Byfield Optics probably aren’t the first name you think of when it comes to eyewear, but we’ve been playing with their products and we think it’s time for that to change. Why’s that? Well, we’re quite lucky with the sun here in Australia – most years we get to see a lot of it. It makes for some great days out in your 4wd and there’s nothing better than sitting round the Barbie on a sunny evening, cracking open a couple of cold ones as the shadows start to stretch out. When you’re actually driving the sun can be a menace though. Direct glare and reflections off anything shiny – like your Ute – can easily dazzle you and make driving dangerous. That’s why one of the first things any self-respecting off-roader picks up in the morning is a decent pair of sunglasses.
The problem with most regular sunglasses is that they do a good job of keeping UV radiation and bright glare out of your eyes, but they’re not so great when it comes to other hazards. Driving off road can throw up a lot of dirt, from sand to fair-sized stones, and even a small pebble can hit your sunglasses with enough force to break them. That can cause a serious eye injury, and even if you’re lucky the news isn’t all good – your sunglasses are broken. Maybe you think you’ll be fine because you don’t drive an open-topped vehicle, but think again. Ever got sprayed with grit when someone drove past as you stood beside the track? Ever had stones bounce off you as you worked to dig a stuck wagon out of the mud? If that’s happened to you – and we’re going to bet it has – you can probably see the need for something a bit tougher than your average fashion wraparounds.
Luckily it’s not just off roaders who’ve been thinking about this issue. The military have put a lot of money into eye protection in the last few years, and troops on operations now have a range of protective eyewear. One of the leading manufacturers is Australian firm Byfield Optics.
Byfield have 25 years of experience in producing military optics, and all that knowledge has gone into their eyewear. No matter how good your current sunglasses are, there’s no way they’re as tough as Byfield’s ballistic ones. With 2.2mm polycarbonate lenses solidly mounted in a toughened shatter-proof frame, they’re way stronger than the competition. The lenses themselves give top class UV protection and are MIL-SPEC certified against ballistic impacts – seriously, these things are designed to stop shrapnel; they’ll brush off most road debris without a scratch.
Byfield offer sunglasses in eight different styles, all with the same rugged frame materials and tough Zeiss lenses. Frames come in camo pattern or matt black, and you can have the lenses in amber or smoke. These glasses are seriously tough, and we think they’re seriously awesome looking too. Just in case they’re not hardcore enough for you, however, Byfield also do tactical googles. When you really need the ultimate eye protection these are just what you’re after. If you do drive an open vehicle they should be right at the top of your shopping list – they’re comfortable to wear, do an excellent job of keeping dust out of your eyes and feature a high quality anti-fog system to keep your vision clear at all times. They also come with three sets of quick-change ballistic lenses, in clear, yellow and smoke.
Eyewear isn’t something most off roaders give a lot of thought to, but we think it should be. Most of us have probably got dust or grit in our eye at some point and it can really ruin your day. A bigger stone can be a lot nastier. If you want to protect your eyes while looking great at the same time, check out the Byfield Optics range.
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