Not sure about all the others out there with what I lovingly call “aging eyes,” but toting reading glasses around with you all the time just in case you need to read something is a royal pain in the petooty. Fishing out the case, pulling it open, fumbling with the glasses, getting them open and each earpiece over your ears just to read a quick blurb in a museum, the opening hours of a restaurant, what time the bus leaves, a trail guidebook or a map. Then back they go. And do I want to schlepp one more bulky item along on runs, hikes and other adventures? No, not really. So I instead have a habit of waiting to read maps or guidebooks until I can find a sunny spot – and even then working to tilt the pages or map just right to make out words and trails.

ThinOptics used to read a map

Along came this new thing called ThinOptics reading glasses, just launched in early 2014. I latched onto a pair of readers in a thin case to test and it wasn’t long before I was shouting, “Yabba-dabba do!”

ThinOptics fits in a pocketAs the company says, they are indeed “insanely” thin, tiny and light – about the size of two snack crackers side-by-side, not much thicker than a credit card (about 1/8th of an inch), and only about 0.5 ounces (15 grams).

There are no earpieces to fuddle with, unfold, and try to slip over your ears to get to the all-important seeing part. This is just the front eyeglass section – think of those vintage glasses on a stick from the old days but without the stick. The nosepiece is flexible and springy so you simply find the right place on your nose where the glasses sit well and push them down. The spring between the lenses holds them in place (usually … but more on that later).

You can easily slip the ThinOptics in their case into a pocket of most any kind, in the side pocket or strap pocket of a pack or in the tiniest of purses or bags. The lenses come in two strengths, with a range of .50 on either side: low (1.75) and high (2.50).

Case and glasses go for $24. You can also buy items separately. Cell phone cases (with a slot for the glasses on the back) are available for Android, Samsung and iPhone for $38 with the glasses, though we did not test those. There is also an eyeglass pod you can stick on the back of your own phone case that we also didn’t test.

Now about my comment that the spring holds the ThinOptics glasses on your nose … “usually.” Don’t try it when you are really sweaty, either from activity or the heat. The glasses just slither right off the nose faster than a kid flying down a water slide. Sure, you can still hold them so that works for sweaty moments but don’t try it standing on the edge of a cliff or buh-bye glasses.

We did also wonder why the pod has the opening on the long side instead of the short side. If it were on the short side, you could put the readers in the case and the case in your pocket but only have to pull out the glasses when you needed them. Now you have
to retrieve both glasses and case then find a place to put the case. One additional idea would be to add the tiniest little eyelet molded into a corner of the case so you could hang it on a lanyard or secure it in a pack.

All in all: Wonderful, thin, “just-in-case” ThinOptics readers that don’t demand a second thought to take along on any adventure or just around town and are good enough without question to receive our HITT Seal of Approval.

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Therese Iknoian

Co-Conspirator at HI Travel Tales
Little did her parents know that a short trip to Europe in high school would launch a lifetime love of travel, languages and cultures. Trained as a news journalist, Therese Iknoian now focuses her writing and photography talents on travel. Fluent in German, Therese also runs a translation business ( working primarily with companies in the outdoor/sports/retail industry. She's a French speaker, and loves to learn a bit of the language wherever she goes -- gdje je kupaonica? Мне нужна помощь! -- often embarrassing herself in the quest for cross-cultural communication. Therese is an award-winning member of the North American Travel Journalists Association.
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