sunglasses, sunnies, polarized sunglasses,

Sunglasses are an essential but often overlooked item of gear. As overland adventurers we all spend long hours in the rig concentrating on the often brightly lit trail ahead of us. Combine that with days spent in harsh outdoor conditions and often many of us suffer eye fatigue and or the dreaded trail headache. In this Mag 7 article, we take a look a 7 brands that combine great styling with next level optics technology.



Gatorz eyewear, Marauder, Sunglasses,

Marauder – Sunburst Mirror Polarized

  • Precision CNC Machined Aluminum Frame
  • Stainless Steel Rivets Bond 4 Hinges to Frame
  • Durable Cerakote and Anodized Coatings
  • 100+ Point Measurement Quality Check
  • Lens: Gray base that reduces bright light and enhances color perception. Best for sunny days and everyday use. Visible light transmission (VLT) -15%
  • Frame: Black Cerakote with black logo
  • Made in the USA with a lifetime frame warranty


Trail Thoughts:

These aluminum framed sunglasses with their rubberized nose pieces provided solid and comfortable all round coverage. The frame is a medium to large fit. The grey base polarized lens with its sunburst mirror coating is certainly a statement and may not be for everyone. Luckily this glass comes in multiple alternative lens colors. Personally for us, the quality of the frame and lens soon overwhelmed any thoughts about the bright color scheme.



Spy optics, sunglasses,

Helm Tech – Blue Spectra Mirror Polarized

  • Equipped with easily removable side shields that stay secured to the frame even when folded, so you can block out the sun and haters all at once
  • Hidden sweat channels in both the nose pads and inner temples keep you cool when the heat is on
  • Comfortable rubber nose pads provide a secure fit no matter how hard you sweat
  • SPY+’s revolutionary therapeutic Happy™ lens tech is scientifically tuned to boost mood and alertness while enhancing color and contrast, providing a truly life-changing visual experience
  • ARC® (Accurate Radius Curvature) polycarbonate lenses are tapered to follow the natural curvature of the eye, providing crystal-clear distortion-free vision while reducing eyestrain
  • Constructed from Grilamid®, a lightweight frame material ideal for everyday wear due to its strength and flexibility
  • Smooth and sturdy screw hinges
  • 100% UV protection reduces eye fatigue and long-term sun damage
  • Frame measures 57-18-143

Trail Thoughts:

The frame was comfortable and lightweight and were easy to wear for long periods at a time. The addition of the removable side shields provided excellent all round coverage. The shields were easy to apply and rigid when in place, however, from a real world POV, they would be very easy to misplace. The frame comfortably fits medium to large heads. The HappyTM grey/green polarized lens with dark blue mirror coating was easy on the eye for all day use. We were certainly happy all day, but that might be because we were overlanding in the desert and not related to the lens 😉




costa, costa sunglasses,

Kailano – Gray Polorized Glass

Costa, sunglasses, sunnies, overlanding,
  • Premium Polarized 580 glass lenses
  • 100% UV protection
  • Scratch resistant and durable
  • Absorbs harmful high-energy blue light (HEV)
  • Large lens front designed to fit average sized head

Trail Thoughts:

The moment you pick these up you feel the build quality and with care they’ll probably last for years. The frame is most suited for small to medium faces and the styling could certainly be unisex. The grey polarized glass lens enhanced tones and cut glare very effectively. Costa has a reputation for fishing and ocean use and we would have liked to have tested them around a lake or river to truly experience the optics quality of the glass lens.




Screen Shot 2024 02 20 at 3.19.07 PM

Temper – Light Grey Polarized

Bolle, sunglasses, sunnies, overlanding,
  • Volt Grey Lens uses AI to deliver a 30% richer color experience and 15% visible light transmission
  • High quality polarized lens: High contrast vision and improved depth perception
  • Thermogrip thermoplastic rubber designed for extra grip at strategic touch points
  • Sized for medium large faces
  • Classic large rectangular frame

Trail Thoughts:

This wrap around frame with its rubberized nose and ear pieces provided a solid and comfortable fit. The frame size is suitable for medium to large faces. The grey base polarized lens with its sky blue coating provided a noticeably clear and crisp view. In the very bright conditions we experienced, we would have liked this to have been slightly toned down. That said, when driving in alternating bright to shady conditions, this lens performed fantastically.




Screen Shot 2024 02 20 at 3.38.18 PM

Phantom – Titanium Polarized

Roka, sunglasses, sunnies, overlanding,
  • Matt gunmetal titanium frame
  • C3 Optics Ranger polarized lens
  • Designed to shield against full bright sunlight with a 17% light transmission
  • Enhances green, brown and red colors
  • Fingerprint resistant
  • Light weight with no pressure points
  • No slip GEKO pads
  • 2 year warranty

Trail Thoughts:

Iconic lifestyle styling with an ultra lightweight titanium frame. This frame fits medium to large faces and after a while you forgot you were wearing them. In our opinion, this sunglass is most suited to road trips rather than dusty desert trails. The Ranger polarized lens was excellent and enhanced the desert colors.




Tifosi, sunglasses, sunnies, overlanding,

Swank XL – Brown Fade Polarized

Tifosi, Sunglasses, sunnies, overlanding,
  • LENS TECHNOLOGY – Shatterproof polycarbonate lenses with UVA / UVB protection from harmful UV Rays
  • ULTRA LIGHT FRAME – Only 26 grams made of Grilamid TR90, durable and lightweight for all day comfort.
  • FRAME TECHNOLOGY – Frame features integrated hinge which never pulls hair, hydrophilic nose pads for increased gripping, and Tifosi Glide technology allows the frame to slide on comfortably and provide a no-slip fit
  • FIT – Medium – XL (looking for smaller size, try Swank)

Trail Thoughts:

At a price point considerably less than the other brands in the review, we were surprised at how well they performed. Yes, the frame feels lighter and less sturdy, but the lens quality was good and certainly stepped up to the plate in the harsh desert conditions. The bronze lens provided a warm and eye soothing view of the desert. If you’re hard on sunglasses and price is your main concern, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them as a solid performer.




Zeal, sunglasses, sunnies, overlanding,
Zeal, sunglasses, sunnies, overlanding,

Hondo – Polarized

  • Polarized lens
  • Ellume Bio-Plastic Lens
  • Proflex
  • Z-resin Bio Plastic Frame
  • RX Ready RX
  • See Grass
  • Asian fit compatible
  • Barrel Hinge
  • Scratch reistant hardcoat

Trail Thoughts:

The frame is made of recycled plastic and grass fibers and has a solid and durable feel. The built in rubberized nose pieces were comfortable when wearing for extended periods, however we felt the flat faced and angular styling didn’t provide as much coverage as we would have liked. The fit is suitable for medium faces. The copper base lens with blue mirror coating provided a warm toned view and was relaxing in the harsh light of the desert.




Adventure and high activity: We felt that the Gatorz Marauder comes out top in this category, with its solid frame construction, wrap around total coverage styling and excellent lens quality.

Lifestyle styling: Here’s where the ROKA Phantom with its iconic aviator styling wins hands down. With its beautiful green base lens and weightless titanium frame, we wouldn’t hesitate to grab these for long road trips.


This sunglass test was performed in the Anza Borrego Desert over a 4 day period in typical harsh desert light conditions. We were not careful in how we handled the sunnies; throwing them on the rigs dashboard, accidentally dropping them on the ground and generally trying to give them a real world experience. All brands performed well and each lens was relaxing on the eye, but with noticeably different visibly light tones based on their base optic color. Grey provides a crisp and crystal clear look, where green, brown and rose base colors, gave a warmth to the view. Obviously high quality sunglasses don’t come cheap and if you’re hard on your gear, a lower priced brand might be what you’re looking for. That said, higher priced options generally have solid frames and fantastic lens quality and if looked after will last for year.

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Raised in beautiful but rainy England, Andy moved to the sunny climes of Southern California in 1995 and hasn’t looked back since. Two and half decades working in the outdoor, bike and surf industries has given him a thirst for adventure and living life without a ceiling. When not working on the website, he can be found surfing Californian beaches, or in remote mountain or desert areas, either primitive camping, mountain biking or embarking upon vehicle assisted adventure in the backcountry with one of The Adventure Portal rigs.