Being a professional journalist, James knows how to turn any topic into a comprehensive, easy-to-digest text. Even if you've never dealt with telescopes before, rest assured James will explain everything you wanted to know about them better than your physics coursebook.
Charles holds a Master’s degree in Physics Engineering (optics and photonics specialization), has been teaching physics at school for almost 15 years and recently has started teaching a course on optics at a local university. Our irreplaceable website expert.
Last updated: November 03, 2021
The Optics is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Ever wanted a telescope that fits in your pocket so that you can stargaze or get in touch with nature? Look no further. With a lightweight and compact monoculars, you will be able to watch rare species of birds, go hunting, or even get the most scenic views when on an outdoor trip. If you’re looking for the best monocular for backpacking, our in-detailed guide will help you in buying the right one that fits your needs and budget.
The lens and magnification diameter are the two most essential things to keep in mind before you buy a monocular for a crisper and a brighter image. What makes it much better than the binoculars is its compact size, lightweight nature, and the ease-of-use. Whether it’s boating, hunting, hiking, or watching the stars, here are some of the best monoculars to help you choose from plenty of options available online.
Vortex Optics 10×25 is one of the top-rated monocular due to the plenty of features it offers at an affordable price. It is compact, lightweight, and gives a clear view due to the 25mm diameter and 10x magnification. You need not worry about it slipping out of the hands due to the rubber guard. The build quality is commendable, and the smooth focus ring makes the adjustment easier. Whether it’s to watch the sunrise or the beautiful views on a weekend hike, this monocular is excellent. It is durable, waterproof, and fogproof making it to the top ten in this guide.
What do we love it for? We liked the build quality and the compactness of this monocular. You can easily carry it in your pocket and get a field view of around 315 feet. Whether you’re someone who wears glasses or not, adjustable eyecups are there to support you either way. It is resistant to water, which can be the most beneficial when you go boating.
What were we disappointed with? The only thing that we’d like to see included with the purchase is lens cups. Apart from this, it is an excellent product which is the best for outdoor enthusiasts.
This inky black, Celestron Nature 10×25 Monocular is yet another best backpacking monocular with excellent quality and fine build. You can get to watch stunning views closer than ever with this. The lens is multi-coated, giving it a maximum resolution, and you get to watch the sunset moving on the horizon clearer. It is easy-to-use with the rubber twist eyecup, and compact size makes it one of the best to carry for hiking. If you want a monocular with decent features, you can go with Celestron. It can be your best choice and pocket-friendly too.
What do we love it for? We liked the engineering of this monocular. It is well-built, rugged, and offers the right amount of grip to hold on without slipping off our hands. The focus is sharp, and the eye relief is more than satisfactory. Even a person with spectacles can view the image clearly. It is lightweight making it easier to carry it to any place without hassle.
What were we disappointed with? What can be improved is its focus ring as it is quite stiff, and the lanyard hole is closer to the ring, which gets distressing sometimes. It could be equipped with a lens cap for overall excellent performance.
This black and grey Vortex Monocular has an objective lens diameter of 32mm with 8x magnification. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or planning to switch to a monocular from a binoc, this can be a better choice. With exceptional performance, functionality, and build, you can never go wrong with this. It provides crisp views of the images due to multi-coating with anti-reflective coating. It is easily portable as it is lightweight and can be the perfect one for any kind of trip.
What makes it special? We liked the design and the versatility of this monocular. It is well-built, rugged, and the diameter of the lens lets you view the images clearly and beautifully. The focus is sharp and can easily be operated in one hand due to the smooth operation. It is a versatile monocular that can be used anywhere and at any time. The rubber armor protects and provides an excellent grip for you to hold on. It is durable too.
What cons did we find? What can be improved is its focus wheel; it is quite stiff, and the pocket clip is not adjustable. On the whole, the performance is good.
With its sleek design and build, Carson Blackwave 10x25mm waterproof monocular can be the right one for outdoor activities like camping, hiking, sporting events, and more. The optical quality and the field of view is pretty good for the price. Due to the nitrogen-filled glass lenses, the monocular is waterproof and fog proof, making it best for outdoors. The close focus feature of just over 4 feet helps you view the images far away clearer and brighter. If you’re ever planning to purchase a monocular, which is half the size of a binocular, this can offer you all that you looked for.
What stands out? This monocular is well-designed and sturdy. It is easy-to-hold, the field of vision is clear, and is a handy piece. It has a firm focus wheel and has an eye relief of up to 12mm. It is powerful with exceptional performance and functionality and a decent quality monocular for the price.
What cons did we manage to find? The focus ring is quite stiff, making it difficult to rotate with ease, which could have been better for overall exceptional performance. Apart from this, it is a quality monocular for outdoor enthusiasts.
If you’re someone who loves to go on a spontaneous trip who wants to experience the beauty of the place with less baggage, then this monocular might be the one for you. It saves space and is compact enough to keep in your hoodie pockets for easy access while traveling. With an eye relief of up to 16 mm and a multi-coated optical system, it is designed and engineered well to be used in any weather conditions. If you’re looking for a monocular which provides a crispy and clear image, consider buying this 10×42 monocular. The objective lens has a large diameter making it an excellent piece.
What stands out? With an ideal eye-relief for additional comfort and roof prism design, this monocular offers the best possible view at a size that fits in your pocket well. It is of premium quality and also has lenses with nitrogen waterproofing making it resistant to water and offering the protection needed during extreme weather conditions.
What cons did we manage to find? Monoculars are generally half the size and weight that of binoculars, but this monocular can be a little heavier and bigger than the rest which we think could have been better, though it is compact and durable.
This unique Konus monocular provides you with excellent features at an affordable price. It offers a zoom magnification of 8x to 24x with a 40 mm diameter. The multi-coated optical coating offers sharp, bright, and contrast images, and one of the best features is that it is equipped with a universal adapter where you can click stunning images or even create beautiful videos using your smartphone. This monocular comes in two different colors to choose from and also has a tripod attachment and smartphone adapter included. It can be the perfect one who loves to explore the outdoors more.
What stands out? The zoom magnification and the inclusion of a universal adapter are what we loved the most about this monocular. It also comes with a tripod attachment. You no longer have to worry about not able the click the hidden treasures of a place with this monocular.
What cons did we manage to find? You may not be able to get a larger field view with this lens.
Things to Consider
If you’re on a hunt to buy a monocular for your next outdoor adventure, our buying guide might come in handy. Here are certain things to keep in mind before you buy a monocular. The most significant aspect to consider is the magnification size and the objective lens diameter of the lens. Apart from these two, below are the points to keep in mind to buy the best monocular in the market
How to pick the best monocular for backpacking?
Since monoculars are compact and easy-to-use, you need to go with the ones with higher magnification and a larger diameter for a brighter and clearer image. The magnification varies from the 4x to 25x. The ones we have covered on our list mainly have 10x magnification, which means you will be able to view the image ten times larger. The diameter is what helps you view the image brighter. The ones with 25mm objective diameter, for example let in ample light, making the image appear bright and crisp.
The objective diameter is usually written as 20mm, 25mm, and at the most 40mm. On average, the monoculars listed above has an objective lens diameter of about 25mm. With this, you will be able to view images well. The wider the lens diameter, the more light enters into the monocular, giving a perfect closer view of the more faraway place. So, this is one of the chief parameters to keep in mind while buying a monocular. Just as is monoculars are compact and portable, and if you’re buying the ones with the right objective lens diameter, you will have the best outdoor experience.
When you’re hiking or boating, monoculars help you view the rare species of animals without having to go close to them. And for that, buying monoculars with higher magnification is what you have to do. The magnification varies from 4x to 25x. The ones listed above have a magnification of around 10x, which is pretty good to get clear images. The Konus KonuSmall-3 8-24×40 Zoom Monocular has a magnification of up to 24x, which means you will be able to watch the morning sunrise or the stunning views of a place more clearly. Magnification plays a huge role while buying a monocular every time.
Field of view
If you see in Vortex RECCE Pro HD 8x32mm Monocular RP-100, the field of view is 400 ft at 1000 yards, which means you will be able to see a 400 ft region from the monocular. Generally, magnification and field of view are inversely proportional to each other. In the Vortex RECCE, since the field of view is more, the magnification is 8x when compared to the rest. So, if you’re planning to switch to a monocular from a binocular, field of view is another important parameter to keep in mind given the quality and the budget that fit according to your needs.
Eye relief is the distance between your eye from the eyepiece. This is a crucial parameter for people who wear glasses. For those people, the perfect eye relief should be 14mm or greater than that. If it is lesser than the mentioned number, then the FOV might reduce, and you will not clearly see the image. The Opticron BGA Waterproof 10×42 Monocular has an eye relief of about 16mm, perfect compared to the rest.
It’s up to you to decide the size of the monocular you want, but we would recommend you to go with the smaller size as it is easier to carry in your pocket and move around during your trip. It can be 8×25 if you want a compact and portable one, but that also means you will have to compromise the image’s quality. The larger dimension will, of course, provide a better quality image.
If you’re someone who loves to travel frequently or go on adventure trips with your friends, whether it is boating, hunting, or sports activities, then going for the lightweight monoculars can prove to be beneficial. You can keep them in your pockets and get to view scenic images on the go with ease.
The portability of a monocular depends on weight. If you’re not someone who would go on regular outdoor trips but would want to catch the view when you do, going for the heavier ones will offer a brighter and clearer image even though it may be less portable.
Durability and weather resistance
Most of the monoculars are waterproof and fogproof so that they can withstand extreme weather conditions. If you’re on a boat ride, you need not worry about getting your monocular damaged due to the water resistance property. But waterproof monocs can be pricey comparatively, so you might want to keep that mind and buy only if you are a seafarer.
The monoculars usually have a rubber armor that gives the grip without letting it slip from your hand any time. The anti-skid and shock-resistant grip provide ample support without allowing the monocular slip from your hand.
So, while buying a monocular, these factors are equally important to consider apart from the magnification and the objective lens diameter.
Buying a monocular that fits your budget can be tricky, but keep in mind to buy the one with higher magnification, objective diameter, and other aspects discussed above. Go for the waterproof monoculars only if you tend to be someone who loves boating, beaches, and water sports because they are quite expensive when compared to the rest.
A monocular price varies anywhere between $50 to $500 depending on the lens size and other specifications. Though monoculars are compact and lightweight, some monocs with better specifications might be heavier and expensive.
Such monoculars are best if you go outdoors once in a while and wouldn’t mind keeping it in your backpack if not your pockets while traveling. If you want a handy, compact, lightweight monocular, they are available at an affordable price even if they do not come with higher magnification and larger diameter.
Monocular numbers are what determine the magnification of the lens. It is represented, with two numbers, such as 10×25, where 10 is the lens’s magnification, and 25mm is the lens size. The higher the size of the lens or diameter, the clearer is the image. The average range of magnification is between 6x to 10x. This light and compact monocular has the power to show a crisp and clear image. If you ever want a monocular instead of a binocular, go for the ones with a larger diameter and higher magnification that fit your budget.
Monoculars are versatile pieces of equipment and are designed well enough to withstand extreme weather conditions. So, yes, monoculars are resistant to water and do not get damaged if you’re boating or going on a water sports adventure. It is well-built, sturdy, and engineered well to suit the needs of an outdoor enthusiast. Both monoculars and binoculars are waterproof. Almost all the monocs mentioned on our list are waterproof, which can be the best backpacking pick for your trip. If you’re someone who loves to go on endless water sports adventures, then buying the waterproof one can be highly beneficial.
Have you ever come across the patchy droplets of water on a lens if kept in a moist area for a long time? Well, to avoid this, which is called fogging or condensation, the monoculars are designed fogproof. It can also be beneficial if you’re going on a boat ride to avoid getting a blurred image. The monoculars listed above are all fogproof, which means you need not worry about getting those water droplets on the lenses any time anywhere. On the whole, fog proof is something that you must consider while buying one.
The monoculars with an eye relief of 14mm and above are more suitable if you wear glasses. The distance between the eye and the edge surface of the eyepiece is what is called eye relief. So, the greater the distance, the better the view even if someone wears spectacles. Thus, always try to go with the one having 14mm eye relief and not below that. If you buy the one below it, the field of view might decrease, and the image might not be clear. Eye relief is an essential factor to consider while buying a monocular.
Whether it’s stargazing, boating, or hunting, monoculars are a versatile telescope that lets you view the beauty of a place at a close range. They are compact and lightweight, making them portable. We have listed some of the best monocular for backpacking to reduce your hunting time for the right one.
Our final best price monocular is Vortex RECCE Pro HD 8x32mm Monocular RP-100, as it is equipped with an HD lens element, and comes with a larger diameter and a larger field of view. These are some of the best monoculars you could consider before purchasing.