Finding a good pair of sunglasses is always difficult to do. Native Eyewear has been in the industry since 1996 and produce a wide variety of sunglasses and goggles geared for all of your outdoor adventures and all other occasions. I received the Native Dash XP sunglasses for reviewing purposes from Native Eyewear. Factory Specifications: Dash XP (as tested) Frame Color: Asphalt Lens Color: Copper Reflex Technology: Interchangeable Lenses, Rhyno-Tuff ® Air Frames, Venting, Cushinol™, Mastoid Temple Grip™ Fit Size: Best fits a medium to large frame size Weight: 0.65 ounces (18.4 grams) Included: SportFlex™ and Optic Gear Kit
What the Dash XP Offers:
- Reflex Lenses: The Polarized Reflex lenses offer increased glare reduction and slightly altered style. The brown based reflex lenses that I tested (style is listed as “Copper Reflex”) allow 12% Visible Light Transmittance (VLI) which is ideal for moderate to bright sunlight conditions.
- Sportflex Lenses: These lenses allow 60% Visible Light Transmittance (VLI). They are ideal for low light conditions. Native suggests they be used for these conditions: cloudy, overcast, dusk, and dawn. I think these will come in especially useful on those slightly overcast days where somehow the sunlight seems more intense than on a clear, sunny day and you constantly find yourself squinting wishing you had brought your sunglasses along.
- Interchangeable Lenses: This feature of the Dash XP glasses allows you to customize your sunglasses for whatever kind of sunlight that you will be experiencing. As mentioned above, the sunglasses I received came with the Copper Reflex lenses as well as the Sportflex lenses. The mechanism for changing the lenses is fairly simple. Once in the frames, the lenses feel secure, although it is not difficult to remove them if done correctly. See diagram below for instructions from Native.
- Frames: the Rhyno-Tuff ® Air Frames are designed to be lightweight, yet durable enough to take “high velocity collisions and temperature extremes” as Native puts it. I will say, these are the lightest and most comfortable sunglasses that I have ever worn. The frames often take up the largest portion of the weight of the sunglasses, and that is where the Dash XP’s cut so much of their weight. Like I said; these are the most comfortable sunglasses I have ever worn.
- Venting; Cushinol; Mastoid Temple Grip: The Dash XP has three small venting holes on the top of the frame directly behind the lenses. These holes allow greater airflow to help mitigate any issues with fogged up glasses and condensation gathering on your lenses. The Cushinol nose pads are made of a soft, flexible rubber. My experience with the nose pads so far is that they have enough surface area to prevent excessive pressure on your nose, but small enough that you nearly forget the sunglasses are resting on the bridge of your nose. The Mastoid Temple Grip merely refers to the way that the frames wrap around the side of your head at the portion of your temple behind your ear (Mastoid Process). The frame “hugs” this portion of your head to increase your comfort and make sure that the sunglasses stay secure on your head. Look at the ever-so-slight “S” in the curve of the frame in photo below. These features on the Dash XP’s make the sunglasses very comfortable.
- Optic Gear Kit: The Dash XP’s came along with a gear kit. Included was a rigid, fabric case that zippers to open and close. You couldn’t run the case over with a car, but the case is rigid and sturdy enough to take the force of a fall if you dropped it, or knocked it around some. The inside of the case is lined with velvet-like material to keep your lenses from being scratched or damaged. The bottom floor of the case has about a quarter-inch of foam for added protection. The top portion of the case has a sleeve that velcro’s to the top wall of the case. The sleeve consists of four smaller compartments that are lined with this same velvet-like material that each hold one of your lenses (four total). The kit also includes a soft, cloth case that closes with a draw string. The material is woven finely, making “This bag ideal for lens cleaning” (see below photo).
As mentioned above, these are the most comfortable glasses that I have ever worn. Because the Dash XP’s are so lightweight, I am interested to see just how durable that they are. Just from handling them, I would say that they are on the frail side of the spectrum. However, with all the technological advances that have been made in material science, only putting the sunglasses to the test, both on the trail and everyday use, will determine their durability. These sunglasses look good. They are not too flashy, but they are definitely not the disposable sunglasses that you get after a visit to the eye doctor. I plan to take the Native Dash XP sunglasses everywhere with me for the next few months. I plan to take them boating, backpacking, hiking, mountain biking, and maybe even a rock climbing trip or two. Check back here in about a month to get my update on how the Dash XP sunglasses perform.
Update #1: Native Dash XP Sunglasses
I have been using the Native Dash XP sunglasses for the past month now. I have owned my fair share of sunglasses (mainly due to the fact that I often “misplace” the ones that I have) and these have proven to be the most comfortable pair that I have ever owned. I have worn the XP sunglasses on an everyday basis around town, in the car, etc. From this everyday use I have become very familiar with the glasses. The glasses have great ventilation and I haven’t had any issues with them trapping heat around my face. All of the use with this pair has been done in warm or hot weather (~90 degrees F on average) so I have not had the cooler conditions to see if the glasses will fog up or not.
I mentioned in my initial review how I was afraid that the sunglasses were on the fragile side because of their lightweight construction. I have not treated the sunglasses as if they were some sort of fine china, however, I have been more careful with the Dash XP than other pairs of sunglasses I have had in the past. On a number of occasions I have been in a situation where I wish that I had the rigid protective case with me. For example; a recent hike with a group of about 10 others along the Horsepasture River, in the Nantahala National Forest in Western North Carolina put me in a situation where I wish I had brought the case along. As we got to the river, we all set our gear down on a rock as we got ready for a quick swim, and I realized as I took off the Dash XP’s, I did not feel comfortable throwing them into my pack for fear of someone else stepping on them or throwing my bag around. The sunglasses have held up so far, but I am going to make a point from here on out to keep the case handy.
The lightweight construction, coupled with the fact that there are no frames around the bottom of the lenses means that the sunglasses flex a good bit with only a small amount of pressure. I wear a pair of croakies with the glasses and whenever I try to bring the glasses from hanging around my neck to my face with one hand, the lack of rigidity in the glasses makes it difficult to slide them on my face. This is not a big problem, just makes you look a little foolish if anyone were to catch you with half your sunglasses on correctly on one side of your face, while you struggle with the other half in some awkward position.
I took the sunglasses along with me on a trip to Beaufort, SC along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. We borrowed a friend’s 19ft boat and hit the backwaters in the marshes in the area around outside the city. The polarized copper Reflex lenses worked great to cut the glare on the water, especially for some of the crabbing and fishing that we did.
On one of the overcast days I was able to try out the SportFlex lenses. They offered the right amount of protection from the sun on the hazy day, while not reducing any of my visibility. These lenses are not polarized, so while they are good for hazy, overcast days, they may not be the best for anglers who are looking for the benefits of polarized lenses on the water. That same overcast day, it was obvious when I needed to change my lenses back to the copper Reflex when the sun started to come back out.
I need to note that it is fairly easy to smudge the lenses on these glasses. Because the frames on these glasses only run along the top of the lenses, it is easy to forget this and accidentally grab the lenses. The Dash XP’s did come with a cloth for cleaning the lenses and it’s always good to keep this around as other materials can scratch the lenses.
These sunglasses have been great so far. Their lightweight construction may offer some durability issues (at least in your head), but I think that the lightweight trade off is worth it. Check back in about a month for an update on the Native Dash XP sunglasses.
Final Update:Native Dash XP Sunglasses 1/4/12
It’s hard to find a good pair of sunglasses. It’s even harder to find a great pair of sunglasses. I have had a few months with the Native Dash XP Sunglasses and I don’t have many negative things to say about it. I want to take some time to make some final conclusions about the sunglasses.
- These sunglasses are light. Crazy light. At 0.65 oz. you forget at times they are even on your face. You can’t complain much about this fact, and it is by far my favorite part of sunglasses.
- Questionable durability. I need to start this by stating: the sunglasses have not been damaged or broken (yet). This is partly due, I believe, to the fact that I have treated the sunglasses with great care because they feel so delicate. This fragility has cause me some headaches on a few adventures. I hiked with a group up to a waterfall and forgot the hard case that goes along with the Dash XP’s. On a break to take a swim in the river I didn’t want to put my glasses in my pack for fear someone would step on them inside and I didn’t feel any better letting them sit on top of the pack with everyone walking around the gear. Lesson learned; always keep the protective case with you or constantly be in fear that your sunglasses are about to get crushed.
- I have used the interchangeable lenses ONCE. I talked about my use of the Sportsflex lenses in my last update and that is the last time that I have used them. I remember that day that the overcast day lasted only about and hour and then I had to put the regular reflex lenses back in. It just wasn’t worth the trouble. I honestly just don’t participate in activities where the Sportsflex lenses are beneficial enough to put in. For me, I’d rather just leave the Reflex lenses in all the time and not have to fool with other lenses.
- Trade off: Weight vs. Durability. I have made a pretty good case for the Native Dash XP sunglasses. Ultimately I believe that when choosing between these sunglasses and another pair, it just comes down to your own preferences. If you are a minimalist and would rather not have to add the protective case to the weight and bulk of my pack then go with a more durable pair of sunglasses. If the super-light qualities appeal to you, and you can take good care of these sunglasses, then this is the pair for you.
The Native Dash XP sunglasses are hands down a great pair of sunglasses. If you are looking for a pair of comfortable and lightweight shades then look no further. I want to say thanks again to Native for the opportunity to review this great pair of sunglasses.