Looking for the best backpacking binoculars? Then use our guide to help you choose.
We’ve listed the top 7 backpacking binoculars on the market, along with a closer look at the features that make them ideal for use out on the trail.
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We have also described what to look for when choosing binoculars, briefly explaining some of the terminology used in the specifications.
What To Look For When Buying Binoculars For Backpacking
There are lots of different types of binoculars on the market, but not all are suitable for backpackers.
Here are some of the important features to look out for.
Keeping the weight of your gear to a minimum is always a priority when backpacking. The good news when it comes to binoculars is that this doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice quality.
In fact, the more lightweight the binoculars that you choose, the better the stability of your image will be! That’s because you will normally need to use a tripod or other solid surface to keep a bulky, heavy pair of binoculars steady.
Ideally, binoculars for backpackers should weigh less than 1.5 pounds (all the models in this guide meet that specification). In addition to being lightweight, you really want a pair that is compact, too, so they won’t take up too much space.
The best backpacking binoculars need to be able to withstand the elements to some extent, as you will obviously be using them outdoors for much of the time.
First, check the specifications to make sure that they are water-resistant.
Even if it’s not actually raining, they could be affected by moisture from dew, fog, mist, or frost. This could cause them to fog during use.
Depending on the environment in which you are backpacking, you may also need them to be resistant to heat and/or dust. Look for ‘nitrogen gas purged’, ‘hermetically sealed’ or ‘O-ring sealed’ in the description to confirm that they are sealed enough to protect the interior in harsh conditions.
Field Of View
This figure refers to the width of the area you can see through your binoculars. It becomes more and more narrow the higher the magnification.
The figure for the field of view is usually given in meters or feet. A field view of 100 meters would make it possible to see a width of 100 meters from 1000 meters away.
A field view of 200 feet would allow you to see a width of 200 feet from 1000 yards away.
Binoculars with a magnification of around 8x to 10x tend to give you an ideal field of view for looking at birds and other wildlife when backpacking.
The magnification number relates to how many times bigger an object will appear through the binoculars compared to looking at it with the naked eye.
In the description you will usually see a set of numbers like ’10 x 25′ The first figure is the magnification – so these binoculars will make objects look 10 times bigger. The second figure refers to the diameter of the objective lens.
The best backpacking binoculars will have a magnification of 8x, 10x, or 12x. If you choose a pair with a magnification higher than 12x, you will also need to buy a tripod to keep them steady for a clear image.
Top 7 Binoculars For Backpacking
Here’s a rundown of our favorite binoculars for backpackers and the reasons we recommend them.
Nikon Trailblazer Black Binoculars
From a name you can trust in precision optics, these Nikon high-quality binoculars are exceptionally lightweight, weighing just 9.9 ounces. They deliver 8 x 25 magnification and give a 429 ft field of view.
Made with black rubber armoring, they are completely waterproof and fog proof, being both nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed. This – along with their non-slip surface – makes them suitable for use in even adverse weather conditions.
You’ll enjoy great images with the binoculars, as the multicoated optics provide excellent brightness and resolution. The central focus knob works smoothly and adjusts quickly when viewing fast-moving objects.
EACONN 10 x 50 Binoculars
At just 1.5 pounds, EACONN backpacking binoculars are light in weight yet still capable of delivering outstanding optical quality.
The 50mm objective lens gives you a 342ft field of view, whilst the BAK-4 Porro prism and fully multi-coated optics provide superior light transmission. This gives you bright, clear images with no distortion.
The nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed optics ensure that no moisture or dust can enter the binoculars’ interior and the anti-slip frosted rubber grip makes them very easy to hold.
An adjustable smartphone adapter is included with this model, so you can easily share your images and videos of the view you’re enjoying with friends and family. They also come with a comfortable neck strap, so you can carry them hands-free.
Bushnell H2O Compact Roof Prism Binoculars
The best backpacking binoculars are those that take up the least space and deliver the clearest results. These 8 x 25 binoculars from Bushnell easily meet both these criteria, weighing just 0.75 pounds and featuring BaK 4 prisms for bright, vivid viewing and zero distortion.
O ring sealed and nitrogen purged, they are 100% waterproof and perfect for backpacking in any conditions. They are tough enough to stand up to outdoor life, too, with non-slip rubber armor to absorb shock and to give you a good grip – even if it’s raining.
We love how they can be adjusted quickly, which is important when it comes to observing wildlife.
The twist-up eyecups are simple to use and allow for a good fit – even if you wear glasses. Meanwhile, the large focus knob can be easily turned to instantly sharpen the image.
Leica Ultravid BR 10 x 25 Compact Binoculars
These high-end binoculars – also available in 8 x 20 magnification – offer a 273 ft field of view and are designed for the serious adventurer. They are waterproof up to 16.5 feet, which means they are not just suitable for poor weather conditions but can also survive being dropped into water.
They are ideally suited to backpacking with a double hinge that allows you to fold them down to a compact size. The rubber-coated aluminum body makes them simultaneously tough and lightweight, coming in at just 9 ounces.
They deliver flawless images, suppressing stray light and giving you crystal clear detail of even the faintest objects. The diopter is easily adjusted at the touch of a button and the central focusing knob is easy to use.
A good quality carrying bag is included.
Occer 12×25 Compact Binoculars
An excellent option if you are on a budget, these binoculars for backpacking give you great results at a fraction of the price of many other brands.
Easy to use – even when wearing reading glasses or sunglasses – Occer Binoculars offer a 273ft field of vision. A broadband green optical FMC multilayer film on the objective lens and a blue FMC coating on the eyepiece-optical help enhance the clarity of the image.
Their compact size makes it easy to use them one-handed and they weigh just 0.65 pounds, so you will barely notice them when packed with your gear.
Bushnell Powerview 10 x 42 BoneCollector Binoculars
We love the cool camouflage design of this model which has a durable, easy-to-grip coating made from soft rubber, with a streamlined textured finish.
These binoculars draw in a great deal of light for very vibrant images and work well in low-light conditions. This means you can use them early in the morning, late in the evening, or even in shaded environments.
They give an impressive 288-foot field of view and feature an oversized focus wheel that makes them exceptionally easy to use. This is enhanced by the diamond-cut grips, which means you can turn the focus wheel and diopter easily and precisely, even when wearing gloves.
Athlon Optics Midas Binoculars
Weighing 1.5 pounds, these durable binoculars for backpackers are ideal if bird-watching is your passion.
Athlon Binoculars are made with EG glass, which provides clear, sharp images with no chromatic fringe. They also feature ESP dielectric coating – a multi-layer prism coating that reflects over 99% of the light to your eyes so that you see natural colors in all of their glory.
Argon purging makes them suitable for use in either very wet or warm conditions and the casing is made from magnesium alloy – a material that is lightweight yet rugged.
They have a non-slip texture grip that makes them easy to hold even when it’s raining and come with all the accessories you’ll need. These include a soft-sided case, lens caps, a comfortable padded neck strap, and a cleaning cloth.
Final Thoughts On Binoculars For Backpacking
Being able to view nature up close – without disturbing the wildlife – is a wonderful part of the backpacking experience. I hope that this guide to the best backpacking binoculars has made it easy to choose the right pair for your next trip.
Need more help with backpacking gear? Read one of the following guides: