Leupold has recently launched its Performance Eyewear line of glasses. As a designer and manufacturer of high-quality optics, this is a bit of a departure from their normal product line up. However, I’m willing to give almost anything a shot, and Leupold generously sent out a pair of “Packout” style glasses for testing and evaluation.
TFB Review: Leupold Performance Eyewear – Packout Edition
First, let’s talk about what all of the Performance eyewear versions share in common. The first and most apparent thing is that they’re all sunglasses. However, most models of Leupold Performance Eyewear are compatible with prescription lenses (Tracer style excluded), so if you have a need for prescription lenses in your everyday eyewear, they’ve got you covered.
All models come with their in-fused polarized lenses. the UV protective coating is baked right into the lenses themselves so constant exposure to moisture, heat, and cold won’t cause flaking line on other pairs of glasses which leaves you without UV protection and obscures your vision.
The specific pair I was sent, the “Packout” style features an ANSI Z87.0+ ballistic rating. This rating means it carries a “high-velocity” impact rating. The research I did indicates that these glasses meet the Z87.1+ high-impact rating but there is nothing to suggest that they meet the much more stringent military APEL certification standard which is considered a “ballistic” rating.
Jack of All Trades
The Packout style glasses I was sent are intended to be multi-use glasses. Whether it’s fishing, hunting, shooting, driving, or just lounging about on the beach, the Packout style glasses should have you covered. I wore these glasses for about two months to test them out using them daily and I have to say they do live up to the descriptor of being an everyday pair of sunglasses.
The overall weight is very low but not unnoticeable . This is on par with normal sunglasses that don’t carry an impact rating and therefore wouldn’t be of any use outside of recreation. With normal safety glasses, it tends to get uncomfortable when you are using over the ear protection. The constant pressure of the pads pressing against the side of your head gets extremely uncomfortable. However, the Packout glasses have a much wider arm width meaning that they distribute the pressure much better and this alleviates a lot of the pressure felt when wearing over the hearing protection. Definitely a plus in my book.
Sweaty Guy Problems
Down here in the humid south fog is a constant problem. When you’ve been moving and shaking at the range for an hour or so in the hot southern sun you naturally build up a good sweat. Accompanied with this sweat is usually foggy glasses and in my case, this is the most difficult part of continuing to shoot. You can’t shoot if you can’t see.
This isn’t a listed feature of the Packout glasses but in my case, I didn’t experience any fogging when wearing them even though I was running around in them. This could be explained by the geometry of the bridge (the part that contacts your nose) which keeps the classes securely where you place them. For me, this means that there is a small gap between the glasses and my eyes and prevents the lens frames from touching my face.
The only other solution to this that I’ve noticed is Oakleys discontinued Anti-Fog Lens kit which works really well with just a single drop applied to both lenses. Whatever Leupold has done to these lenses to make them fog-resistant works well in my case.
Premium style with added benefits
Much of the draw for the Packout style was the style. While I am normally a fan of Aviator style glasses, I find the Packout style glasses to be much better suited to everyday use (the Aviators stay in the cockpit). The appearance of the Packout glasses is quite nice and while I chose the matte black, they also come in Totrise style depending on your preferences.
Each pair of glasses comes with both a soft and a semi-rigid case which also contains netting for storage of the bag and cleaning cloth – a very nice feature indeed if you plan on just tossing these in the range or hunting back without having to worry about crunching them.
Now I didn’t go full hulk-mode and attempt to break the glasses by sitting on them or snapping them but I did twist and flex them some to see just how rigid or bendy they were. I feel like they flex just enough to prevent snapping or cracking of the frames without sacrificing sufficient rigidity. As a final note, the lens clarity was phenomenal. While the tint may have been just a bit too dark for my tastes, they still provided enough clarity that seeing things wasn’t an issue even indoors.
Conclusions – Are they Worth the price tag?
Finally, we get to what most people will be asking about – the price. The glasses carry a fairly high price tag for sunglasses but you have to remember that these are also safety glasses that meet the minimum requirements for shooting sports. The Matte Black version of these glasses is listed for $179.99 MSRP. This is on par with other premium brands of sunglasses that don’t carry any sort of impact rating.
If you’re in the market for a good pair of shades that you can use anywhere your day might take you, then I’d highly recommend the Packout Performance Eyewear. However, if you’re in need of something with a bit more protection (i.e. frag and spall is constantly a concern) I’d recommend going with something that carries an APEL ballistic impact certification. You’ve got one pair of eyes, protect them.
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