View Full Version : Glasses/Contacts on the trail

03-11-2006, 23:59
Do any of you wear contact lenses while on the trail? I'm pretty much blind as a bat without my glasses or contacts... My glasses often bother me when hiking because they fog up, get dirty, always afraid they are gonna fall off. but could never really figure out how to use contacts on the trail effectively since my eyes are extremely sensitive. I have to be extremely clean and rinse my lenses alot so I have to carry a ton of solution. Plus find ways to wash my hands very well.

what do the rest of you nearly blind people do?

03-12-2006, 00:06
I wear my glasses. They are a lot less maintenance than contacts, and work just as well. If the rare occasion comes up when they manage to fall off, i simply bend down and pick them back up.

Of course, if it's raining or very foggy, I simply deal with the inconvinience of not having 20/20 vision until the weather improves.

03-12-2006, 00:34
I wear my glasses and bring a hard plastic case so I don't crush them while I sleep. The glasses that I wear are my old ones from one prescription ago, so I really don't feel bad if I scratch them.

Tin Man
03-12-2006, 00:42
I gave up on contacts for my section hikes two years ago and just wear glasses. There was a thread last year dealing with the issue. Some can make contacts work for them and others simply thought contacts weren't worth the hassle. In your case, it sounds like glasses might work better for you.

03-12-2006, 01:33
my biggest concern is dropping, losing, breaking my glasses.... I have very poor eyesight and hiking without my glasses could be pretty dangerous. :rolleyes:

River Runner
03-12-2006, 02:26
I use my contacts - I haven't worn glasses for probably 20 years now. I take a large gladware bowl to use as a 'sink'. I make sure to wash my hands to begin, use a couple of drops of cleanser on the contacts, then follow with water from my platypus to rinse the lenses, and use a couple of drops of wetting solution to put them in. I do wear gas permeables, not soft lenses, so that might make a difference. If you need to be extra sure your hands are sanitary, you could use an alcohol based hand sanitizer to clean your hands and rinse them with clear water to get rid of the alcohol before handling the lenses.

At night, I just pop the lenses out while I sit inside my hammock, leaning very close in to my lap in case they would drop out of my hands. Then I just store them in a lens case overnight and they are ready to put in the next morning first thing. I put them in while kneeling on a trash bag over my 'sink' described above. I keep a "contact kit" with my toiletries, which consists of a small bottle of each solution (I re-use some small eyedrop bottles) an empty case, and an extra set of lenses, just in case I lose one.

Tin Man
03-12-2006, 08:39
my biggest concern is dropping, losing, breaking my glasses.... I have very poor eyesight and hiking without my glasses could be pretty dangerous. :rolleyes:

I wear a strap that can be adjusted for a tight fit.

Just Jeff
03-12-2006, 13:07
Who needs glasses or contacts? Those things are heavy...ultralighters just deal with the blindness and "learn better skills" to compensate!

Seriously, though - search the archives. That other thread was pretty detailed.

I sleep in my contacts (yeah, I know) so I usually don't have a problem while hiking. I figure when I get around to a thru, I'll just clean them at every town stop and go the 3-4 days in between w/o taking them out (assuming I haven't had LASIK yet).

The only problem I've ever had while hiking was in very strong winds, it blew a contact right out of my eye! And it was too windy to even think about putting my spare in, so I just hiked with one contact until we got out later that day. I always carry backup glasses, though.

03-12-2006, 19:51
i always wear contacts and take them out every night. my eyes aren't that sensitive. as long as there are no twigs or limbs in the solution, a few blinks and i am fine. i hope to have lasik done before my thru hike however.

03-12-2006, 20:25
I am the same way my vision sucks without correction.I take my glasses for nite time and contacts for daytime.I also carry/wear my bandanna to keep sweat from my contacts. I use a hard cover eyeglass holder to pack my glasses in of a day and I use a lite wt cookset that one pot doubles as the other pots lid so they both heat up at the same time. One pot is for cooking and the other for cleaning my gas perm contacts. Heres the cookset http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=25030137&memberId=12500226 I also carry travel size baby wipes "unsented" to help keep my hands clean. No way would I Hike without both my contacts and glasses.

03-12-2006, 21:36
i had my prescription filled in "safety glass", and by law in LA, your frames also have to be "safety" rated if the lenses are safety glass. so i've got OSHA approved frames, and my hinges have these little springy things in them that keep them clamped pretty tightly to my face and allow them to hyper-open, and i've never had them just fall off, even when all sweaty... i like glasses because god didn't intend me to poke my finger in my eye (i just have this fear about contacts... unreasonable, i know, but...) also, when they get dirty, i can just clean them off with my shirt or a piece of toilet paper... if it's raining, i wear a hat of some sort anyway, so rain's not really an issue... and rain blowing in your face sucks even more without glasses to protect your eyeballs... imho.

03-12-2006, 21:41
I never had too much trouble with glasses. Ditto on Seeker's comments. I know this topic has come up at least 4 different times in the last couple months. The the green 'search' link at the top of the page will unlock a wealth of perspectives if you don't get enough replies here.

Hikes in Rain
03-13-2006, 13:59
I'd sooner hike without my pants than without my contacts. A lot sooner! Bats have eagle eyes compared to me. My correction is currently -7.5 in each eye, and until I got the bifocal contacts I now enjoy, I needed reading glasses on top of those. (Always seemed a bit unfair)

As has been mentioned here and elsewhere, cleanliness is essential to successful contact lens wearing. Note that this is true in "civilization" as well as on the trail. Thorough hand cleaning, by various methods here, is mandatory. On the trail, I use unscented Purell or other alcohol based hand cleaner, followed by a rinse of treated (potable) water, then proceed as normal when I remove them for the night. Glasses, of course, in a hard case, as a backup.