8 Best Travel Binoculars in 2022

By Robin Owens 11 days ago, Binoculars

Top-rated lightweight travel binoculars.

top travel binoculars

When it comes to buying a pair of optimal binoculars for hiking or backpacking, the choice may be difficult. The thing is that high-quality travel binoculars feature very delicate premium lenses.

However, at the same time, they should be durable and lightweight to cope with all outdoor difficulties. In short, these are the main challenges that a wildlife explorer or hiker may face looking for the best travel binoculars.

Top 8 Best Travel Binoculars

  1. Nikon Monarch 7 - Our Choice
  2. Vanguard Endeavor ED - Waterproof
  3. Leica Ultravid - Solid performance
  4. Kowa Genesis - Perfect size
  5. Maven B3 - With ED glass
  6. Bushnell Legend L-Series - Budget
  7. Leupold BX-4 - Stylish
  8. Zeiss 10x25 Terra ED - Great magnification

Today, there are numerous options to choose from. To find the best pair suitable for your needs, you have to consider such parameters as size, magnification, etc. It may be tiresome to scan through all the info.

That is why we have explored the market of lightweight travel binoculars and compiled the list of the top options available today. Continue reading and you will get acquainted with the best offers and compare their pros and cons. Moreover, you will also find some useful tips that will help you find an ideal pair for traveling.

1. Nikon Monarch 7

Our Choice
travel binoculars nikon monarch

Magnification: 8x | Objective diameter: 42mm | Field of view at 1000m: 140 metres| Closest focusing distance: 1.90 metres | Eye relief: 17.1mm | Weight: 650g

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⊕ Short close focus
⊕ The ED glass
⊕ Lightweight and portable
⊖ Doesn’t work at twilight
⊖ Isn’t compatible with a tripod

The Nikon Monarch 7 Series was first released in 2012. The manufacturer offered only two models, the 8x42 and 10x42. These optical devices featured Schmidt-Pechan roof prisms made of BaK-4 glass covered by both dielectric and phase-correction coatings.

The Monarch 7 travel binoculars have low dispersion ED glass and wide-angle eyepieces with large fields of view. All air-to-glass surfaces are covered with anti-reflective multi-coatings while scratch-resistant layers additionally protect the outer elements.

2. Vanguard Endeavor ED

Waterproof
travel binoculars vanguard

Magnification: 8x | Objective diameter: 42mm | Field of view at 1000m: 365ft | Closest focusing distance: 8ft | Eye relief: 19mm | Weight: 730g

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⊕ Extra-low dispersion glass lenses
⊕ Roof prism
⊕ Completely multi-coated
⊕ Open-bridge design
⊖ Carrying case is not the best one

Thanks to the ability to focus on objects 6.5 feet away, the Vanguard Endeavor ED II is considered to be the best travel binoculars for close focus range among instruments with 10x magnification. It also shows great performance with a 340-feet field of view at 1000 yards.

Further, we are going to talk about the parameters that distinguish this particular pair of travel binoculars. Speaking about the field of view, the 8x42 Endeavor ED has a 367-foot field of view at 1000 yards, while a 10x42 model has a 340-foot one. However, you should still compare it to similar binoculars to feel the difference.

I have compared many tools and compiled statistics. Thus, an average field of view for an 8x42 roof prism binocular is around 370 feet, so the Endeavor is pretty average for an 8x binocular. Also, 10x roof prisms average about 325 feet at 1000 yards, so here, the Endeavor is significantly above average.

3. Leica Ultravid

Solid performance
travel binoculars leica

Magnification: 10x | Objective diameter: 42mm | Field of view at 1000m: 112 metres| Closest focusing distance: 2.2 metres | Eye relief: 13.3mm | Weight: 750g

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⊕ P40 phase-corrected roof prisms
⊕ HighLux fully multi-coated optics
⊕ HDC and AquaDura optical coatings
⊖ A limited field of view
⊖ Costly

Thanks to HDs, Ultravid shows great performance in both areas. In comparison with other premium travel size binoculars I reviewed, it offers a better depth of field while the image at infinity is still sharp. By the way, it takes about 1.3 turns of the focus knob to get from minimum close focus to infinity.

The 10x42 and 8x42 models also come in elegant-looking leather (BL) and look appealing. What is more, a leather version is a little slimmer and lighter than a rubber one.

The Ultravid 10x42 BL weighs only 24.5 oz, which is fairly impressive for a tool with high-end optical quality. Thanks to the wide field of view (330 ft. at 1000 yd.), the 10x42 Leicas Ultravids belongs to the category of top travel binoculars, like Zeiss and Swarovski.

4. Kowa Genesis

Perfect size
travel binoculars kowa genesis

Magnification: 8x | Objective diameter: 33mm | Field of view at 1000m: 108 metres | Closest focusing distance: 1.5 metres| Eye relief: 15mm | Weight: 590g

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⊕ Clear and bright
⊕ Ideal size
⊕ Ergonomic and user-friendly
⊖ Not for people wearing eye-glasses

Equipped with coatings, the 10x33mm Kowa Genesis binoculars with Prominar XD Lens offer precise color definition providing enhanced viewing experience. Thanks to the wide-angle eyepiece design, this pair of binoculars has increased the field of view of the 8x by 28% (140m/yds at 1,000m/yds) and 10x by 14% (119m/yds) in comparison to the BD32 Series binoculars.

Being compact, lightweight and comfortable to carry, the Kowa Genesis 33 may be fairly called one of the best travel binoculars for today. What is more, it is a premium-quality tool at a smaller size and affordable price.

5. Maven B3

With ED glass
travel binoculars maven b3

Magnification: 10x | Objective diameter: 42mm | Field of view at 1000m: 341 ft | Closest focusing distance: 6.6 ft | Eye relief: 16mm | Weight: 845 g

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⊕ Wide-angle roof prism
⊕ ED glass technology
⊕ 30mm lenses for additional light
⊕ Portable body
⊖ Comes without a bag

Although Maven is not very popular in the world of optics, it doesn’t mean that this brand is not as good as other popular ones. It’s quite the opposite, this brand is famous for binoculars and other optical equipment of high quality.

At the same time, you don’t pay for the brand name so their tools are much cheaper. Besides, the Maven Company avoids middlemen and delivers its products directly to the consumers.

For instance, Maven B-series (premium optics) includes compact travel binoculars that cost half or even a third of the money you would pay for premium optics from a famous brand.

If you choose this tool, you will get the best quality at an affordable price. Despite its compact size, the B3 features 30-mm objective lenses and offers three magnification options, namely, 6x, 8x and 10x.

6. Bushnell Legend

Budget
travel binoculars bushnell legend

Magnification: 10x | Objective diameter: 42mm | Field of view at 1000m: 342 ft | Closest focusing distance: 1.9 metres | Eye relief: 18mm | Weight: 666g

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⊕ Cost
⊕ ED & lead-free glass
⊕ Ultra-wide field of view
⊕ Resistant to any weather conditions
⊖ Loose lens caps

Undoubtedly, if you are looking for the best travel binoculars to watch birds, a Bushnell Legend L Series 8x42 model is the most suitable option. In addition to high-end optics and coatings providing a qualitative and bright image even in poor lighting conditions, this tool offers a super-wide field of view.

Speaking about a 10x42mm model, it is also a good option for traveling. According to numerous reviewers, these are the best binoculars for travel when compared to the instruments in this price category.

However, the final decision is always up to the user. I would have put this pair to the top of the list if I hadn’t reviewed more expensive options. Like with any optical equipment, the higher the price, the better performance you get.

7. Leupold BX-4

Stylish
travel binoculars leupold

Magnification: 10x | Objective diameter: 50mm | Field of view at 1000m: 326metres | Closest focusing distance: 7.5ft | Eye relief: 16mm | Weight: 482g

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⊕ Bright optics
⊕ Lightweight
⊕ Appealing case
⊖ Hard eyecups
⊖ Useless lens caps

Having tested these travel binoculars, we can safely claim that Leupold BX-4 provides awesome optics. Moreover, this tool far surpassed its price tag.

It offers a convenient ergonomic design and low light management system; moreover, it is equipped with HDs that greatly improve the viewing experience. The Leupold BX-4 Pro Guide HD 10×42 binoculars are suitable for various weather conditions, from hot and humid seasons to frigid weather in the Rocky Mountains.

With this reliable optics, you get the best viewing experience. As a pleasant bonus, these compact travel binoculars come with a full lifetime guarantee.

8. Zeiss Terra ED

Great magnification
travel binoculars zeiss

Magnification: 10x | Objective diameter: 25 mm | Field of view at 1000m: 97 metres | Closest focusing distance: 1.9 metres| Eye relief: 16mm | Weight: 310g

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⊕ Closed-bridge configuration
⊕ Twist-up rubber eyecups
⊕ 16 mm long eye relief
⊕ 2.5mm exit pupil
⊖ Pricey

Weighing 310 grams, the ZEISS TERRA ED Pocket 10x25 may be easily called the best lightweight binoculars for travel. They offer qualitative images at 10x magnification and smooth focus in any conditions. Its folding design makes it an ideal piece of equipment to carry and transport.

It is a perfect combination of amazing performance and compact size. Also, the Zeiss Terra ED 10x25 Binoculars are a great option for traveling since the tool is resistant to water and fog.

Thanks to 10x magnification through ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass lenses and fully multi-coated Schmidt-Pechan prisms, you get the best clarity even with its 6.2' close focus. They will fit any pocket. Moreover, textured grips guarantee steady handling.

Image Name Features  
travel binoculars nikon monarch
Nikon Monarch 7
Our Choice
  • Magnification: 8x
  • Objective diameter: 42mm
  • Field of view at 1000m: 140 metres
  • Eye relief: 17.1mm
CHECK PRICE
travel binoculars vanguard endevor
Vanguard Endeavor ED
Budget
  • Magnification: 8x
  • Objective diameter: 42 mm
  • Field of view at 1000m: 365 ft
  • Eye relief: 19 mm
CHECK PRICE
travel binoculars leica ultravid
Leica Ultravid
Professional
  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective diameter: 42mm
  • Field of view at 1000m: 112 metres
  • Eye relief: 13.3mm
CHECK PRICE

How to Choose the Best Travel Binoculars?

travel binoculars

The Best Travel Binoculars for Safari 2022

Frankly speaking, when I decided to buy compact travel binoculars for safari, I didn’t know that it would take so much time. I knew nothing about optical equipment and thought that I would find the necessary pair in 5 minutes. However, that’s not how it turned out. I have spent a week learning the info and studying the features of different pairs of binoculars. I found out what a prism is and what all those numbers mean. Therefore, if you are currently looking for the best compact travel binoculars and don’t know what to start with, this article is for you.

Do You Need to Bring Binoculars on Safari?

Of course, yes. You SHOULD do it. You know many animals will come close to your car but there are also many of those that will be far away. For example, big cats are unlikely to approach the road when there are vehicles. Moreover, animals are very difficult to notice in the wild since they easily camouflage. What is more, safari binoculars may save your life since you will see the danger when it is far away. Also, if you have compact travel binoculars, you may observe the animals that came close. In such a way, you will be able to see the smallest details on their bodies.

Important Features in the Best Travel Binoculars

Check out the most important parameters that you should consider choosing the right equipment for safari:

  1. Size & Weight. The pair you choose should be lightweight and easy to pack.
  2. Magnification. This parameter means how much the image is magnified. In other words, how much you want it to zoom in. Binoculars usually include a number (for example, 10x42). The first number is the magnification. 10x means it will zoom in 10 times what you’d see with the naked eye.
  3. Lens Size. It is the parameter that defines how much the lens is. It is the second number after x. In such a way, if it is the 10x42 travel binoculars, it means that the lens size is 42. I believe that the binoculars for low light conditions should feature a 32 mm or 42 mm lens. If you still need some info regarding this parameter, read the FAQ section below.
  4. Eye Relief. It is the optimal distance between your eyes and the eyepiece. Longer distance reduces eye strain. If you wear glasses, the optimal distance is 16 mm while 12 mm is ideal for the majority of users.
  5. Fog Proof. If you are looking for safari equipment, it’s very important to have fog-resistant optical equipment since African mornings are really humid.
  6. Lens Coating. This feature is important for the best travel binoculars since it makes them more durable. For example, if the lenses are multi-coated ones, they will serve you longer and provide better clarity.
  7. Waterproof. Here, you should decide what waterproof level you need, namely, fully waterproof (IPX8), splash-proof or no protection at all (IPX0). For example, if you need lightweight binoculars for safari, it isn’t necessary to get a fully waterproof tool; the least splash-proof will be enough, I believe.

What Lens Size do I Need for the Best Safari Binoculars?

travel binoculars

Low light binoculars usually feature higher lens sizes. The best time for safari is sunrise and sunset, so the binoculars should let a lot of light in. If your compact binoculars feature less than 32 mm, it will be difficult to spot animals at dusk. Of course, you may get the tool with a 42 mm lens and more, but it will be bigger and heavier. I believe that the best lightweight binoculars for travel should have a 32mm or 42 mm lens since it is optimal for low light conditions.

FAQ

  • • What are the best binoculars for viewing wildlife?

In general, the choice of the best binoculars for wildlife viewing depends on your budget. In case you want a budget option, the Bushnell H2O Roof Prism 8x42mm is a perfect option. The Athlon Optics Midas ED 8x42mm is the best value binoculars. If the price is not important and you can afford expensive optical equipment, the Vortex Viper HD 8x42mm is a perfect choice.

  • • What is better 8x42 or 10x42 binoculars?

In comparison with 10x42 models, the 8x42 travel binoculars have a larger exit pupil with the same light-gathering capabilities thanks to the identical aperture; however, the twilight factor of the 10x42 is better. In short, the quality of resolution can be seen in dim light.

  • • What strength of binoculars is best?

If you need a tool for general use and not for particular activity or hobby, binoculars with 7x to 10x magnification are the most suitable. With such optical equipment, you will get adequate magnification, and the image will not be destabilized if your hand shakes. There are two types of binoculars, 7x35 and 10x50.

  • • How far can you see with 10x42 binoculars?

Frankly speaking, the exact answer doesn’t exist. A pair of binoculars will see anything your eye sees but 10x bigger or closer. For example, your eye can see a ship at around 12 miles, so the binoculars will also see it and make 10x larger but the image will not be the most detailed one.

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