21 Best Compact Binoculars for Hiking (2022)

By Joshua Davis •  Updated: 04/11/22 •  21 min read

If you love outdoor activities such as hiking, exploring new places, or wildlife viewing, a pair of binoculars is an essential piece of equipment you should have. It allows you not to miss a single detail when you embark on an outdoor adventure.

And they’re a great way for kids to take part in nature and enjoy their surroundings.

However, if you’re not familiar with the specification of binoculars, you’ll find it difficult to choose the right one because there are so many out there. But there’s nothing to worry about because this comprehensive guide has got you covered.

It contains 21 best compact binoculars for hiking along with their features and pros and cons. Read the information regarding each product carefully to choose the most suitable product depending on your unique needs and family.

QUICK LINKS
  1. OFHQ’s Top Picks
  2. Without Further A-Do: The Best Binoculars for Hiking in 2022
  3. Things to Consider: Choosing the Best Compact Binoculars
  4. How to Choose the Right Binoculars for Hiking?
  5. Wrapping Up Best Compact Binoculars for Hiking

OFHQ’s Top Picks

Vortex Razor UHD 8X42 Wildlife Binoculars

These are one of the best mid-priced binoculars on the market, and they offer a great value for money.

With a 42mm objective lens, these binoculars offer a wide field of view, making them ideal for wildlife observation. The 8x magnification is also perfect for getting close-up views of animals, and the Razor UHD optics provide clear and bright images.

Best Overall
Vortex Optics Razor HD Roof Prism Binoculars
Pros:
  • Lenses prevent glare and ensure optimal light transmission
  • ED glass optics for enhanced sharpness and high contrast
  • Performs great in low-light conditions
  • Easy to use the central focus wheel
  • Delivers all-weather performance with rubber armored body
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons:
  • Your wallet may faint
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The build quality is excellent, and the binoculars feel very sturdy and well-made.

The only downside is that they are a bit heavy (24.2 oz.), but this is to be expected with a 42mm objective lens. Overall, the Vortex Razor UHD 8X42 Wildlife Binoculars are an excellent choice for anyone looking for a good quality pair of binoculars at a reasonable price.

Zeiss Terra ED 8X25mm Compact Pocket Binocular

The Terra EDs are an outstanding pair of binoculars that offer both great optics and compact size. They weigh in at only 12.8 ounces, making them one of the lightest pairs of binoculars in their class.

Best Compact and Lightweight
ZEISS Terra ED Compact Binoculars, 10x42, Black
Pros:
  • Best backpacking binoculars because of their compact size and lightweight
  • Long eye relief distance for better viewing with eyeglasses
  • Schmidt-Pechan roof prism system for enhanced light transmission
  • Hydrophobic multi-coated for optical accuracy
  • Easy to focus and use
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons:
  • Doesn’t come with a hard case (soft case only)
  • Not ideal for low-light conditions
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These binoculars have a field of view of 420 feet at 1000 yards and come with twist-up eyecups for those who wear glasses. They also have a built-in diopter adjustment for fine-tuning the focus.

The Terra ED binoculars are waterproof and nitrogen-filled, making them ideal for use in all weather conditions. They also come with a soft carrying case and a neck strap for easy transport.

Nikon Trailblazer 8×25 ATB Waterproof Binoculars

The Nikon Trailblazer is a quality product that is perfect for us thrifty, outdoorsy types.

With its 8x magnification and 25mm objective lenses, the Nikon Trailblazer 8×25 ATB Waterproof Binoculars provide you with clear and bright images of your surroundings.

Best Budget Binoculars
Nikon Trailblazer 8x25 ATB Waterproof Black Binoculars
Pros:
  • Budget binoculars
  • Compact and lightweight to carry around easily
  • Easy to adjust and focus with the help of a smooth central wheel
  • Offers clear and crisp image quality
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons:
  • Image can be shaky at times
  • Lens caps become loose with time
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The binoculars also feature a wide field of view, making it easy to scan an area for potential threats or hazards.

The Nikon Trailblazer 8×25 ATB Waterproof Binoculars is also waterproof and fog-proof, so you can use it in any weather condition.

Carson 3D Series High Definition Waterproof Binoculars

If you’re looking for a pair of binoculars that will provide you with a lifetime of enjoyment, the Carson 3D Series High Definition Waterproof Binoculars are a great choice. Thanks to their impressive field of view, high-quality optics, and durable waterproof design, these binoculars are sure to become a staple in your outdoor gear and even for use in your own backyard.

Best Warranty
Carson 3D Series High Definition Waterproof Binoculars
Pros:
  • Rubberized armor for enhanced protection
  • 100 percent waterproof and fog-proof
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Fully multi-coated lenses for clear images
  • "America's Best" UNCONDITIONAL LIFETIME WARRANTY!!
Cons:
  • The case contains magnets that can interfere with healthcare and other devices
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Oh, and they’re backed by the only (I think …) UNCONDITIONAL LIFETIME WARRANTY available. Yep, they’ll replace them anytime for any reason!

Like, wow. Just wow.

Without Further A-Do: The Best Binoculars for Hiking in 2022

1. Celestron 71330 Nature DX 8×32 Binoculars

Celestron is a reputable brand that manufactures some of the best lightweight binoculars available on the market. Celestron 71330 Nature DX 8×32 are one of the best relatively-inexpensive binoculars that money can buy. They come with a lens cloth, carrying case, neck strap, eyepiece rain guard, and objective lens caps. Another great feature of this product is that it’s backed with a limited lifetime warranty.

Key Features

Celestron 71330 Nature DX 8×32 Binoculars
Pros:
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Affordable price tag
  • Ergonomic design
  • Easy to use
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons:
  • Not fog-proof
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2. Celestron Nature DX 8X42 Binoculars

The Celestron Nature DX 8X42 Binoculars come with bigger objective lenses and you can use them even if you wear glasses. You can use them in all weather conditions because the company has nitro-purged them. They’re also waterproof and come with a lifetime limited warranty, making them one of the best binoculars out there.

Key Features

Celestron Nature DX 8X42 Binoculars
Pros:
  • Affordable price tag
  • Wider exit pupil for excellent low-light performance
  • Easy to use a central wheel for adjustments
  • Nitro purged binoculars for water and fog resistance
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons:
  • No anti-glare features
  • No image stabilization
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3. Vortex Diamondback HD 8×28

The Vortex Diamondback HD 8×28 binoculars come with big objective lenses that perform exceptionally well during low-light conditions. They feature an 8x magnification and fully multi-coated lenses so that you can easily view the surrounding environment. They feature a central focus wheel and Armortek body for great performance and Vortex also offers a lifetime limited warranty to protect your investments.

Key Features

Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars
Pros:
  • Lightweight and compact size
  • Adjustable eyecup twists
  • Affordable price
  • Waterproof and fog proof
  • Can be attached to a tripod
  • Fully multi-coated optics
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons:
  • Minor optical distortion
  • The eye-piece caps fall off sometimes
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4. Vortex Diamondback HD Roof Prism 10X42 Hiking Binoculars

The Vortex Diamondback HD binoculars feature HD and fully multi-coated lenses and offer 330 feet of field of view at 1,000 yards. Just like other compact binoculars offered by Vortex this product also comes with the Armortek body for enhanced durability. The best feature of this product is that it’s backed by the manufacturer’s lifetime unlimited warranty.

Key Features

Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars 10x42
Pros:
  • Great price
  • Rubber armor body for shock resistance
  • Full HD optical system
  • Fully multi-colored optics
  • Waterproof construction
  • Rain-guard protection for eyepiece
  • Comes with a range of accessories
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons:
  • The central hinge can become loose with time
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5. Vortex Razor UHD 8X42 Wildlife Binoculars

Vortex Razor UHD 8X42 binoculars are lightweight, compact, bright, and incredibly clear. They’re one of the best binoculars for wildlife viewing because of their sturdy build and top-of-the-line features. The Armortek body, ergonomic design, and a lifetime warranty are some other features that make Vortex Razor UHD 8X42 a great pair of binoculars for hiking.

Key Features

Best Overall
Vortex Optics Razor HD Roof Prism Binoculars
Pros:
  • Lenses prevent glare and ensure optimal light transmission
  • ED glass optics for enhanced sharpness and high contrast
  • Performs great in low-light conditions
  • Easy to use the central focus wheel
  • Delivers all-weather performance with rubber armored body
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons:
  • Your wallet may faint
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6. Zeiss Terra ED 8X25mm Compact Pocket Binocular

Zeiss Terra ED 8X25mm is another candidate for the best compact pair of binoculars for your hiking adventures. These binoculars weigh only 0.6 pounds and can easily fit in your pocket. The binoculars feature a Schmidt-Pechan roof prism system along with the central focus wheel that allows you to see sharp images instantly. Lastly, they’re also water and fog-resistant and come with a lifetime limited warranty.

Key Features

Best Compact and Lightweight
ZEISS Terra ED Compact Binoculars, 10x42, Black
Pros:
  • Best backpacking binoculars because of their compact size and lightweight
  • Long eye relief distance for better viewing with eyeglasses
  • Schmidt-Pechan roof prism system for enhanced light transmission
  • Hydrophobic multi-coated for optical accuracy
  • Easy to focus and use
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons:
  • Doesn’t come with a hard case (soft case only)
  • Not ideal for low-light conditions
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7. Zeiss Conquest HD 10X32 Backpacking Binoculars

The Zeiss Conquest HD 10X32 binoculars feature big objective lenses with high magnification power. They come with the company’s signature T* multi-coating to offer top-notch color accuracy. Additionally, the company’s lifetime limited warranty that the company offers makes Zeiss Conquest HD 10X32 one of the best binoculars for hiking.

Key Features

ZEISS Conquest HD Binoculars 10X32
Pros:
  • Can be used while wearing eyeglasses
  • Smooth focus wheel for quick adjustments
  • Water and fog-resistant
  • Come with multiple accessories
  • Big exit pupil for enhanced dim-light performance
  • High light transmission with T* multi-coating
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons:
  • The lens cap could be better
  • Expensive
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8. Leica BCR Ultravid 8×20 Compact Binoculars

Leica BCR Ultravid 8×20 is yet another pair of compact binoculars that weighs only 0.5 pounds and is less than four inches in length. These binoculars are robust and sturdy and you can easily place them in your pocket. They provide clean and sharp images and the smooth focus wheel ensures quick and easy adjustments. While these binoculars are a bit expensive, the company offers a 30-year limited warranty to protect your investments.

Key Features

Leica BCR Ultravid 8×20 Compact Binoculars
Pros:
  • Fog-proof and waterproof
  • Comes with a rubber exterior to absorb shocks
  • Top-notch construction
  • Offers sharp and clear images
  • Smooth wheel to focus on objects easily
Cons:
  • The field of view could be better
  • 30-Year warranty (Okay; but, doesn't compete with all the Lifetime Warranties out there)
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9. Leica Ultravid 10X25 BR Lightweight Binoculars

The Leica Ultravid 10X25 BR binoculars are extremely lightweight and compact but they still offer excellent product resilience and great image quality. The eye relief of these binoculars is also great but you might need to take off your eyeglasses for better image quality. But if you don’t wear eyeglasses, these binoculars can be your best option and they’re backed with Leica’s 30-year limited warranty.

Key Features

Leica Ultravid 10X25 BR Lightweight Binoculars
Pros:
  • Compact size and lightweight construction
  • Leather finish for non-slip grip
  • Great image contrast and quality sharpness
  • HD and Leica AquaDura coating for optimal light transmission
  • Water-resistant
Cons:
  • Not ideal for low-light conditions because of the short exit pupil
  • Again, for an expensive set of binoculars, they should be guaranteed for life
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10. Nikon Monarch 5 10X42 Hiking Binocular

The Nikon Monarch 5 binoculars come with large objective lenses and higher magnification power. These are the best hiking binoculars by Nikon that provide you with clear and sharp images. These are entry-level binoculars for hiking that are also backed by Nikon’s lifetime limited warranty.

Key Features

Nikon Monarch 5 10X42 Hiking Binocular
Pros:
  • Multi-positioning twisting lock on eyecups for ease of use
  • Easy to carry lightweight construction
  • Central focus system for easy and quick adjustments
  • Water and fog-resistant
  • Long eye-relief for easy viewing while wearing eyeglasses
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons:
  • The field of view could be better
  • Lens caps fall off easily
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11. Nikon Trailblazer 8×25 ATB Waterproof Binoculars

If you’re on a tight budget, the Nikon Trailblazer 8×25 ATB Waterproof Binoculars will suit you well. This device is an all-around great investment that comes with the ability to focus easily and quickly and offers great image quality. You can use these binoculars for both moving and stationary objects. Despite being a budget-friendly option, the product is backed by the company’s lifetime limited warranty.

Key Features

Best Budget Binoculars
Nikon Trailblazer 8x25 ATB Waterproof Black Binoculars
Pros:
  • Budget binoculars
  • Compact and lightweight to carry around easily
  • Easy to adjust and focus with the help of a smooth central wheel
  • Offers clear and crisp image quality
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons:
  • Image can be shaky at times
  • Lens caps become loose with time
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12. Nikon Trailblazer 10X25 ATB Backpacking Binoculars

The Nikon Trailblazer 10X25 ATB hiking binoculars have a lightweight construction and compact size. They offer excellent magnification power with decent objective lenses and also have an affordable price tag. The package includes a carrying case and strap and the product is backed by Nikon’s lifetime limited warranty.

Key Features

Nikon Trailblazer 10X25 ATB Backpacking Binoculars
Pros:
  • Easy to grip and hold due to rubber armored body
  • Durable build
  • Compact and lightweight
  • BaK-4 roof prism and multi-coated lenses for maximum light transmittance
  • Water and fog-proof as they’re purged with nitrogen
  • Anti-reflective layering for clear and sharp image
  • Lifetime Warranty
Cons:
  • Not ideal for low light conditions
  • Come with a very short eye relief
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13. Athlon Optics Midas

The Athlon Optics Midas binoculars offer a perfect balance between performance and price. They’re made of high-quality materials and offer better performance than many other similar products. They feature larger objective lenses that are fully multi-coated for great image quality. Athlon Optics also offers a lifetime limited warranty against these binoculars to protect your investments.

Key Features

Athlon Optics Midas Binoculars
Pros:
  • BaK-4 roof prism with fully multi-coated lenses
  • Long eye relief for eyeglass wearers
  • Excellent thermal stability and waterproofness
  • The great build quality to last for years to come
  • Affordable price tag
  • Lifetime Warranty
Cons:
  • Heavier than most compact binoculars
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14. Vanguard Endeavor ED II 10X42mm Binoculars

The Vanguard Endeavor ED II is a great pair of binoculars for hikers because of its extremely clear, sharp, and bright images. These are equipped with ED glass and perform well in all light conditions. It can be your best choice if you’re a bird watcher or wildlife researcher. You also get a lifetime limited warranty with these binoculars.

Key Features

Vanguard Endeavor ED II 10X42 Binoculars
Pros:
  • Fog-, dust-, and water-proof due to O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged
  • Extremely compact and lightweight
  • Ergonomic construction
  • High-quality binoculars with great eye relief
  • Easy to use the large center focus knob
  • Lifetime Warranty
Cons:
  • Some chromatic aberration (color distortion)
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15. Steiner 10X42 Predator Binoculars

The Steiner 10X42 Predator Binoculars for hiking are one of the best all-around products out there on the market. They come with larger lenses, higher magnification power, great eye relief, and decent lens coating. The NBR rubber armoring finish, shock-resistant body, and a 30-year manufacturer’s limited warranty make these excellent binoculars for hiking. (If NIKON will guarantee an $80 dollar set for a Lifetime, why can’t Steiner match that for a $400 pair???)

Key Features

Steiner 10x42 Predator Binoculars
Pros:
  • Best binoculars for hiking in low light conditions
  • Offer great quality images with natural HD colors
  • Water and fog-resistant construction
  • Rugged body for enhanced durability
  • Comfortable when wearing glasses
  • Ergonomic design for ease of use
Cons:
  • The neck strap quality could be better
  • 30-Year Warranty (If NIKON will guarantee an $80 dollar set for a Lifetime, why can't Steiner match that for a $400 pair???)
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16. Leupold BX-1 Rogue 10X25 Compact Hiking Binoculars

The Leupold BX-1 Rogue will be the best hiking binoculars for you if you need additional high-quality accessories. While the size of the objective lenses of these binoculars is not the best, they offer a great magnification power packed inside a compact and lightweight body. They’re also anti-fogged and waterproof and come with the manufacturer’s lifetime limited warranty.

Key Features

Leupold BX-1 Rogue 10X25 Compact Hiking Binoculars
Pros:
  • Extremely lightweight and compact
  • Come with a rubber armor coating
  • Budget-friendly and durable binoculars for hiking
  • A tactile central focus wheel
  • Fully multi-coated lenses for better image quality
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons:
  • Not ideal for low light conditions
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17. Rudolph Optics 8X32 HD Ultra Lightweight Binocular

Rudolph Optics 8X32 HD Ultra Lightweight binoculars come with a compact design and perform exceptionally well in low-light conditions. They feature rubber coating and waterproofing capabilities to cover all your outdoor adventures and they’re backed by the company’s lifetime warranty.

Key Features

Rudolph Optics 8X32 HD Ultra Lightweight Binocular
Pros:
  • Water and fog-proof binoculars
  • Fully multi-coated optics
  • Great for low light conditions
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons:
  • No image stabilization
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18. Carson 3D Series High Definition Waterproof Binoculars

The Carson 3D Series binoculars come with ED glass and fully multi-coated lenses for all-purpose viewing. You can use them for different outdoor activities such as nature watching, birding, and hunting. The best feature of these binoculars is their lifetime warranty as the company will replace or repair the product regardless of the cause that damaged the product.

Key Features

Best Warranty
Carson 3D Series High Definition Waterproof Binoculars
Pros:
  • Rubberized armor for enhanced protection
  • 100 percent waterproof and fog-proof
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Fully multi-coated lenses for clear images
  • "America's Best" UNCONDITIONAL LIFETIME WARRANTY!!
Cons:
  • The case contains magnets that can interfere with healthcare and other devices
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19. Bushnell H2O Compact Roof Prism Binocular

Bushnell H2O Compact binoculars feature a waterproof, compact, and lightweight design. They come with a fully multi-coated lens and great magnification power for clear and sharp image quality.

However, they’re not great for low light conditions and also have a short eye relief. Other than that, these are great binoculars that are backed by the company’s 20-year lifetime ironclad warranty.

Key Features

Bushnell H2O Compact Roof Prism Binocular
Pros:
  • Water and fog-proof construction
  • Multi-coated lens
  • Great field of view
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Lifetime waranty
Cons:
  • Not ideal for low light conditions
  • Eye relief is short
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20. Adorrgon 12 x 42 Waterproof Binoculars

If you need an affordable and high-performing pair of binoculars for bird watching or hunting, you can’t go wrong with the Adorrgon 12 x 42 waterproof compact binocular. They’re equipped with premium quality optics technology and offer bright, sharp, and clear images. It’s a versatile product that comes with a 2-year limited warranty.

Key Features

Adorrgon 12 x 42 Waterproof Binoculars
Pros:
  • Great quality optics
  • Comes with professional roof prism technology for HD viewing
  • Clear low-light images
Cons:
  • Eye relief is short
  • 2-Year warranty
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21. POLDR 12×25 Small Pocket Binoculars

If you need an entry-level pair of binoculars, you can go with this product. It’s an affordable and lightweight device that offers decent performance in all light conditions. These compact binoculars come with the lifetime limited warranty offered by POLDR.

They’re the perfect size for little hands too.

Key Features

POLDR 12x25 Small Pocket Binoculars
Pros:
  • Compact size and lightweight construction
  • Affordable price
  • Decent performance and build quality
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons:
  • Questionable focusing control
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Things to Consider: Choosing the Best Compact Binoculars

Choosing the best compact binoculars for hiking doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Considering the following factors while looking for a pair of binoculars will allow you to choose the best product that suits your hiking needs and becomes a staple in your outdoor gear checklist.

Warranty

I’m big on warranties.

Whether it’s Osprey’s unconditional lifetime guarantee on their hiking packs or RTIC’s limited lifetime warranty on their coolers, there’s no reason why a reputable, proficient company shouldn’t stand behind their products … for the long haul.

That being said, I don’t abuse my gear; so, my stuff rarely breaks. Still, life happens and the companies that stand behind their products for life have my unconditional, life-long patronage.

Plenty of binocular manufacturers offer lifetime warranties. I recommend not settling for less.

Binocular Sizing

The size of the binoculars is one of the most important factors that you must consider. Whether you need binoculars for bird watching or any other outdoor activity, you want to choose a compact product that’s easy to carry.

Your hands will start to shake and ache if you buy a large-size product and it’ll keep you from focusing on the view. A large pair of binoculars will also take up more space in your backpack, keeping you from carrying other important items that you need during your outdoor adventure.

You also don’t want to go with a very small pair of binoculars because it’ll have a poor-quality optical performance. So, go with a product that doesn’t cut corners but still has a compact size.

Magnification Power Rating

Magnification is the most important reason why you need a pair of binoculars in the first place. The magnification power of binoculars is denoted by a number, which shows how many times larger an image of an object will appear as compared to what you see with the naked eye.

Generally, the magnification of the handheld binoculars ranges from 7x to 12x. If you buy a product with a magnification higher than that, we recommend you use a tripod to resolve the shaky image problem. However, you won’t need to go beyond 12x magnification if you need binoculars for hiking.

Aperture

There is another number after magnification, which is called objective diameter or lens diameter, and it shows the clarity of resolution based on how much light the lens allows inside. The larger the number the “more light” the lens will let in and you’ll have a sharper and clearer image.

The objective diameter of binoculars for hiking usually ranges from 20 to 42 millimeters. Most compact binoculars for hiking show these numbers at the end of the focus wheels.

Field of View

The total area that you see using your binoculars is called the field of view. It’s inversely proportional to the magnification of your binoculars. The field of view is usually specified in feet that you see through your binoculars at 1,000 yards.

You’ll need a narrower field of view if you need to zoom in a lot to achieve a sharper focus. Keep in mind that the narrower the field of view the more difficult it’ll be to focus on moving targets.

Lens Coatings

A thin anti-reflective layer of the lens coating reduces the light reflection to offer clear images. The following are the different types of lens coatings that manufacturers use:  

Waterproofing

You should buy a pair of binoculars that are trail tested and offer waterproofing capabilities. Not only will it protect your binoculars from moist and foggy weather but it’ll also keep your product safe during rain.  

Types of Lens Glass

The optical system that binoculars feature has lenses that are usually made using glass. ED glass, BK7 glass, and BaK-4 barium crown glass are some common types that manufacturers use. The ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass minimizes the issues that take place due to chromatic aberration.

The BK7 is ordinary crown glass which is why many brands do not use this material. The BaK-4 barium crown glass is the most commonly used type of glass. We recommend this type because of its superior quality and sharp and clear images.

Fog-Proof Inert Gas

Poor quality binoculars usually steam up if the humidity in the surrounding environment is high. It makes it difficult for you to see clearly using your binoculars and that’s why fog resistance is essential. Many reputable brands now use argon or nitrogen purging to replace the air inside the binoculars with an inert gas. It keeps binoculars from steaming up in high humid environments.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is basically the distance between the ocular lens and your eyes that allows you to see an image clearly. When it comes to binoculars, the longer the eye relief distance the more comfortable it’ll be for you to see the image.

If the distance between the ocular lens and your eyes is too big or too small, you’ll see a darkened or vignetted image. Choosing the best binoculars for hiking with the right eye relief distance is important, especially if you wear eyeglasses.

You won’t need to take off your glasses if you have a pair of binoculars with suitable eye relief distance. We recommend you go for binoculars that offer more than 15 millimeters of eye relief distance.

Weatherproof

Choosing a compact pair of weatherproof binoculars is important if you’re involved in trekking or hiking. You’ll need to walk through waterfalls, dusty environments, rain, and so on. A weatherproof pair of binoculars will keep your product safe during harsh weather conditions.  

Weight

You can carry a pair of bulky binoculars if you’re riding in a safari 4×4 through the Serengeti, but such a product won’t be suitable for hiking. Make sure that you buy lightweight and compact binoculars for hiking that are easy to carry.

You can carry lightweight and compact binoculars for a long period of time. We recommend you buy lightweight binoculars that can easily fit in your backpack without taking up too much space.

Prism Types – Porro Prism vs Roof Prism

There are two different types of prisms that binoculars for hiking use including porro prisms and roof prisms. The main function of these prisms is to transmit light and adjust the position of the image based on total internal reflection.

Porro Prism

In porro prism binoculars the ocular lens is not in line with the objective lens because of the design of this prism type. They generate slightly better stereoscopic images and they’re also cheaper as compared to roof prisms. However, they have a less compact design and they also have moving parts, which means it’s difficult to make them fully dust-proof and waterproof.

Roof Prisms

Most compact binoculars use roof prisms because they have lined up objective lenses and eyepieces. These binoculars also have fewer internal parts and it’s easier to make them fully dust-proof and waterproof. However, they don’t offer the same sharp and crisp image quality that the porro prism binoculars offer.

Porro Prism vs Roof Prism: Comparison Table

PropertiesRoof PrismsPorro Prisms
SizeCompact binocularsLarger binoculars
CostLess expensiveMore expensive
WeightLightweight binocularsBulky Binoculars

How to Choose the Right Binoculars for Hiking?

Other than all the factors discussed above, you should also consider the following to choose the best compact binoculars for hiking.

Types Of Binoculars for Hiking

There are different types of binoculars available on the market and other than the prism type, you should also consider the following.

Astronomy Binoculars

If you are an amateur astronomer or stargazer and also love hiking, a pair of astronomy binoculars will suit you the best. They are usually bigger in size but you can also find compact astronomy binoculars that can easily fit in your backpack. They come in a range of magnification strengths and sizes and you can also place them on a tripod to enjoy stargazing.

Night Vision Binoculars

If you go hiking at night or somewhere in low-light conditions, a pair of night vision binoculars will be your best bet. They have an electronically assisted system that allows you to see in the dark.

They are also available in compact sizes so that you can carry them easily. Keep in mind that night vision binoculars are more expensive than standard ones and they’re also very fragile.  

What Magnification Do I Need for Hiking?

Use the following chart to determine the right magnification power that you should look for in binoculars while making your buying decision.

PropertiesHigh MagnificationLow Magnification
Ease of UseHeavier products, difficult to useEasy to use because of its lightweight and compact size
SizeUsually, come in a larger sizeLightweight and compact binoculars
Depth of FieldLesser depth of fieldGreater depth of field
FocusFocus farther objects effectivelyFocus on nearby objects effectively
BrightnessOffer darker imagesOffer brighter images

Wrapping Up Best Compact Binoculars for Hiking

A pair of good quality and compact backpacking binoculars is essential for you if you’re interested in hiking. Without this invaluable piece of gear, you’ll miss a lot of interesting details when you go for an outdoor adventure.

We hope this detailed guide will help you understand how to choose the best binoculars for hiking. Keep all the factors that we have discussed in mind so that you can choose the product that will help you make the most out of your hiking adventures.

Joshua Davis

Being outdoors is freedom! Being outdoors with my wife and two boys is LIVING! Whether in my backyard or getting lost in a National Park, there’s nothing I’d rather do than explore, discover, and experience the paradise that surrounds us. Give me my family, a backpack, and a trail and my life is full!