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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all

I've seen a couple comments recently where people thought binoculars were a waste of space/weight in their bug out preps. I'm here to suggest that is a big mistake.

First let me dispel some misconceptions

A rifle scope is NOT a good substitute for binoculars.
This is true for 2 reasons, it is not a good idea to use your rifle to identify unknown objects as that could be a person, and may consider your pointing a weapon at them as a threat. If you don't want to get shot at, start pointing your rifle around and see how that goes. Second binoculars can be focused to see through dense cover and help you identify what is behind the cover in front of you. I once shot a elk at 25 yards in dense willows, I could not see him with my naked eye but by focusing through the brush with my binoculars his head and antlers were very easy to pick out. It took over a minute of searching with my rifle scope before I found him and put him down as I had to find him through the clutter of branches, very hard to do.

The ability to focus your binoculars through dense brush and cover takes a little practice but you will be amazed what you can see that is not discernible to the naked eye. Trust me I shoot elk every year and they rarely know I'm there, and if they do know they are usually patient enough to wait for me to move before they do.

For this reason a monocular is also a poor substitute.

If I'm moving SHTF it will most likely be at night, but if I do have to move in the day it will be in good cover, using this one trick will allow you to see what is ahead of you. If you are holed up for the day, binoculars will help you over watch your position far easier, with less movement than throwing your scoped rifle around, a larger field of view and the ability to use both eyes which is far less fatiguing. The human eye is conditioned to notice movement, but you will need the ability to discern if that is a coyote or a person crawling towards you and in any kind of cover binoculars make that easy.

Because I use them so much in heavy cover (which is where elk tend to spend their days) I prefer 8x30 binoculars, this gives me a good balance in field of view vs. magnification. It also keeps them compact so they are not a boat anchor around your neck, my current set is 4.25 inches long and 4.5" wide and weights 1.4 pounds.

I prefer to use a binocular harness rather than a around the neck strap:

OP/TECH USA Bino/Cam Harness

And a pouch which is neoprene which is very water resistant, cushioning, keeps the lenses clean, and holds them next to my chest if I run or bend over.

OP/TECH USA Soft Pouch - Bino

Opinions?
 

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I totally agree.

I have a quality pair of binoculars in both of my bug out backpacks.

I use a very high quality pair in my range bag, and a less expensive pair with a wider field of view and higher magnification mounted to a tripod for use at the range if I feel like lugging it or have a buddy along to be a spotter.

I also have a laser rangefinder that doubles as a 6x monocular.

I think binoculars are an essential part of any outdoor experience.
 

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I have the regular size up to 16x by 75mm. In my BOB i have a the little pockey type Nikon 10x. I'd prefer to have the big ones but weight is weight.
 

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Binoculars are a must in my book. I'm currently looking to replace the set Ive had for 25+ years due to they have finally fogged a bit. With proper care a quality set will last a very long time.
 

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I use this 8x monocular (below) and it's an absolutely essential survival tool to see if the dots on a distant hillside are cattle or zombs!
Monoculars are half a binocular and are therefore half the price, half the weight and half the bulk of binoculars, they were routinely taken on the Apollo missions for those reasons.
Their disadvantage is that you don't get 3D vision like you do with binoculars, but if somethings far away even binocs won't give you 3D.



My monocular is an old Russian-made kinked prismatic thing made of metal (recycled T-34 tank perhaps) but I'm thinking of replacing it with a slimmer lighter modern one like below with straight-through optics.


PS- Like I said, the one I've got is 8x which is fine for general use, as higher magnifications need a steady hand or a tripod to reduce image wobble.
Higher mags also give a dimmer image, and atmospheric heat shimmer is also a problem.
I bought some 10x to 30x zoomable binoculars a few years ago but didn't like them, maybe it's just my out-of-synch eyes but I got eyestrain, so i took them back and talked the shop into refunding me
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the feedback

A monocular and a scope are the same thing and lack the benefits I mentioned before. It is hard to explain on paper but once you try and focus "through" dense brush and trees the benefits will become apparent.

It is hard to intellectualize my post, this is more of a hands on learning experience like learning the "break" of a trigger.
 

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My bino of choice is Steiner Marine Grade 8x35. Not too big, waterproof, shock proof. Good clarity and light gathering. I have hunted with them for years and in a bug out scenario, they can hang around my neck indefinitly. My long guns range from BSA Red Dot, fixed 5x, 3x9, and my long range rifle has a Leupold VX2 4x12.
 

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Darn there are just so many things that could give you edge if you had them with you. Makes me wonder what size group would be the best so that you can carry everything that could be divided up like binoculars, rope and grappling hook, nv and thermo, water purifier, communication equipment , portable charging, and still be able to travel inconspicuously. Maybe 4 people then you could alway have one person awake at all times. Going alone I would probably have to leave the binoculars back home and rely on a 3 power magnifier (quick disconnect) behind a Eotech and yes I know it is no real substitute for a good pair of binoculars but some times you have to make trade offs.

Binoculars are like spotting scopes it doesn't matter what the magnification is, if the clarity is bad you won't be able to see where you hit the target anyways. It will really surprise you to see the difference between a cheep and good optics when trying to read something at 100 yards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I agree the quality does make a difference, my backup pair of bino's is a Wind river from Leopold in 10x40 and they were about $369 back in the days.

As long as you have 2 eye sockets and a focus switch, you can take advantage of the features I talked about. At close ranges which is my main point the picture quality will be negligible.

Again, a mono (ie scope) will not give you this advantage, it takes 2 eyes to give you the depth perception.

Binoculars are NOT like spotting scopes!!

Almost any pair of bino's will do what I am suggesting. Don't get discouraged for the cost, at 30 yards any pair of binoculars will do.
 

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I have a pair of binoculars that look a little like the monocular (only two) that i inherited from my Dad, I don't hike with them though. If I'm out hiking I have my camera.

I would like to consider getting a web cam with night vision capacity though, as it is illegal to use HUD nightvision goggles up here in Canada at more than level 1 I beleive. Definately not milspec level 3, but as far as I'm aware night vision and lowlight cameras are legal. As might other EM sensing systems. Since my laptop is part of my kit for my gps, and radio equipment etc.. (still need to pick up a solar cell to charge it, and my transmitter)

I figure that a good camera with adequette cmos will probably be as effective of a lense based system, since isn't that what all the drones and stuff use?

None the less I also have a sight for a crossbow. I think if I were to get anything it would be something with range finding built in.

Its good to have that vision but in dense forest unless you are climbing trees doesn't make too much sense, can't see over the trees anyway. I'm sure in more mountain valley type environment or on large open land makes more sense.

most of the land around here is heavily forested though. The binoculars are quite heavy.

Also should note that bluetooth goggles also exist...

What I find them useful for is checking around the place from home, not too many high points around these parts, rather this area is the high point.... and all you can see is trees.
 

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Montana Rancher I took your advice on what to do with a little extra money on another thread and updated my night vision capabilities, but instead of buying a FLIR PS24 I add a couple of bucks and got the PS32.


Only had the PS32 for a day so I can't give a good comparison between night vision and Thermo all though Thermo has a big WOW factor you can walk across the floor in bare feet and then see your foot prints. In the day time a good pair of binoculars still rules.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
OMG! I am so jealous!

I have a AN/PVS-14 and in the woods where there is not a lot of ambient light it is impossible to see people in shadows. From what I've seen of the infrared scopes they eliminate this problem, too bad it doesn't have a weapons mount.

I'm getting one next month then a stock sale clears.
 

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OMG! I am so jealous!

I have a AN/PVS-14 and in the woods where there is not a lot of ambient light it is impossible to see people in shadows. From what I've seen of the infrared scopes they eliminate this problem, too bad it doesn't have a weapons mount.

I'm getting one next month then a stock sale clears.
If I could only have one I would keep the PVS-14 Thermo works a completely different and can not see through glass so you can't use it as a weapons mount, where as my pvs-14 can go behind an Eotech with the NV option. But I also have a IR laser shown in the picture. The PS32 give a completely different picture based on heat, so you couldn't identify a person with it even if they were stand right in front of you. But when looking in a field at night any living thing giving off heat glows or you can tell an area that heat is coming from, light makes no difference with the PS32 if you go in a room and someone turn on the light you can't even tell it just the bulb will start looking hotter then anything else. I have only had it for about a day to test so I am no expert . It works perfect to compliment the PVS-14. Thermo seams to give you another sense that is not based on sound or light which could be a game changer.
 

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I just found some small Infra Minox binoculars I forgot I even had. They have gone straight in my BOB. They're only 10x25 but they're not too bad. They are good at short distances and pretty good in low light at night. They have some orange type coating on the lens. I can easily read car plates in the dark over a hundred feet away that I can't read without them.

I would ideally like some bigger ones that are not too heavy in weight. Maybe 10x40. I have used some this size previously and they are very good and very powerful. You can see stuff a lot further away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
My Zies 10x32 are perfect for what I do, I use them hunting and the regulations are a half hour before sunrise before you can shoot, so they work perfectly under those situations.

I shoot most of my elk in the day time or in close, so the mythical "light gathering" advantages of 40mm and bigger are mostly just a boat anchor around your neck.
 

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My Zies 10x32 are perfect for what I do, I use them hunting and the regulations are a half hour before sunrise before you can shoot, so they work perfectly under those situations.

I shoot most of my elk in the day time or in close, so the mythical "light gathering" advantages of 40mm and bigger are mostly just a boat anchor around your neck.
I would put illuminated crosshairs over light gathering ability, as it is your crosshairs that first get washed out in low light.
 

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Yes, they are an excellent addition to your gear, and I use mine on a daily basis for scouting in the woods where I walk every day.

I was amazed by the new binoculars that do not require the user to focus them - somehow they auto focus.
 
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