Good Binoculars For Preparedness


Having a good pair of binoculars can be a great asset for many various applications, and similarly will be a valuable and useful tool for preparedness.

I have owned several pair of binoculars over the years, and while I do have a current favorite ‘best’ pair, the fact is that owning ANY pair is better than having none – given their many practical uses.

Here is a bit more about it, as well as a request to brainstorm a list of uses for binoculars:

Binoculars come in a very wide variety of shapes, sizes, weights, qualities, ruggedness, and technical parameters. Some are cheap and inexpensive while others can be VERY expensive. Obviously your use-case-scenario (what you’ll be using them for) will partially determine what’s best for you (as well as your budget).

I have always been a fan of quality, and I appreciate the differences between the ‘cheap’ and the ‘good’ or even ‘best’. That said, sometimes it’s just not practical to pay for quality, but other times it’s well worth the extra.

A current pair which I’ve owned for years is the Nikon Monarch ATB 8×42. While there are binoculars that cost lots more, I have found this quality pair to be a very good combination of attributes from a well known and highly regarded ‘optics’ company. They are not ‘compact’ but I enjoy the relatively light-weight small design (very important if you’re carrying around) coupled with the extremely good quality optics (the main reason for having binoculars!), low-light performance, waterproof, and rubber armored body for grip and durability.

(relative size) Not compact, but not too big either.

I’m currently browsing around for a good quality pair of ‘compact’ binoculars, but haven’t decided yet. If you have any preferences regarding the ‘compact’ size, manufacturer, model, etc.. comment and let me (and the rest of us) know…

Okay, lets come up with a list of uses (practical or otherwise) for binoculars.

I’ll just list a few to get it started, and then after you’ve commented with your own thoughts, I’ll update the list later.


Uses For Binoculars

General purpose from inside the house. My Nikon binoculars are usually hanging next to one particular large window which overlooks some of the property, woods, and fields. Since I don’t have the eyes of an eagle, I often use them to discover “what is that?” that I see moving out there…

Bird watching. We have lots of birds around this year and there’s one elusive variety that I’ve not yet seen (although I very often hear its unique ‘call’ which I’ve never heard before until moving here). This bird is evidently very timid and whenever I even remotely approach the tree where I hear it – he goes silent. Even with the binoculars I haven’t spotted this bird yet. One day…

Surf casting (fishing). When I occasionally take a ‘R & R’ trip from here in the mountains down to the ocean for some surf casting, binoculars help while scanning down the shoreline looking for birds hitting the water or an area of ‘boiling’ water with ‘bait fish’ – both signs of a school of larger fish underneath doing their natural part of the ‘food chain’ cycle…

Okay lets hear from you.
Brainstorm a list of uses for a pair of binoculars, and why we should have a pair…

Note: It’s interesting how we often refer to binoculars as “a pair of binoculars”. It’s actually a pair of hinged monoculars which makes them a single ‘binocular’, is it not? But I digress… ;)


  1. Here’s a use,

    Use them to see the economic freight train ‘wreck’ that’s barreling down the tracks right toward us…

    Although I suppose it’s close enough now not to need binoculars.

  2. Had a “gang scout” in the neighborhood yesterday, claiming to be working on a scholarship by selling cook books. He tried to ask far too many questions about the sizes of the homes, incomes of the residents, etc. He was escorted out by the local PD.

    I love binos and have several pair for urban survival, road trips for business/travel, etc. and on more than one occasion, used then to observe freeway closures due to crashes far ahead of everyone else. Allowed us to make a nice detour without the crush of traffic.

    I consider them a must have with you item. (also have used them eyeball various thugs in areas we were not familiar with, to avoid contact.)

  3. I’ve been battling whether or not to purchase the Nikon Monarch ATB or the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD for some time now.

    A month ago I was able to get some hands-on comparison time with both, but I’m still no closer to making a decision.

    Anyone have thoughts to help me lean one way or the other…?

  4. I use mine when sighting or re-sighting a rifle. Those little specs on the paper are much easier to see from 50 – 100 yards away with the binos. Especially when you’re working with your .22. Which if you set up several targets at once it’ll save you some walking back and forth. That’s more for saving time rather than saving yourself a walk. :)

  5. We have two sets of binoculars. Our first one was a Christmas gift given to us about 35 years ago. It’s a Nikon 7 X 35. Great for wildlife watching and to check out slow driving cars on our road. So sharp we can make out the license numbers from about 250′ out. Our second set is a ATN night vision pair which I bought maybe 20 years ago. I wish I had investigated them further before buying as it takes an odd size battery. I will look to replace it at some point but other projects take priority right now.

  6. Have 3 Pair, but would love to get some of those “perma focus”, but last trip to the old eye-doc he asked me if I wanted tri-focal or progressing lens, DANG. Funny thing is how ya take your glasses off during an eye exam, than that fool ask you to read the chart….. Give me a break Doc, I cant even see the floor if I fell on it HAHAHAHA

    Ever been to a “live” football/baseball game? you better have a pair at those things.

    I use them a lot during hunting season. I’m a sit and spot guy, not a walk and have heart-attack guy.

    I keep a good eye on the surrounding area once or twice a day just to look for “different” stuff going on

    They are good for a checking what’s coming down the driveway.

    Crazy as it might seem, they are good for astronomy. Looking at planets/moons is a LOT better with both eyes and a pair of Nocks, not so much power of a 16″ Orion Scope even with the power turned way down.

    Ok, here’s a question, why is it socks, gloves, shoes, dice, etc. you get two of them when talking a “pair” BUT pants, nocks, underwear, glasses, etc. you only get one??? Frustrating as heck I think.


  7. Im lucky enough to have the Superstition Mountains right in my back yard. We use Monarch 10×42, super clear and work well in low light. We often see big horn sheep, hikers and some times at night we see campfires. We would be lost without them, seems we spend more time than I thought looking at our Mountain

  8. I have a pair of Nikon 7×50 Ocean series with built in lighted compass. They are GREAT in low light situations and pressing a little button give a red lit compass bearing. They are a little large but they are great for doing cross fixes to get position.

    I also have a cheap brand junk that are my bang around, when I use them side by side with my Nikon it is literally like night and day. On a star lit night, Out of the cheap lack , Nikon shadows and some depth.

    1. Yes 6 Binos, since I hold them (sometimes) up to my glasses does that counts as 6, correct??? HAHAHAHA
      Not really found what I really like, but going to check out the suggestions here to see what I can find.
      PS; being old sucks at times. LOLOL

      1. Have you tried the handyman’s secret weapon? I’m guessing three sets of binoculars in a row could see a *long* way. Or maybe not.

      2. NPR, really you expect the english language to be consistent:) I’m wearing a PAIR of socks, shoes, pants, and underwear, but only a single T-shirt, shit, but oh sh** I have a pair of gloves and pair of glasses! Here I though I saw a rule, below the waist PAIR, above MONO but not, what’s going on here???? LOL:)

        1. HAHAHA, that’s great!!! love it, now toss in the fact you (like most of us) wear more than one “hat” at a time. :-)

  9. With my eyesight, monoculars work a lot better.

    I wonder how much of the price is for the name with Nikon, Pentax, etc. I’ve had very good luck with products by Vortex. Get them at Amazon, 30 day no question return policy.

  10. I 2nd Tango’s recommendation above. I’ve had a pair of 6×30 Leupold Yosemites for a few years now. Lightweight, compact and surprisingly clear optics for the price at the time(<$100). Great for where I hunt.

    Many people fall for the trap of high magnification. It is great for discerning fine detail, but optic shake really turns it to a disadvantage. Low power is much more forgiving and you see more detail, being able to study the view.

    Using a rest is recommended, but if you must use them without it, grasp the barrels with the middle, ring and pinky finger, leaving the thumb and forefinger free. Rest the thumb on your cheekbones, the forefinger on your temple and you have a steadier view.

  11. First off, any binocular/monocular is better than none. With that said, I have several pairs of varying quality. Some of the older brands were well made, but are heavy. There were made with brass or bronze bodies but of reasonable optical quality. I did but a pair of Swarovski’s binoculars about 20+ years ago and they are reliable and have a long warranty. The difference is; the standard binoculars have to be adjusted/sighted for distance during use, the quality ones do not. Simply scan and look at your target after initial set up after purchase. I had the opportunity to use a set of Zeiss 8X56 in old Yugoslavia (Sarajevo), and they were a cut above other binoculars. At $1500.00 then to now about $2500.00 now, they better be. For magnification, anything in the 8x power is fine. But the arpeture is what counts. For early morning or evening use (read low light), you want an opening that is at least 40mm or better. Most sizes above 30-35mm are either 48 or 56mm. I would recommend a quality monocular as a survival tool. There are some that have a compass built-in which may or may not be useful. Unless you are out on the water, waterproof optics are not necessary. Water resistance is assumed for most quality optics if they are nitrogen charged. Untill I hit the lottery, I will survive with what I have. I hope this helps someone.

  12. Ken quote: “I’m currently browsing around for a good quality pair of ‘compact’ binoculars, but haven’t decided yet. If you have any preferences regarding the ‘compact’ size, manufacturer, model, etc.. comment and let me (and the rest of us) know…”

    Any suggestions?

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