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Ultralight Reading Glasses
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Ceph Lotus
(Cephalotus) - MLife

Locale: California
Ultralight Reading Glasses on 09/27/2011 00:18:33 MDT Print View

I found a site that sells Ultralight reading glasses:

The only issue was trying to figure out the strength I would need. They list Mild, Medium, Strong, Stronger and Strongest.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
i4u lenses on 09/27/2011 13:02:21 MDT Print View

I found out about these lenses about 6 months ago from Glen Van Peski's gear list on I tried them out reading in bed. I fell asleep, the lenses fell off and I didn't find them for weeks (they somehow got between the mattress and box spring).

The listing on the i4u website also includes the diopter numbers. If you already have a closeup lens prescription, use the closest to that, or maybe one step up for better magnification. My prescription is for 2.75 and I found that a 3.0 works fine for map reading. Check with your provider at your next eye exam. If you're not going to use them much (and you probably won't--I found them quite uncomfortable for reading for long periods), you can get an approximate number at the drugstore reading glasses display from their "self test" feature. Better, visit said display with a USGS contour map, try different strength glasses and see which diopter lets you read the map best.

Edited by hikinggranny on 09/27/2011 13:04:02 MDT.

Ben H.
(bzhayes) - F

Locale: So. California
If you are looking for a particular prescription.. on 09/27/2011 17:42:21 MDT Print View

If you have a prescription from you doctor, you can get light weight custom prescription glasses from Zenni Optical for dirt cheap:

I have these and they are very light:

They also have similar frames in titanium which are probably even lighter:

The only difficulty is figuring out your pupilary distance (PD) which is often not included in your prescription. I can weigh my glasses if anyone is interested. In terms of backpacking you would probably need to keep them in a case. The case they came with is pretty light weight.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Ultralight Reading Glasses on 09/27/2011 21:13:44 MDT Print View

For those who don't care for the pince-nez style, these are good, and pretty light - 13g or .45 oz:

Amazon sells them.

I like them because the all-plastic construction seems to survive well in my pack. I bring a pair for reading, and a more powerful pair for tiny map details.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Ultralight Reading Glasses on 09/27/2011 21:17:53 MDT Print View

Fresnel lens.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Ultralight Reading Glasses on 09/27/2011 22:37:44 MDT Print View

I also have a pair of these:

Very compact, 0.9 oz. with case.

Unfortunately the shipping cost almost three times more than the glasses!

I note on the site that they now come in a soft case instead of hard. Since they are rather delicate, I'm not sure that's a good idea.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Ultralight Reading Glasses on 09/28/2011 05:01:00 MDT Print View

Yeah, very light, BUT ... they only work at home.
If you are out walking and have got a bit sweaty, and want to read a map, forget it. They fall straight off your nose.
Well, that's what happened to me, anyhow. Sweaty nose!


Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Ultralight Reading Glasses on 09/28/2011 06:04:04 MDT Print View

I use the Eschenbach Clip Read Magnifying Reading Glasses 2-5-G. Only weigh 3.3 grams, 8.5 grams with case. The company has quite a few other options that you may want to look at:

Eschenbach Clip Read Glasses

Edited by butuki on 09/28/2011 06:11:49 MDT.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
Ultralight Reading Glasses on 09/28/2011 12:35:54 MDT Print View

The easiest and cheapest way to find what diopter power you need in over the counter readers is go to your local drug store and take what you will be reading and try the readers on till your satisfied with the vision.
If you have prescription for glasses and have been diagnosed by your optometrist for Presbyopia. You need to take in consideration what your distance prescription is also so call your optometrist office and find out what is the power you would need for over the counter reader.

Over the counter readers have one flaw they are mass produced made with out consideration to the optical center of the lens when being cut. With optical centers in different places will induce prism effect your not use to and the OTC readers could cause headaches after prolonged use. Also stay away from drill mounted glasses they are fragile and break very often.

If your just reading maps the suggestion of small flexible plastic magnifying Fresnel lens is the best solution because it unbreakable is flat so it packs easily and is the lightest solution for a vision aid to read maps.

I have 15 year experience as Lead optometric tech in optometrist office.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Multi-purpose on 09/29/2011 01:36:08 MDT Print View

I use maui Jim Ho‘okipa Readers Sunglasses. Polarized with bifocal readers on the bottom. Total weight is 2 oz.

Can be a little difficult to read in the dark, but I usually sleep at night.

Stuart Miyake
(ssmiyake) - MLife

Locale: Left Coast
Optx 20/20 stick ons on 02/13/2013 13:41:54 MST Print View

Posted this on another reading glasses thread so I thought I would throw it out here. I have used these stuck onto the bottom of my sunglasses for years as stealth magnification. Sticking these on a pair of sunglasses is one less thing to carry and the weight is negligible. I use contacts for distance but my up close has been slowly doing the "age dance". Since these are sold in pairs you can even use two different magnification adjustments to compensate if you need to. I have found these sold at the local CVX store but I usually hunt the net for the best price when I need to (and haven't for for a while). Durability is excellent and I have never had a lens fall off unless purposely soaked in water to remove them. Brief exposure to water hasn't been a problem.


Nelson Sherry

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Re: Ultralight Reading Glasses on 02/13/2013 14:20:22 MST Print View

I shopped around for months for some ultra-light reading glasses for backpacking, and tried out a lot of different ones. I finally found some Zoom Slimvision glasses ($9.99) at the local drug store (many stores including Walmart apparently stock these). They are all plastic, including the hinges, pretty bombproof in that I drop them many times a day and step or sit on them many times a month, and I've never broken a pair yet. I quit using other reading glasses during the day because these are so simple, light, and cheap. They are even comfortable to read with while laying on my side because they are flat where they go past your ear. For easy access, I duck tape the cloth case they come with to my backpack straps when hiking or backpacking.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: Ultralight Reading Glasses on 02/14/2013 13:58:18 MST Print View

Yeah, very light, BUT ... they only work at home.
If you are out walking and have got a bit sweaty, and want to read a map, forget it. They fall straight off your nose.
Well, that's what happened to me, anyhow. Sweaty nose!

I think you should break them apart and use the pincher piece as a handle to your new monocle. Not only does that save weight, but it will make you seem really sophisticated.