Hiking monoculars – Buying guide & Comparison
Whether you’re a bird watching enthusiast or an accomplished hiker, having the best nature monocular can enhance your outdoor adventures and offer you high-resolution close-ups of your favorite animals and landscapes. But with so many models both large and small on the market, choosing one that’s appropriate for your style and preferences can be tough. We’ve done our research on some of the most popular monoculars out there to ensure you get to buy the right one. We recommend the Wingspan Optics Scout 6X32 as a prime choice. This optical device is small, sturdy, lightweight, waterproof and can offer magnification of 6x so you never miss a rare bird sighting or a distant weather event, all that while costing a fraction of the price of professional models. If you find that this product is sold out, then you should also consider getting the Wingspan Optics ProSpotter 10X42.
If you don’t know much about monoculars yet wish to buy one, there are some things you might want to learn first about these simple yet highly effective optical instruments. Before reading our hiking monocular reviews, here are some things that will help you make a better choice regarding your first monocular.
Magnification, lens diameter, and size
Most compact monoculars have magnifications between 6x and 10x. If you ever wondered what an 8X25 meant, the first number is the magnifying power while the second is the lens diameter. While magnification is important to make distant objects appear bigger in your eyepiece, the lens diameter is also important. The larger it is, the more light it will gather and the higher resolution the resulting image will have.
With a larger lens you’ll also get a larger field of view, so you can also admire far away scenery or groups of animals.
However, the larger the lens, the bigger and heavier the monocular will be. For most hiking and birdwatching scenarios, a compact monocular should do. It will be easy to transport and use at any time, and you can even carry it in your pocket or around your neck. With a heavier instrument, you sacrifice portability for high-quality, and for larger models, you’ll almost certainly need a sturdy tripod as well.
Get the waterproof versions
If you want the best monocular for hiking to hold well even under extreme weather, then you need one of the waterproof models. These have protective rubber coatings, O-ring seals and some are even treated with gas to ensure a watertight seal and prevent water, dust and other forms of debris from entering the device and affecting its performance.
But just because a manufacturer boasts water- and fog-proofing capabilities, it doesn’t mean that you can just leave your favorite monocular under heavy rainfall or submerge it underwater. Use common sense and protective cases when required, many products actually include the latter in the package.
Affordable choices abound
One of the best things about monoculars is that you don’t have to break the bank to get one. As opposed to telescopes, DSLR cameras or other optical devices, you can find affordable monoculars for sale. You don’t have to compromise quality for a lower price since many models sell for the price of a few beers, and yet they offer great quality and handling.
You can still go for one of the more expensive models out there, especially if you plan on coupling it with a digital camera for scoping photography, but the good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a lot of fun on your adventures and still get the best hiking monocular you can afford.
Top hiking monoculars reviews in 2017
If you’re passionate about outdoor adventures and long treks yet haven’t got the slightest clue which monoculars are best suited for these types of activities, then you should be glad to learn that we’ve studied all kinds of models on the market so that you don’t have to. Read our birdwatching monocular reviews and check out their features so you can pick the right one for your needs and budget.
Wingspan Optics Scout 6X32
This small and compact monocular is ideal for hikers or bird watchers who want a reliable optical device on hand for every type of situation. Thanks to the easy-go clip, you can immediately grab this device and ensure you don’t miss a wildlife action or a rare bird sighting.
This monocular is durable and sturdy, capable of withstanding the elements for a long time and great for enhancing your outdoor adventures. The Optics Scout 6X32 is also waterproof so you don’t have to worry about moisture from rain or fog from seeping through the lens and damaging the interior.
With this all-weather monocular, you get a wide field of view and a magnification of 6x to enjoy close-ups of your favorite wildlife species and scenery from afar.
Thanks to its lightweight and small design, you can take this monocular with you anywhere. This product also comes with protective covers, a cleaning cloth and a neck strap for easy carrying.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($99.99)
Wingspan Optics ProSpotter 10X42
Despite its small size, the ProSpotter is an impressive monocular able to offer quality close-ups to hikers and wildlife enthusiasts around the world.
With a small and sturdy frame, this monocular is built to last. It is waterproof, drop-proof, and debris-proof so that you don’t have to worry about handling it, as any rainfall or accidental slip won’t affect its performance.
Capable of zooming in at 10x magnification, this instrument can bring you a lot closer to the world and the animal species you love, and handling it is a breeze even when in a hurry.
With the adjustable eyecups, you can get comfortable viewing conditions regardless if you’re wearing eyeglasses or not. The focus wheel is easy to turn with just one hand so that you can bring into focus any object in record times. The package includes a nylon protective case, a neck strap, protective lens covers, and a cleaning cloth.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($169.99)
Vortex Optics Solo 8×25 Waterproof 800903
If you’re looking for a resistant monocular for your rough outdoor trips, then the Vortex Optics Solo is just what you need.
Built to resist the elements, this instrument is equipped with O-rings which seal the body completely, ensuring protection against water and dust so that you won’t have to fear using it even under extreme weather events.
The Optics Solo offers 8x power, capable of delivering a 378-foot field of view at a maximum of 1000 yards. You will be able to admire your favorite animals and natural scenes with ease without missing a single sighting with the 25mm objective lens which will offer you crystal clear views.
Viewing can be done comfortable thanks to the 10mm eye relief. You can easily wear this monocular with the neck lanyard and ensure you always have it on hand, or you can protect it from damage with the soft carry case that’s included in the package.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($49)
Alpen Optics 8×25 120
The Alpen Optics monocular is of a small yet sturdy design that’s meant to withstand long-term usage and unfavorable weather.
Its outer case is rubber-coated to ensure a sealed medium and protection against damage while also offering a comfortable and firm grip.
The outer housing is waterproof and fogproof so you won’t get condensed droplets on the inside of the lenses.
You get to enjoy superior imagery with the BaK-4 multi-coated glass elements and 8x magnification which will provide bright crystal clear optics with sharp edges and high resolution so that you can study nature and rare animals in detail.
Measuring only 4.75 inches and weighing 5 ounces, this monocular is extremely small and light, so you can rest assured that you can carry it in your pocket at any time and make sure you’re prepared for that rare bird sighting.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($62.95)
Celestron Nature 10×25 71210-CGL
The Celestron 71210-CGL is a compact and affordable monocular that’s a good addition to any hiker’s backpack.
In fact, it’s so small that you can even carry it in your pocket. The 25mm lens is multi-coated to improve light transmission and contrast while eliminating defects such as flare and chromatic aberrations.
At 1000 yards, you get a field of view of 331 feet, an impressive feature given the small size of this product.
The 14mm eye relief is made to provide maximum comfort even after prolonged use. Close focus with this monocular is at 18 feet, and the apparent field of view is 5.8 degrees.
The rubber cover will offer protection against mechanical damage as well as give you a soft yet firm grip so that you can effortlessly handhold this instrument for extended periods of time. The Celestron 71210-CGL handles damp environments well as it is both waterproof and fogproof.
Click to see the price on Amazon!