Last Updated on March 28, 2021
If you are the type of hiker or backpacker who wants total control of your journey and enjoys nature to the fullest, then the monocular is a must-have for you. It will increase the comfort and enjoyment of your journey whilst loading you with minimum weight. Best monoculars for backpacking and hiking offer tremendous value to the user. So, having knowledge about the best ones and picking them accurately is very important. That is where our article comes into the show.
Here, we’ve handpicked the ultimate choices for you that will assist you in the wilderness to watch out for the routes, sceneries, and other objects along the way. An in-depth guideline is also included for an easy understanding of the user. Let’s go then?
Best Monocular Reviews for Backpacking & Hiking!
01. Wingspan Optics Explorer High Powered 12X50 Monocular for Backpacking
This exotic piece of beauty, the Wingspan Optics Explorer, is one of Wingspan’s special designs for those who love to get greater magnification as well as a bright and clear field of view. This is a design for optimizing power, distance, and the clarity of the view during the daytime. The monocular will bring the object 12 times closer by its powerful magnification. The 50mm lens helps to give you a brighter and clearer range of view.
This high-powered monocular is designed to provide you with a non-slip and secure external armor. The external body will be protected from any damage or scar. The whole body is waterproof and fog proof. It will not allow any dust, debris, or moisture to get inside the body. No internal fogging is also ensured. In all weather conditions, the monocular will be at your service. The ergonomic design will allow you to handle and focus on the target very quickly and accurately.
This mono has a prism type called BaK4 which has a higher refractive index than other prisms. The eye relief is 14mm which is also very comfortable for the user. The close focus ranges of the monocular are 2.5m. It has a field of view of 246 ft./1000 yds. It comes with a carrying case made of nylon mesh, lens protection & eyepiece covers, and a microfiber cleaning cloth that is non-abrasive.
The mono doesn’t offer any tripod with it. Besides, it can only be used in the daytime. But, the price it comes with, is not an issue at all. This is your go-to choice on any day anytime.
- Best choice for backpacker
- High magnification
- Single hand focus
- Very low price
- Waterproof and fog proof
- Ensures clarity
- View up to 1000 yards
- Bright and clear view
- Best monocular for hikers
- BaK4 prism
- Handy accessories
- Only for daytime
02. ROXANT ROX-GS HD Wide-View Monocular for Hiking & Backpacking
This ROXANT ROX-GS is a super addition to the monocular series for outdoor lovers and adventure seekers. The mono has a wide view capability with a magnification of 6x. many may wonder how this can be a good magnification. But, the fact is, when you are going for an outdoor activity with the mono, on one hand, you can’t focus on the target without any jitter or shake. So, more magnification will ultimately make your target defocused even more as magnification will be higher.
And, you need super stability for your hand to use 10, 12, or higher magnification which is also available on the market. The glass is made from high-end optics i.e. BaK4 prism. The 30mm lens will enable high quality, compact size, and solid views. It has a comfortable molded grip that is designed for optimum handling in every situation. Less shaking will happen for this lightweight monocular. The BaK4 prism ensures the brightness and light transmission to be superior for achieving a clear, bright, crisp view.
The mono is a superb tool for bird watching, archery, hunting, hiking, camping, target shooting, outdoor activity, travel, and so many other choices. It comes with a carry pouch that includes a belt loop. There is also a cleaning cloth and a neck strap for smooth handling. No tripod is included with the monocular. But, the 6x doesn’t require any telescope or tripod as optical experience is better without any. Besides, with this low and affordable price, that isn’t any concern. A great choice for backpackers.
- Optimum magnification
- Excellent wide view
- BaK4 prism
- Comfortable grip
- Lightweight for carrying
- High-end optics
- Ideal for travel
- Best pocket monocular
- Low price
- Awesome accessories
- The one ring a bit difficult to get used to
- Magnification may seem less
03. Monocular Telescope High Power 8×42 for Backpackers & Hikers
The third choice is this High Power 8×42 Scope which is made to serve with high precision and accuracy. It is constructed with high-end glass optics. The high-power telescope offers 8x magnification with an objective diameter of 42mm. It has a large field of view of 360ft./1000yds. So, you will have the best view of your outdoors. The high-quality BaK4 and the fully multi-coated lens do strengthen the key functions of the monocular.
The light transmission rate is about 99.9%! That’s really spectacular for such a low-priced scope. Light reflection, as well as multi-coated optics, will enable brightness and superior light transmission with minimal distortion. This cool feature helps to see at night in low light. That’s an added quality that many of the monoculars don’t offer.
The monocular telescope is nitrogen-filled, thus becomes waterproof. The built-in lens dust cover helps to protect the lens from debris, moisture, and dust. Its rubber-coated finish helps to resist shock and makes it durable in a rough environment for a long time. Also, don’t forget that it’s fog proof too. This compact model is really easy to grip and handle with maximum comfort.
There are adjustable eyecups that can be easily twisted up and down for getting optimal viewing with or without the glass. The striped rubber armor helps the user by creating more friction when handling by not slipping away from the hand. There is a strap and carry case that comes with it. One amazing part is the tripod connector that lies at the bottom of the mono. It is the perfect outdoor gear for fun-loving people.
- A high-quality precision view
- BaK4 prism
- Perfect magnification
- No slippage because of rubber armor
- Water, fog, dust, shockproof
- Night vision in low light
- High light transmission
- Optimal viewing through eyecup
- Tripod connector
- Best monocular for hiking
- Best monocular for the money
- Lifetime warranty
- Magnification may seem less
Why Should You Take a Monocular for Backpacking and Hiking?
Monocular is a super gadget for any outdoor enthusiast. It enables you to see distant objects and plan accordingly. When you are going out hiking or trekking, you should always carry one in your backpack. You can watch the landscapes and surroundings very easily and comfortably while walking with a monocular.
For a binocular, you need two hands. But, a monocular can be handled with one hand comfortably. The handling and navigation are much smoother for a monocular. The backpacker can rely on them for watching the route searching for any potential danger. It helps to plan the journey accordingly.
The mono is very light compared with the binocular. When you are going out hiking or backpacking, you need to lessen the weight as much as possible in as many ways as possible. You can carry them in your pocket. That’s how handy they are. But if you want to enjoy with your both eyes with lightweight devices you can think about good compact binoculars, some of them are really lightweight, cheap and foldable. It is also better than a spotting scope.
They are much compact designed than a binocular. As a result, they are much more durable and strong. They can withstand the rough outdoors better and are water, fog, dust, and shock-resistant.
Along the hiking or backpacking journey, you can use them swiftly for getting a quick view of the outdoors. So, they are for quick use. Besides, they are versatile as you can use them for bird watching, target shooting, hunting with log-range scope, nature observing, and many other events. Also, carry a top-quality reflex sight like Vortex Venom or quality night vision scope like Vortex Razor HD for better preparation of the wilds.
Buying Guide of Best Monocular for Backpacking & Hiking
There are some criteria on which you can decide whether you should go on with buying a monocular or not. If you have a clear understanding of those things, you won’t blame yourself for buying the wrong ones. So, let’s learn what are those criteria.
Understanding the Specifications
This is the most important feature of a monocular when you are choosing one. Many of the buyers get confused with this specification. So, clear knowledge about this is a must.
This specification is written in two numbers which are multiplied between like this 8×42. So, what does that mean?
The first part is the 8x, which basically represents the magnification power of the monocular. It means how many times bigger you’ll see the original object through the lens. The range of the magnification varies between 4x and 25x. the bigger the number, the better magnification you get. Although, bigger magnification like the red dot means an expensive price which ensures a better quality target image. The magnification is the ultimate feature of a monocular. Low magnification means a limited field of view.
The next number represents the objective lens diameter.
It is located in the far part of the scope. As for the above example, the lens diameter is 40mm. The diameter controls the amount of light that will come into the monocular. The more light comes through the lens the better the image quality will be. Likewise, the price will go up. So, pick the right type of lens diameter next time when you are buying one.
Types of Monoculars
Monoculars are available in different types. You should have a clear knowledge of all these to figure out the best monoculars for hiking or backpacking.
This is the most common type of monocular. They are used for various purposes from surveillance, wildlife observation birding, and many more. You can hang them either on the neck, waist, or wrist. They provide long-distance viewing in the daytime. Their size and weight make them ideal to use for casual observation.
The pocket-size monoculars are called compact monoculars. They are less expensive and designed for better portability. But compact monoculars are less powerful than larger ones. Most hikers and backpackers carry these monoculars. Their magnification and objective lens sizes are not more than 8x and 25mm respectively.
Night Vision Monoculars
Night vision monoculars made it possible to see in the dark. These optics use IR technology and collect ambient light from the surroundings to create images. These devices are called infrared monoculars sometimes. They let you see short distance objects in the darkness. The higher generation devices are expensive but ensure optical clarity.
Digital Night Vision Monoculars
This is another newly developed monoculars that provide day and night vision simultaneously. Their image quality is not high as night vision or thermal vision devices. However, their price made them superior over others. Nowadays, these optics are widely held for all purposes of viewings.
Thermal Imaging Monoculars
Thermal monoculars detect heat from objects and create images. If you want to see through fog, dust, smoke, or complete darkness, this will be a handy choice. Thermal monoculars are very expensive than other types. But they provide superb clarity images either in day or night.
When purchasing a monocular, you should pick that one that comes with a focusing wheel. But it is not easy to discover the focusing wheels on all models of monoculars. In this situation, you can take retailers’ help. This will give you a greater look at the objects. Besides, you will get outstanding assistance when adjusting the object for superior visibility.
Good hiking and backpacking monocular comes with several things such as a carrying case, lens cap, neck or hand strap, etc. They protect the monoculars and help in carrying safely. Some backpackers and hikers prefer bird watching and wildlife observation, so they need larger-size monoculars. In this case, tripods are good to have to stable the device.
Choosing a perfect monocular shell is important. It should be durable, impact resistance, protective, lightweight, and weatherproof. The rubberized coatings withstand impacts and drops. This also provides anti-slippage in humid or rainy conditions.
The monocular body is made of either plastic or metal. The plastic-shelled monoculars are less durable than the metal type but they are lightweight. Metal-shelled monoculars add weight to the optical device but ensure better impact resilience.
Coating of Your Lens
The coating of the lens can also vary for the monocular. There are basically four types of coatings. Let’s learn what are those.
The first one is the FMC type. It means a fully multi-coated lens. This one is the best type among the four. It offers the best result by resulting in maximum brightness. Also, it is the most expensive one. If you want the best quality, then this type is for you. Because of the FMC lens, durability is also ensured.
The next one is the multi-coated lens. Naturally, it is cheaper and offers less than the fully multi-coated ones. But, for a regular type of monocular, it can be a good choice. It also offers a relatively high resolution for the user. You can also go for it for the best result.
The third option is the fully-coated lens. The lens has a single coating of the layer and will offer less clear images for you. Because of this cheaper option, you will not get the best result. The lens is also prone to the glare of the sun. As a result, viewing is not enjoyable for this lens type.
The last and cheapest option is the regular coated one. The quality is very poor and it is not recommended to buy. If you want a budget option for very simple uses, only then you can go for it. Otherwise, it will be a waste of money.
Optical Design Types
There are three basic types of optical design available for your monocular. Those are Porro prism, roof prism, and Galilean prism. Among these three types, the Porro and the roof are the most used ones. There are some famous vortex optics solo monocular on the market too. The Galilean one isn’t so much popular because of its lower magnification ability. So, let’s talk about them a little bit.
These are the classic types of design that are so common in our day to day life. Yes, those wide hinge ocular types are the ones that we are talking about. They are cheaper than the roof types and can be used for your regular type of watching. If you want to watch birds and objects from a small distance, then this is the type that will meet your expectation. With their cheaper price, they have some drawbacks too. Usually, they are not waterproof.
They are best for a simple type of use like admiring things from a comfortable chair and having a good time. Besides, you don’t need to spend much.
They have a narrower hinge than the Porro types between the oculars. They are more expensive and built for heavy conditions. But, they are waterproof and can sustain the difficult condition of the outdoors. If you are a serious type of user, then these are the ones to go for. Roof types look like a large H letter and their objective lens, prism, and eyepiece are aligned.
They offer a powerful magnification system than Porro and durability is a big advantage. The downside is they are expensive. So, you need to pick them according to your need.
They are the most general and older model types among the three. They have a lower level of magnification between 2x to 3.5x. So, they are not the ideal types for outdoor adventures as you can see. In dental work, they are widely used.
Size and Weight
The monocular size and weight are also important for backpacking and hiking people. Because the less space it occupies the better for you. When backpacking, everybody wants to take the minimum amount of gadgets and gears to limit size and weight. So, a monocular should be small and lightweight. That will help you carry it with you.
The price of the monocular can vary a lot. The main reasons for that are the quality, brand, specification, materials used, and other features. You will get a better quality one if you spend your money wisely. The price may start from $25 and end at around $500! So, knowing the features that you need for your job is highly recommended. Then, you can have a good one at a low price.
A pricey product isn’t always the one that you may need. Sometimes, all the fancy features and specifications aren’t that important for your work. Like the superb EOTech clones that hunting lovers use. Here, we’ve picked the gems from many of them for you that are budget-friendly and top quality at the same time. Shopping online is also a good option to cut the price range to a minimum.
Eye relief is the distance of the focal point from the monocular. If that is 15mm, then you need to place your mono 15mm away from your eye. If you are using glasses, then buy a monocular with greater eye relief. That will lessen the hassle for you as your glasses won’t come between the distance and you will be adjusting the distance with ease.
Waterproof and Fogproof
A monocular is backpacked for an outdoor environment where it can get in contact with water, fog, dust, and shock. So, it needs to be waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof. Also, it needs to be compact in armor so that no dust can penetrate.
Those are the basic features that you need to consider when buying any monocular. Choose the specifications that you need for your job and pick accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
01. What are the differences between, monoculars vs. binoculars vs. spotting scopes?
Ans: Monocular is a one-eye vision device and suitable for backpacking and other trips where weight is an essential consideration. Binoculars provide two-eye vision and perfect for hunters and wildlife explorers. And spotting scopes are more powerful optics than the above twos thus sometimes called portable telescopes. They are widely used for bird watching and stargazing.
02. How can I make my monocular for backpacking last longer?
Ans: A monocular or any optical device lasts long if you care well. When dirt accumulates in lenses, wipe them with a microfiber glass cloth. But don’t use tissue, or toilet paper to avoid scratches. Also, cover the lenses with lens caps to avoid dirt accumulation. Don’t touch the lenses with bare hands.
03. Can I use a monocular for backpacking if I wear glasses?
Ans: Sure, you can do that for most cases. But make sure, your monocular includes this feature. If there is no recommendation by the manufacturer, don’t try to use glasses, it will be tiring. Hopefully, many monoculars provide long eye-relief and adjustable eye-piece that will ease seeing through monoculars wearing eyeglass.
04. What are the best monocular brands?
Ans: You will find different top monocular brands in the market. Some of the popular monoculars brands are Wingspan Optics, Roxant, Barska, Vortex Optics, Celestron, Tasco, Brunton, and so on.
05. What is the most powerful monocular?
Ans: When monoculars come with greater magnification, they are called powerful monoculars. Usually, they are bulky and pricy than the less powerful ones.
Every outdoor lover wants to enjoy nature as much as possible. Being an outdoor enthusiast, I love it when my top night vision gadgets can make my outing perfect and enjoyable too. There are many day time and night time devices, but monocular is such an amazing gadget. Here, we’ve presented you with the best monocular for backpacking and hiking that can do justice to you. The elaborate buying guide can help you choose wisely and perfectly. Enjoy your journey!
Kalman is a hunting expert who has a vast experience with wild game hunting. Though night time hunting is his favorite, he masters the art of daytime hunting and shooting. Being a nature lover and outdoor enthusiast, he wants to pass the knowledge acquired over time to the next generation.