View Full Version : Backcountry optics?

07-01-2011, 10:39 AM
The question was brought up on what people use for binos on backcountry hunt, let's hear your spotting scope/bino setup for extended deep backcountry hunts.

Good idea bitterroot bulls.

Bitterroot Bulls
07-01-2011, 12:48 PM
Hey, the question was all yours, Drhorsepower, and it's a good one.

I use ultralight backpacking gear when backcountry hunting, but my optics are a bit big. It is worth it to me, because there is a noticeable difference in low light performance. Right now, I backpack with my Swaro SLCneu 10X42s, A bushy Elite 1500 rangefinder, and a Vortex Razor 85HD spotting scope. I like to digiscope and videoscope animals through my spotter while hunting and the Razor's large objective is definitely a benefit. It is about a pound heavier than most 65mm spotters, and I make up that weight in savings on other backpacking gear.

However, I am considering adding a nice 50mm spotter to my collection for fast and light hunts. The Nikon ED50 is the best I have used, but it doesn't have great eye relief. I also like the Minox MD50, and it can be found for a bargain, but no ED glass. I noticed that the Vortex Viper HD scopes have eyepieces that are labelled for magnification for not only the 80mm and 65mm Viper HD spotters, but also a 50mm version! While I haven't heard an announcement, it sounds like a 50mm Viper HD is in the works, and I am anxious to see it. It might make a nice compliment to my Razor HD.

I will stick with full-size binoculars, because the weight is worth the performance, given how much time I use them. A good bino-harness really makes the weight bearable. I hardly notice the SLCs, and they certainly aren't lightweights.

I am interested to hear some other replies.

07-02-2011, 05:37 PM
10X42 EL's and a 20X65mm Straight Swaro spotter... Everything I need to make it happen... We use the Swaro 15X56's from the truck but that's about it.

07-02-2011, 08:01 PM
I have a few different spotting scopes......including the Swarovski 20x65mm. But when I backpack into the high-country, I use the Nikon ED50.......VERY lightweight and compact and clear glass. I don't think it can be beat in it's class for compact spotting scopes. When i get older and have horses take me in.......I wouldn't mind taking my Swarovski in the wilderness.

My binos are the same that they've been for the last 7-8 years.......Leica Geovids 10x42BRF. Exceptional glass with a built in rangefinder.

07-03-2011, 09:31 AM
Vortex Razor 10x42
Nikon ED50

07-03-2011, 04:09 PM
Swaro 10x42 ELs and 65mm spotter if the hike isn't too far. Otherwise, I'll pack the Nikon ED50 with my lightweight tripod.

07-05-2011, 09:00 AM
I have not bought a spotter as of yet. I dont hunt in areas that really offer the kind of open space that the extra magnification would be really useful enough to justify packing one around. The idea is there, but until I have taken the plunge on a nice digital camera to enjoy taking pics with, I don't have the need or desire strong enough to go and buy a spotter to go with it.

Now Binos I do believe in and wish I had more money sometimes. I usually spend my hunting money on one expensive item a year. This year went to a nice tent. I did also however get a decent bino that was waterproof.
I bought the Leupold Cascade 10x42's in the advantage timber camo when Cabelas put them on sale. $250 ish this spring.
I saved $100 on them.

I have made due with a Barska pair of 10x50's that I paid $15.00 for four years ago. They are so NOT waterproof, that one spring bear hunt even under a bino harness cover, they were FULL of water when I got back to camp. Was the first time I had actually gone on a hunt when the weather was bad. Last time I ever want to use cheap optics on purpose.

I like to save money when I can. These offered really good clear images, but being they were not sealed they did not stay that way.

My Leupolds were a step up, and for a mid range compact/mid size set of glass.....I have put them to use this year many many times. A great set to get me going for a while. I do plan on an upgrade to some nicer ones down the road....but only when I think I have enough guns! hahaha.

6mm Remington
07-05-2011, 06:32 PM
I use 10x25 Leica Ultravid compact binoculars and for a spotting scope I carry a 25x50mm Leupold fixed power scope. I love the compact binoculars and sure they might not be quite as bright really early or really late, but I am completely satisfied with them.

07-05-2011, 10:35 PM
I use 10x25 Leica Ultravid compact binoculars and for a spotting scope I carry a 25x50mm Leupold fixed power scope. I love the compact binoculars and sure they might not be quite as bright really early or really late, but I am completely satisfied with them.

I am kinda leaning that direction.
I am using 10x42 leupold golden ring binos an a 20x40x60 spotter.
I have been looking at some compact binos and I also want to purchase leupold compact spotter

07-06-2011, 07:36 AM
Swarovski 10x42 EL and 80mm STM with 25x50 eyepiece...and I'm loving every minute behind my optics

07-06-2011, 08:19 PM
10x42 el swaro binoculars. I used to also have a pair of 15x56 slc's that I used on a tripod but I feel that the 10x42 EL's are just as good on a tripod as the 15x56's and I've actually been able to see better in low light situations with the 10x42's as compared to the 15x56's. I use a small outdoorsmans tripod with an extension. That thing folds down to about 12 inches and is made out of aircraft aluminum making it light. I have not made the switch over ta a carbon fiber tripod yet because my aluminum tripod is still pretty lightweight. I've been using a 20x60x80 ATS swaro spotting scope for about 6 years but am making the switch to the 25x50x65 ATM HD swaro spotter in order to save weight and space. I think a person really needs to spend a little bit of time with a spotter or a binocular to really know the pro's and con's behind each one and then figure out what they like or dislike about it. So if I like the 65mm spotter after a whole season I will stick with it but if I feel like I've lost a lot of low light capability then I'll go back to the 80mm.
By the way, I'm not trying to put down the ability of the 15x56 bino's in any way because they definitely are dangerously good on the tripod. But I do not think that a person needs a pair of 10 power, and 15 power binos. To me 5 power of difference was not enough to make that much of a magnification advantage. fatrooster.