The Best Ultra Compact Binoculars for Your Outdoor Pursuits

Luke Cuenco 04.28.22

I Spy: The Best Ultra Compact Binoculars for Your Outdoor Pursuits

Hikers, hunters, birdwatchers, and those that enjoy the great outdoors could always use a good pair of binoculars for sighting any point of interest. The problem with binoculars though is that magnification usually comes at a price. This usually means a combination of size and weight but that doesn’t always have to be the case. Underneath the umbrella of binoculars there is a sub-category of binoculars that are much smaller, more compact, and lightweight that still offers you good magnification but in a much smaller, easier to stow package. So for that purpose, we’ll be looking at some of the best options out there for ultra compact binoculars to take with you on your next outdoor adventure.

I Spy: The Best Ultra Compact Binoculars for Your Outdoor Pursuits

I Spy: The Best Ultra Compact Binoculars for Your Outdoor Pursuits

1. NIKON Aculon T02 10×21

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NIKON Aculon T02 10x21

The Aculon T02 is based on the concept of binoculars that can be easily carried anywhere. They are well suited for a wide variety of scenarios, such as travel, spectator sports, the theater, and concerts. These binoculars employ Nikon’s quality optics and are sure to help expand your enjoyment of everyday life. You’ll want to take them everywhere you go, and Aculon T02 binoculars will be the perfect companion for discovering the pleasures of observation – both for regular binocular users and those who are new to sports optics.

Pro/Ultra Compact, Super Affordable and Decent Magnification for its size

Cons/Not weatherproof

Bottom Line/Great for just about any task as long as it doesn’t involve a boat

2. Bushnell H20 8X25

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Bushnell H20 8X25

Bushnell is probably better known for their rifle optics than their binocular lineup but they’ve got a pretty sweet pair that is perfect for just about any environment

Pro/100% waterproof with multi-coated optics for superior light transmission

Cons/None

Bottom Line/Best value on this list

3. Leica Ultravid Compact Binocular

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Leica Ultravid Compact Binocular

Leica is very well known across the world for having a great array of sports and camera optics. These german made binoculars are very highly reviewed across the web and they are nearly small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. These tiny binoculars are super lightweight have some of the best optics in the business and also fold down into a tiny compact package that can be stuffed into a back pocket or cargo pants pocket with ease. If you’re looking for the best quality glass and the lightest option, these are it.

Pro/Best image quality and brightness on this list

Cons/Beyond Expensive but you should have expected that knowing Leica

Bottom Line/A refined choice that will cost you

4. Aurosports 10×25 Folding High Powered Binoculars

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Aurosports 10x25 Folding High Powered Binoculars

While these might not be “high powered” they are still super affordable and super compact. As opposed to other binoculars on this list, the Aurosports 10×25 binoculars won’t win any beauty contests and you won’t be able to mount them to a tripod but these are a great option to get for your kids if they want to join in on sightseeing with the rest of the family. If they end up damaged or lost, you’re really only out about $40 and that really shouldn’t be anything to cry about, especially if you were thinking of handing them your Leicas.

Pro/Super affordable and still compact

Cons/Poor image quality

Bottom Line/The perfect choice for a cheap pair of binoculars to throw in the truck or give to the kids.

5. Kowa Genesis 8×22

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Kowa Genesis 8x22

The Genesis 22 Prominar XD Compact Binoculars are a great middle-ground between less expensive and super high-end compact binoculars.Designed for extensive outdoor use, the lightweight magnesium alloy chassis is wrapped in a protective rubber armor with a textured palm pads and bridge to provide a slip-resistant grip. To ensure a compact and highly packable form factor, Kowa utilizes Schmidt-Pechan prisms that allow for slimmer optical tubes but deliver the performance of conventional roof prisms. Added to this are dual hinges that enable the barrels to fold tightly under the bridge, so when they are not in use, the Genesis 22 takes up as little room as possible. The optical tubes are nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed to be waterproof and resistant to internal fogging when moving through extreme temperature or humidity changes.

Pro/A modern pair of binoculars with phenomenal color and clairty

Cons/Focus wheel is kind of stiff and sensitive at the same time

Bottom Line/A reasonably priced midrange option for the serious outdoorsman who doesn’t mind spending a few extra bucks on a good pair of optics

What magnification is best for general scenery viewing?

This is a great question and often one that gets overlooked or ignored because people are just looking for the largest number they can find. The magnification level of your binoculars will be determined by the first number (for example “10×20” means 10x magnification with a 20mm objective lens). While higher magnifications will give you more detail at a greater distance, the eye boxes for them can make them difficult to use without a tripod. Its for this reason that magnification levels between 6x and 10x are about perfect for all-around performance and general viewing of scenery or animals.

Are binoculars suitable for stargazing?

10X binoculars are actually really great for viewing a lot of the heavenly bodies out there like the moon, Jupiter, and its moons, and even some constellations and galaxies in greater detail. You won’t be able to see a lot of stuff that you normally see with a telescope but the moon looks absolutely beautiful under a 10x or even 8x pair of binoculars. You should be able to see fine details on the moon using just 10x binoculars and pairing them with a tripod or other stability method makes the image even better.

Why not use a monocular instead of binoculars if you’re going compact?

Monoculars are great because they are compact and lightweight but they also have a lot of downsides. With a monocular, it is extremely hard to judge distance because of the inherent disagreement between your right and left eye or the absence of any visual information if your non-viewing eye is closed. With binoculars, you don’t have this same problem and you also won’t suffer from eye fatigue that you would get from looking through a monocular all day long. If you’ve stared through a riflescope long enough you’ll know what I’m talking about.

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Luke Cuenco

Luke is currently a full-time writer for TheFirearmBlog.com, OvertDefense.com, AllOutdoor.com, and of course, OutdoorHub.com. Luke is a competitive shooter, firearms enthusiast, reloader, outdoorsman, and generally takes an interest in anything that has to do with the great outdoors. Luke is also a private certified pilot and is currently pursuing his commercial pilot’s license in the hopes of becoming a professional pilot. Some of Luke’s other interests include anything to do with aviation, aerospace and military technology, and American Conservancy efforts. Instagram: @ballisticaviation YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/BallisticAviation thefirearmblog.com/blog/author/luke-c/ overtdefense.com/author/luke-c/alloutdoor.com/author/lukec/

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