arizona USA

I do most of my hiking in the desert Southwest, but occasionally get up into the Pacific Northwest and my old stomping grounds in Northern Minnesota.  I am a comfort-weight guy when it comes to most gear, trying to stay as light as possible but I don't go to extremes.  I wear sunglasses pretty much every day to protect my eyes, especially when hiking.

Initial Report

Product Description

The test product is a pair of lightweight polarized rimless sunglasses with rubberized non-slip nosepad and shatterproof scratch-resistant lenses.  It is available in a number of frame and lens colors.  The "SL" distinguishes it from the base Swank model which has full rims and thus is slightly heavier.

Product Facts

Product Information
Tifosi Optics
Manufacturer website
Products tested
Swank SL
Color tested
Woodgrain with brown lens
Polarized Lens?
Country of manufacture
USD $49.95
30 day return policy
Grilamid TR-90 Frame
Polycarbonate lenses
Nosepiece has hydrophilic rubber pad
UVA/UVB protection
Lens light transmission
11.2 %
Measured weight
23 g (0.8 oz)

Initial Inspection


I always have a bit of trepidation when I open up a new package of test sunglasses - I have a big head and they can fit me too tightly.  The Tifosi Swank SL are snug, but do not seem excessively tight.  I won't know for sure until I wear them all day hiking.  The rubber pads on the nose bridge are comfy (see photo above upper right).

The frames are very attractive, I like the wood grain look.  They seem fairly sturdy; I flexed them at the hinge (see photo above lower left) and they don't feel susceptible to breakage.

I held the lenses up to a backlit window and rotated them to check the polarization.  Looks good!  The lenses are quite dark, which is great for me living in Arizona where we have brilliant sunshine.  At my last eye exam the doctor detected cataracts just starting to form in my eyeballs, so dark is good for me.  When held up to the light from a distance I don't pick up any distortion, so the optical quality looks good.

The sunglasses come with a soft cloth sack for storage that doubles as a lens cleaner in a pinch.


I am looking forward to getting these sunglasses out into the Arizona sunshine and seeing (literally) how they do!

Good Things:

  • Attractive.
  • Snug fit.
  • Lightweight.
  • Lenses are dark enough for the bright Arizona sun.


  • Hopefully not too snug on my temples.

Long Term Report

Testing Locations/Conditions

Distance Hiked
April 4-5, 2019
Coronado National Forest, Huachuca Mountains near Sierra Vista, Arizona
Reef Townsite
(car camping)

2 miles
(3.2 km)
7200 ft
(3000 m)
Partly cloudy, windy.  Highs around 65 F (18 C), lows around 44 F (7 C).  Very windy.
May 5-6, 2019 Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Mountains just North of Tucson, Arizona AZT: Gordon Hirabayashi TH to Hutch's Pool
15 miles
(24 km)
3622-4983 ft
(1104-1519 m)
Mostly sunny, slight breeze.  High of around 85 F, low of 46 F (29-8 C)
May 18-19, 2019 Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Mountains just North of Tucson, Arizona AZT: Marshall Gulch TH to Lemmon Pools
9 miles
(14.5 km)
7000-8000 ft
(2130-2440 m)
Mostly sunny, slight breeze, 36-60 F (2-16 C)
May 22-31, 2019 Various locations near Juneau, AK Alaska Dayhikes & Kayaking
Dayhikes from 1-4 miles
(1.6-6.5 km)
Near sea level Sunny, 50-65 F (10-18 C)
June 22-23, 2019 Mount Baldy Wilderness, near Pinetop, Arizona Mount Baldy Loop 20 miles (32 km) 9190-11142 ft
(2801-3396 m)
Sunny, breezy, temperatures 30-68 F (-1-20 C)
July 6-7, 2019
Tonto National forest, Pinal Peak just south of Globe, Arizona
~2 miles
(~3 km)
7600 ft
(2310 m)
Partly cloudy, 55-70 F
(13-31 C)


Non-Backpacking Use

I used the sunglasses pretty every day for driving, yardwork, bicycling, etc.  They were very comfortable and did a great job of protecting my eyes.  I noticed that some of the windows in my car got a "rainbow effect" from the polarized lenses, but any polarized sunglasses would have exhibited the same phenomena.

The Tifosi sunglasses do a great job of staying in place.  When I am bicycle riding I have a tendency to look down, and some sunglasses will slide down my nose, but not these.

Carr Canyon - Reef Townsite

This was a single-night car-camping trip to do some reconnaissance for the upcoming Arizona Spring Hammock Hang next month at this campground.  I wasn't able to reserve the group campsite, so I wanted to check out the single sites and get an assessment of the winding mountain road leading up to the site.

I wore the sunglasses on the drive to the Huachuca Mountains, the drive up (and down the next morning), and during a short day hike to the Reef Townsite mining area that dates back to the turn of the 20th century.

The sunlight was quite brilliant due to the clear air and high altitude.  The Tifosi sunglasses had the perfect amount of tint, not too dark to cause problems with driving, yet dark enough that my eyes did not get fatigued when not in my car.

AZT to Hutch's Pool

Hutch's Pool is an iconic Tucson backpacking destination, and a welcome respite for Arizona Trail through-hikers as it offers a chance to have a dip in a mountain pool.  Despite having lived and backpacked in Arizona for 10 years, I still had not been to the pools, so I packed up and did a short overnight.  The trailhead is a memorialized prison camp used to inter Japanese Americans during World War II.

I had sunshine both days of the hike, with a few intermittent wispy clouds.  The way the timing worked out, I mostly hiked into the sun, so I wore the sunglasses constantly while hiking.

AZT to Lemmon Pools

Another overnight to a stellar but little-known water feature in the Catalina Mountains.  There is a reason I am doing so many of these this year: we had great winter & spring rains, and the mountain pools are spectacular.

I wore the sunglasses pretty much all day long on both days.  See above photo, upper right for a picture of the sunglasses on this trail. Couldn't have been happier with them.  I appreciated the fact that they don't slide around on me, yet they are not overly tight on my temples or nose.

Alaska Dayhikes & Kayaking

This week-long Alaskan cruise departing Juneau included daily shore, kayak and skiff excursions. We had exceptional weather: a few sprinkles the first few days in Juneau, but sunny and beautiful the entire week we were aboard ship.  I didn't think I would get much use out of the sunglasses, but I ended up wearing them every day for several hours, pretty much all the time I was outdoors.  In the above photo, lower left in the collage, the intensity of the sunlight is clearly visible.

Since we spent a week on the water, this is the first real opportunity I've had to test the performance of the Swank sunglasses in this environment.  I was very grateful for the polarized lenses, particularly when we were viewing icebergs and I wanted to see as much of the underwater structure as possible.  I wore them all the time we were kayaking (several hours per day), and I never had a care that they would fall off my nose and be lost in the water.

I treated the glasses pretty roughly on this trip, they were on and off my face all day long.  I was quite surprised that they didn't get scratched, as I dropped them on the deck a few times.  The lens material seems to resist scratching quite well.

Mount Baldy Loop

I have lived in Tucson, Arizona for 10 years, and never visited, much less hiked, Arizona's White Mountains.  Mount Baldy, Arizona's second-highest peak is located there, and I needed some high-altitude training.  I drove 5 hours to the trailhead early Saturday morning, hiked until I could no more, then got up the next morning and completed the loop before driving back. I was pretty beat that night when I arrived home.

While I was hiking I had the Tifosi sunglasses on about 2/3 of the time, as the trail passes in and out of shady Ponderosa pine forests.  The tinting is perfect for bright conditions, but in dense forest undercover they are too dark.  As can be seen in the above collage at lower right they reside on my hat when not in use.  The sunglasses performed flawlessly on this trip once again.

Pinal Peak

This was an overnight car-camping trip to a campground I had never been to before, despite being less than 3 hours from my house by car.  Most of the sunglass use on this trip was the six hours of driving.  I did some short day hikes up at the peak, but the Ponderosa pines had me going in and out of the shade all the time.  Great driving glasses, very comfortable and the polarization keeps the glare down.


Great polarized sunglasses for all-day use.  They don't slip or slide on the nose, nor do they press into my temples.  The lenses are very clear and resist scratching.  Quite often by this point in the evaluation I will have broken the frames of the sunglasses under test, but the Tifosi Swank's have resisted my many "attempts" to break them.  Good job!

Many thanks to Tifosi Optics and for the opportunity to test this product.

Read more reviews of Tifosi gear
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Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Tifosi Swank SL Sunglasses > Test Report by Kurt Papke

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