Push a lever to drop out one set of lenses, install a new set, and you’re ready to go. The Smith Caravan MAG is a stylish pair of sunglasses with clever interchangeable-lens tech.
Sunglasses with interchangeable lenses have been around for a while. I’ve tested models from many brands with varying degrees of success. So when Smith sent over a pair of its Caravan MAG sunglasses to examine, I was a little skeptical.
But after a month of regular wear, I’d say they’re nice sunglasses that can easily transition for changing light levels. They make a good choice for those who need to switch lenses for low light and don’t want to carry a full second set of glasses. But they come with a hefty price tag. Read on for the details.
Smith Caravan MAG: Interchangeable-Lens Sunglasses
The first thing I’d say about the Caravan MAGs: They’re stylish. This is not usually the case with interchangeable-lens sunglasses, which tend toward “sporty” and can be downright obnoxious.
The Caravan MAGs, however, are fairly simple sunglasses. They have an understated look that will work anywhere from walking down a city street to bombing down a mountain bike trail. Nobody will know they have interchangeable lenses, or that they provide good coverage for sport protection.
But they do hold up to sporting use.
MAG Lens-Interchange System
The MAG interchange system hides nicely on the side of the lens frame. But while subtle in appearance, it’s very easy to use. Just pull open the magnetic lever on the side of the frame and the rim of the sunglasses opens. Pop one lens out and install another. It just takes a few seconds each.
The only negatives to the system are that it’s easy to drop a lens and also hard to install without smudging the lens with your fingerprints. To combat the former, I hold the lens over the soft case when opening the frames. I then use the case to hold the lens when installing the new one.
In a few weeks of wear, I have not had any inadvertent lens releases. The system seams strong and reliable.
Smith ChromaPop Lenses, Light Frames
The Caravan MAG comes with two sets of ChromaPop lenses — one in gray-green and another in Ignitor, which is a light rose color. Both are useful in the right light: The gray-green lens shines in bright sun, and the rose lens performs well in low light and clouds.
Having used these a lot, I really like the gray-green lens for most daily wear. In bright light, they give good color rendition and clarity. My eyes feel comfortable even in really bright sun and not stressed after a long day outside.
The biggest problem for me is the price: The Caravan MAG retails for $250. It’s a big investment, but this does align with pricing from other quality sunglass manufacturers like Costa and Maui Jim. And getting two sets of lenses for that price does ease the sting a little.
So if you’re looking for sunglasses that can rock two sets of lenses for changing light conditions, these are a solid choice that should provide good value over time. Just be ready to care for the extra lenses and carry the soft case for changing them in the field.