View Full Version : Best Size Optics for Backcountry?

dead river
06-12-2011, 02:42 PM
With a lot of purchases to make between now and October, i am starting with binoculars. So, i am looking for input on the optimum size...what ya'll think is the best for you and why. I am speaking of a pair of binos that you would wear on your harness, not large, truck window optics....One pair is for my wife and she will need to go as light as possible so consider what smallest and largest size you would choose to tote..

Thanks in advance.

Colorado Cowboy
06-12-2011, 03:38 PM
I use a set of Swarovsky rangefinder/monocular combination. It is 8x and very clear & sharp. The rangefinder is usable to around 1000yds. I really like being able to carry one set of glasses. Works for me.

Bitterroot Bulls
06-12-2011, 04:56 PM
I much prefer binoculars to a monocular for glassing, due to the ease of viewing over long periods. Like many hunters, my favorite combination is 10X42, as this affords a relatively large 4.2mm exit pupil, and a high level of detail resolution. I also like the little extra magnification over 8x when I have them tripod mounted. However, when glassing from horseback or hand-held, I like 8x, because it is easier to get an apparently steady image.

The compact, 32mm styles are nice and light, but sometimes a little heft helps steady them down after a high country climb, and you lose a little low-light ability with their smaller exit pupils. the 50mm and up bins are just a bit too bulky for my tastes.

dead river
06-12-2011, 08:20 PM
Thanks guys. A lot of little things to consider.... When i backpack, or duck hunt all over the U.S., i dont have to figure all of this out. :) I lean towards lighter....Going from 800' above sea level to 9000' above sea level in a few days time takes it's toll on my lungs. Maybe 8X zen-ray...

Plenty of time to figure it all out though. Need to make a trip ot BPS, since Cabelas has not graced the South with a store yet.

06-12-2011, 09:46 PM
10x42 is to binoculars as .30-06 is to rifles.

Umpqua Hunter
06-13-2011, 01:22 AM
These guys are right on! 10x42's can't be beat for versatility.

On my Wyoming sheep hunt, I solo backpacked in and was shaving weight. I picked up a pair of Swarovski 8x30s on eBay. With Swarovski's warranty, you can hardly go wrong on a used pair. I was very happy with these, and had a spotting scope when I needed to size up a ram. These smaller binoculars have also been nice when hunting the timber where a little lower magnification helps.

If you want to scale down from the 10X42s, I believe the quality of binoculars is a big factor. You can get away with a smaller binocular when buying premium binoculars due to the improved sharpness and light transmission.

Bitterroot Bulls
06-13-2011, 09:29 AM
An 8X42 does offer a little better exit pupil (5.25mm vs. 4.2mm for the 10X42), so should be a little brighter in really low light when comparing binoculars of similar quality. This is also something to think about, depending on your hunting conditions. An 8X32 binocular has a similar exit pupil to a 10X42 (4mm vs. 4.2mm).

06-13-2011, 07:19 PM
This is a tough question. What will your primary uses for these binos be? Will you be looking across the country to find some animals for a spot and stalk or will you be still hunting the timber and using them to differentiate colors as you attempt to spot small pieces of critters?

With that said I am with the others on this. For versatility the 10x42 are by far the best option.

06-13-2011, 08:26 PM
10x42 is to binoculars as .30-06 is to rifles.

I guess that's why I'm a .270 Winchester kind of guy I prefer the 10x32, with good glass it makes up for the low light situations for the most part.

06-13-2011, 08:40 PM

06-14-2011, 09:22 PM
For most situations the 10x42 would be the best bang for your buck, the only other option in my oppinion would be if you are in heavy timber a lot or doing alot of sheep and Mt. goat hunting and want to go light, then I would go with an 8x32 or 10x32. I use the swaro's also

dead river
06-19-2011, 06:18 PM
There is a lot of info here....we use 50mm objective stuff here on "bean field" hunts and that is what I have always carried to the praries, so i knew that my existing optics are out.

Gonna pick up 10X 42ish (probably zen ray ED)

Now on to the spotting scope.

Thanks for all the info!!