Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Review: Oakley GasCan Sunglasses

Like watches, sunglasses are an EDC item that many people overlook. I learned years ago as a pool man in
Southern California that eyes are important, and most people do not care for theirs. Long after I left working in the sun for better paying jobs, I still continued to buy decent shades. I've been buying Oakleys since the 1990s. I even worked at a software company where I could see the Oakley building from our balcony. They've been around a long time. Some people say their products aren't as good as they were 20 years ago, and that might be true to some extent, but still to this day, I haven't found anything better.

Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: Product Link
Product Link
I purchased my pair of GasCans a couple years ago from Amazon, as one of our very first Prime purchases when we were still trying to decide if 80 bucks a year was worth it for free, 2 day shipping. I had asked the missus to order them from me and she got the polarized lenses, which I hadn't asked for but I'm glad she got.

Product Description


These are large, fairly aggressive looking sunglasses. The frames are created from what Oakley calls "O Matter" but most people I think would just call plastic. It's a very high end plastic, though. They say the two lenses are "cut from the curve of a single lens shield." I think that's a fancy way of saying the lenses are very well matched, which seems to be the case.

The GasCan has other nice features, like a wrap-around design that keeps you from getting blinded in your peripheral vision. This is the main reason I ordered them. They also have very beefy and robust looking hinges.

Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: Split View
Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: Closeup Of Right Hinge
The hinges are beefy and then some
Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: Closeup Of GasCan Logo
In case you forgot what they are

Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: Closeup Of Markings

Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: Made In USA
Made in the USA, baby


Official Specs (From Amazon)


  • Lightweight, stress resistant O Matter frame material
  • Made in the USA
  • Extended wrapped frame geometry to fit medium to large faces
  • Metal icon accents
  • Sculpturally integrated hinge mechanisms with dual cam action
  • Dual lens Polaric Ellipsoid geometry (two lenses cut from single toric shield)
  • Plutonite lens material blocks 100% of all UVA, UVB, UVC and harmful blue light
  • Optional Iridium coatings and lens tints to reduce glare and heighten contrast
  • XYZ Optics for maximized clarity at all angles of vision, even at lens periphery
  • Exceeds ANSI Z87.1 standards for impact and optical requirements

Overall Design


The design on the GasCan is superb. There's lots of other brands with good designs, but Oakley is the only sunglasses brand that gives me the impression that are actually engineered. I've always said that good design is a combination of art and science, and I think Oakley really nails both with the GasCan design.

My favorite part of the design is the beefy hinges. These aren't your Grandpa's sunglasses, that's for sure. And of course they wrap around, which gives you a few side benefits. I've had debris bounce off the sides of my GasGans that would've probably blinded me had I been wearing Ray-Bans.

The GasCan design makes for shades that are a little bulky (though, not heavy) but if you are seriously looking at these, you're probably not terribly concerned about the bit of bulk. In fact, it's probably a plus. Mine seem to be the envy of younger guys.

Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: Another Closeup Of Hinge

Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: Closeup Of Hinge Mechanism
View of a hinge from the other side

Build Quality


First off, again, I hear some people say that Oakley doesn't make the same quality sunglasses they used to. I'm not sure anything that was made 20 years ago is made as good today, but I certainly can't tell much of a difference. I don't remember them being much better 20 years ago. The oldest pair I have is 10 years old, and it doesn't seem to be any better than my GasCans. In fact, the GasCans seem to have a much better design than my 10 year old pair. People saying they've gone down hill are directionally challenged.

The build quality on my review sample is excellent overall. The tolerances maybe aren't as tight as previous Oakley's I've had, but they seem to be designed not to need the tolerances that tight. The frames are beefy and the hinges look to be more rugged than they need to be. I've beat the snot out of this pair and they have held up well.

Oakley says that both lenses are cut from a single piece which makes sure they will always be perfectly matched. I've never owned a pair of sunglasses with this much surface area on the lenses, and they honestly look a little thin and flimsy. But they are robust and appear to be very well made. If they weren't, they'd be toast by now, and so would my eyes.

Made in USA?


UPDATE: As a couple of commenters have pointed out, not all Oakleys are made in the USA anymore. While I'm not really sensitive about where a product is made, I am sensitive about value, and keeping the same high made-in-USA prices when the product no longer reflects the quality people think they are paying for. Supposedly all the lenses are still made in the USA.

Here's a thread I found on their forums which may help clear some of this up:

http://www.oakleyforum.com/threads/oakley-made-in-china.34259/

Usability


These are my go to sunglasses when I'm working outside, and I usually prefer them on long drives. I've had many, many rocks and other pieces of debris bounce off my GasCans with very few scratches to show for all the abuse. I also wear them most of the time in place of regular eye protection when I'm working with saws and other power tools.

I like driving with them for the same reason, which is they wrap-around and cover my eyes completely, leaving no gaps for the sun to come in. Other sunglasses have gaps and at certain times of the day driving certain directions, it's like having no sunglasses at all.

Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: Looking Through Lenses Indoors

Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: Looking Through Lenses Outdoors
Not quite as dark as I would prefer, but the lenses do the job well

Conclusions


These are my favorite sunglasses. They are a little bulky, and a couple people have accused me of trying to be younger by wearing younger sunglasses, but hey, I like what I like, and I definitely like my GasCans. They have a great design and provide excellent eye protection. At the company picnic, I'll probably be wearing my Ray-Bans. But when I'm doing something serious, I will almost always be wearing a pair of Oakleys.

Gallery


Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: Rear View

Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: Front View

Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: Side View

Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: Nose Goes Here
They might be a little loose if you have a small nose, which I don't
Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: Me And Smokey
Smokey wishes he had sunglasses. He's a squinty little dog

Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: Pocket Dump
EDC (every day carry) pocket dump with some of my favorites

Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: With Ray-Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses
The GasCans hold their own with the polarized Ray-Ban Wayfarers

Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: Next To Ruler

Oakley GasCan Sunglasses: On Digital Scale
These are much lighter than they look!

4 comments:

  1. i just bought a pair of these gascans from sunglasshut. but it's lacking the "made in usa" marking on the right hinge before the "CE"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the info. Interesting. It's my understanding they have always been made in the USA. I hope they don't stealth move them overseas. I used to work right next to their factory and I've always thought highly of them, so I hope they don't pull any funny business with their production.
    .

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've just bought a GasCan and it does NOT have "Made in U.S.A" marking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the info. I did some research and updated the post to reflect that it appears not all Oakleys are always made in the USA. It's a shame, especially since they didn't lower the price.

      Delete