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Cold bright sunny days are the name of the game for a winter day in Colorado. Although jackets, boots, gloves, and hats usually come to mind when thinking of winter gear, quality sunglasses are an important component of outdoor gear and safety. Those Colorado bluebird winter days are some of the brightest around. With snow on the ground, the light reflects back up making it nearly impossible to see without good eyewear.
This past summer I reviewed the Bajio Roca Sunglasses, which were fantastic for fishing on Western Rivers of Colorado and sight fishing the crystal clear waters of Michigan. During that time, I really fell in love with the quality of the Bajio sunglasses, the lenses, and the mission behind the company.
Bajio is a relatively new company to the eyewear business but has made a big splash in the industry. Every decision the company makes is to support and protect the world’s saltwater fishing flats. 100% of Bajio Sunglasses are sustainable. Personally, it is so great to invest in companies that are putting so much back into the resources we all love and enjoy.
That being said this winter I have had another opportunity to test out the all new Bales Beach Sunglasses from Bajio. Although winter in Colorado seems very far away from fly fishing the flats of a tropical destination, I am sure the bright winter days around here will put this eyewear to the test.
Initial Thoughts of the Bajio Bales Beach Sunglasses
The Bales Beach Sunglasses are medium/large sized frames. These sunglasses have a build similar to the Bajio Rocca Sunglasses although a bit smaller in the medium size. I would imagine that this sized frame would be perfect for almost everyone. One notable feature of all Bajio frames is that they are made from bioplastics. Bajio has been making sunglasses frames from bioplastics and coconut husks and is in the process of producing frames from water bottles.
The frame has a wrap around design which contours the face and keeps out stray light. The frame portion around each lens has built in side shields for extra light protection. These shields even have venting ports that allow for airflow.
Non slip rubberized pads are used in both the temples and nose pieces. Both these sets of pads are oversized to make sure that the sunglasses stay put as well as adding comfort for wearing during long periods of time. On the ends of each temple there is a small hole to allow for the addition of eyeglass retainer so that in the event of the sunglasses falling off they won’t be lost.
The Bales Beach sunglasses come in three different color frames: matte gray, tortoise, and matte black. I chose the matte black as this is color of frame that I currently do not own.
All Bajio sunglasses have the option of either glass or polycarbonate lens. If you have read any of my sunglasses reviews of the past you will know that I tend to have an affinity for glass lenses. What I like about glass lenses is the durability. However, it is hard to beat the brightness and pop of a quality pair of polycarbonate lenses.
For this review I have chosen to test out a rose color lens in polycarbonate. The rose color lenses are a great all around lens choice good for both lake and river fishing. They are medium contrast lenses which will work well in both bright light and overcast days. All of the Bajio lenses use Lapis technology which allows them to block out certain spectra of light. Both blue and yellow light spectrums cause interference and eye strain.
All of the lenses from Bajio are polarized and cut out any of the stray glare from water or snow that reflects back up. Polarization is a critical piece of technology for fishing. Additionally, a protective coating is added to the lens. This helps the lenses resist sunscreen and finger smudges.
Bajio not only puts tremendous effort into their product but they also make tremendous effort getting their product to the consumer. The packaging of their eyewear is second to none. It is almost like the sunglasses come in their own little kit. Within the packaging there is information about the sustainability of their product and the accessories that come with it.
All of the packaging materials come from a sustainable place. Whether it is the boxes that are made from 100% recycled materials or even the sunglasses case which is made from cactus leather it makes the consumer feel good about the product they have purchased. The information goes even further to describe the efforts that this company is doing to protect the world’s tropical flats.
Included with my Bajio Sunglasses was a small camp cup. Over the holiday season each pair of Bajio sunglasses comes with one of these super fun cups. On the outside of the cup there is an artist painting that represents one of the causes that this cup supports. Causes like beach cleanup, coral reef protection, and eliminating ocean plastics are just some of the actions that Bajio takes part of. Again, it is the little things that this company is doing that is setting itself apart for consumers that value our fragile ecosystems.
Field Testing the Bajio Bales Beach Sunglasses
The Bajo Bales Beach Sunglasses have been coming with me on all of my outings. These outings have consisted of fly fishing the local freestone river, ice fishing our high mountain lakes, and hanging out on the ski slopes.
For me the most noticeable quality of the Bales Beach Sunglasses is the coverage. I really like how Bales Beach Sunglasses fit. They do an outstanding job of contouring my face. What this means in terms of performance is that very little stray light enters around the frames. This is important especially when sight fishing so that it is easier to spot fish in the river. Since it is winter here in Colorado this great fit was particularly helpful in blocking out stray light from the snow reflection. Even on the brightest of days I found little to no stray light coming in. This was particularly great on my ice fishing outings.
One thing that was very surprising is how much I like the rose colored lenses. This color in particular has been great. I have many sunglasses with an array of different colored lenses, but I don’t believe I have any with rose or red lenses. These are fantastic for nearly all light conditions and for all different activities. These are such a great all around choice in lens and I would highly recommend these because of their versatility.
The Bajio polycarbonate lenses have been great so far. For me what is most noticeable is how lightweight these lenses are. Even though their glass lenses were light there is a noticeable difference in the weight of the polycarbonate lenses. These light lenses are perfect for wearing all day and really most of the time it is not even noticeable that I was wearing sunglasses.
Along the same lines as the light weight frames is the comfort from the oversized nose and temple pads. These combined with the light weight make the Bales Beach Sunglasses incredibly comfortable. At no time did I have discomfort on my nose or ears where the glasses make contact with my face. This was impressive as there were days that I was wearing these glasses for hours on end.
For me it is also important to believe in the company that produces the product. Bajio has been such an advocate for all the places that we love and visit. I really am impressed with how they are able to make such a great product, keeping the price point in check with other high end sunglasses companies, and making their product 100% sustainable. I really hope their pioneering will create a movement across the entire outdoor gear industry.
Technical Specs on the Bales Beach Sunglasses Taken Directly From the Bajio Website
- MSRP $199
- Full, 8-base wrap design for light-blocking performance
- Built-in side shields for maximum sun protection
- Generous non-slip rubber nose pads
- Choice of 6 lens colors in both glass and polycarbonate
- Rubber temple tips for snug fit
- Made from plant-based material that bio-degrades more easily and is gentler on our oceans
- All lenses are polarized and include proprietary LAPIS technology that blocks blue light, making them the clearest lenses on the planet
- Lens Material: Glass or Polycarbonate
Final Thoughts on the Bajio Bales Beach Sunglasses
The Bales Beach sunglasses are perfect for any outdoor activity in bright conditions. Specifically designed for fishing, these sunglasses are made to block out stray light and would work great for any bright outside day. As tested, the rose colored lenses are outstanding in both bright and overcast conditions and make a great all around choice. If owning a great pair of sunglasses was not enough then Bajio’s sustainable practices are sure to inspire you.