Cheap Light Binoculars for Kayaking

I am looking for ideas for cheap, compact, lightweight, waterproof binoculars for sea kayaking. I would use them for wildlife viewing, scanning for channel markers, looking at things while bobbing up and down in the kayak. I don’t want to spend a ton of money……budget is under $50……anybody have any ideas???

Would it be better (and much cheaper) to buy a non-waterproof pair and just keep them in a small drybag???

My research so far has led me to the Bushnell H20 8x25 at 13 oz. for $33.99……anybody have these??? Sounds like that first number is important when you are bobbing around in a kayak……


Sierra by Tasco
Picked up several pairs when I worked in retail - employee’s price, cost +10% The 10x25 were about $20 - retailed about $40, if memory serves…the 8x25 were a bit less…

Nice binocs - light, sharp, no failures so far. Not a bad deal at all, even at retail…

Bob, bob, bobbing
Using binos in a kayak is frustrating if there’s any bobbing at all. The image jumps around with the least chop. In your price range you can’t get image stabilization. Go for the lowest magnification to help the bouncing around. And I love my waterproof binos. Even total immersion hasn’t affected them.


Same Binos

– Last Updated: Aug-31-11 8:48 AM EST –

I have these same Bushnell H20 8x25 binos and find they are very useful for general purpose use. I also have a couple of monoculars but these are not that much bigger and are easier to use and focus. While I have not had them immersed in water, they have gotten wet with spray and splash with no ill effects.

My wife always take them when we go out on our boats so I will probably pick up another pair.

I own better (and larger binos) for other uses but these are a nice size and price point for our general kayaking excursions.

Binoc recommendation
Being a birdwatcher I would never consider a pair of binocs in your price range. But given the trade off of price and quality I would go for quality and a dry container. For most purposes you can enjoy binocs in a bouncing boat without stabilization. You can also be careful about what happens if you drop them (strap around the neck that is short, for example). Eight power is a decent choice for many uses but consider that boat movement is more a problem with higher magnification.

bino numbers…
…8x25…8x magnification with 25 mm exit lens …the bigger the exit lens , typically , the brighter the image.

Vortex Typhoon
I have a pair of 8x26 Vortex Typhoon waterproof binoculars. I’ve had them so long I don’t recall what I paid for them, but they are good. I got them at Canoecopia. I’m sure they were under $100, but not sure they were under $50.

If an REI member wait for a 20% off
item and get the Nikon Trailblazer ATB 8x25s water resistant ones. I love mine. I have tried much more expensive Nikons and prefer these little ones. Get a good waterproof box. They are around $95 regular price. So with 20% off it isnt too far out of reach and they are awesome!

Check B&H
B&H photo video has almost 20 waterproof binoculars for under $50 - they are a very good vendor. There’s even a 5-15 zoom model (the LaScala), and a couple of Tascos for around $20.

I had the Bushnell 10x25s for years and liked them well enough. If I was buying now, I would increase my budget a little and buy the Nikons Just1more mentioned - they look sweet.

consider a monocular?

I agree. Small, light, and with your
other eye you can be monitoring the waves for upsetting circumstances. With your other hand you can be keeping your paddle from going adrift.

that’s why I use one
Easier to keep one lens steady while bobbing around.

Whatever you get . . .
I suggest tethering your binoculars to something --just in case. I’ve dropped my really good birding binoculars overboard twice. They were saved by the line tying them to the boat. As for how/where to carry binoculars, I either stick mine in the top-front of my life vest or else in the front of a deck bag. But wherever I carry binoculars, they’re still tethered to the boat. (My binoculars are supposedly waterproof, but that wouldn’t help if they were resting on the bottom of a murky local lake – or a mangrove channel in the Everglades!)

You get what you pay for
Best thing I ever did was to suck it up and buy a first rate pair of binoculars. Nikon Premier 8X32. The difference is like night and day. Save your money up and get a good pair - especially if you are a bird and wildlife watcher.

Slight correction
8x25 means the objective lens (front lens) has a 25 mm diameter, not the eyepiece (which I think is what you meant by “exit lens”). You might be thinking about “exit pupil”, which is the diameter of the shaft of light that exits the eyepiece. The diameter of the exit pupil, in millimeters, is the objective-lens diameter divided by the power. Thus for a pair of 8x25 binocs, the exit pupil is roughly 4 mm.

makes good ones but…

I would suggest MONOcular and not BInocular.

Weighs less, fits into a PFD easier and itm is easier to waterproof one tube than two.

ALSO, be aware that water-resistant is NOT waterproof and I bought a pair of folding 7x20 waterproof from Big-5 $20 on sale from $80.

EVERY trip I had to exchange them as the adjustable tube always got fogged.

Bushnell 10x25mm H2O FRP Compact $39
I just saw these online at a clearance price of $39. As of now they have 6 left in stock.

10X may be too difficult
to use if using in a boat. I was recommended for use in a boat a Brunton Eterna Monocular 6x for best performance and ease with water movement. I have one which is works pretty good but doesn’t fit any pocket - a waterproof box is where it sits.

I agree 10X is too much.
I have an old pair of excellent 10X25 Nikon Companion Venturers that I can’t use on the water unless it’s perfectly still. I’d recommend 8X or under.

Just last week I used a friend’s pair of Bushnell 8X compacts that he leaves knocking around on his boat, and I was surprised by how bright and crisp they were. Small and light, too. Much better than my wife’s Nikon Travelites and likely much less expensive.

Best I’ve found.
Best I’ve found is the seiner 8x30 Military at $175.00, Take a look at them!