RCI Optics is a new player in the high end sunglasses game, and there is nothing wrong with that. Before RCI Optics opened shop, your options for ‘creme of the crop’ polarized fishing sunglasses was limited to Costa Del Mar, Maui Jim, Smith Optics, and Wiley X to name a few. Each company has their own strengths and weaknesses in their product lineup, but along came a new company with just a few choice offerings that is changing the sunglass game for good.
RCI makes three frames as of this review; monster hole, first light, and mosquito lagoon. Each frame has different characteristics such as being a larger frame or having smaller lenses to mesh with people’s varying styles of glasses they would prefer to wear out on the water.
RCI Optics, based out of Cocoa Beach in sunny Florida, is putting out some sweet shades at prices that compete with the top brands in the market today. Here’s the catch, the features of these new RCI Optics sunglasses have the potential to edge out all the current names in the game. So what makes them so great?
The lenses. The lenses on these RCI sunglasses are truly innovative. Have you ever experienced a pair of polarized sunglasses that delaminated (started separating lens layers)? How about the rubber of the frame coming apart? Or my favorite, the ‘infinitely cloudy and foggy’ lens syndrome that some pairs of shades can develop…
Here’s the specs on the HELIOS lenses and frames RCI Optics engineered and uses in all of their models:
- TR-90 GRILAMID
- 100% Made in Italy
- HELIOS polarized High Impact Lens
- 6x Harder than Polycarbonate Base Lens Material
- RCT distortion free optics
- Multi Layer Encapsulated Lenses
- XIPHOS 4.0 treatments
- HELIOS Hard-Coat
Sounds awesome, right? But hey, it could all be marketing hype. Fancy words don’t mean anything if the product doesn’t perform.
After hearing only good things about the RCI shades through social media and fishing friends who owned them, I decided to give them a try. I ended up going with the Mosquito Lagoon frames with gold mirror lenses. Had to choose the ML’s because that’s where I fish 95% of the time! No brainer.
Performance: Noun; The way in which someone or something functions.
What it all comes down to, is how these polarized sunglasses can actually perform (positively) for you out on the water. How well they cut glare, how they fit, the finish, and surface-penetrating ability of the lenses so you can see those fish out on the flats.
I brought two pairs of glasses out on the water for this testing comparison; a pair of Costa Del mar 580Gs and the RCI Mosquito Lagoons. While out on the water, I took the image on the right with my camera through each lens system. It’s tough to reproduce what your eyes can see with a camera due to us humans being so complex, but it gets the point across. Ever so slightly in the photo, but more so in person, you can see that the RCI HELIOS lens system cuts through glare on the water better than the Costa 580Gs. Since I sight fish 99% of the time, this was the winning point for me.
Something I didn’t like, though, was the way these specific frames fit my face. I’m 5’8 and about 175lbs so I dont have a huge melon on my shoulders, but it’s not tiny either. I would say I fit into ‘normal’ sunglass frames usually. These specific Mosquito Lagoon frames pinched my head after about an hour of use and gave me a sharp pain sensation above my ear but to the rear of my temple area. Not sure what it is, maybe my skull has a weird shape in that area…but out of this news comes GREAT news. RCI will take care of you. The guys at RCI will respond to requests right away and fix any issues you are having with their frames.
RCI was a breeze to deal with and they will 100% go out of their way to make you happy. They offered to heat up the frames and custom fit them for me, and they also offered to switch out the glasses for another pair that fit better. So even if you do experience an issue with their frames, don’t be afraid to get in touch with them about it.
See the Mosquito Lagoon shades below: