View Full Version : Big Spotter for Backcountry?

08-17-2011, 08:00 AM
This off-season I picked up a Vortex Razor spotting scope. I could write pages on why I love this scope but I will save that for another post. It simply is awesome. So good, that I am thinking of bringing it on my backcountry elk/deer hunts this fall. The scope and the heavier ball head for my tripod (I use the Vortex High Country with a Manfrotto pistol grip head) add an additional 3lbs over the basic highcountry tripod and Minox MD62 combo I have. I have usually left the spotter home while hunting because I could never justify the weight - the images just didn't get me excited to carry extra pounds. However, the Razor has me dreaming of glassing in Razor HD splendor on opening morning 7 miles in the backcountry.

Am I crazy to pack in a 85mm scope or is this a pretty common practice? If so any packing tips on where to put it in my pack or just throw it in? I also have a neoprene scope cover for it to aid in protection and the other thing I like about Vortex is with their warranty I have no fear about actually using it and using it hard for it's intended purpose.

I also carry a pair of 10x42 Leica Ultavids HD if that matters in any way.

Looking forward to your thoughts.

08-17-2011, 09:26 AM
Pack it in! An 85mm is bigger than the 65 Swaro that I pack but I wouldn't leave the truck without it, in the back country... You'll handicap yourself if you don't! This year, I'm going even further than usual and bringing the 15X56's too... I have decided that the extra weight will be worth it... I am not sure how I will feel about it once the hunt is over but I know how much more I see with them, so I'm going to try it...

08-17-2011, 10:01 AM
I've been wondering the same thing and am curious to see what others say. I don't have an experienced opinion yet, but will soon. I am getting my Razor spotter today :D

08-17-2011, 10:21 AM
Elkoholic - you'll be psyched. I looked a lot of different spotters. I had the budget to get into the big named "alpha" glass and as you can see by my post I already have Leica, but the Razor was not a compromise for me.

I bought a camo neo scope cover from VIP optics if you need one. Not sure if others sell them, but that's where I got mine.

Bitterroot Bulls
08-17-2011, 10:22 AM
As many on the forum know, I have a Razor HD spotter that I also love. I have packed it in deep without much trouble. I now have a Nikon ED50, which is an incredible little spotter. I will be using it on my backpack hunts this fall, so I will see if the substantial weight savings are worth it.

08-17-2011, 01:06 PM
pack it in!!!! i pack my 85 Zeiss with me...and i even bring the ol' big Swarovski fluid head tripod with me....i believe that if you're going to sit for hours on end glassing....then make it comfortable. if you like to move a lot...and let your legs do the scouting...then by all means...go light and smaller. but i find that most spots that offer me a vantage point i usually end up glassing for 2 hours at least. so i want the big glass and the stable tripod.

Tim Sandstrom
11-18-2011, 01:03 PM
bitter...or others....

Ironically I have been scouring the internet (and my own site I manage) for some info on scopes. I left it kind of open ended but my main goal was trying to identify a good backpack spotter. Lots of opinions on it but I was looking at there. The ED, Golden Ring and the Minox. I'm leaning more toward the ED or Ring.

Now, I am a North Dakota Badlands hunter by heart so I play a similar game as you mountain folk do for mule deer. I also do a lot of glassing for whitetails when necessary on the more rolling hills. To top it off, I use the scope to track down flocks of distant geese.

The million dollar question is, do I just put my money toward a one and one scope of say the Razar HD, the Leica or a Swaro with big objective or do I go big and also go small by getting a backpack friendly version.

In the mountains, at least you guys make one big up and stay up (for the most part). In the Badlands there is a lot of ups and downs and it can start to tire a guy out. The challenge is figuring out that happy medium I guess because I really do not glass as distant as you guys do. But light is (of course) a common enemy.

What to do, what to do, what to do?? If I had the cash I'd probably have both but I fear in the end I'd end up packing around the heavier glass anyway.

Speaking on heavier glass, I complain about my tripod all the time but in reality, a heavy tripod is nice. But I'm willing to accept a smaller, lighter one because you can always hang heavy items from the tripod to stabilize it. What is a good tripod? Someone mentioned the Silk. Others out there?

01-20-2012, 09:50 AM
I just purchased a Manfrotto 055CXPRO4 tripod for this very purpose. I talked to Mark Seacat, Sitka Athelete, on the subject and he recommended those and Outdoorsmans. The price was basically the same when you added the head on so I went with the Manfrotto, it's heavy, but I think it adds to the stability. Of course I say this without having packed it yet. It just came in so we'll see if I'm singing a different tune this fall.

01-20-2012, 12:01 PM
I pack a Nikon 65mm with me. It's a must!