Sunglasses are a travel essential.
There is no way around this: sunglasses are an essential piece of travel gear. There are awkward to carry, there is really no good place to pack them in your bags, and when you go indoors they leave you with the decision of keeping them on your face, making you look like a moron, or carrying them around in your hands, which is cumbersome. Also, the only thing that’s seemingly easier than breaking a pair of sunglasses is losing them. In fact, not regularly losing or breaking your sunglasses is a pinnacle of character — unfortunately, it’s one that no human has yet achieved. Sunglasses are probably the most agitating piece of travel gear, but you need these things when on the road.
What’s the point of climbing up to some mountain vista, boating across shinning seas, or hanging around on beautiful beaches if the sun is in your eyes and you can’t see anything? In addition to missing precisely that which you came to see, battling for a view against the sun is uncomfortable — it’s irritating and hurts. Yes, I have to admit that I’ve ridden in boats across gorgeous, gleaming lakes with my face pointed down between my legs because I’d given up in the fight against the glare.
When traveling you’re going to be outside a lot. Travel means sun exposure — especially if you primarily spend your days in the great “Global Travel Belt,” which girdles the middle region of the globe. In addition to being annoyingly blinding and uncomfortable, excessive UV exposure can also do your eyes some damage.
You need a pair of glasses. There’s no debate here, no way around it. So what kind of sunglasses do you get?
Well, just so they offer UVA and UVB protection and are well-made, not much else really matters. But let’s be blunt here: you wear sunglasses on your face. Everyone that you’re going to look at is going to see you in them. So there is a nagging directive here to get a pair that matches your personality — for better or worse.
For many years I would stock up on rejected polarized aviators at an LL Bean outlet store each time I visited the USA. I would then blow through this collection as I littered them around the world over the next year or two. Then I was sent a couple samples from Faded Days, a company bent on innovating sunglasses design, which very well may have disrupted my sunglasses procurement strategy.
“Those are interesting, I never seen sunglasses like that before,” my wife said when she saw me testing out a pair of their “Tortoise Club” sunglasses around the house (shown above). That, as it turns out, was the perfect way to describe these things. These are sunglasses that are made to stand out. Most of the rest of Faded Days’ collection is similar: these sunglasses are either for you or they’re not, and I mean this in a positive way.
As far as quality goes, they are very well made — especially for the price. They have a solid stainless steel frame which completely encircles the lenses and connects them together, adding durability. Over the top of the frame is a thick and stylish “tortoise shell” patterned plastic which has a wide hinge area which allows the steel spikes from the arms to drive in deep, providing a connection that shouldn’t come apart any time soon.
The lenses provide full UVA and UVB protection as well as being polarized, which I prefer. They are also tinted amber, ticking up their creep ratio — my personal style.
Faded Days claim that they “provide classically designed sunglasses with a fresh, colorful, approach,” and that’s what they seem to do. They advertise stylish, designer sunglasses without the ridiculous price tag, and as their collection ranges in price from $15.95 to $69.95, this is also right on.
Honestly speaking, I really like these sunglasses and will be wearing them around the world until they meet their inevitable destiny of breaking in an epic adventure or marooned in some far flung locale. They are well-made and well-styled — you really can’t ask for much more in a pair of sunglasses.
About the Author: VBJ
I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. VBJ has written 3657 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
VBJ is currently in: Astoria, New York