Rick is a former news reporter who decided that the corporate world wasn't for him and took off to travel the world. He's been to every continent (yes, even Antarctica!) and has tried out a multitude of outdoor gear along the way. From tents to hiking boots, he's probably tested it all. Now, he's one of our full-time product testers and experts.
Bryan is one of our leading experts since he's got a vast expertise in practically everything connected to the outdoors. He's been hiking since he was a young boy, was an organizer of kayaking tours which later led to another passion of his - kayak fishing. Now, he's a part-time expert consultant involved in our multiple product tests and topic research.
Last updated: May 01, 2022
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What could be better than soaking in the wonderful view of the journey while hiking? Backpacking is beneficial not only for your body but also for your soul. A great way to make the best of your hiking trip is to take a monocular with you. For easier navigation, wildlife viewing and bird watching, a monocular is a hiker’s best bud.
To bring you the top 10 monoculars for your breathtaking trip, we’ve examined 37 products on the market. The ROXANT Grip Scope High Definition Wide View Monocular – the Editor’s choice – appears to be the best monocular for backpacking in this review. Not only does it offers you a better grip and high-quality optics, but it’s also equipped with a retractable eyecup to give more comfort for eyeglass wearers. Apart from this, we have included in-depth reviews of 9 other products to help you decide the best one for your needs.
To help you decide which backpacking monocular is best suited to your journey, we have spent more than 50 hours to compile a quick overview table, detailed reviews of each product, and a comprehensive buying guide. We have also narrowed down a few important factors while analyzing the products. Firstly, the objective diameter is crucial because it determines the amount of light that can be gathered by the lens. A larger objective diameter signifies a brighter view in low-light conditions. Secondly, magnification shows how the image is enlarged. Next, larger field of view allows you to observe more objects without having to move or readjust the focus. Lastly, the dimensions and weight help you choose a monocular that’s easy to handle. Are you ready to learn more about the best monoculars for backpacking? Read on!
"To give this monocular more sturdiness, the manufacturer designed a thick rubberized armor with a non-slip grip. Additionally, this model is nitrogen purged, and O-ring sealed to provide protection from water and fog."
More features: multi-coated glass, BAK-4 prism, retractable eyecup, comes with carry pouch with belt loop, cleaning cloth and neck strap
Your search for the best monocular for hiking can possibly end with our Editor’s choice, the ROXANT Grip Scope HD Monocular. Packed with features, it easily makes the smartest choice for a safe and wondrous hike.
The product ensures a non-slip grip that allows you to focus without any shaking. Moreover, it’s designed for extended use as it’s lightweight and comfortable to hold. To provide you with high-quality image, ROXANT supplements this monocular with fully multi-coated optical glass for clear viewing. It’s also ideal for travel because of its wide field of view.
What’s even more exciting is that it comes packed with accessories, such as carry pouch, belt loop, neck strap, and cleaning cloth. However, the only thing, which may be a turn-off for experienced users is the limited magnification of 6x. Still, this could be the ideal choice for amateur backpackers and semi-professionals.
More features: 2-year warranty, waterproof and fog-resistant, comes with phone adapter and tripod, O-ring sealed optics
If you have ever hiked and wished you could take the pictures of the beautiful scenery the way you witness it, your wishes can come true. This VIVREAL 12×50 HD Monocular comes with a smartphone holder and tripod to allow you to make fantastic HD photos. The holder is compatible with the latest versions of the iPhone and Samsung, Sony, LG, and HTC.
Unfortunately, some people said that they couldn’t get quality photos at a greater distance. Apart from this, what makes it a great monocular is the high magnification and the field of view to provide you an exhilarating experience on your hike. Moreover, the BAK-4 prism and multi-coated lens guarantee brightness even in low light conditions. It gets even better because it provides the users a single-handed focus to give it better adjustability while allowing you to concentrate comfortably on your target without the risk of any slipping. It’s also waterproof and keeps the lens from getting foggy. The O-ring seal also prevents moisture and dust. You can take a chance with this as it comes with a 2-year warranty as well.
What do we love it for?
Large field of view
Comes with tripod and smartphone holder
What were we disappointed with?
Not that great for making photos at bigger distance
More features: fully multi-coated optics, ED Prime glass, BAK-4 prisms, twist-up eyecups, waterproof and fog proof
The premium pick presents to you a wide range of features at a relatively higher price. If a hiking monocular is of much importance to you, then you can consider investing in this one.
It ensures vivid, sharp, and bright pictures to make your hiking even more amazing. This is because of the exceptional optics with BaK-4 prisms, fully multi-coated optics, and ED Prime glass. Moreover, you can easily magnify up to 10 times and also to spot your targets while also having a large field of view. For your comfort, it’s equipped with comfortable twist-up eyecups and includes the Picatinny rail and carry clip for ease of use and handling.
For prevention against any risks and damages, it’s also waterproof and fog proof with a RainGuard HD, which is a permanent water repellent coating designed to keep your monocular protected.
More features: nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed, adjustable eyecup, fully multi-coated lenses, increases light transmission, 16.4 feet close focus
The Vortex Optics Solo Monocular remains a champion in features such as form, shape, weight, and ease of handling. This monocular is perfect for hiking if ease of handling is your top priority. With a rubber armor and non-slip grip, the monocular is safe to be used in different weather conditions. Moreover, it gives you perfect, crisp views of the scenery.
With the 10x magnification and 25mm objective lens, it increases the light transmission and makes the image better. You are also able to adjust the eyecup for comfortable viewing with or without glasses. If waterproof and fog proof products are your concerns, then this monocular is nitrogen purged, and O-ring sealed to provide comfortable viewing without the hindrance of fog. The durability and ease of handling are the winning factors of this monocular, which allows you to have 315 feet at 1000 yards field of view with a close focus of 16.4 feet. However, the focus ring is quite thin, so it makes adjusting the product a bit tricky.
More features: 30-days money-back guarantee, comes with pouch, lens covers, cleaning cloth, hand strap, rubberized housing
The FEEMIC monocular is perfect for people who are interested in casual viewing on their hiking trip. The wide viewing angle and great optics provide the precision you might want. Thanks to the FMC superior BAK-4 green prism, you will get the serene outdoor hiking adventure of a lifetime.
For your ease, it’s also life-waterproof and fog proof. It’s filled with nitrogen, has a built-in lens dust cover, and a rubber finish to ensure that it’s dust-resistant, shock-resistant. The lens is also of high quality and allows for 99% light transmission.
However, a few customers said that the magnification was not enough to provide a clear focus at a larger distance while they were viewing. Still, the monocular can be used by a single hand with a band and rubber armor. Additionally, this monocular comes with useful accessories and has a tripod socket, so you can achieve better stability.
More features: comes with carrying bag, eyepiece and lens protection covers, cleaning cloth, strap, BAK-4 prism, fully multi-coated lens, fog proof and waterproof
The Emarth monocular is the most powerful monocular in this list with a magnification up to 30x, which provides you a breathtaking view every time you use it during your backpacking trip. A lower magnification range is also provided for users who need a larger field view and a steady image.
The BAK-4 crystal prism and fully multi-coated objective lens also provide a brighter and clearer image with a light transmission of 99.8%. While the larger dimensions may make it difficult to handle, the Emarth monocular is durable and tough with its waterproof and fog proof features and rugged external armor to protect it against damages and impacts.
If you want to preserve the sights you see, you are also able to use it with a phone adapter. If the technical features weren’t enough to win your approval, Emarth also offers a lifetime VIP customer service with a free money-back guarantee.
More features: quick Focusing, BAK-4 prism, comes with neck strap, carrying bag with a belt clip, waterproof, fog proof, nitrogen filled
SMIZE provides the backpacking travelers and hikers with a wondrous monocular. To fulfil their needs and requirements of viewing objects and journey in a brighter vision, the SMIZE monocular is equipped with a 12x magnification power and a field of view of about 246 feet at 1000 yards.
With a Bak4 prism, you will be able to get a clear view everywhere. Moreover, this HD monocular is protected from harm with its fog proof, waterproof, and nitrogen-filled design, which enable it to be used in the harshest conditions.
The best thing about this monocular is that it comes with some accessories, including as a cleaning cloth, 2 lens covers, a neck strap, a carrying case, and a belt clip. There might be some issues arising because of its large size, although a neck strap can make it easier to be carried.
More features: rubber armor, dust-proof, waterproof, shockproof design, nitrogen filled waterproof and O-ring sealed, smartphone adapter included
The Gosky Titan High Power Monocular gives users the best experience on their backpacking journey. For hikers who long to take pictures of the serene view and for wanderlusts who wish to preserve every memory of their travels, this monocular gives you a chance to attach your smartphone to the monocular and get the quality shots.
The high power magnification allows you to have a bright and clear image during birdwatching and hiking. This model is equipped with a large BAK-4 prism inside with a fully multi-coated lens to provide a superior light transmission. The reviews praised the material of the monocular the most, and the solid framework has a shock-absorbing rubber armor with stripes for an easy grip. The nitrogen-filled waterproof and O-ring sealed optics prevent moisture and dust from getting inside. However, for better stability, it is recommended to be used with a tripod.
More features: multi-coated glass, waterproof and fog proof, rubber covered, lifetime limited warranty, twisting eyecup, includes belt case, lanyard, and cleaning cloth
This compact Celestron Nature Monocular is perfect for backpackers who need a lightweight, hand-held monocular. The product is multi-coated for maximum resolution and provides you with a bright, clear view of nature. It’s also waterproof and fog proof, which is a huge benefit for any weather. And to enhance the ease of use, the manufacturer covered it with a rubber armor, which provides protection and gives a great grip.
The monocular is suited so that you can easily focus on your object with a single hand, as it’s equipped with a convenient diopter focus dial. The eyecup is comfortable even for users who wear glasses. For people with concerns about ease of carrying it around, the Celestron Monocular is not only light but is also pocket-sized. However, for people who struggle with keeping the monocular steady, this might be a challenge: the monocular isn’t equipped or compatible with a tripod.
More features: multi-coated BAK-4 prisms, designed to meet military standards, tripod adaptable, 3.28-feet close focus
he BARSKA Battalion Waterproof Monocular provides its users with a monocular best-suited for those who do not need high magnification. While the magnification is only 8x, the field of view is 357 feet at 1000 yards, and it also allows a close focus. Apart from that, the BAK-4 prisms are multi-coated, so they transmit more light to give a clear and bright view. It also focuses very well without any color distortion or blurred edges. Therefore, these are some great qualities of a monocular at the current price point.
The rubber coating makes an easy grip, and it also acts as a shock absorber to prevent damages. This is what makes it rugged and dependable. The monocular comes with a carrying case, wrist strap, and a lens cloth as well. However, there is a downside to the monocular, as there are no lens covers, so you have to be very careful when carrying it with you.
What makes it stand out?
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
No lens covers
Things to Consider
Buying monocular for a hiking trip is certainly an exciting purchase. Not only this product enhances your ability to observe nature during the backpacking trip, but it also keeps you safe on the journey and allows you to stay on the track. It also lets you capture wonderful pictures to share with your friends or upload on your travel blog – the possibilities are endless! In this section, we will provide you with information such as the detailed description of useful factors and answers to some frequently asked questions that should help you narrow down your choice and select a monocular, which is the best suited for you.
How to pick the best monocular for backpacking?
Monoculars enhance the hiking experience, but it’s important to buy one that’s best suited for your needs. As a monocular will be there to assist you and be your buddy in most of the travels, you shouldn’t buy the first one you see. With so many models available on the market, it might be a bit confusing to get the right product. This is why we will explain each factor carefully to help you buy the best monocular for backpacking.
The objective diameter talks about the size of the first lens. This parameter can determine the quality of the image and the field of view the product offers. Usually, you can find this parameter in the name of the product or in the specs. For example, the ROXANT Grip Scope High Definition Wide View Monocular has a specification of “8x 30”, which means it has an objective lens diameter of 30mm.
The objective lens diameter of monocular states how much light transmission your monocular allows.
The larger objective lens allows more light to be captured by the monocular. However, this makes your monocular larger and bulky and may impact its portability. It depends on your needs, whether a wider and sharper image is preferable to a lightweight monocular.
The magnification of a monocular is one of the crucial factors for every traveler. A monocular best suited to backpacking should have a magnification power, which is high enough to guide the way and show you the beauty of your path. Monoculars with a higher magnification power enable the eye to see you further in greater detail than usual. For example, the VIVREAL 12×50 HD Monocular has a magnification power of 12x, which means that an object will appear 12 times closer than it would normally without the assistance of a monocular.
Higher magnification can also lead to a heavier monocular. However, you should go for a monocular that balances its lightweight nature and is able to provide you with a strong enough optics.
Field of view
The field of view is one of the equally important features that may influence your buying decision for a backpacking monocular. This parameter determines the territory that you can observe through the monocular. For example, the editor’s choice The ROXANT Grip Scope High Definition Wide View has the largest field of view of 552 ft. at 1000 yards. This means that if there’s a body of water 1000 yards away, you will be able to see 552 feet of it.
However, there is a trade-off between magnification power and the field of view, as a larger magnification power means that the field of view will decrease. You need to consider what is important between the two choices, or you can opt for a monocular, such as the Emarth High Power 10-30X50 Zoom Monocular, which has a variable magnification.
Eye relief is the distance between the eyepiece of the monocular (the ocular lens) and your eye and is known to affect how far you can view through the monocular’s scope. If you have impaired vision, you may need a larger eye relief of 14mm or more. However, if you have perfect eyesight and don’t wear glasses, you may not need a larger eye relief. The Vortex Optics Solo Monocular 10×25 is a great option for comfortable viewing with or without glasses.
The eye relief is an important aspect of a monocular as it determines how sharp your picture view is. If the eye is farther or too close to the eyepiece than deemed necessary, the outer edge of the picture may not be viewable.
The dimensions of a monocular are largely impacted by the objective lens and magnification power. Therefore, the size may, in turn, affect the weight of the monocular. An ideal monocular is must have a small size, which makes it fit into your pocket and be carried around easily, but shouldn’t be small enough to lower the optics’ size and focus knob. The ROXANT Monocular, the Editor’s Choice, has the ideal dimensions of 5.5 x 2 x 2 in.
The weight of a monocular is an important aspect, which determines the choice as you would not want a monocular, which is too heavy to carry or to hold. A small, lightweight monocular will easily fit in your pocket and will also be easier to carry during extended trips and make for hassle-free usage. As you increase the magnification power of a lens, it becomes heavier and may require a tripod to be used properly. In this aspect, many monoculars are equipped with a tripod socket or a neck strap to assist you in case the weight is higher than average. The FEEMIC 8×42 High Power Monocular can be a perfect product because it weighs approximately 9 ounces and doesn’t take much space.
Durability and weather resistance
As high-quality monoculars are not easy or cheap to come across, it’s recommended to check the durability of a monocular, especially for hiking.
You may face unfavorable weather conditions, or you may drop a monocular accidentally. For such cases, you should prepare by choosing a product with a sturdy design.
Many monoculars come with some sort of protection. This could be their fog proof and waterproof features. ‘Fog proof’ means that the internal environment of the scope has been sealed and purged with nitrogen to prevent any internal fogging. ‘Waterproof’ means that it won’t be damaged by water. Apart from this, many monoculars come with impact-resistant rubber housing that minimizes the risk of damaging the product. The Vortex Optics Solo Monocular 10×25 is a wonderful example here with rubber armor to make it resistant to impacts.
Just like with any product, the price is an important factor that can affect your buying decision. Usually, greater features accompany a higher price.
The ROXANT Grip Scope High Definition Wide View Monocular costs approximately $40 and provides a bright and vivid picture every time you use it. If you wish to have better magnification, while having the same features, the premium choice of the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular at $175 can be a perfect one. However, if you’re starting out your hiking adventure for the first time and prefer a more suitable option for beginners, our best value choice, the VIVREAL 12×50 HD Monocular, is priced at $32 and provides you with additional accessories such as a smartphone adapter and a tripod to help you make fantastic shots. While the price is an important factor, your decision may also depend on some extra features and lens quality.
Hiking monoculars come with different qualities and features. However, a consistent feature across almost all products reviewed, regardless of their price point, was the armor to protect them from potential damages. Some monoculars are equipped with neck straps and hand straps to prevent the occasional falls, and in case the fall does take place, the shock-absorbing rubber protection will help. The rubber armor also makes it easy to handle thanks to the non-slip coating. The waterproof nature of certain monoculars also protects it from damages in case it falls in a ditch or a pool of water.
A monocular lasts longer when it’s better cared for. As most monoculars are equipped with shock-absorbing rubber armor, the most vulnerable area is the lens. If the lenses are cared for and cleaned properly, the monocular can last for years. If you see any dirt or stains on it, you can start by wiping the lens – the ocular and the objective lens – by using cloth wipes made from microfiber glass cloth. Don’t use the tissues or toilet paper as they can scratch the lenses. You shouldn’t use water to clean them, although you can surely use a lens cleaning solution. If sand or dirt particles are stuck around the lens, you can also use a blower to remove them. During your trip, you should avoid touching the lenses. To store the monocular, you should first wipe it dry, remove dirt or salt deposits, close it with the lens cap and place it in its case. Make sure you keep the case in a dry place without any dust.
There’s absolutely no reason why an impaired vision should keep you away from using a monocular. You can surely use a monocular for backpacking and hiking even if you wear glasses as most monoculars provide great eye relief and adjustable eyecups designed for eyeglasses. Eyecups are featured with a number of fixed click stops that allow for flexibility to alter the distance. However, be sure to check out if the manufacturer included this feature in your favorite monocular.
If you’re planning to go on an extended trip, then you should surely get the best monoculars for backpacking. It’s a wise investment, which will allow you to get a better experience out there. After the detailed reviews and buying guide, we are ready to narrow it down to our top three choices for you.
However, if you require a higher magnification power, our Best Value nominee, the VIVREAL 12×50 HD Monocular gives you a waterproof product, which is also equipped with a smartphone holder and a tripod.
If you are a frequent hiker, though, you should definitely go for the relatively pricy option, the premium Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular. We love this model for its Ultra HD glass and compact and lightweight body. It also boasts features like a RainGuard and prime glass.
In essence, it all boils down to your needs and budget. We hope that our guide helped you find the best monocular for backpacking to make your next trip even better!