L.L. Bean DuraReader glasses are a lifesaver. When you don’t wear glasses all of the time, it’s all too easy to forget to pack along a pair when out traveling. So what happens when you suddenly come across a sign or need to recheck your location on a map, be it paper or electronic? Yup, guesswork and frustration. HI Travel Tales has reviewed take-along travel readers before (see our review of the Thin Optics), but L.L. Bean has a new entry to the no-break, pack-along travel readers: DuraReaders.

LL Bean DuraReader glasses worn by one of our stuffed animal family to help him study the map

These L.L. Bean DuraReaders have an extremely lightweight thermoplastic bendable frame so you can slip the DuraReaders into packs and bags sans case without a worry of breakage when you are traveling. Sit on them, stuff them randomly in a small pocket – you name it, they’ll do it without a complaint. I’ve carried them in teeny fanny packs for quick runs on travel and stuffed them in a side pocket of a camera case (The glasses themselves only weigh a half-ounce). The L.L. Bean DuraReaders ($29.95) are ready if and when you need to really see a map, phone or fishing fly.

L.L. Bean DuraReaders go anywhere

In fact, some users have decided the L.L. Bean DuraReader glasses are great for just gardening or leisure use since the rugged DuraReader can go anywhere without fear. The lenses are big enough to allow good vision – none of that itty-bitty teeny-weeny lens stuff – but not so big as to look, well, dorky. I mean, when you’re eyeing the menu in a Paris café or an Austrian mountain hut, who wants to look dorky?

Available in 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 magnifications, most everybody can find what he or she needs to make them a go-to travel reader. And the design’s very subtle camo pattern is not so hunter-esque that the non-hunter will be put off.

A slim, rugged zip-close case is included, and it has a clip so you can hang your DuraReaders from a pack, belt or jacket. Case and glasses together still weigh a mere 1 5/8 ounce.

DuraReader glasses sans case works fine

LL Bean DuraReaders Flexible

I tend to carry the readers sans case on jaunts since the zip-around case became a little annoying to pull out and zip open to retrieve the glasses for a quick glance at something, but the case is still great for traveling, carrying or stowing.

Since the arms of the L.L. Bean DuraReaders are very flexible, I had two smalls issues, perhaps because of my long hair: one, you have to use both hands to put them on, i.e. you have to kinda stretch them open to not jab yourself in the eye (either that or I’m just not coordinated) and, two, the rubber ends on the arms to keep the DuraReaders from slipping off caught on my hair when I tried to slip them on, making them a little pickier to get on and off. No, quick one-handed action. Still, these travel readers don’t pinch at all and are so lightweight that you literally could forget you have on an L.L. Bean DuraReader.

Yes, they may be two or three times the price of those cheap-o things from the drugstore, but these DuraReaders will keep you happier and last a lot longer for travel and adventure. Despite my little nit-picks, HI Travel Tales still finds the L.L. Bean DuraReader glasses are truly worthy of the HITT Seal of Approval for travel product excellence.