10 Best Lightweight Binoculars for Travel (Compact & Cheap)

(Last Updated On: May 10, 2019)

Are you looking for the best lightweight binoculars for travel?

Here is our Quick answer: The 4 Best lightweight binoculars for 2019 are;

    1. Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8×42 Binocular (Black)
    2. Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular
    3. Bushnell 190125 Legend Binoculars
    4. Celestron 71380 Granite Series 9×33 Roof Prism Binocular 

Well, carrying lightweight accessories along is one of the recommended hacks for a better travel experience. Packing your travel bag with lightweight accessories is an art. Master it. Otherwise, your travel experience may be a tiring one if you don’t select the right lightweight travel accessories.

The last time I travelled to Banol, Spain for the La Tomatina festival, my travel bag was just under 10 pounds. This was all because of my super-efficient collection of lightweight items including my lightweight binocular.

Can you enjoy serene around while hiking mountains carrying a heavy binocular? Can you enjoy African safari watching wildlife with the same heavy binocular? Is it even possible for you to hunt for an elk without the best lightweight HD binocular? That’s why you need to get the best lightweight binoculars for travel regardless of your travel destination.

Why You Need to Buy Lightweight Binoculars for Travel

Binocular may seem to be a very simple accessory but I bet, travelling, sight-seeing, hiking, and hunting without the right binoculars is exactly similar to watching a 3D movie without the 3D glasses. You must research for the right precise binocular just like you do the research before buying any DSLR. Hey, just relax since we have saved you from the hassle of browsing Google and flooding the browser windows with binoculars’ specifications. We have done extensive research for you and have formulated a complete A-Z guide on how to buy binoculars for travel. This guide will help you find the best all-purpose binoculars matching your needs and requirements.

The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Lightweight Binoculars is Here

This research for the best binoculars is not restricted to travelling alone but it covers all the related subjects including binoculars for

  • Safari and wildlife viewing
  • Birds’ watching
  • Long-distance and landscape viewing
  • Mountain hiking
  • Elk Hunting

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying Binoculars

  • How much do binoculars cost?
  • What are the best binoculars for long distance viewing?
  • What is the best brand of binoculars?
  • What is a good binocular strength?
  • How to do binocular magnification comparison?
  • What is binocular power ratings?

Five Important Features to Consider Before Buying Lightweight Binoculars

Before getting directly to the list and options of best binoculars, let’s have a quick glance at the major features on the basis of which we should decide which binocular is best suited for us. We have made quite a compact summary of the features for our readers rather than giving a long list of specifications which confuse the buyers.

#1 Magnifying Ability

The basic purpose of the binocular is to magnify distant objects to give clear visibility to the user. The general rule of thumb is to buy a binocular with 10x magnifying power. It means that the binocular can zoom in ten times and you can see a 100 meters away leopard at safari at (100/10) 10 meters closer. However, the downside is that more magnification means the movement of your hand is also amplified. So, as the magnification of binocular increases, it becomes more and more sensitive to the movement of the user. Thus, the binocular becomes shaky so do not go for any higher magnification than 10x since the binocular won’t be easily handled and the view will be unstable.

#2 Light

This is the top-most feature that you should consider before buying any binocular for either travelling or hunting. The binocular should be able to give you a clear view and visibility even in low light and it all depends on the lens and the type of glass used in the binocular. This feature becomes really colossal for hunting since best times for hunting are either dawn or dusk. So, the binocular must perform well in low lights. The tip is that the lens of higher diameter is used for low lights and lower diameter lens are best suited for daylights.

#3 Field of view

This feature is about the total width and depth of the view that can be covered by any binocular lens. In simpler words, a wide field of view implies that you can view a larger area and vice versa for a narrow field of view. If the binocular gives a wider field of the area, then you don’t have to focus especially during hunting or safari visit. The recommended field of view is around 100 meters or more.

#4 Weight and Size

Oh yes, don’t end up buying a Jack of all binocular which is so heavy that it can’t be handled during travelling. You must consider all the conditions of carrying this gadget so it should be lightweight and easy to handle. Good quality binoculars are a bit heavy but for travelling, it’s always good to go for a compact small size or mid-size and lightweight binocular.

#5 Body and Design

The body and design of the binocular should be easy to grip with non-slippery material or covered with a rubber armour to give the extra grasp to the handler. The binocular should be made of strong material in order to cope up with the rough and tough conditions on mountains or in safari. Moreover, the binocular should be water-proof as well as fog-proof since you never know what kind of weather conditions are going to be there while travelling or hunting. The fog-proofing allows you to get the best vision from your binoculars.

Understanding Specifications of Lightweight Binoculars

By looking at the above binocular rating chart, we have observed that the price range varies significantly from $140 – $1000. So, the next question arises how do we actually differentiate between them? How do we find the best binocular brands and compare binocular powers? Moreover, certain types of binoculars are best suited for safari and bird viewing and certain are best for hunting or travelling.

How to Buy Binoculars Guide?

Don’t worry and just sit back, relax and read since we have got all of it covered in our upcoming section. This is going to be an all-rounder list covering all the basic requirement of the best lightweight and ultra compact binoculars available and we will be covering them in detail and will give the Pros and Cons of the products.

Best Lightweight Binoculars Reviews 2019

#1 Bushnell Legend Binoculars Review

This binocular gives you the best quality in a low budget. With the price around $144, this binocular is lightweight, compact, waterproof and fog proof. Not only that, it gives 10x magnification thus making it best for bird viewing and safari visit.

The best thing about this binocular is that it has got ultra wide-band and anti-glare, anti-reflective lens that gives sharp and clear images. The prime glass lens is waterproof because of its water-repellent coating. The cherry on top is that this binocular comes with all its essentials that include carrying case, neck strap, lens cloth, and binocular harness.

Key Features

  • Easy on pocket
  • Lightweight, portable and durable with magnesium chassis
  • The best optical performance with extra-low dispersion lenses
  • Anti-reflecting coating on lenses to self-optimize brightness and contrast
  • Water repellent coating on lenses to minimize light dispersion in extreme weather conditions
  • Maximum image clarity and resolution enhancement

Pros

This Bushnell binocular is small and can be carried in one hand thus it can be used by bikers and runners. The double-hinged closed bridge design is a plus for the users with glasses. It is quite difficult to find a binocular that gives clear bright images and high-quality lens for clear and bright viewing in under $150.

Cons

Since this pair of binocular is quite small in size so the 10x magnification is bigger as compared to its size and maybe a little difficult to be used by everyone since the handshaking affects the image resolution. One more thing is that this binocular fails to provide long eye relief.

Bottom Line

It is mini-budget power-packed binocular full of features giving best optical quality by optimizing light and brightness. This Bushnell binocular is quite light in weight and compact with soft touch grips thus making it the best cheap binocular for safari. The binocular comes at a very reasonable price and full of features and the optical quality matches the price.

Also Read: Best Elk Hunting Binoculars to Buy in 2019 (Buyer’s Guide and Our Top Recommendations)

#2 Emmabin 119198 BX-1 McKenzie Green Ring Binoculars, Black, 10 x 42mm review

This is yet another good quality binocular in a low budget of $160 to accompany you while hunting or bird watching. This is easy to use, handy binocular that comes with smooth focusing and adjustments. The binocular is quite light in weight and comes with a waterproof and fog proof body design.

The features that make this binocular handy are its variable height eyecups that can be adjusted and central focus dial that can be used even with gloved hands thus allowing the users to achieve precise focus. This small and compact binocular comes with Phase coated Roof prisms which enhance resolution for a distant location and gives a sharp-edged clear image.

Key Features

  • Great quality in affordable price
  • Easily adjustable focal dial to manually adjust the focus on distant objects
  • Diopter focus paddle to facilitate users to adjust the binoculars
  • Waterproof and fog proof capability to withstand rain and snow
  • Increased resolution to give sharp images

Pros

This McKenzie binocular fulfils all the requirements of its users with its compact design in a pocket-friendly budget. It comes with a smooth adjustable diopter focus and phase coated roof prism for an enhanced resolution giving sharp visibility. Not only that, one of the lacking features in the Bushnell binocular was Long relief. But this is no longer a problem in case of McKenzie. It has also got twist-up eyecups so that users can adjust in accordance to their eye position.

Cons

This is a low-budget binocular and has got its optical quality as per its price so do not expect some exceptional crystal clear photos.

Bottom Line

If you are looking to buy the best binocular for travel under $200 then you really need to buy this McKenzie binocular which is durable with rubber armour for a strong grip. This is definitely the best value binocular for bird watching. This binocular can withstand harsh weather conditions with its waterproof and fog proof capability.

Also Read: Best Telescopes for the Money (High Powered Telescopes for Astronomy Lovers)

#3 Pentax AD 9×32 WP Binoculars Review

If you intend to use the binocular with eyesight or sunglasses, then this binocular is for you guys. This is because of the adjustable top of this adaptive binocular. This binocular has got a wider field of view and a world-class multi-layer coating to maximize light transmission. All these features ensure bright, crystal clear vision for bird and wildlife view.

The body of this Pentax binocular is quite lightweight because of its reinforced polycarbonate design which makes it strong, durable without making it heavy. This binocular is best to use in extreme weather conditions since its waterproof submersible to 1 meter in water.

Key Features

  • Durable design, compact and lightweight body
  • Reinforced chassis gives a strong grip to the user
  • Compact roof with Porro prism
  • A complete balance between small size and high-quality viewing

Pros

Unlike other top bridge design, it has got a very user-friendly design with non-conventional open bridge design giving extra strong grip to handle this binocular. It is one of the best binoculars for people with glasses. The performance is exceptional and gives best image quality at such a reasonable price. This binocular comes with submissiveness of 1 meter in the water so the binocular will remain intact if you accidentally drop in a shallow lake while hiking.

Cons

This is an exceptional binocular in a mid-range price yet it has got 9x magnification as compared to rest of the same-priced binoculars giving 9x and 10x magnification.

Bottom Line

This Pentax binocular is a versatile package fit for travelling, safari and bird viewing. With compact size, less weight, durable construction and multi-layer coating, this is the best compact binoculars for the money in terms of features under $300.

Best Binoculars above $500

#4 Leica Ultravid BR 10×25 Compact Binocular with AquaDura Lens Coating Review

For binoculars above $500, we definitely look forward to advanced features and technologies to satisfy the demands of users. This binocular is ultra-lightweight because it is constructed with aluminium.  We really don’t need to emphasize the benefits of aluminium since its light yet extremely strong. To add to its design, it has a rubber armour to give extra-strong grip to its users. One of its outstanding features is that its diopter can be adjusted with a button.

Well, the list of exciting features is growing and to add to its compactness, it has got a double hinge and can be easily folded, stored in a small space and taken anywhere even to South Africa Safari. This binocular has got 10x magnification to give bright sharp high-resolution imaging.

Key Features

  • Wider field of view at 1,000 yards
  • Waterproof submersible up to 5 meters
  • Better controls for focus adjustment
  • Strong grip due to rubber armour
  • Foldable and easy storage

Pros

This binocular is the best choice to achieve fine optics with its high resolution, focal adjustment and wide field of view. The button for adjusting diopter is quite easy-to-use even for the people having first ever experience with the binocular. These weather-resistant armoured and lightweight binoculars should be in your travel-gadget list.

Cons

This is quite a pricy binocular yet it comes with rubber armour, not a leather one.

Bottom Line

In order to get all the features in a smaller compact size, you should buy this Leica binocular best for your money. It is one of the best compact waterproof binoculars for wildlife watching. This bestseller binocular gives sharp imaging with no discolouration or blurriness at the edges. This is a must have binocular which gives ultra-high quality in a compact size.

#5 Zeiss 10×42 Conquest HD Binocular with LotuTec Protective Coating Review

This binocular is the most expensive binocular in our top 10 list and we are just going to share its brilliant unmatched features which makes this binocular to outshine others. it is a multi-purpose binocular that can be used in almost all the situations from travelling to hunting. It has got high-definition lenses which ensure maximum colour rendering. This is the only binocular listed in our guide that claims to have HD lenses. These HD lenses technology has the ability to give crisp clear detailing and natural colour to the image. All these features make this binocular best-choice to use in low lights and during the night time.

Coming to its design, it has got a dynamic design that is easy to use and handy. This binocular comes with a state-of-the-art comfortable focus mechanism consists of a large focusing wheel to give extra optimum grip to its handler. Precise focusing can be obtained even if the user is hand gloved.

Key Features

  • Wider field of view at 1000 meters
  • Excellent Eye relief of 18mm
  • High-definition lenses
  • A twilight factor of 20.5 to give clear visibility in low light
  • Wider lens diameter of 42mm

Pros

Well, this binocular is full of detailed specifications making it all-purpose from beginners to advanced users. From clear viewing in low as well as bright lights, with a specified field of view not only in meters (1000m) and angle (66 degrees), this Zeiss binocular has got it all covered for its users.

Cons

It’s just a perfect binocular worth of its money and we just kind find any.

Bottom Line

This binocular supersedes in technology and its features and is definitely worth its price. Saving some money to buy this masterpiece won’t disappoint you. It is considered to be among the best ultra wide angle binoculars. This binocular is highly recommended to be used in low lights for hunting and astronomical viewing. We promise that you won’t regret this decision of buying this lightweight, compact and easy to handle binocular.

Also Read: Best Whale Watching Binoculars in 2019 (From Land and Boats)

Conclusion

We have tried hard to thoroughly research for our readers the best lightweight binoculars for travel available in the market. This guide contains a list of top 10 binoculars based on the five features discussed earlier. We have concluded following two decisive points to help you guys in buying binoculars.

  • If you intend to buy a single-purpose binocular, then the cost of binocular must be less than $300. The purpose can be solely travelling, hunting or safari.
  • If you are an adventurous and an outdoor person then you should go for a mid-priced or an expensive binocular above $300.

Your decision of buying the most-suited binocular should be based on above two concluding points. Additionally, we have chosen the following three mid-priced binoculars with price ranging from $250 to $350:

  • Celestron 71380 Granite Series 9×33 Roof Prism Binocular
  • Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8×42 Binocular
  • Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular

All of the above three binoculars meet both of our above-mentioned criteria. All of them have combined qualities of being lightweight, compact, smaller size with high-quality optical performance in reasonable price.

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