Binoculars, outside
Photo by Scott Conditt
Scan, detect and avoid threats from a distance with a good pair of survival binoculars.

Being able to detect a threat before it can detect you is critical in survival situations. Binoculars not only allow you to see further in the field, they provide mission-critical surveillance and intelligence when you need it most.  A good field-tested pair of binoculars can extend your range of vision. They help you see in low light conditions, and detect movement. Binoculars come in many types with varying capabilities and features.

When choosing a pair of binoculars for survival, it is critical to ensure the quality and features will meet up to your demands. Rugged, weather-proof construction, magnification, and image clarity and enhancement all must be considered.

If you’re in the market for a new pair of binoculars for your bug out bag, review the following specs on the specs to choose a pair that will be right for you.

Binocular Construction

When selecting a pair of binoculars for survival, rugged design is a must. Durable, rubberized coatings are offered with most binoculars. The rubberized grip is a plus, especially in moist and humid climates. Impact-resistance and high quality pairs of binoculars also feature tight tolerances and seals that help prevent corruption of the interior barrels and optics. A well-secured lanyard also helps keep them at the ready around you neck when needed. Composite plastics also make for durable lightweight construction, a real bonus when you have them in your pack or hanging on your neck.


The first factor to consider when choosing a pair of binoculars is magnification. Each pair will note the magnification rating numbers such as 10×42, which identify the magnification of the pair. The first digit (10) refers to the magnification, which means the objects you view will appear 10 times closer. Any pair rated for 6-8x should be ideal for survival scenarios or outdoor adventuring.

Objective Diameter

The second number labeled on a pair of binoculars rating refers to the diameter of the objective lenses (42 in the example). This indicates that the binoculars objective lenses measure 42mm in diameter. The larger the diameter of the objective lens, the greater the amount of light that your binoculars gather. the greater the amount of light captures, the brighter the view, which is especially beneficial in low-light conditions.

Focal Options

Quality pairs of binoculars will have the ability to establish and maintain sharp focus. You can focus your binoculars by turning the central focus wheel, which will focus each barrel simultaneously. But what if you have an eye condition or varied eyesight quality between each of your eyes? Well, high-quality binoculars almost universally include diopters on each barrel that allow you to adjust focus on each lens independently. This allows you to compensate for each eye accordingly.

The Glass Itself

The most common glass types used in the manufacture of binoculars are BAK-4 and BAK-7. The difference is essentially how finely ground the glass is. BAK-4 is higher quality, and thus more expensive, than BAK-7. The visual difference? When looking through BAK-4 glass, the sharpness is generally better and the image more clear. Looking through BAK-7 glass, oftentimes the exit pupil will appear distorted just around the edges. When possible, choose a pair of BAK-4 crafted binoculars. Most eye cups are able to rotate for comfort. Ensure


Binocular lenses come with many different coatings, which help protect the glass itself, reduce glare, and enhance the image quality. From general UV coatings to what is known as multi-colored coatings (the best grade of coating), these finishes on the glass help your lenses last longer and reduce eye fatigue. An added bonus of some coatings is the reduction of glare, which could give away your position to the subject you are glassing.

Waterproof and Fogproof

For survival, you’ll want to ensure your selection of binoculars are waterproof and fog proof. Quality crafted binoculars feature seals O-rings that keep moisture out, not to mention dust and debris, from entering the barrels. Binoculars often fog up when traveling from between different temperatures and can obscure your view when you need them most. This moisture can corrupt the elements within your binoculars, damaging them permanently. Quality binoculars, like Stryka’s S3 Series binoculars, feature waterproof/fog-proof seals and have been pressurized with dry nitrogen gas to ensure the interior stays fog/moisture free. Make sure that your binoculars are waterproof as well as fog-proof and stay on target.

Night Ops

When you are traveling by night, whether for survival, hiking, hunting or boating, a pair of night vision binoculars can be a life-saver. Night vision binoculars utilize IR (InfraRed) technology and  image intensifier tubes that dramatically enhance ambie

nt light at night. The human eye cant detect the full spectrum of light that exists at night but these gadgets sure do. They can help you avoid pitfalls, see what lurks ahead your path, and navigate your campsite without emitting a light signature. The only downside to night vision specs is the battery requirement and heavier weight in your pack, particularly for older generation tech.

See It Coming

When it comes to binoculars for survival, you’re literally gaining an exponential edge over your environment and potential adversaries in the field. By scouting terrain from afar, making informed decisions based on what you see, and avoiding critical pitfalls and threats from a single position, you’ve conserved energy and avoided danger. Choose a quality pair of binoculars for survival today, practice with them, and stow them in your go-bag. You won’t regret it and remember, your chances for survival are vastly increased if you can see the threat coming.

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