Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Review: Arena FlackJak goggles

I picked up a set of goggles a while back which I have added to my gardening, crafting and disaster preparedness kit. It's been a whiles since I have had a big set of goggles, my last set being a paintball mask, as I've made do with safety glasses or my much loved (and currently broken) Barz Optics goggles glasses to protect my eyeballs, in a way that my slim glasses just don't.

High speed fragments, harsh chemicals, dust and smoke in the eyeballs are just no fun and will ruin both your day and survival odds, which is why I look for ways to protect mine.

These are the Arena Flakjak goggles as seen under my Ops-Core style bump helmet This is the kind of setting they are specifically designed for, and you can see by the sleek fit, they really marry nicely with the brim of the helmet. They even fit my glasses reasonably well, although there is always a little skew one way or another when nose piece shares space with nose frame.

Arena state that their goggles feature what they call Razorback technology, which deals with fogging, particulate and moisture, by providing the a good airflow rate with a really interesting ridged vented filtration to create non-fogging conditions behind the lens while preventing debris like sand, moisture, and flying debris to enter the goggles.

The lens itself as well as the anti-fogging coatings, features OptiWide geometry which really makes for some really good optical clarity and distortion free peripheral vision to at least as far as I can see clearly with my glasses on, and only reduces my overall angle of vision by about 2cm or so at each side.

The lens material is ballistically designed for maximal eye safety exceeds Z87.1 - 2003 Plus standard and meets MIL-STD-662F (as related to .22 caliber, 17 grain, Type 2 fragment simulating projectile) standards. Which means my assertion for using it for for yard and craft work is probably spot on. Power tool fragments are not your friend.

One really nice feature of the goggles are the Buckle Management Retention Fastener (BMRF). This system allows for both quick and easy strap replacement, but also sturdy fitting both over a helmet, and against your bare head. The fits are quite different, and the rotating fastener really allows for this.

The modular buckle system also provides the goggles to integrate with a variety of helmet platforms, I tried it with my bump helmet, but also my Pro-tec Classic helmet and a couple of the hard-hats I have laying around.

One really important feature of any goggle is the lining and seal. The lining of these are made of the VS Foam, which is a proprietary goggle foam designed to wick moisture away from your face. The surface is comfortable, and the body both compressed enough to make for a good seal, but also not so soft as to over-compress.

I recently took them out for a running test which gave them a pretty good test of the fogging as well as the fit.

The certainly fit very nicely, were stable and very comfortable, but after about a km in, at 12kph, they began to fog up, and stayed that way, on or off, for the duration of the run.

I suspect that in a dry environment, they would probably work out pretty well, or perhaps if there had been more of a breeze, and a third party de-fogging treatment might well prove effective. It was a shame to find how fogged they became, as I can imagine in a hostile environment, or undergoing other strenuous activity (as I'd also found this to happen whilst doing some grinding and drilling and home) that this could be quite a risk to be aware of.

Still, I'd rather have some goggles than NOT have some goggles, and these will certainly have their place in my preparedness kit, to be sure. 

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