Binocular Recommendations..

Howdy all! In the market for a good rugged pair of binoculars. Really not sure what to look for(8X, 10X, XXmm???). I would like something small and rugged, waterproof, under 200.

Would be used for observing wildlife while hiking, camping, canoeing and also for using at the pistol range(25 yards max).

Any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated.


Yo Han

yo, Han…
couldn’t help myself…

7-8 times magnification is the most common because few people can hold still enough to combat the shakey view endemic to greater magnification. go with 8. waterproof is expensive in technical gear, cameras, optics etc because of the seals and detail involved in manufacturing. good optics and under 200 is going to be a tough one. ideally you want fully multi coated optics which makes for clearer, sharper image and, importantly: brighter- especially in low light situations. coated lens isn’t the same as multi coated, isn’t the same as fully multi coated. the greater the diff between magnification and the objective lens (eg. 8x30 vs 8x40 etc) is important as well. objective lens is measured in mm (30mm in diameter) so the bigger the lens, the brighter the image and the larger/heavier the bino. i would consider no smaller than 8x30, fully multi coated and waterproof. almost all bino makers have products in this range. they will all cost at least 200 bones or more i’m afraid. as far as durability goes, the more you pay the greater the durability generally, however, don’t ever drop them because binos, like cameras are inherently, not durable, and you will wreck them right quick in one drop.

go to a reputable shop, never mind the box stores, and good luck.

This my be helpful

Might find some useful
info in this discussion recently:


for all the advice and links! Found it to all be useful. Thanks again!

great thread Mike, thanx!

Eagle Optics
I’d also check out Eagle Optics, I do a lot of Audubon trips in addition to paddling. They sell name brands at discount as well as their own brand. Very reputable and discount. Also have a good section on understanding optics if youre new at it.

for the link. Eyeballin some steiner 8X30 military/marine binoculars…finding them under 200 and waterproof and very rugged. Probably end up with a pair. Thanks all for the help!

Yo Han

take a look a eagle optics
and specifically their binocular buying guide before you buy. There are a lot of specifications that you might not even know about that you will want to learn about before you buy anything.


Just read up
on eagle optics site, very informative, thank you.

best prices…
Howdy all…been surfing around for the cheapest prices, so far these guys beat everyone by a mile, don’t know their reputation, but they’re really cheap.

I have the Steiner 8X30, like them just fine for use on the water. Had them for many years, still in great shape.

He said “UNDER $200”…

exit pupil and ease of view
One thing not mentioned in recent threads is the concept of exit pupil. This is calculated by dividing the the objective lens diameter by the power of the binocular (so a 10x50 binocular has an exit pupil of 5 mm). While this is usually used as a measure of potential image brightness (only true when your own pupil dilates to the size of the exit pupil), it also is important for ease of viewing. For many of these tiny, high powered binoculars (say 10x21), you have to align your eye with a pretty small exit pupil to see the entire image. Not easy when your bouncing around in a kayak/canoe. This is the reason traditional marine binoculars are 7x50’s – partly for image brightness under marginal lighting, but mainly so you can keep the image in view while on the water. Try it in the store, bring one of those miserable high-powered mini-binoculars up to your eyes and see how much fiddling you need to do to even acquire the image. Now try a similar sized binocular with lower power. And since you will be bouncing around on the water, try doing this while slowly walking a bit to simulate this jarring. Keep in mind I’m not talking about image quality here – I’m talking only about how easy it is to acquire and keep viewing an image! A binocular can have great sharpness, contrast, color rendition – but none of this is useful if you can’t keep it in your field of vision. This is why I own 7x35’s (Nikon E) – not sexy, but very easy to look through. If you really plan to use your optics ON the water, then I would strongly urge you to consider 6-7x power with a minimum objective lens size of 30 mm. The Brunton 6x30 monocular mentioned in earlier threads makes a lot of sense in this context.

Thanks for the explanation. Makes sense, think I’m gonna stay around 8X and 30mm at the smallest. Need to find a place that has a decent selection locally to try some out.

Thanks again!

in terms of glass/lens quality,which brand rules??? Leitz/Nikon/Bushnell/Tasco/etc etc etc

that and campmor
Check these wateroroofs out:

Not sure how stable your craft is nor conditions but keep this in mind before spending a lot. I love my 10X waterproof monocular and if I lose it I won’t be out buku bucks.

I agree with you here man. Assuming anything other than rock solid boat stability and calm conditions, I don’t know why someone would drop big bucks on binocs for canoeing/kayaking. You won’t long for better optics before your optics are limited by instability.

That “kersplash” will sound more expensive though…


Paddle easy,