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Ombraz: Packable, Armless Sunglasses for a Lifetime of Adventure

No sidearms. No problems.

By: Sara Sheehy + Save to a List

Innovating in the outdoor industry can be an uphill battle, but every so often someone hits on an idea so ingenious, and so simple, that we all wish we had thought of it first.

Such is the case with Jensen Brehm and Nikolai Paloni, owners of Ombraz Sunglasses. Their story began in 2012 when Jensen was on a safari in India during a break from college. "I was on a camel expedition in the Thar Desert," explains Jensen, "when *SNAP. Someone sat on my sunglasses and the sidearms broke off. I took a piece of twine, and tied it around the broken hinges and wrapped the twine around the back of my head."

The fit was so secure and so comfortable, that Jensen replaced the twine with a leather cord when he returned stateside and wore them for another 5 years. "Random strangers on the street stopped to ask me about them, and my friends wanted me to make them their own pairs. I wasn't trying to make a fashion statement, I just wanted to solve this problem of breaking sunglasses."

Jensen and Nikolai, who had worked on projects together before, decided to team up and create Ombraz, the armless sunglasses company. They launched an Indiegogo campaign in 2018 and exceeded their funding goal within the first eight hours of the campaign. The world, it seems, is ready for innovation in a sunglass market that hasn't been shaken up in a long, long time.

"Sunglasses can be frustrating," explains Nikolai, "especially when you're active. The sunglasses can fall off, or they can get broken in your pack. With Ombraz, you can drop them around your neck when you don't need them. They are flat, so you won't even know they are there. When you have them on, they are super stable and secure, and they don't make the tops of your ears hurt like other sunglasses can."

Ombraz uses Zeiss lenses for superior optics, and they put a lot of time, effort, and testing into getting the cord right. The cord fits around the small of your head, and the glasses stay upright on the top of your nose, just like traditional sunglasses. The sunglasses are super light at 20 and 22 grams (depending on frame size), and the weight is distributed evenly around your head.

Ombraz Sunglasses currently come in two frame sizes, three frame colors, and a choice of polarized or non-polarized Zeiss lenses. They offer a 30 day, "no questions asked" return policy, with free shipping and free returns. "We want to treat customers like they are family," says Jensen.

Apart from rad eyewear, Jensen and Nikolai are dedicated to creating a genuine net-positive impact on the world. Ombraz plants 20 mangrove trees for each pair of sunglasses sold, sequestering 330-times the carbon emitted to produce and deliver every pair. The sunglasses are wrapped in 100% compostable packaging with zero plastic.

"Our company is out there to solve a problem," explains Jensen. "We are happy to produce a product with a purpose. We measure our success by trees planted, and problems solved for our customers. We love having a product that people appreciate so much."

Ombraz Sunglasses won Backpacker's Editors Choice Award in 2019 and made Gear Junkie's list of Best Sunglasses of 2019. Check them out!

All photos courtesy of Ombraz

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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