Best 6 Compact Binoculars for Hiking and Backpacking

Any experienced hiker knows that having a good pair of binoculars can be a game-changer out on the trail. Not only can they help you spot potential danger, but they can also help you find your way when you’re lost. Binoculars are one of the tools you can use when you go to a national park, to watch animals from a distance or for birdwatching.

However, binoculars can be bulky and difficult to carry, which is why many hikers opt for compact binoculars. In this post, we will be discussing the best compact binoculars for hiking, so that you can make an informed decision when purchasing your own pair.

What to look for when choosing binoculars?

When it comes to choosing binoculars for hiking, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

  • Consider the size and weight of the binoculars. You don’t want to be lugging around a heavy pair of binoculars on your hike, so choose something that is lightweight and easy to carry.
  • Think about the magnification power you need. If you plan on doing a lot of birdwatching on your hike, you’ll need a higher magnification than if you just want to be able to see the birds.
  • Take into account the type of prism system used in the binoculars. Porro prism binoculars tend to be more economical, but roof prism binoculars are usually lighter and more compact.
  • Make sure the binoculars are comfortable to use and have an easy-to-use focus knob.

Best compact binoculars for hiking

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best compact binoculars for hiking, such as weight, durability, and image quality. The following are our top picks for the best compact binoculars for hiking.

Nikon 7577 Monarch 5 10×42 Binoculars

There are several positive reasons to choose the Nikon 7577 Monarch 5 10×42 binoculars for your backpacking trips. For starters, they are incredibly lightweight and compact, which makes them easy to carry without adding too much bulk to your backpack.

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They have an impressive 10x magnification, so they’re compact yet easy to see all the details in your surroundings. They’re waterproof, so you don’t have to worry when the weather turns bad.

Nikon 16000 PROSTAFF 7S 8×30 Compact Binocular

Nikon 16000 PROSTAFF 7S 8×30 Compact Binoculars are an excellent choice. They are lightweight and compact, yet offer a high level of performance.

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The optics are clear and bright, with good color rendition and minimal distortion. The field of view is also quite good, making it easy to find and track any animals.

The focusing system is simple to use and very precise, allowing you to get a sharp image even at long distances. The eyecups are comfortable and provide a good seal against light leakage, making them ideal for use in environments where there is low light. Overall, these binoculars offer a great combination of size, weight, performance, and price.

Nikon 7578 Monarch 5 12×42 Binocular

First and foremost, the Nikon 7578 Monarch 5 12×42 Binoculars are extremely lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry with you on your hike. They also feature multicoated optics and high-quality BaK4 prisms, which provide superb image quality.

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And with a 12x magnification, you’ll be able to see plenty of detail when looking at distant objects. With their lightweight design, superb image quality, and high magnification, they’ll help you make the most of your time in nature.

Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Compact Roof Prism Binocular, Camo, 10 x 25-mm

When it comes to backpacking, space and weight are always important considerations. That’s why compact binoculars like the Bushnell H2O are such a great option for hikers.

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This binocular is small and lightweight, but still offers great features like 10x magnification and 25mm objective lenses. Plus, it’s waterproof and fogproof, so you don’t have to worry about the elements ruining your view.

Steiner Safari UltraSharp Binoculars

First and foremost, the Steiner Safari UltraSharp Binoculars are incredibly lightweight and easy to carry. They weigh just 18 ounces, making them one of the lightest binoculars on the market. But despite their light weight, they’re still packed with features.

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The binoculars feature 8x magnification and 42mm objective lenses, which provide a clear and bright image even in low-light conditions. They also have a wide field of view (FOV), so you can take in all the sights around you while hiking. And if you need to quickly scan your surroundings for wildlife or other threats, the Steiner Safari UltraSharp Binoculars have a fast focus system that makes it easy to get a clear image.

Finally, the Steiner Safari UltraSharp Binoculars come with a number of convenient accessories, including a carrying case, neck strap, and lens cloth. These extras make it easy to keep your binoculars safe and protected while on the trail.

Nikon 8252 Aculon A211 10-22×50 Zoom Binocular

With a 10-22x zoom range and 50mm objective lenses, Nikon 8252 Aculon A211 binoculars offer excellent light gathering capabilities and image quality. They’re also relatively lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry on your next hike.

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Tips for the care and maintenance of your binoculars

If you plan to go backpacking, it is important to have a good pair of binoculars with you. And proper maintenance of these binoculars is essential for the best use of your binoculars during your trip. Here are some tips for maintaining and protecting your binoculars:

  • Make sure to clean the lenses regularly with a soft, dry cloth. Do not use harsh chemicals or solvents.
  • Be very careful when taking your binoculars out of your bag. Be careful not to drop or bump your binoculars on hard surfaces. This can damage the lenses and internal components.
  • Store your binoculars in a cool, dry place when not in use. Avoid extreme temperatures that can cause condensation on the lenses.
  • If possible, get a case or cover for your binoculars. This will help protect them from dirt and scratches.


If you’re looking for a great pair of binoculars to take on your next hike, consider one of the options on our list. We’ve put together a selection of the best compact binoculars that are perfect for hiking, so you can find the perfect pair for your needs.