Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Costa Del Mar Cape Frame Sunglasses > Test Report by Jamie DeBenedetto

Cape Polarized Sunglasses


Costa Del Mar

Reviewed by Jamie DeBenedetto

Report Contents

September 24th, 2018

November 30th, 2018

February 8th, 2019

Reviewer's Information

Field Tests

Collective Use and Field Conditions

Product Information & Description

Pros and Cons

Final Thoughts

Arrival Condition



First Impressions    



Initial Report
September 24th, 2018

Reviewer's Information

Name Jamie J. DeBenedetto

Me and the Saguaro

Age and Gender Female, 45 years old

Height 5' 11" (180 cm)

Weight 175 lb (79 kg)

Head Circumference: 22 in (56 cm)

Email JamieD1005-at-gmail-dot-com


I spent many hours of my youth fishing, rafting, creeking, and day hiking in the wild places of Arizona. I caught the backpacking bug in high school. Primarily I'm a day hiker with the occasional family camping or overnight backpacking trip mixed in.
I prefer hammocks over ground sleeping and I gravitate toward multifunctional gear that enhances my comfort level with minimal fuss and weight. My total pack weight is typically less than 30 lbs (14 kg).

Location Phoenix, Arizona(AZ) - The Grand Canyon State - USA















Product Information Back to contents

Manufacturer URL
Model Year 2018
Made in Appears to be Florida, USA
MSRP $209.00 USD
Frame Fit Large
Frame Color Shiny Steal Grey Metalic
Lens Color Copper Silver Mirror
Lens Type/Material 580P Polarized Coated Polycarbonate & Trivex
Listed Weight None listed
Specifications Frame Width - 134.6mm / 5.35 in (I measured: 140 mm / 5.5 in)
Bridge Width - 17 mm / 0.67 in (Confirmed)
Lens Width - 67 mm / 2.64 in (Confirmed)
Lens Height - 44.2 mm / 1.75 in (Confirmed)
Temple Arm Length - 115 mm / 4.5 in (I measured: 120 mm / 4.72 in)

Care Instructions None listed
Warranty Limited Lifetime
Included Accessories Zipper case & Lens cleaning cloth

(Above: Taken from the Manufacturer's Website or Packaging)

(Below: Observed by Tester as Received)

Weight (taken with a digital office scale) Glasses only: 1.2 oz / 33 g
Glasses with case and cleaning cloth: 3.8 oz / 109 g


Product Description Back to contents

Costa del Mar's Cape Sunglasses offer a large frame fit in a lightweight, impact and scratch-resistant package. The pair I received have been coupled with 580P lenses in Copper Silver Mirror. The "P" stands for Polarized Coated Polycarbonate & Trivex, materials Costa claims are the "lightest and most durable" options for lenses. The Copper Silver Mirror tint is supposed to provide natural contrast and is best used in variable light situations. The copper color is very subtle unlike some of the other lens choices. I didn't even realize it was copper until I held the glasses up to backlighting.

The frame is thick and wraps around my face somewhat. Apparently it's made from an earth-friendly bio-resin that keeps the weight down but gives the frames good resistance against heat and cold and increases its durability. The latter 75% of the temple arms are slightly flexible with a grippy material running along the inside. This proprietary rubber is called Hydrolite. At the end of each arm is a little rectangular hole. Not sure what that's for. The bridge of the glasses also has two nose pads made of Hydrolite rubber as well.
Costa included a couple of nice extras with the glasses: a semi-hard-shell zipper case and a lens cleaning cloth. The case is clam-shell style in all black with the exception of the Costa logo in blue on top. The cloth is also blue and measures 7 x 7 in / 18 x 18 cm.

Arrival Condition and Informational Material Back to contents

All components arrived defect free and undamaged by shipping. Included in the box was a little thank you card from Costa and a small tag with details about the 580P lenses as well as the company's Limited Lifetime Warranty. The box also offered a few helpful nuggets of information, mainly about the 100% UV protection and build quality, "built by hand using the best materials". I found all info useful but most of the information I gathered for this report was from the website. Had I been a customer looking at this product in a store I certainly wouldn't know about the company's commitment to eco-friendly materials, which I think is a cool selling point. I'm also questioning why they don't promote the fact they are made in the USA more. All indicators point to them being made in Florida, USA but that point of pride, which is generally stamped on packaging is curiously omitted, leaving me puzzled.

Expectations and First Impressions Back to contents

I was leaving for a weekend in the Arizona high country when the package arrived so I stuffed the whole box in my daypack and tossed it in my trunk for later exploration. When I finally had a chance to check out the Cape's, I was pleasantly surprised to see the stoutness of the case Costa had included. I didn't really pay close attention to the picture on the website so I just assumed the case would be a cheap open-ended foam style thing. When I opened the case the first thing I noticed was how wispy the glasses were. Don't get me wrong, they aren't flimsy, just very light in the hand and even more noticeably on my face. With the larger frame style I thought they might also be clunky or heavy on my nose, thankfully they are not. The website lists the Cape style only under the men's section but I was informed they are also unisex. I personally think they are too big for my face, which is on the slimmer side but they don't look horrible so I'll make them work for testing.

With nearly 300 days of sunshine in Phoenix per year I expect to get quite a lot of use out of the Cape sunglasses.

Back to contents

Field Report
November 30th, 2018

Field Tests Back to contents


Short wander in the forest south of Flagstaff, Arizona (AZ). Elevation 6,800 ft (2,070 m). Mostly sunny day, temps in the upper 80's (31 C). This was a get acquainted hike to see how they felt. They were worn for about 2 hours off and on whenever the sun popped out.

Day hike along the Verde River, Tonto National Forest, AZ. Elevation average 1,500 ft (460 m). Weather was clear and sunny with a high of 103 F (40 C). On this hike I was on and off trail so they were used for protection from both the sun and the brush.


Day hike next to the Agua Fria River, Lake Pleasant Regional Park, Peoria, AZ. Elevation 1,700 ft (520 m). The temperature was around 86 F (30 C). Partly to mostly sunny.

Day hike in the Superstition Wilderness, AZ. Elevation around 2,400 ft (730 m). Temperatures ranged between 64 and 77 F (18 and 25 C). Mostly sunny with a few scattered clouds.


Three-day camping trip in Usury Mountain Regional Park, Mesa, AZ. Temperatures fell between the low 70's to the mid 40's (22 and 7 C). Sunny every day.

Pros and Cons Thus Far Back to contents

Living in a super sunny place like Phoenix means I wear sunglasses almost every time I go outside, particularly while driving. I was thrilled to test a pair of glasses, especially ones that look super spiffy like the Costa del Mar Capes. Beyond the seven field uses listed above they have been used daily.

Typically when I get a new pair of sunglasses there is a short break-in period while I am getting used to how they feel on the bridge of my nose and over my ears. To my pleasant surprise this was not the case with the Capes. They are so lightweight they were comfy right out of the box! The slight flex at the end of the arms allow them to kind of wrap around my head a bit without any pressure. Because they are a little big on my face I definitely don't feel any weight pressing against my temples or around my eyes. The cut of the nose bridge seems to fit my face well enough so that it too is not overly tight.

The little pads of Hydrolite rubber on the nose bridge provide a little cushion and help to keep the glasses from slipping when I'm sweaty. Although, since the frames are a tad big on me they sometimes do slide down my nose, most often when I'm bending over or tilting my head down a lot. This hasn't been a major issue while hiking or kayaking but it was noticeable while setting up camp. Rather than risking them falling off my face or having to fiddle with them I usually take them off if I think they will be a problem.

The slippage can't be completely blamed on the nose bridge, however. The Hydrolite is also used at the tips of the temple arms, which I think is a double edge sword. On the one hand the flex in those arms certainly allows for the comfortable fit I mentioned above, conversely, it may also be a contributing factor in the glasses not holding onto my face quite as snugly. Thankfully they have never fallen off my face completely while wearing them in their normal position over my eyes. They have fallen off a few times while on my head, however, which is where I used to put them when not needed for brief periods. Despite the durability claims from Costa, obviously repeated drops are not good for any sunglasses so I've stopped wearing them that way altogether. Costa del Mar sells retainer cords so I could wear them hung from my neck should I find this to be a problem in the future.

Functionally they have been fabulous. The Copper Silver Mirror lens color provides a nice soft change to the harshness of the full sunlit sky or the glare off the lake. They are just dark enough to shield my eyes but not so dark they can't be worn in low light situations like semi-cloudy days or while walking under dense tree cover. Additionally, the mirroring is subtle. It's not ostentatiously reflective or shinny but there's enough so that a person has to be within just a foot (.3 m) or so to be able to see my eyes through the lenses.

When not in use I have been storing them in their case and I try to clean them with the cleaning cloth regularly. In the field they have been wiped with a shirttail or bandana a few times when I've forgotten the cloth. The 580P lenses are holding up great to my few drops and all the brush I've whacked through, specifically on my Verde River hike where I was off trail numerous times.

Pleasing Aspects:

  • Immediately comfortable
  • Great sun protection
  • Soft lens color
  • Durable

Underwhelming Aspects:

  • Slightly big on my face
  • Some slippage down my nose
  • Fall off the top of my head easily

Back to contents

Long-Term Report
February 8th, 2019

Collective Use and Field Conditions Back to contents

In the last few months of this test series I used the Costa del Mar Cape sunglasses on an additional three outings as well as continued to use them as my daily sun protection whenever needed. In total I've used them ten times in the field.


Day hike in the Tonto National Forest near Cave Creek, Arizona (AZ). Elevation averaged 3,400 ft (1040 m) with temperatures in the upper 50's to low 60's F (14 to 17 C). Mostly sunny day.


Two separate day hikes, both in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Scottsdale, AZ. Elevation around 2,600 ft (800 m). On the first, temperatures were in the upper 50's F (14 C) with sunny skies. On the second hike temps were in the low 50's F (11 C), partly cloudy with strong winds.

Final Thoughts Back to contents

The Costa del Mar Capes have continued to hold up well to my nearly daily use, a few more drops (regrettably) and short, unprotected stints in the top pocket of my backpack (I found the case a little too bulky to carry with me on hiking trips). More about that in a second. I've become more comfortable with the fit, hardly noticing the larger frame size now. The lenses are surprisingly scratch free. A small miracle if you ask me since I have not been overly careful. Most importantly, the sunglasses function as perfectly today as they did on the day they arrived. I haven't had a lens pop out, both arm hinges retain their original tightness and the Hydrolite rubber on the bridge of the nose and at the ends of each temple arm feel unchanged.

My favorite aspect of the Capes, and this is something I've mentioned previously, is their near weightless feel without being flimsy. Prior to using the Capes, a typical day on the trail for me involved hiding under my large brim hat, coupled with lots of sweating accented with a thin layer of desert dirt that accumulated on all exterior surfaces. Adding sunglasses to that mix served to increase the grimy sweaty feeling on my nose and around my eyes with ever increasing pressure over my ears as the weight of my hat pressed down on the temple arms of the glasses. As the miles ticked away, it's amazing how uncomfortable that sensation would become under the weight of heavier frames. Because of this past experience with other sunglasses, I typically wore them hiking only when absolutely necessary. The lightness and comfort of the Capes has completely changed my mind and allowed me the option of wearing sunglasses anytime I'm on the trail. I still get a little sweaty under the lenses but because they are so lightweight and flexible over my ears, I've never experienced temple discomfort no matter how long I've worn them.

Due to the afore mentioned issue with having the glasses fall off the top of my head when I've chosen to wear them up there while not in use I thought it would be nice to bring the zipper case with me on hikes as a safe place to stow the Capes. I tried that a couple of times, finding the semi-hard shell to be very protective, which of course is exactly what I want in a case. Unfortunately, this aspect also makes it a little too bulky for several of my pack's pockets, a minor problem overall but one I think has a simple solution. I'd love to see Costa del Mar add a little clip or at least a loop where a clip could be attached so the case could be hung from a backpack or belt loop. This would also keep the glasses within close reach while on the trail. Sunglasses are such an easy item to lose while playing in the outdoors, I can't tell you how many I've found over the years on the shoreline of our lakes and rivers. In my opinion, having an easy option to securely store them would be invaluable.

I really enjoyed testing the Capes. They are clearly a well-made, durable and lightweight product. I love that they are made in the USA using environmentally friendly materials. I plan to keep using them as my everyday sunglasses as long as they last. My thanks to Costa del Mar and for making this test possible.

-Jamie J. DeBenedetto - 2019

Back to contents


Read more reviews of Costa Del Mar gear
Read more gear reviews by Jamie DeBenedetto

Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Costa Del Mar Cape Frame Sunglasses > Test Report by Jamie DeBenedetto

Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

All material on this site is the exclusive property of
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson