Does anyone have preferances about what size binoculars work best while sea kayaking?

What size is best; 8X26,8X30,8X42 or higher power 10? Or smaller and lighter, 8X21 binoculars.

I looking at either 8X26 or 8X42s right now. But the 8X42’s may be a bit big.

Waterproof binocluars only, of course.

I Have Tried a couple
You will likely get a lot of responses to this topic.

My two cents worth is that 6 power is about the max you will want in a kayak or canoe. Higher power will be much more difficult to stabilize. And I really like a mononcular over a binocular in the kayak. I settled on a Brunton and it is very easy to use one handed and small enough that it hangs around my neck without getting in the way.

happy paddling,


A couple of years ago I got a Pentax DCF WP 8x42 for my birthday. These are very highly rated by nature watchers and I think the image quality is fantastic. They are even waterproof. However, I will probably wind up selling them and looking for something more suitable for kayaking. These binoculars are simply too heavy and large to keep around your neck while paddling.


6X for me is max

– Last Updated: Oct-06-05 2:41 PM EST –

I tried 8 power, but with a shallow V hull I just felt too shaky. A bit nauseous as well.

I believe that Eagle Optics makes the only WP 6X binocs around. See link below. I have a pair, and while they were pricey, they perform admirably.

Many here have had good luck with Brunton Monoculars - WP, I do not remember the power.


Edit: These 6x32's focus down to 3 ft - great for wildflowers, butterflies snd dragonflies at the water's edge.

Second the Pentax
I’ve used a 7 x 50 Pentax for 16 years and they’re still like new and still waterproof. The 7 x magification is easy to hold steady and the 50mm objective lens brings in lots of light. This size won’t be found in compact models, though.


Yes, the Brunton Monocular
Got that advice here awhile ago. 6x30, nice optics, good field of view even with eyeglasses on, fits in PFD pocket.


Another vote for the Brunton monocular
A monocular is easier to handle on the water and will give you superior optics for a given size and weight compared to binoculars. The Brunton is an excellent example of this.

8 power for standing on land

Eagle Optics
I’ll second recommendation for the Eagle Optics Platinum Ranger 6 X 32s.

I’ve had a pair for 3 years now. Very bright, easy to hold steady, and can be used with eye glasses if you wear them.


Zwarovski 8x30’s!
Zwarovski makes a damn good pair of 8x30’s that are small, light, impeccable glass, and H2oproof. Used them on many trips and they don’t get in the way. Hard set to find better optics.


– Last Updated: Oct-07-05 1:27 PM EST –

Kind of depends what type of kayak you hope to use them in.
I have a nice pair of waterproof Lecia 8 x 42 which I love. Mostly when paddling I only use them when I'm in a rec boat maybe doing some birding etc .
As a rule of thumb the more you increase the strength of the lens the more it tends magnifys any instability. Much the same as a camera lens does.
Still I take them with me when I go kayak camping, so I can have them handy at rest stops and what not.
One thing to keep in mind is that the same water proof binoculars would still...sink

Any pair that floats would get a big vote from me..perhaps there are some?

Thanks for the imput.

I am looking for a pair for my girlfriend, and maybe me too.

I will look into the Eagle Optics, and six power binoculars and monoculars.

I have a pair of older (porro prism)Swarovski 8X30’s that I love but they are a little heavy and the new ones are out of my price range right now.

Seems that I have seen neckstraps that have flotation in them to keep dropped opitcs afloat.

They will probably be used on fairly calm water for birding and the like. But good info to consider.

I keep my Eagle
6x32’s on a floatation strap I got from West Marine.

Upside is that they float.

Downside is that the strap is bulky around your neck. I actually cut down the strap, but it is still kinda thick. I usually just leave the binocs lying on my sprayskirt deck. I have contemplated using a leash instead, but the ramifications of a clip failure are too expensive to consider.


PS If yo do not want to spend big bucks, West marine has some WP compact models. Most probably not the quality of the Eagle Rangers, but not the $ either.

Canon 8x23 AWP – sharp, sturdy
These aren’t high-end optics but for about $125 they probably can’t be beat. Totally waterproof, well-armored (though a bit heavy for compacts at almosy a pound), but most importantly they are sharp and quite contrasty. I say this as a professional photojournalist who’s optic standards are high.

Brunton might have some that are a bit pricier but lighter/ more compact – Eterna series, I think?

Don’t go over 8x for on-water use.


– Last Updated: Oct-13-05 12:08 PM EST –

I have found listing for binoculars sold by West Marine. They are waterproof 7X25 and $50. Probably Chinese made but I hope to look at them in person next week if the store has any in stock.

Canon does not list a 8X23 binocular. So it is either discontinued or you meant 8X32. Those do look like nice binoculars.

The 8x32’s are great but heavier …
… and let in more light, nice.

Canoe and Kayak bino review
Canoe and Kayak online has a review of waterproof compact binos.

I bought a pair of the Vortex Typhoon 8X26s in bright yellow on eBay. They’re cheap at $79.99 but I figure they will be good enough for what I will use them for, (spotting friends, fish, landing spots, etc.) No birdwatching or stargazing. Even some of the higher end binos are Chinese made. Chinese optics are getting better all the time. Some good quality astronomical telecopes have been coming out of China lately.

I don’t have them yet so I can’t comment on the quality but at least it won’t hurt too bad if I lose them. I can’t imagine watching a pair of Swarovskis flutter into the murky depths of the Hudson.

My absolute favorite pair are 5X32s by Ranging (a Coleman company). Superb low light performance, easy to hold steady and small but unfortunately not waterproof. Haven’t seen them advertised in a long time.


More info would be helpful. Are these strickly to be used on the water? What is your price range? How important are size & weight? Try the search feature here. It’s been discussed more than once.

3rd that
…I love mine.

I’m going to have to upgrade
soon as my little inexpensive binos are starting to fog.

I use them to scout safe landings in canyons and scope the backcountry campsites in the parks. Also nice for getting the numbers off of miscreant jetski pilots for the authorities.

The Brunton sounds like the ticket.