All of the things we enjoy doing in the outdoors require some sort of eye protection. So, frame materials, lens tints and construction, and overall shape are big factors in finding the right shades. That shape has to be functional. But you also don’t want to be wearing giant shields all the time. What’s the point of wearing technical sunglasses if you look like a melvin? To prevent melvinage, Electric introduced their Stacker sunglasses.
By day, the Electric Stackers are normal shades. They have a shape reminiscent of classic Vuarnet glasses you’d see in a 70’s Warren Miller flick, but with updated materials and a more modern aesthetic. The frames are Grilamid and have a tight, but comfortable fit. Retention duty is served by anti-slip nose- and ear-pieces. There are subtle vents that allow airflow around the lenses, slowing down, but not totally preventing, fogging. Electric also includes double-action, all-plastic hinges. Double-action because there is a detent about halfway through the movement of the ear-piece. All-plastic because…well, actually, there’s a metal screw…but what they’re getting at is that there isn’t a separate metal hinge screwed into the frame and ear-piece. Everything is molded, so there’s nothing to break or fall off.
Electric’s OHM+ lenses, while typical polycarbonate, have a few features that set them apart. First, they include lens coatings. Oleophobic, hydrophobic, and anti-reflective, OHM+ is afraid of just about everything. But, everyone has coatings. What makes OHM+ lenses really unique is that they’re infused with Melanin. Yes, the stuff that makes your skin darker. Presumably after a shamanic night of ayahuasca-fueled vomiting, someone at Electric had an epiphany. Thing is, it works. It blocks all of the UV spectrum, plus the HEV blue waves that everyone is so scared of these days.
Here’s where things get fun. The Stackers come with a separate eye mask that you can snap into the frame. It blocks wind and dust and keeps some of that riff-raff glare from sneaking in the sides of the shades. Think of it as a bouncer for your eyes. The eye mask is easy to install and remove and does not block the lens vents around the frame. If you’re even more extreme, Electric includes holes at the ends of the ear-pieces for retention leashes.
Use and Loss
Truth be told, Electric had to send two pairs of Stackers because I left the first pair on an airplane. Before that pair was lost to the great set of sticky fingers in the sky, I used them for dawn patrol tours and everyday wear. The second set continue in their everyday role and have subbed in for mountain bike duty when I forgot the proper sunglasses. There are no pictures of the first set – no proof that they ever existed.
On the bright side of things, losing the first set meant I got to try two different lens colors, rose and grey. I really did not enjoy the rose at first. It seemed to change the color of the world too much. I got over that and came to like them a lot. The grey lenses have a bit of a green tint to them. In comparison to the grey lenses, I found the rose to be useful in a wider range of lighting situations. But the grey lenses are wonderful on bright days.
I’ve been able to overcome the anti-fog vents, but I can’t blame the Stackers for that. Sweat on a cold morning tour is difficult for any optics to overcome. They’ve never fallen off my face, even without leashes. With the mask installed, I find that my eyes are almost as protected as they would be wearing goggles. I wear contacts, so wind and dust protection is important. The Stackers deliver.
I really like the Electric Stackers. I like that they look good, but can sneak into a phone booth and come out ready to battle. Since I have to have some critique of everything (it’s my nature and your left ear is lower than your right), I wish it came with a more appropriate storage sack. It looks like the sack was designed for a pair of shades with swappable lenses – there’s a separate pocket on the side, but you really can’t fit the mask and glasses in there in any convenient manner. I mean, they’ll fit, but it ain’t pretty.
Whatever. The Stackers are awesome and stylish and functional. Get some. Just don’t show up to any Engearment events wearing them. We can’t be twinsies. MSRP is $180-260, the higher price being for polarized lenses. Get them below or on Amazon.