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#203237 - 07/17/19 05:54 PM Who still carries binoculars?
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1911
Loc: Southwest Ohio
When I began backpacking, I always carried a small pair of binoculars (everybody did - probably because Colin Fletcher did. I saw many pairs dangling from the tops of external frame packs.) I also found I used them frequently, even though I hike only in the forests of the eastern U.S. I couldn't see very far, but it was kind of neat to get out onto a ridge in the Red River Gorge and zoom in on the hikers on the next ridge over. I also enjoyed looking at birds in the trees, or wildlife a hundred feet away.

Then came enlightenment, in the form of ultralight backpacking. Since it wasn't essential to have them (no route-scouting or other truly distant looking in those forests), I devolved from binoculars, to a monocular, to nothing.

How many of you still carry binoculars? How much does it relate to the openness of the country you hike in?

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#203239 - 07/17/19 06:38 PM Re: Who still carries binoculars? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 1050
Loc: Madison, AL
I have binos that I use bird watching mostly on day hikes. I haven't ever brought them backpacking. I also steadfastly refuse to spend time trying to identify little flits (the million tiny finch and swallow species that true birders get really excited about.)

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#203240 - 07/17/19 06:55 PM Re: Who still carries binoculars? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6738
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Binoculars are useless for me since my right retina is damaged due to retinal detachment and the resulting surgery. I can see out of it, but there's a blurry spot in the middle.

I carry a small and lightweight (7 power) monocular when hiking. When not hiking, I have a 10 power monocular (quite heavy) which is great for bird and game watching.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#203242 - 07/17/19 09:25 PM Re: Who still carries binoculars? [Re: OregonMouse]
tramp Online   content
member

Registered: 01/24/12
Posts: 101
Loc: WV
I carry a small set of 8X22 Vivtar binoculars I got by saving Marlboro cigarette "miles" when I used to smoke. Got a few other things from that too. So emphysema isn't all I have to remember them by.

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#203248 - 07/17/19 11:59 PM Re: Who still carries binoculars? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Bill Kennedy Offline
member

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 270
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I have a pair of Tasco 10x25 binoculars I like to carry. They're actually pretty decent, though fairly cheap. 10.5 ounces.

Although I don't use them a lot, I do enjoy them. I even managed to photograph some mountain goats with them.

For some reason, I stopped carrying them on my daily walks, but when I did, I recall seeing ospreys, cooper's hawks, and a flock of hummingbirds up close. I didn't even know that hummingbirds flocked, but apparently they do.
_________________________
Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else. -Margaret Mead

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#203254 - 07/18/19 09:45 AM Re: Who still carries binoculars? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 848
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
None for me. I've never carried any. Never bought any.
_________________________
The journey is more important than the destination.

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#203262 - 07/18/19 09:03 PM Re: Who still carries binoculars? [Re: 4evrplan]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2026
Loc: Napa, CA
Used to take them, used to not use them. Now I am used to not taking them, unless it's a dayhike with some spectacular wildlife possibities...
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balzaccom

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#203276 - 07/19/19 04:35 PM Re: Who still carries binoculars? [Re: balzaccom]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2912
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By balzaccom
Used to take them, used to not use them. Now I am used to not taking them, unless it's a dayhike with some spectacular wildlife possibities...


Pretty much the same for me. Did manage to find a pair of extremely tiny Minolta 6xsomethingorothers that are no hassle to carry but always lose out to a camera on backpacks. I have nicer ones occasionally toted on dayhikes.
_________________________
--Rick

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#203306 - 07/29/19 09:00 PM Re: Who still carries binoculars? [Re: Rick_D]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6738
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Of course if you carry a camera with a strong telephoto lens, it can substitute for binoculars.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#203309 - 07/30/19 07:15 AM Re: Who still carries binoculars? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1230
Loc: Florida panhandle
I usually have either small binoculars or a monocular in my daypack, though seldom use them. But it has been nice to have on occasion and I'm not too concerned about weight in a daypack.

I don't think I've ever taken either backpacking. I am approaching retirement and hope to hike the AT when I do. Whether to carry a monocular has been one of my internal debates (smile). If I can find one that conveniently fits my iPhone for photo use it may push me in that direction.

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#203313 - 08/01/19 01:09 PM Re: Who still carries binoculars? [Re: PerryMK]
the-gr8t-waldo Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/11
Posts: 162
Loc: Tacoma, Washington
I carry a Tasco10X50and only on day hikes. it weighs in at 2 lbs(with lens cap)I'm starting to think it's more like 2lbs of training weight, rather than something "useful"

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#203330 - 08/11/19 03:20 AM Re: Who still carries binoculars? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Petro1234 Offline
member

Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 98
Loc: engeland
To be honest i find they are unnecesarry. You carry them and either the thing you wished to look at is long gone, or what ever you point them at is just a bit closer. A bit of land over there is pretty much like a bit of land next to you, if the scenery you can see becomes 10 times closer, it really has very little benefit.used to carry them, but found them of very little benefit. If you want that bit of scenery a bit closer, try walking there and spending some time there ! Thats the beauty of being a backwoods hobo ! Spend some time observing where you are rather than wizzing by in a car, go to another bit explore and abide in the scenery, not just taking a viewport experience ! I think wildlife is the only time i wish i had eyeglasses, im far too noisy and smelly when multi-daying to see it for long enough.

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#203336 - 08/13/19 11:07 AM Re: Who still carries binoculars? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
vdeal Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 162
Loc: West Virginia
Actually went the other way. Didn't use to carry them and now do. I have a pair of Zeiss 8x25 Terra ED's that are great. I'm often on ridgetops trying to figure out what I'm seeing and plot out locations so they are great and weigh very little. And, yes, I was inspired originally by Colin Fletcher.

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#204129 - 03/05/20 08:14 PM Re: Who still carries binoculars? [Re: BZH]
Jim M Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 354
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
I carry a monocular for day hikes sometimes. Binoculars only if I am going out specifically to look for (at) birds. Nothing for backpacking but my glasses and aging eyeballs.
_________________________
Jim M

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#204131 - 03/06/20 08:38 PM Re: Who still carries binoculars? [Re: Jim M]
Lonerock Offline
member

Registered: 12/10/15
Posts: 54
Loc: Southern Oregon
I agree with OregonMouse. I usually take a fairly lightweight camera with a great telephoto lens so I can photograph those distant objects rather than just look at them. Saves on having some redundant equipment. As with binoculars you just have to hope your subject stays still long enough to get them in your sights.

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