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Why Monoculars Are Essential for Any Outdoor Adventure

Is that a bear in the distance? Does the trail veer east or west up ahead? What does that sign say? Exploring the great outdoors is a whole lot easier (and safer) when you can see faraway objects up close. Historically, binoculars have been what hikers, hunters, bird watchers, and other adventurers stash in their backpacks, but monoculars are growing in popularity, and for good reason.

Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or just a casual weekend hiker, here’s a quick look at why you might want to stash a monocular in your explorer’s pack.

Why Choose a Monocular?

Monoculars are typically small, lightweight, and compact. They’re the perfect size and dimensions to keep in your jacket pocket or to even hold in your hand as you hike. Because of their small size, they’re highly portable and make it easy to quickly get a closer look at things in the distance. Instead of hauling your bigger and bulkier binoculars out of your backpack, you can just pull up your monocular and take an instant peek. Many hikers, bird watchers, hunters, and adventurers opt to pack both binoculars and monoculars for just this reason.

What Kind of Magnification Can I Expect?

Monoculars come in a variety of magnifications but they tend to be on par with most binoculars, offering magnifications from 6x to 10x. The main difference is that monocular lenses tend to be on the small side, around 25 or 30mm, so they offer a more limited field of view than comparable binoculars. The larger the lens the more light the monocular will bring in, resulting in a brighter and clearer view.

It can be tempting to think the higher the magnification, the better. Depending on your needs, this may be true, but keep in mind that with higher magnifications it’s even harder to keep the image steady. In some cases, it may be more beneficial to have a lower magnification for greater ease-of-use.

It’s important to note that monoculars are often confused or associated with spotting scopes, which have much higher levels of magnification. Scopes are essentially large monoculars. They offer significantly higher levels of magnification than either monoculars or binoculars. They’re also much heavier and bulkier, so they’re not as portable or as convenient.

What About Night Vision Monoculars? 

When the sun starts to set and your outdoor adventures are still underway, it can be handy to have a night vision monocular at your disposal. While these aren’t as powerful as standard monoculars, they feature built-in IR illuminators to let you see faraway objects or terrain in low light or complete darkness. If you’re embarking on an outdoor adventure, a Monocular with night vision capabilities can also be a handy device to pack in case of emergency.