Gift Guide - The Best Binoculars for Travel and Hiking

Hiker using binoculars

If you’ve got family and friends who love to travel and are always planning their next overseas trip in search of new and exciting places to see and experience, then a set of binoculars should be on the top of your shopping list for them this birthday or Christmas.

A pair of binoculars make the perfect present for keen travellers and adventurers, as they help them experience every wonderful sight, landscape, city, beach or mountain range in fantastic detail, truely immersing them in their exciting new environment.

Similarly, if you’ve got some keen trampers in your family or group of friends, then they too will love a set of binoculars, and will be able to spend years to come enjoying closer views of the beautiful New Zealand countryside.

But which binoculars should you choose to ensure that you give the very best binoculars for travel and hiking?

Use our short, easy to understand gift buying guide to ensure that you give the ideal sports optic present.

Don’t have enough time to read the detail? We’ve highlighted the most important features of travel and hiking binoculars in green and provided you with recommended products at the end of the article.

Travel and hiking binoculars

Size and weight

Choose lightweight, compact binoculars with lenses that are between 20mm and 30mm wide (for example 8x21 binoculars).

At ScopeUout we group our binoculars into three sizes; compact, full size and giant. As their name suggests, compact binoculars are the most lightweight and compact design of binoculars that you can choose, and they’re ideal for travel, sightseeing, hiking, and just about any activity where you’ll need the smallest possible equipment. The size and weight of different compact models can vary, and as its likely that the binoculars your giving are going to be packed in a rucksack or suitcase, and even slipped in a coat pocket for a sightseeing or hiking trip, be sure to keep a close eye on the size and weight listed in the specification of each product.


Choose binoculars with a magnification of between 8x and 10x.

Don’t be tempted to buy binoculars with a really high magnification. The binoculars your giving for travel and hiking are going to be used on the move, without the use of a tripod. High magnification binoculars are hard to stabilise when you're just holding them in your hands and can lead to shaky, blurry images and are no fun to look through. Lower end magnifications up to 10x are the ideal compromise between getting a more magnified, close up view, and actually being able to see an image that is clear and crisp enough to enjoy.

Rubber armoured

Look for binoculars that have a rubber coating applied to the outside of their body to protect them from bumps and scrapes.

If the binoculars your giving are going to be used for hiking or other extreme activities then we’d recommend choosing some that have a rubber armoured body to give them some extra strength.

Waterproof and fog proof

If the binoculars are going to be used for hiking, or taken to damp and humid climates then opt for a pair that have been treated to make them waterproof and fogproof.

It’s easy to get caught in a downpour whilst tramping, and the last thing you want is for your awesome gift to be water damaged. Equally, if the internal lens system of a pair of binoculars hasn’t been nitrogen sealed, moisture can gather inside them and fog up their internal lenses. Waterproof binoculars can be slightly more expensive, but who wants to give a gift that can’t be used?

Check out our product suggestions for travellers and hikers

FAQ's about Binoculars

Do I need binoculars for hunting   

Binoculars are arguably one of the most important pieces of equipment for hunting as they’re almost essential for scouting out your target in the distant landscape. After all, you can’t target an animal if you can’t find it in the first place! Binoculars are great for scanning the landscape to look for deer, then a spotting scope is a great optic for getting a closer look at it to make sure it’s the right age, sex and size before you take aim through your riflescope. If you're looking for some new hunting binoculars then you can check out our full range here

How do I know if my binoculars are out of alignment

If you’re suffering from eyestrain and headaches whilst using your binoculars, and you’ve noticed that the quality of your viewing experience as declined, then your binoculars may be out of collimation. Binoculars that are out of alignment often cause double vision as the two lenses compete with each other rather than work together to produce a magnified image. If you think that your binoculars may be out of alignment then it’s best to take them to professional who can realign the lenses. If you bought the binoculars from us then get in touch and we'll try our best to get them sorted for you. 

How far can 10 times binoculars see

Binoculars come in a variety of different specifications which are clearly shown in their name. For example a 10x42 binocular would have the specifications of 10x magnification and 42mm objective lenses. The magnification of a binocular explains how much further the binoculars will allow you to see than you would with your naked eye. Due to this, it is not a set distance and is subjective for every person depending on how good your eyes are. If you can see clearly for 500m with your naked eye, then the binoculars will bring whatever you see at a 500m distance 10x closer than it would be without the binoculars. The binoculars will subsequently also allow you to see more clearly for a lot further than your eyes would. Environmental factors as well as age also have an effect. If you’re young and have great eye sight and you’re using the binoculars for observing on a very clear, crisp day, in optimal light and without too much heat radiating off the land, then your eyes, and subsequently the binoculars will likely allow you to see further than they would if you were older, had poor eyesight and were observing in low light conditions when it was very hot and cloudy.

What are the best binoculars for hunting

In general, we would say that the best binoculars for hunting are 8x42 or 10x42. This is because they offer enough magnification to see far enough for most hunting shots and they have lenses that are a great size and offer a balance between brightness and weight. Some hunters opt for binoculars with a 10x50 configuration which allows them to let in a bit more light for times like dawn and dusk. All of these options are a hunters best friend. It’s also important to consider other factors too and always opt for waterproof and fog proof binoculars that won’t get damaged in damp conditions.

What is the best magnification for deer hunting with binoculars

Generally, an 8x or 10x magnification binocular will offer a great level of magnification for deer hunting. This will allow you to scan the landscape for deer and in some cases, when they’re not too far away, make out some details on them. View all of our hunting binoculars here

What makes good binoculars for hunting

Hunting binoculars should have large enough lenses for viewing in the low light conditions of dusk and dawn, whilst still being lightweight enough for carrying for hours on end whilst you’re hunting. In addition, they should offer a good balance of magnification that will bring you up close enough to spot the animals you’re targeting, whilst offering a wide enough field of view to scan the landscape. Always spend as much as you can afford to get the very best quality glass and opt for waterproof binoculars.

How do beginners use binoculars

Binoculars are one of the easiest sports optics to use and are favoured by beginner birders and hunters and general observers. Simply take off the objective lens covers and the eyepiece covers, adjust the inter pupillary distance so that the eye cups sit comfortably on your eyes, adjust the twist out eye pieces for the right eye relief and then use the focus wheel to focus on something of interest. If they have a diopter wheel for individual eye focusing, then use this to make finer adjustments to the binoculars for a perfect focus. Now you know how easy binoculars will be to use, why not grab yourself some? Browse all binoculars now

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