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10 Best Binoculars For Survival and Defense

Avatar for Samantha Biggers Samantha Biggers  |  Updated: January 17, 2020
10 Best Binoculars For Survival and Defense

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Binoculars are useful for a lot of situations such as spotting fire, defending your area, hunting, and general scouting out of an area,  but they often get overlooked when people put together bug out bags and get home bags. Binoculars are not heavy or bulky. In fact the binoculars featured in this post are often a mere 8-10 ounces!

Here are some reasons you might want to include binoculars in your preps and some solid and affordable options to consider.

Spotting fire 

Your reaction time is crucial when it comes to fire. It can be easier to see what direction it is coming from with binoculars. Going up to a high spot and looking around could save your life by allowing you time to move out of the area and ensure you are going a way that the fire is not headed.

In our area, we had a dreadful fire season last year due to the excessively dry conditions combined with years of fire suppression. There are a lot of areas where this is getting particularly bad.  Although we have made a lot of effort to clear the understory of our woods through mechanical means and grazing, fire is something that is one of the major fears I have when it comes to overall safety.

Better defense through better vision.

During a SHTF or survival situation, being able to see out a good distance from your location can help you protect yourself and your family. If you see someone or something suspicious from a distance then you can react quickly and have a better chance at staying safe.

Remember that during a situation that you need to take a lot of precautions. Anything you can do to increase your advantage helps. Going with this line of thought. That $20-$50 spent on binoculars now could save your life.

Consider Multiple Pairs So Everyone Has A Pair

More pairs of eyes are better when you find that you are in a defensive situation and need to be on top of it at all times. If everyone has a pair of binoculars than you can increae the effectiveness of your patrols and have better overall security.

Planning your approach

How you approach an area or situation can be important. While the distance you can see can be obstructed by any number of things, better vision could make it safer for you to approach an area because you might be able to spot some dangers or things that may delay your progress. This gives you time to consider alternative routes that are safer for you and your family.


It is pretty common for hunters to use binoculars to help spot game and increase the chances of success. During a survival situation, hunting may be one of the few ways that you can put some extra protein on the table. Of course, it also might be good to have a heads up that anything larger than you want to deal with is headed your way.

Scouting Out An Area

Do you want to stick around an area for a while? To do that you might want to make sure that the area is actually suitable for a safe camp or semi-permanent bug out location. If you live out in a rural area already, binoculars can help you keep an eye on things without having to walk around absolutely everywhere. Plus you can observe anything that is concerning from a much safer distance. This is valuable because if you feel safer you are able to concentrate on finding a solution without so much fear overshadowing your decision.

Binoculars Comparison Table

Bushnell Powerview Compact Folding Roof Prism Binocular

Occer Compact Binoculars

SkyGenius Lightweight Binoculars

Height4.02 in.4.5 in.4.14 in.
Length2.8 in.4 in.3.62 in.
Width1.81 in.1.9 in.2.35 in.
Weight0.53 pounds0.65 pounds0.38 pounds
Our Rating
Customer Ratings
Check Prices & ReviewsCheck Prices & ReviewsCheck Prices & Reviews

OMZER Compact HD Binoculars

Dimensions: 4.7 x 5.9 x 2inch/12cm x 15cm x 5cm
Weight: 558g/1.23 lb

These binoculars feature a tough rubberized coating that is waterproof and helps you keep a firm non-slip grip under trying conditions. This is a quality pair of binoculars that gives you a 307 ft/1000 yards field of view. The multi-coated lens are scratch resistant. You get a neck strap, lens cap, and carrying case with purchase. The wide angle lenses give you a wider field of vision than a lot of other binoculars. This is not a company that I very familiar with but overall people seem to be very happy with what they are providing.

Bushnell Powerview Compact Folding Roof Prism Binocular

Dimensions: 4.02 x 1.81 x 2.8 in

Weight: 0.53 lbs

Bushnell is a recognized brand in the world of optics. All of their products I have used have seemed pretty solid. This budget-friendly set of binoculars is perfect for keeping in a bug out, get home bag, or just around so you can spot birds and other interesting things. I love how light weight these are. Anyone that is concerned about weight in their pack, should consider these bincoculars. At just over 8 ounces, these could even be carried on a tactical belt for easy retrieval when you need to see something fast.

Revival Gear Compact Binoculars

Dimensions: 4.33 x 4.33 x 1.97 in 

Weight: 350 grams

These bargain-priced compact binoculars are great for seeing under low light conditions. The coated lenses are scratch resistant and allow for a wide field of vision. The rubberized grip helps prevent slipping even under high stress and wet conditions. Despite the price, you get a good carrying case and neck strap. Satisfied customers report using them for everything from sporting events to low light concerts. They can hold up to being left out in the rain so you can rely on them for hunting and fishing trips as well.  10x magnification provides a crisp image at even a 1,000 yards.

Nikon 8218 Trailblazer 10X25 Hunting Binoculars

Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.8 x 4.5 inches

Weight: Less than 1/2 lb

Nikon means quality in the world of optics. We have owned some Nikon products over the years and I would not hesitate to buy them again. This set of binoculars offers rugged and compact styling. The lenses are made of lead and arsenic free Eco Glass and coated to ensure a crisp anti-reflective viewing experience. While these are not the least expensive binoculars on our list, they are worth it if you want a good quality set of binoculars that are made to stand up to rigorous hunting conditions.

Vanguard Orros Compact Waterproof Binoculars

Dimensions: 4.5 x 4.7 x 1 inches

Weight: 9.9 ounces

These binoculars are ultra light and made solidly to withstand wet conditions. In fact these are 100% waterproof and have a rubberized coating that resists damage if dropped or impacted. These are still a good deal for a quality optical device, especially if you plan on using them a lot for a variety of activities. They are guaranteed fog proof which is a big deal when you get right down to it. As someone that wears glasses, I really despise it when glasses and other optical devices have a tendency to fog up. It usually happens at the worst time possible or so it seems. The offset focus wheel allows for one handed adjustment so you can pay more attention to what is in front of you.

SkyGenius 8×21 Small Compact Lightweight Binoculars

Dimensions: 4.14 x 3.62 x 2.35inch

Weight: 0.38 lb

With so many satisfied customers it is hard to go wrong with these little binoculars if you are looking for a pair that does the job but you can afford to have many pairs of. These would be great for stashing in multiple locations or giving to a child as a first set of binoculars. These have an amazing field of view for such a small and inexpensive set. You can enjoy a 369 ft/1,000 yard view and easy focusing that makes it easy for kids and adults to use these binoculars. They come with a neck strap but no bag to carry them in. As small as they are it is easy to stash them in a small pocket in a backpack. or even a shirt.

Occer 12×25 Compact Binoculars

Dimensions: 4x 4.5 x1.9inches

Weight: 0.65 lbs

Featuring a BAK4 prism texture and an objective lens using optical FMC multilayer broadband green film, these light weight binoculars are made to offer a crisp and clear image at a reasonable cost. A rubberized non slip coating also helps waterproof. These are definitely designed to be used and adjusted with one hand so you can keep the other free for other tasks. A 273ft/1000yds wide field of view helps you not miss a thing when scanning a large area.  Large eye pieces make these a comfortable option for those that normally wear glasses.

Nikon 8264 ACULON A30 10×25 Binocular

Dimensions: 4.8 x 4.5 x 1.6 inches

Weight: 9.8 ounces

This is definitely a set of binoculars that is made to be used for extended periods of time. If you want quality, comfort, and a lightweight design, Nikon Aculon is a fabulous choice. These are the choice for a lot of hunters and outdoors people that like to watch wildlife or hike somewhere for an outstanding view. The included carry case is made of nylon. Multi-coated Eco Glass lenses are guaranteed to be free of lead and arsenic. The coatings also help you see under low light conditions and ensure that you don’t get weird glares and prisms when you are scouting out an area. Nikon stands behind their product too so if you ever have a problem then it will get taken care of.

Bushnell Powerview 8×25 Porro Binocular

Dimensions: 2.09 x 4.09 x 3.9 in

Weight: 9.1 ounces

I like the rugged design of these binoculars and since they are made by Bushnell I have no problem recommending them to preppers looking for a functional and lightweight pair of binoculars for general and survival use. The armored coating also helps with grip and you can easily focus and adjust these binoculars.  The lenses are fully coated so you have a crisp view with no distortion or distracting prism effects like you can get with cheap and inferior sets of binoculars.  The field of vision is rated to 340 ft/ 1000 yards. These actually come with a limited lifetime warranty which is pretty good.

Wingspan Optics Spectator 8X32 Compact Binoculars

Dimensions: 4.5 x 4.5 x 1.75 inches

Weight: 15.2 ounces

These are some of the largest binoculars on our list. If you want lightweight but a little more size, then this is a set that can deliver a quality optical experience wherever life’s adventures may take you. The binoculars are waterproof and shock resistant. You get a neck strap, lens caps, and a nice case. Those that have purchased these are very vocal about how clear a scent they can see when using them for wildlife watching. You get a lifetime warranty against any defects and  a 30 day warranty where you can return them for any reason whatsoever.  I know I said these are lightweight but at the same time there are some on this list that comes in at just a little more than 8 ounces.

Get A Feel For Your New Binoculars

Sure binoculars are easy to use but you should get out and use them a bit even if they are intended to go in your bug out bag and not be used very often. It is better to familiarize yourself in good times and less stressful circumstances.  Taking out a pair of binoculars can be a lot of fun. There are so many things out there to see that you might be missing just using your own vision.  A lot of people really enjoying getting out and bird watching.

Do you have a favorite pair of binoculars? Did any of the ones on this list meet your expectations or disappoint you? I was a bit surprised how low the cost was on a lot of the binoculars that I found. Years ago it seemed to cost a lot more to get a quality optical device.

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8 Responses to “10 Best Binoculars For Survival and Defense”

  1. I wondering why you didn’t talk about the objective lens figure. The largest one on your list was only 42. That’s the figure that tells you how much light the lens will allow through. The lower the number the lower the amount of light. Some of the ones on you list are for bright light. I personally would not consider any with an object lens of less than 42, but would rather have 50. I have three pair and all of them are X x 50.

  2. Hmmm, No mention of Swarovski, Leica, Leupold or Zeiss, which are generally considered the finest binoculars available. Makes one wonder about the authors reasoning- price, promotional fee, etc.

    • Hi Dan. Sorry I didn’t mention some of the brands you like. You are absolutely right about those brands being exceptional. When writing posts I have to consider the budget of a lot of preppers as well as how often they are likely to use something. Also, it becomes challenging because only so many brands and models can go into a post. Perhaps in the future, I should include a list of good brands to try so that I can include some higher end brands and models? A lot of people just want a basic set of binoculars and although they would like to spend $200, they need something more in the $50 range that they can throw in a bag for occasional or emergency use. Thanks for reading and I will try to include a wider range of products in the future.

  3. In addition to binoculars, you might want to consider monoculars. With just one optical path, you’ll never get double-vision from mis-aligned paths (perhaps, after a hard knock), and if size and weight are crucial, they’re smaller. I have a Nikon 6×15 monocular which has an auxiliary lens which converts it into a low-power (9x) microscope. The working distance of the microscope is about 6″, so there’s plenty of room to get light down to the stinger, splinter, coin, jewelry, or whatever you need to see in fine detail. (This little gem is not at all cheap; I got mine at an estate sale where its value was unappreciated.)

  4. I second the “PRINT” button, all ittakes is a split-second inattention and there is no stopping 20-30 pages of comments when I only want the article. Andthe old “copy “ and “ paste” sometimes is difficult especially with a long article.

    Comeon guys, it is just one little button next to mail!

  5. It would have been a good idea to explain coatings and glass used on the lenses. Even explaining how fog proof each is along with putting the prices in the ending for comparisons and some ratings.

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