Binoculars for hiking – Buying guide & Comparison
If you’re here to find the best binoculars for hiking but time is of the essence, this paragraph can tell you what you need to know. After having gone through hundreds of consumer reports, sales figures, as well as various forums and surveys, we’ve concluded that the model you ought to consider is the Bushnell Trophy XLT. These lightweight hiking binoculars can help you make the most out of your outdoor adventures as they boast a waterproof and fog proof design, soft touch thumb grips, and fully multi-coated optics. The 25-ounce weight won’t hinder your moves. The 10x magnification power is excellent, but your hands have to be quite steady. If the Bushnell Trophy XLT is unavailable, be sure to consider the Eyeskey Optics 10×42 HD Green as this model comes with features that are almost just as good.
These days, purchasing the best binoculars for hiking backpacking might prove to be quite an adventure. There are many choices to give some thought to, but before anything, you need to look at your own expectations and try to understand them as best as possible. Your needs have to come first even before you begin to take any features into account.
To make sure that you are able to make an informed decision, we have put together a straightforward buyer’s guide that can take you through all the factors you need to bear in mind.
What size do you need?
As we were saying in the beginning, sometimes your own preferences matter even more than the specs of the best outdoor binoculars. For example, if you are aware of the fact that your physical attributes don’t allow you to carry overly heavy things and that your hands might not be particularly steady, the last thing you need is a pair of heavy binoculars.
It is worth noting that small binoculars for hiking aren’t winners in terms of field of view and scope, so they might impact your viewing experience in a negative manner. Bigger models usually boast larger objective lens diameters, so they let in a lot more light; thus, they allow you to look at brighter pictures.
Magnification and objective lens diameter
These two features are the numbers that you will see most binoculars are described with. The first figure, which can be 6x, 7x, 8x, 10x, or above, is the magnification power. What this means for you is that the product has the ability to increase the image so that it appears six, seven, eight, or ten times closer, depending on its specs.
Many prospective buyers tend to think that greater magnification is always better, but this isn’t a golden rule to abide by. With a superior magnification, you won’t be getting a lot in terms of field of view, and you’ll find it hard to stabilize the image. You might even have to purchase a tripod, and hiking is all about moving and exploring.
The lens diameter can be correlated with the light capture that the binoculars are capable of. Unless you plan to use your chosen model in low-light conditions, you don’t need a too large objective lens diameter, and even more so if you’re in the market for small binoculars for hiking.
Durability and construction quality
While in some other cases such as those that involve using binoculars for stargazing, water resistance might not be a matter that needs to be tackled, it’s actually quite important in this situation. You really can’t know when a rain shower is going to catch you by surprise, so you need to make sure that the best compact binoculars for hiking come with a waterproof design.
A fog proof alternative also needs to be considered because temperature differences can affect the way you see your targets or subjects of interest. In addition to this, you may have to look for a model that comes with a rubber armor and boasts non-slip grips so that you know that you can hold your binoculars properly at all times.
The field of view is crucial if you want to look at expansive sceneries. Keep in mind that models with low magnification powers can offer you wider views, and not the way around. If you wear glasses, you need to make sure that the unit you are thinking of buying comes with an eye relief of at least 15mm.
As for the lens coating, the type might be less relevant, but the number of coatings does matter quite a bit. Fully multi-coated choices usually garner the best hiking binoculars reviews, and that’s because they take the cake when it comes to light transmission.
Top hiking binoculars reviews in 2018
Based on our research, the following models need to be given some thought to as they have acquired the appreciation of most of those who have bought them. They are convenient, compact, easy to use, and manage to do their job as they are supposed to.
Bushnell Trophy XLT
The neat thing about this Bushnell model is that it does not cost a pretty penny, so even people on a budget can comfortably give it a try. Despite the fact that it is usually priced under one hundred dollars, the model boasts a waterproof and fog proof design, thus allowing you to do your thing in the wild without worrying about damaging your binoculars.
The 10x magnification power of the Trophy XLT is something worth taking into account, but you need to make sure that you can handle it and that you don’t require a wider field of view. The 42mm objective lens diameter lets in more than enough light, so you can look at bright images of your subjects.
It’s also worth adding that the Trophy XLT weighs in at 25 pounds, so it won’t break your back or your neck. The model has garnered over three hundred favorable reviews, so it’s safe to say that it’s a good choice to bear in mind.
The waterproof and fog proof design of this choice makes it one of the top alternatives out there if you want to spend several hours outdoors even if the weather is unpredictable.
The fully multi-coated optics that this unit has been equipped with make it possible for you to glance at bright and crisp pictures.
The dura-grip rubber boasted by this model can ensure that you hold it correctly all the time.
Besides, the model is accompanied by a lightweight bag that keeps everything together so that you can store your investment properly and use it time and again. A strap is also included in the deal.
The 10x magnification power might be an inconvenience for some people who might want a wider field of view or whose hands aren’t terribly steady.
Hunters report that they aren’t made for their purposes as they do not draw in enough light.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($114.97)
Eyeskey Optics 10×42 HD
If you’re in the market for something a bit better, you might have to check out the specs of this Eyeskey alternative, as well. In some respects, it does resemble other models we’ve mentioned in our selection, but in others, it’s superior. The roof prism design makes it possible for hikers to comfortably carry these binoculars around their neck or in their backpacks.
Also, the 10x magnification and 42mm objective lens diameter seem to be just right for your purpose. This particular model has been equipped with a smooth central focusing knob that can allow you to adjust the focus depending on your subject and viewing circumstances.
As for durability and resilience, you needn’t worry about anything. This model is both waterproof and fog proof as it has been sealed to prevent dust, debris, moisture, and fogging from ever entering the binoculars. Plus, most of those who have opted for this choice have only good things to say about it.
Based on the feedback garnered by this alternative, it appears that this 10x42mm pair manages to offer plenty of value for the money.
The crystal clear optics in this model can make your viewing situations a pleasure to look forward to.
Whether you are a bird watcher or occasional hiker, the fact of the matter is that you are likely to be impressed and entirely satisfied with the ability of these binoculars to capture light.
Since the model weighs in at about twenty ounces, you won’t feel like a burden’s hanging around your neck all of the time.
This is a pair that’s both waterproof and fog proof, and that’s definitely something to consider.
They’re not as budget-friendly as other binoculars we have stumbled upon.
If your physical attributes don’t allow you to carry any items for too long or if you’re a smaller individual, you might still find this model to be too heavy for your liking.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($98.99)
Celestron is a world-known brand in the industry of manufacturing telescopes, microscopes, rifle scopes, and a variety of other items destined for surveillance and science. As such, it’s rather obvious that the 71348 is designed with the needs of the modern hiker in mind.
The neat thing about this series is that it’s available in a broad range of magnifications. For example, you can even purchase the 10x50mm model that’s mostly destined for outdoor enthusiasts. This choice boasts fully multi-coated optics, and so it might not be the most affordable one in the line. Nonetheless, since the images you will be looking at will have excellent contrast and resolution, the 71348 may be worth it.
An additional detail that should convince you if you are having second thoughts is that this model comes with an eye relief measuring 17.4mm, so it is an outstanding choice for glass wearers.
This nitrogen-purged alternative can take durability to a whole new level by allowing you to enjoy its services whether it’s raining or not.
The rubber armored binoculars are easy to hold in one’s hands, so you will be able to comfortably view your sights without worrying about them slipping through your fingers.
The eye relief measures 17.4mm, so this pair is, without a doubt, friendly to people who wear eyeglasses.
The 50mm objective lens is more than capable of gathering enough light so as to make the images bright, crisp, and clear.
The unit is tripod adaptable, so you won’t have to bother too much with installing such systems.
Some people argue that these binoculars are just too heavy for their purposes.
Others note that these binoculars suffer from chromatic aberration, so you might have to invest in something better if you’re into birding and want to see the colors of the feathers as accurately as possible.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($84.96)
YOUTHINK Wide Angle
It’s often that we are limited by our budgets, especially when it comes to purchasing optics and other equipment of this sort. So, if you are looking for a somewhat reasonably priced alternative, maybe you should consider this one. After all, it comes with virtually any feature you might want from such a binocular, and shares some of its specs with some of the other units we have discussed in this selection.
The unit comes with a 10x magnification and a 50mm lens diameter. Something that does make the difference between this choice and others is that this one weighs in at twenty-eight ounces, so it might be a bit on the heavy side of things.
Other than that, there’s really no reason to avoid this unit as the deal even includes a carry case and a neck strap. Plus, the interpupillary distance can be adjusted with ease, and the unit boasts a large center focus knob.
The solid construction of this choice can enable you to benefit from its services for a good deal of time.
This 10x50mm binocular does its job precisely how it is supposed to and boasts a variety of features you might be impressed with, whether it’s the 5mm exit pupil or the 7.5mm eye distance.
Focusing the image is incredibly easy as the model has been outfitted with a comfortable center knob.
There’s also a diopter adjuster on the right piece, so prospective buyers who wear eyeglasses can rest assured that the model will meet their expectations.
The box also contains a neck strap and a carrying case which both increase the value offered by the model.
As with other products in the same line, this one seems to be a tad too heavy for some people.
There have been complaints regarding the interpupillary distance hinge as it seems to move too easily. There’s no way of freezing it into position.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($29.99)
Bushnell PowerView 132515C
As another well-known company in the industry of manufacturing top-notch binoculars and other optics destined for spending time outdoors, Bushnell has prepared the PowerView series with a single purpose in mind. All of the models need to be reasonably priced and tailored to the needs of hikers, hunters, and other folks who like to be in the middle of nature.
This particular unit comes with a magnification power of 8x, so it might be destined for those who like a wider field of view as that of this model is 378 feet at 1000 yards. The 21mm objective lens diameter is good enough in terms of gathering light, but it might not be extraordinary if you want to go hiking at night.
The non-slip armor that the 132515C has been outfitted with is an advantage in itself as you’ll be able to hold the binoculars in your hands without any problem whatsoever.
This model is a compact unit that can prove its value under a variety of circumstances. There’s nothing stopping you from taking them on a hike or using them at a concert.
The product is small enough to fit one’s pocket and doesn’t weigh in too much, so it won’t hinder your moves nor will it make your expedition uncomfortable.
Because of the 8x magnification power, you’ll be able to look at wider pictures and expansive sceneries.
The fully coated optics that the model comes with can ensure a brighter view so that you can look at birds and other subjects of interest without having to squint all of the time.
Because of their design, these binoculars cannot be adapted and used with a tripod.
Something less impressive about this choice is that it is not waterproof nor fog proof, so you will have to be cautious when using them in the rain.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($15)