Gift Guide - The Best Binoculars for Travel and Hiking

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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.

Magnification

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.

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  • Jodi Markham
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