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Ultralight Glasses Case

Ultralight Reading Glasses Case

When I was first getting into lightweight backpacking, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to create an ultralight protective case for my glasses to avoid crushing them at night.

I tried everything: from water and soft drink bottles, tupperware butter dishes, all kinds of small boxes, packing tubes, and so on. It was fun because I got to try using all kinds of everyday objects to accomplish the task. But I found it very difficult to break below the 3 oz barrier. This was better than most commercial hard cases which weigh a lot more, but it wasn’t really good enough for me.

Eventually, I gave up and just put my glasses in my boots or shoes at night, arranged near my head so I can find them at night if needed. This is sub-optimal because they pick up sweat from my shoes that makes them grimy the next day. It would be a lot better if I could keep them in my sleeping bag along with my headlamp.

But this morning, finally, I think I found a solution to this age-old problem.

I recently bought a new pair of Speedo Prescription Goggles for lap swimming. The goggle case was sitting next to my digital scale and I decided to weigh it. I almost fell off my chair. It was under 1 oz. and after a little creative trimming with my trusty office scissors, I was able to drop that to 0.7 oz / 20 g. I’m in heaven.

Since I’m wearing the glasses during the day, the case is not needed to protect my glasses in my backpack. I really only need it to protect them in my sleeping bag at night.

Now, if I could only make it smaller sized……


  1. Have you given a thought to hanging them? When I backpack with glasses – which is always – I hang them above my head at night. If I'm in a tent, this can be anything from a pocket, gear loft loop, flash light loop, or a zipper tab hole. If I am tarping or hammocking it, then I hang them from my ridge line. If I am sleeping out under the stars I hang them from the wrist strap of a hiking pole, planted firmly in the ground.

    Just slip the earpiece of your glasses through whatever you wish to hang it from and then fold up the ear pieces and ta-da, your glasses are hung.

    The beauty of this solution is that it weighs 0 oz and doesn't add any bulk to your pack. Nor does it get your glasses all sweaty.

    As for my headlamp, I wear it 'round my neck like a necklace as I sleep in my bag.

  2. This is also a problem that I haven't found a solution to. I'll definitely take a look into. I'm not a swimmer but now I have a reason to roam into the swimming section of a sporting goods store.

  3. A heat gun or boiling water can shrink the plastic if you are brave enough to try it.

    More importantly, you might need to surrender yout lightweight backpacking membership card for carrying a glasses case that only gets used for 8 hours :) I hang mine from the gear loft or light loop and only warm them for the last minute before waking up.

  4. You know you're cracked (UL jedi) when you roam stores looking at the packaging and not the products they contain because you want to use it backpacking. :-) I passed that point years ago myself!

  5. do you McDonalds sell the flatbread sandwiches? if so the packaging looks like a smaller version of your case – might be too small though. I only ordered the it once, it is because of this ridiculous packaging that I will not order again.

  6. I third the hanging suggestion.

  7. The hanging solution is pretty good, if you don't mind groping around to find your glasses. But my objective is to have them next to me so I can find them when I'm in a bivy sack, in my sleeping bag. Do any of you wear glasses?

  8. wife and I wear glasses, and we have always hung them form a "gear loft," or have stored them in a tent pocket.

  9. Crystal Light markets their 2 quart product in packages of five that come in a translucent plastic case. The case has a cover that snaps on securely and the whole thing weighs one ounce. I store my reading glasses and sunglasses in the same case. I also have my water filter stored in one.

  10. My tent (GG Squall Classic) has a pocket next to the front door. I put my glasses in a snack-size sandwich bag (to keep them clean) and stick them in the pocket. Easy to find and (assuming they were clean in the evening) they stay clean.

    Of course there is the fogging problem; they have to warm up inside the sleeping bag for 10-15 minutes in the morning if you want to be able to see through them!

  11. I used to have something that was perfect. It was a little plastic candy container from some obscure candy, but I lost it! That was over a year ago! I haven't been able to find a good glasses case since. Why doesn't anyone make a glasses case that isn't huge and/or useless? It's ridiculous, I can't believe I miss a plastic tube so much. But anyway, your case looks pretty darn good, if a little big. Nice discovery.

  12. I wear glasses every day, have since 8th grade. I hiked the PCT without a glasses case. I slept in a tent and put them INSIDE the pocket. One night, I hung one earpiece over the edge of the pocket (similar to hanging suggested previously) and couldn’t find them when I awoke. I hiked with my dog so I presume she moved around quite a bit, wiggled the tent wall, and they dropped down. I found them alright–UNDER ME and very twisted!! Luckily, I was able to get them back into shape. If not, that definitely would have altered my trip since I can’t see well without them. I made sure they were INSIDE the pocket the rest of the hike, and no problems. My next hike will be using a hammock instead of a tent. The hammock has a self-attached stuff sack turned pouch, and that’s where I plan to keep them. They should be fine unless the whole hammock falls down and I land on them. Doh! I like the Ziploc idea or even one of those cloth eyeglass bags that is a glass cleaner as well. It will prevent smudges and scratches when I put other things in the pouch, as well. In a bivy though, do you have anywhere to hang them? Or can you sew a mini-loop or sleeve to a good spot without affecting the integrity of the bivy wall?

  13. I hang my glasses at night but my challenge is the same for my SPARE pair that rides constantly in my backpack. Am I the only myopic old fool who carries a spare pair of glasses??? I will investigate your solution.

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