RCI Optics is a small company making awesome polarized sunglasses.
I had to come out strong with that first sentence because I love small businesses and I love it even more when it’s a local Florida company. RCI Optics is an up and coming sunglasses company out of Cocoa Beach, Florida that touts some awesome product and features.
These days you have your big names in the polarized fishing sunglass world- Costa Del Mar, Smith Optics, and even Maui Jim. It’s hard to make an impression with new technologies and be a small company when you have stuff like ‘580G’ and ‘ChromaPop’ to compete with…but RCI Optics is doing it properly and in a big way.
A long while ago I tried out the RCI Optics ‘Mosquito Lagoon’ frames and had nothing but good things to say about them. It’s been almost two years to the month that I wrote that review, and here I find myself with another new and improved pair of RCI shades- the Monster Hole 2.0.
So what makes these sunglasses so special?
Not just ‘polarized – ‘Helius 2.2’
According to RCI Optics the Helius 2.2 is a multi-layer lens system that adds not only polarization but other benefits. You may not think about it, but safety and protection of your eyes is part of the reason we wear sunglasses. Keeping UV rays out of our eyes and the ability to stop high-speed projectiles are paramount- and seeing fish better is a plus, but ultimately the main reason why we wear polarized sunglasses on the flats while hunting for fish seemingly smarter than us.
The RCI Helius lenses are able to stop an air pellet being fired from point-blank range into your lenses. This is also known as the MIL-STD 662 for testing. Guess what? These RCI sunglasses have a place not only on the water, but also on the construction site or as ballistic eyewear if you’re into shooting sports like trap, skeet, USPSA, or 3-gun. No more getting kicked out of the shooting range for having glass lenses on- “Yay!”.
Of course the multi-layers of anti-reflective coating and polarization are built in features that makes these RCI’s a solid choice out on the water.
The Monster Hole 2.0
The ‘Monster Hole’ frames have been with RCI for a long time and obviously long enough to have a second version released. These frames are one of RCI’s more full-looking frames and to me are reminiscent of the Oakley ‘Gas Can’ frames that were popular a long while ago.
Cosmetically I like the look of these frames and they fit my face well. They sit tight on the bridge of my nose and don’t squeeze my temples at all. One thing I will mention about these frames is that I did have to size them myself to open up the frames which I have never had to do before on any pair of sunglasses I’ve owned. There was a slight squeeze behind the top of my ear where I apparently have a some bone structure that needed a little more width than usual. After speaking with RCI I found out that all I had to do was dip the frames in hot water for a minute and slowly open them up with a cold water rinse. Presto! I had perfectly fitting frames after that.
Performance-wise the Monster Hole 2.0 frames are a home run. The large lenses provide a huge field of view and don’t block your vision at all- even in peripheral. The ‘Helius’ lenses are awesome and cut through glare like butter leaving you with a good 30 or so feet of glare reduction in front of you on the water. The large frames also help cut out glare and light bleed into your face- which in turn helps you see better.
Icing on the cake? RCI frames are made in Italy! That’s right, just like the high quality frames of old when companies actually cared about quality these RCI frames are made in a top-notch facility in Italy. You won’t find a ‘Made in China’ sticker anywhere around these bad Mama Jamas.
RCI Optics is a solid company with an ever-growing following of newly converted users that swear by their shades. I personally fish with other local die-hard fly fisherman who are out on the waters of Mosquito Lagoon twice a week and wouldn’t be caught dead without their RCI’s. The performance of these shades is phenomenal and you can find me wearing them not only on the water but out on the shooting range as well!