Reading glasses for on-water use?

I believe that sometime in the last year, or so I remember seeing a blurb (Sea Kayak Magazine?) in regard to a "relatively" inexpensive set of emergency reading glasses for on-water use (reading charts etc.).

These glasses could obviously work for other sports.
I recollect that the glasses were simple, durable, not terribly flattering, and had a retention strap. They could also be easily slipped into a pfd pocket.

Could any one provide a source/link?

Thanks in advance.

Not the ones you’e looking for I guess…
but I like these. They’re cheap and fit ANYWHERE, including your wallet.

Cheap sunglasses with reading bifocal
I got some of these at Sams Club a couple of years ago. $22 for 2 if I recall correctly. Need them to read my GPS, or read menu on digicam. Don’t like 'em as much as my regular sunglasses, but they’ve been OK.

Check out . . .

These are all good suggestions but

– Last Updated: Sep-27-08 10:43 AM EST –

regrettably none of these reading glasses are what I was looking for. It was billed as being as kayak specific and again I suspect I saw them in an issue of Sea Kayak magazine that I tossed, but I could have be elsewhere.

The closest alternative would be the pair that toesnorth cited. Thanks, again>

I recall
I recall the glasses that you refer to but unfortunately, can’t remember the name of them.

I use a cheap pair of readers that I paid $6.00 for at a local drug store and keep them in a pocket in my PFD or spray skirt. They’re not great glasses but they’re cheap and they do the job. There are lots of off the shelf glasses for under ten bucks.


Inexpensive off-the-shelf glasses
Hi Dan,

That is actually what I use now as every day reading glasses. The issue is storage space and damage to the glasses, even though they are cheap.

I have quite a bit of safety kit jammed into the pockets of my pfd. There is no way I am going to fit a pair of standard hinged frame reading glasses into a pocket on my pfd.

D@m! I just wish I could remember where I saw these things. I sent a note off to SK Mag, but I am not sure they were the source of the information.

Costco (up here in Canada) used to carry some reading glasses that were very small (much smaller than regular glasses). They were in a small case and cost about $12 for two pairs. Don’t know if they still carry them but I still have a couple of pair kicking around – these are the ones that I generally take paddling.

Keep checking, there are some very small sized glasses to be found.


Found them!
Reference: Sea Kayak Magazine Feb 2008; Issue 122; page 54

Product Link:

SK Mag blurb states they come in strengths 1.5x, 2.0x and 2.5x, but only 1.5x is apparently available, which fine for me.

"Inexpensive Reading Glasses"
I deal with this everyday as an Optometrist…why not get the appropriate pair of polarized bifocal sunglasses in the prescription you need and wear a floating eyeglass strap. It works very well. Or…Maui Jim makes a great non-prescription bifocal sunglass and again wear a floating eyeglass strap.

They seem so cheap - wonder if they make you crosseyed as some inexpensive lenses do for me - I get dizzy. Would appreciate if you could me know if possible - if you order them - if they work decently and not distorted. Thanks,


Simply put, cost

– Last Updated: Sep-29-08 9:21 AM EST –

Yes, I could get a very nice pair of bifocal polarlized sunglasses, but.....

I do not normally use bifocals on a daily basis, only need glasses WHEN I read small print. My distance vision is decent. I occasionally need 1.5+ correction to read details on some charts, but I do not need corrective lens to paddle.

If the glasses you are suggesting could be delivered for $50 I would be beating your door down. Custom (with correction) Maui Jim's, Rudy Project, Oakley and alike are wonderful sunglasses, however, when I priced polarized sports bifocals they all ran well over $100. I am not flush with cash at the moment and I already have two decent pair of sunglasses for paddling.
At the present time I will just have to go with a bit less expensive alternative.

Hey Joe,

I bought a box of about 50 of these readers. They are so cheap I give them away to everyone I meet. I keep a pair in my car, my wallet, my pfd. They work well but you need to hold them to your eyes which means that you lose a hand when you are on the water.

I have been looking at a line of polarized sunglasses that have readers in the glass in a small circle. The brand is Barz. I am going to try a pair of these. That will allow for chart reading w/o taking off my sunglasses to put on or hold specs. Here is the website:

The joys of aging eyes!


You Are Absolutely Right!
They are not cheap…I’ll do some research for you and see if or what I can come up with.

Barz Optics

– Last Updated: Sep-29-08 9:22 AM EST –

Hi Suz,
If you pick-up a pair of the Barz I would love to hear about your experiences.

Yeah, this getting old stuff sucks ;-)

Safe paddling,

Applique Reading lenses
Some years back I found a set of reading lenses that are applied to existing sunglasses. I think I got them at Orvis, but I really can’t remember. They are literally the size of the bifocal portion of a regular pair of glasses. They have a sticky back. You peel them off the sheet they come on, and just stick them to your sunglass lenses.

I bought these, want some?
“I recollect that the glasses were simple, durable, not terribly flattering, and had a retention strap”…I saw the same article and thought these would be a great idea. However the lack of retention strap (article was in error, Scientific never sold with strap) or other means to hold this to your face meant that this glorified two lense “monocle” was not cut out for kayaking. Look at other posts here for solutions. Mine was polarized bifocals with a floating strap.

Optx stick-on reading lenses
I’ve been using a pair of these on safety glasses for several years:

You wet them and stick them on the inside of your sunglasses (or safety glasses), and you can remove them and put them on a different pair. Since they’re applied with water, I don’t know how well they would survive a dunking…

You can find them a lot cheaper than the mfr’s price, for example:

Look into sunglasses for Fly fishermen
They need the magnification for tying knots. I know that there are polarized sunglasses available at even Wal-Mart that have little reader type bi-focal built in and cost around $15. There is also a Fly type reader that will clip on the bill of your hat and flip down when you need it. It’s kind of dorky but not as bad as a pocket protector. Which reminds me I need a new one.


I was not able to find anything…
that we deal with but as was suggested by an earlier post you might try Walmart. Sorry!