Any recommendation on a set of binoculars for flat water kayaking? The smaller the better and I am not sure about waterproof. I wear glasses(very nearsighted) also if that matters.

Thanks, Tom

My solution was to purchase a small set of 12x 25 Bushnell binoculars from Mal-Wart, for about $ 20

They do a nice job, with my glasses off, and if I ruin/lose them, it’s only $20.

I’ve had these things for many years.

Cons… narrow field of veiw, not very good in low light.

Pros…small and inexpensive. They went for a swim in my fanny pack that I use for a deck bag last Sunday. A tree and I were engaged in a disagreement on my passage. The contents of the fanny pack floated for at least a couple of minutes, and got pretty wet. Didn’t hurt the binocluars.

Good Luck,


Second the inexpensive ones
I have a pair of 8X25 Tasco folders that cost maybe $25 at Wal-Mart, and a pair of 10X25 Waterproof Barska folders that I got for about $39 at Sierra Trading Post. Both have a decent adjustment & work good without wearing my contacts.

The aforementioned minuses of limited field of view and low light performance are the only downsides for what I use them for (Spotting wildlife & landmarks on the water & locating other vessels in the ocean). But for a piece of gear that doesn’t float, they’re not priced such that I’ll be very upset if I lose them overboard in heavy seas, or to just normal clumsiness.

Unless you’re in a canoe, the small binocs are the way to go.


Recent article in
Canoe and Kayak magazine (August or September '05 issue, I believe) about binoculars. The reviewed binocs are not the only suitable models around, but the discussion of some things to look for/consider when choosing a pair of binoculars was pretty good.

Themp… Email me… I have…
A set of compact Simmons 10x binocs & a Carson 20x monocular that I am willing to sell/trade…

See my post “serious camp/paddle trading” OR click here:

I will sell the binocs for $20 + s&h (OR TRADE- make offer)

I will sell the monocular for $15 + s&h (OR TRADE- make offer)

Paddle easy,


Or, go with high-end optics

– Last Updated: Nov-24-05 12:37 PM EST –

I ruined a set of non-waterproof compacts, and decided to opt for a good set of glasses last year.

I wanted low power (shallow V kayak is squirrelly) and reasonably small size. My searching resulted in a purchase of a pair of Eagle Optics Rangers in 6x32. Not cheap, but excellent quality, rubber armoured, nitrogen filled. Eyecups "screw" in or out, and I get a full field of vision with glasses. Long eye relief, good light gathering capabilities. Add a floater strap, and you aregood to go. They also focus down to about 3 feet, great for wildflowers and butterflies. $349


I liek the
performance of my Bushnell Trophy 10X25. Not sure how they handle dunking , as I haven’t drown em yet.

Great advice
Jsaults is right on with his pick. Anything more that 6-8 power magnification is not a good choice for use on the water, and 8 can be pushing it at times. The higher the power, the more your hand shake and/or “boat bob” is magnified, and you’ll find you probably won’t use them. And with glasses, the long eye relief is a necessity unless you want to be bothered taking your glasses off all the time. You need an eye relief of about 16 mm or more in order to get full field of view.

I have tried 7’s, 8’s and 10’s on the water- never went back to the 10’s.

My other hobby is bird watching, and I’ve tried a multitude of binoculars. It’s very easy to assume that the higher the magnification, the more detail you see. Not necessarily so! In the world of optics, quality trumps quantity anyday.

If you’re worried about dunking them, the flotation strap is a necessity. Not extremely comfortable, but at least I know if they go for a swim, I’ll be able to find them.

West Marine Bora Bora

I got a deal (~50) on the water proof “Bora Bora” glasses from West Marine. They are a small binocular.

I’m very near sighted and can focus these without using my glasses.

They seem fairly bright.

Rather than binoculars…
…go with a medium power monocular, like the Brunton 6x. It’s waterproof, rubber armored, doesn’t require focusing and has sharper, brighter optics than binoculars in the same size and price range. I have yet to find any advantage to binoculars over a monocular when used in a kayak.

I like them, put on my Christmas list!

Take a good look at the beer bottle
telescope, available at opticsplanet.

It is 18x, light, and the same size as a beer bottle. I bought one as a gift, and after testing it, couldn’t believe how good it worked. When focused, only one hand is needed to hold it, and it can be put into a beverage holder. Made by Apogee.

Highly recommended, and inexpensive. MickJetBlue

themp and others.
Nice ideas but two questions:

Does anyone know, for a fact or as advertised, that their binoculars are submersible? The VHF radio I just bought is submersible (see other thread) so I would like a binoc 6-8 power that is submersible, too. No one seems to mention this.

Also, float strap, anyone have a link for such an item? Thanks themp for a good post question.

Floatation strap
This is the strap that I have.

As far as being submersible, the owner’s manual for my Leicas says “submersible up to approximately 5 meters.” I’m sure the Eagle Optics folks could give you that information for the Ranger. They’ve been quite helpful to me in the past.

Eagle Optic Rangers
I take perverse delight in throwing my 6x32’s in the general direction of friends and watching their faces as the binos and flotation strap ker-plunk into the water. No problems yet.


Jsaults — gnat

– Last Updated: Nov-29-05 5:47 PM EST –

Thanks for the floating neck leash link, I can see that is invaluable and worth the $30; insurance for binocs.

Although the Eagle Optics looks fine, at $350 there are many optics that would be available (Leica, etc), and I read your kind link and see nothing in there about being submersible. You might throw them in the drink (fine joke, I can see the look on other's faces when they hit the drink--shear horror), but I would guess that some pairs of this brand would not be as watertight as yours and convincing a manufacturer to accept a warranty when they are flooded and moldy might be a chore.

I can see when I show up at the head office and meet Eagle Optics Co-founder Jo Blow from Kokamo: "Who said they were submersible? Looks like you submerged these. (turns to company cofounder, Fred). Fred, did you ever in your life say these were submersible? (brief pause). No, I didn't think so. Fella, you dunked these fine binocs, didn't you? Huh? Fess up now. Did you play that prank where you dump 'em in the water when you throw them to someone? (Looks at Fred and belly laughs, slapping knee) Listen, buster, if we wanted you to dump these $350 jobbies into the water, now don't you think we'd have included the flotation strap? Huh? Think about it for a second. Fella, you're on your own on this one. Now please leave before I have you thrown out. (mutters under breath as he walks away) Can you imagine that, guy wants a repair after he drown them. What's next, subject them to a blow torch and tell us to fix it because the rubber coating melted off? Come on, Fred, lets get a drink and forget about this guy"

I continue to seek the ultimate kayaker binocs that are manufactured and guaranteed for brief submersibility. They gotta be out there.

They are!
Cooldoctor - submersible binoculars ARE out there. If you look for binos that are waterproof and nitrogen purged, they will be able to withstand a dunking. Find a pair that looks interesting and then call or email and ask to be sure. The book that comes with mine says submersible to around 15 feet.

Here’s a tip - most waterproof glasses are of the roof prism design. That means the barrels are straight rather than angled. This design, along with the internal focusing (only moving external parts are the focus wheel itself and the eyecups) lends itself to being nitrogen purged and sealed. If the nitrogen can’t leak out, the water can’t leak in. They won’t be the cheap ones, for sure, but if you’re looking for a good image you’d be spending the bucks anyhow.

Manufacturers tend to downplay the dunkability issue, but I have heard of a guy who kept a pair in an aquarium to prove to his customers that they were indeed waterproof!

That said, your last post is hilarious!


– Last Updated: Nov-30-05 12:29 AM EST –

The ultimates are probably the Swarovskis.

There is a set from Leupold available in 6x32, WP & armoured. These were not on the market when I bought my Eagle Rangers last year. To my knowlege no other manufacturer has a similar set in 6x, and I believe any higher power is wasted in bobbing boat. The Leupolds ARE under $300. I will stick by my claim for their WPness - I conducted float tests with the West Marine strap (I cut the strap down as it had WAY too much bouancy) and I routinely wash them off to remove salt deposits. My thinking is that any manufacturer that advertizes a set of glasses as WP and offers a flotation strap expects them to be submerged periodically to a depth of 1-2 feet while hanging on the strap. Of course, I have been wrong before.


p-lite, jsaults and gnats

– Last Updated: Nov-29-05 7:02 PM EST –

You all are fun. I see from eBay search that indeed the Swarovskis are the most expensive for sure, some $1500! My mother has a crystal Swarovski penguin and a mule; wonder if I put those ass-side up to my peepers if I can see better?

I see your point about the nitrogen filled. WOnder if Leupold is good; something like this? (but not in 10x)

Opp, my pizza's here. See ya!