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I have started using belay glasses as soon as I started climbing, 5 years ago. From the first time I had to belay I noticed how uncomfortable it could be. I was pissed off of continuously paying attention to my posture, while also paying attention to my climbing partner. At that time it was seldom to see belay glasses, so as soon as I noticed them I was really curious. They were really expensive too so I was not sure whether to buy them or not.
I was in Frankenjura when I saw them again and this time did not miss the opportunity to ask for information. The belayer was very nice and let me try them. Not only, he gave me also his business card as he was the inventor of such belay glasses! I felt really lucky. I liked the glasses and since they were the only ones in the market I had no choice and bought them right after returning home.
For the ones of you who do not know them, belay glasses are special eyeglasses with prismatic lenses that bent the light and show you your above while in reality you are looking in front of you. The same mechanism, only reversed, is applied while lying with prismatic reading glasses.
(my husband posing as glasses model)
The Franconian inventor was Albi Schneider and the brand is CU Power ´n Play. I can say that it was damn a good decision. I have used the same pair of glasses 2-3 times a week for 5 years, until the last month. In the meantime I have seen several new models coming out, used in the gym and at the crag. I can say that CU glasses are the most expensive ones but also the ones with higher quality. Material and manufacture are 100% made in Germany. Frames are not made of plastic but of stainless steel and are well-finished. They look fantastic and I have found them absolutely comfortable. I also received free rubber inserts (for the ears) by Albi, since the original ones broke after a couple of years.
And what happened last month? Last month somebody decided to walk on my belay glasses and broke them. Therefore I cannot really tell you how long would have lasted! I have bought a new pair, my second one. You receive them in a nice plastic case with a cleaning wipe and a cord holder.
They are even better than the previous model, I feel them lighter and the rubber inserts are more comfortable.
You can visit CU Power ´n Play website for more information.
In order to give you a non-biased review I have purchased also another pair of glasses from another brand: Le Pirate. Like almost every brand of belay glasses they are from China but their website and the general appearance gave me a better impression in comparison with other Chinese brands. Compared with CU glasses they are very cheap, also considering that they are shipped directly from the manufacturer in China. They come with a very elegant etui and have a wiping tissue and cord holder as well. The frame is made of elastic satin plastic and is very light.
When trying them, I have not found them as comfortable as CU glasses. The frame is bigger and gross and the fact that it is black coloured disturbed my vision field while belaying. However, lens size and quality look pretty much the same as with CU glasses.
You can visit their website as well.
My conclusion is: if you are looking for a long-time companion then just accept to pay for the higher price and go for the CU glasses. It will be amortised anyway in few years. If you are not really sure and prefer something reliable, even if not 100% durable and comfortable, then go for Le Pirate. They are so cheap that you can then decide to buy CU glasses anyway!