Best Backpacking Binoculars
Backpacking and exploring the local wilderness around you is an exhilarating and soul fulfilling experience. To separate yourself from the looming towers of a city block and surround yourself with the complex and marvelous worlds of the creatures around you can really bring you a powerful sense of peace.
But if you go backpacking without a pair of binoculars, you’re only witnessing a fraction of the landscape.
Imagine all the beauty you are missing out on; the unmistakable shine of the night sky, the detailed feathers on a far away bird, the delicate movement of an undisturbed deer. With a pair of binoculars, your vision can travel further than the naked eye, and you can observe the wonders of nature that would otherwise run away from you.
But what are the best binoculars for a backpacking trip? We have made a little guide to help you buy a great pair of backpacking binoculars and if you would rather someone did all the leg work for you, then carry on reading because we are one step ahead of you.
Scroll down for the 5 best backpacking binoculars currently on the market.
5 Best Backpacking Binoculars
Now you know what to look for in a pair of backpacking binoculars, you can search through the internet and in outdoor shops for the best pair for you. Or, you can just scroll through our list and feel confident that whichever one you choose will be perfect for your sightseeing activities.
The most durable binoculars on our list are the UsoGood. They have coated the instrument in a durable armored coating. This means that if you drop the binoculars, they won’t break.
This coating does more than protect your eyewear from a nasty fall. It also creates a non-slip grip so when the day out turns wet and windy, you can still keep a firm grasp on your binoculars.
The fitting of the rubber is super tight, so rainwater shouldn’t be able to wriggle its way into the lens, making the binoculars waterproof and free of fog.
But all that rubber doesn’t make the UsoGood heavy as you might expect. It is still super light, although not the lightest pair on our list.
The UsoGood also comes with multi coated optics, which is a fancy way to say that the image through the lens is super clear even in low lighting conditions, but it cannot compete against complete darkness.
The only real negative for these binoculars is that the accessories that come with them (for example, the tripod) were not given the same attention to detail that the binoculars were. They are not as durable, so be careful when setting them up.
- Super Durable
- Light Rain Resistant
- Fog Resistant
- Good in Low Light Settings
- Cheaply Made Accessories
- Not Good In Heavy Rain
The NOPTIX is built for water based trips, like fishing or boating. Although backpacking isn’t the same adventure as floating through the waves, this waterproof feature is great for those long distance walks that might catch heavy rainfall.
If there is a lot of rainfall, you’ll probably want to use a pair of binoculars that have an easy grip and easy focus when your fingers are soaked to the core. The NOPTIX has a similar rubber body as the UsoGood, which makes holding the binoculars on rainy days easy. It also has a simple focusing ring, so you can still have master control over the distant view when the downpour comes.
The adjustable eye cups create a powerful anti reflective lens that can magnify 10x the image in front of you. In straight numbers, the field of view is 293 feet at 1,000 yards, which means that if you want to focus on a bird that’s 1,000 yards away, you’ll see it as if it was 293 feet away (or 97 yards away).
The amount of energy put into making these binoculars water resistant comes at the cost of balancing light conditions. If you plan on viewing into the dim light of the evening, you might find it challenging to continue with these binoculars.
- Super Waterproof
- Not Good In Dim Light
The Gosky has a rainproof and a fog proof body which is perfect for hot and humid weather. If you plan on viewing your surroundings in the tropics, then this pair of binoculars should be your choice.
How it works is through Gosky’s O-Rings. These rings seal the lens and the body together, stopping any moisture from getting stuck between your view. This also works for dust and debris too, so if you are backpacking through a dirty area, your lenses won’t be hurt.
These binoculars are another brand that is made of a similar (but not as strong) rubber to the UsoGood brand. This means that your Gosky will stay protected even if it’s been knocked a couple of times.
However, the Gosky does have the same anti reflective coating on their lense as NOPTIX, so that you will receive a super clear image.
The issue with the Goksy is similar to the UsoGood. The accessories, specifically the phone adaptor, aren’t great. But if you don’t care about the add ons, then you’ll have no problems!
- Super Fog Resistant
- Light Rain Resistant
- Anti Reflective Coating for Clear Image
- Poor Quality Accessories.
The design of the SkyGenius binoculars is vastly different from the others. These binoculars are an aspherical lens, which is coated in a multi layer light transmission. What this means is the brightness of your image will be improved along with the contrast of shades and the quality of the image over all.
These binoculars were made for concerts, opera, and astronomical viewing, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have uses elsewhere. These binoculars can be used easily on your nighttime backpacking expeditions, although they cannot work in complete darkness.
The casing of the SkyGenius is covered in rubber for a durable and anti slip grip. This rubber makes the binoculars moisture resistant but not waterproof, so don’t dunk the glassware into a river!
- Fantastic in Low Light Conditions
- Moisture resistant
- No Waterproof or Heavy Rain Proof
The last one on our list is the most lightweight of our 5 best backpacking binoculars. They weigh 1.3 pounds which is the same as an iPad. This means your backpack won’t be weighed down by your exploring gear.
Even better than a lightweight pair of binoculars is the fantastic quality of image you get from the lens. The crystal clear picture comes from the 16.55mm prism lens. This lens collects 32% more light than the 12.5mm lenses, which most of the other binoculars use.
Again the rubber coating makes the binoculars water resistant. But unlike most of the other pairs in this list, the Adasion isn’t very durable. This might be a problem if your backpacking journey takes you to a rocky or dangerous location, but if you plan to go on a smooth route, then your gear should be fine.
The picture from the Adhesion is by far the best out of all of the binoculars on our list, but if you are worried about dropping it, or knocking it in your backpack, then its delicate design might not be a good choice for you.
- Most Lightweight
- Water Resistant
- Best View
- Not Durable
Buyers Guide – What To Look For In Backpacking Binoculars
There are lots of binoculars on the market, so figuring out which ones are good and which ones are suitable for backpacking can feel a little daunting. To help you out, we have created a list of features to look out for or ignore so you don’t spend money on a product you don’t need.
No matter your destination, a backpacking trip is going to have a couple of bumps along the way. This isn’t a bad thing. If anything, it’s part of the fun! But that means you need a pair of binoculars that can handle the knocks and falls that will inevitably come.
The most durable binoculars tend to be made out of shock absorbing rubber materials, and all of the ones below are.
If you go backpacking in hot or humid conditions, then you run the risk of condensation fogging up your binoculars.
When we say fog proof, we don’t mean fogging up the outside of your lenses because that can happen at any stage. To get past that, you’d just need to wipe the lens.
No. Instead, we mean fogging up the inside. If the inside gets fogged up, then you will have no chance of looking through the magnifying glass until it has completely dried. This could ruin your trip and possibly wear down your binoculars.
To get past this fogging issue, some manufacturers use O-Ring seals to lock away any moisture from getting into the lens at all. Others use nitrogen or argon gasses to purify the lens.
If you don’t plan on viewing a hot or humid location, then fog resistance might not become a problem for you. Remember that these features we have picked out are to help you figure out what is right for you. There is no need to fork out your cash for a quality that is irrelevant to you.
Field Of View
When you go backpacking, what are you planning on viewing? Do you hope to spot a rare bird in clear definition, or would you instead take in a whole area of diversity from afar?
Depending on your plans, you will need different fields of view. If you want to see close up details, then you need a narrow field of view, but if you’re going to take in a larger area, then a wider field of view is what you’re after.
Most adventures require both, and most binoculars can do both, but before you press “buy”, double check the binoculars “Field of View”.
Unless you plan on backpacking to an area where dropping your binoculars into a body of water is likely, then you probably don’t need a waterproof set.
That doesn’t mean you should avoid all the waterproofed pairs. Just remember that waterproofing isn’t the most essential feature that you’re going to need.
If you are worried about heavy rainfall, then you might need to keep an eye out for splashproof binoculars, which are not as heavily fortified as full-on waterproof binoculars, but they will protect your lenses.
The real question is around heavy rain. If the forecast is for a downpour, then you will need waterproof binoculars to keep out the rain.
Low Light and Weak Light Corrections
If you like to adventure and observe in areas that have low or weak light, then you want a pair of binoculars that can improve the brightness of your image without spooking the animals around you.
Most low light binoculars can’t function in complete darkness, but if you are out in the wilderness, then the stars could reflect enough light at night to help the technology clarity the low light around you.
Because you’ll be carrying a backpack on your hike, you don’t necessarily need a small pair of binoculars. You’ll have the room you need to carry a pair without needing to worry about space.
But if you plan on backpacking for an extended period of time, then you won’t want a heavy pair either. Lightweight doesn’t necessarily mean small, so look out for the weight of your binoculars before you make your purchase.
Tips To Help You Get The Best Out Of Your Binoculars
So now you have the best binoculars for your backpacking trip, but do you have all the skills or knowledge to make those binoculars work?
Well, have a look at our tips and tricks to get you on the right path.
Tip 1 – Adjusting Your Binoculars
If you pick up your binoculars and you can barely see out of them, then the likelihood is that they haven’t been adjusted for your eyes. Everyone’s eyes are different, but all binoculars have an adjustable dial or something similar.
First, you want to close one eye and move the dial and barrels until you see a clear and straight circular image.
Next, do the same with your other eye.
Now, with both eyes open, readjust the dials until you see one single clear image.
If your vision has black around the outside, then your eye pieces are either too close or too far apart.
You should be able to see a clear image as if it was in front of you. That is your aim when you are focusing your binoculars.
Tip 2 – When To Bring Out Your Binoculars
It might be tempting to glue your binoculars around your eyes to take in all that high definition clarity, but it will be hard to focus on the image you want when it moves. Instead, using your naked eye, you should find your subject without your binoculars first.
Then, when you know where you should be looking, bring up your binoculars to see the subject in more detail.
Tip 3 – Utilizing Your Tripod
Sometimes, zooming in or clarifying an image can be difficult when the binoculars are being used. If you move them too much, you could lose the image you have.
Another problem you might face is your arms cramping from holding the binoculars for so long.
This is why Tripods can be a life saver! You can adjust your binoculars while they are still facing the correct direction, and you don’t have to worry about your arms losing strength.
The Tripod is a subtle trick that might be too much for a backpacking adventure, so ask yourself if you have enough room before settling into this arm saver idea.