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How to Choose a Monocular for Hiking?

by Kalman

How to Choose a Monocular for Hiking?

Nowadays hiking is one of the most popular recreational outdoor activities worldwide. This will allow you an opportunity to breathe fresh air, see natural beauty, enjoy smells and sounds of nature. It is a powerful cardio workout that can improve your blood pressure, lower the risk of heart disease, boost bone density, etc. Absolutely, it is a great way of refreshment to make connections with nature.

For hikers, it’s very important to choose and carry compact gears like a monocular. I always recommend a monocular for hiking purposes over binoculars or spotting scope for a few reasons. Monocular is a lightweight and easily portable device that will be handy for hiking in the essence of bird watching, nature sight, or observing the trails. The following guide talks about how to choose a monocular for hiking.

Things for Choosing Your Monocular While Going Hiking

Monocular is a mini telescope that will magnify the distant objects through some specified optical functions. You need to know some basic factors before taking one of the top-notch hiking monoculars. Usually, magnification and objective lens size are the prime aspects. Other factors include prism types, lens coating, eye relief, exit pupil, the field of view, etc. Let’s talk about the features!

Pair of Numbers Meaning

Each monocular has two basic specifications magnification and objective lens diameter. If a monocular feature 10x45mm, it denotes the monocular’s magnification is 10 times than our naked eye view, and the 45mm represents the objective lens size.

Consider Magnification Power

The more the magnification power the more you get your target’s magnified view. When you want to use a monocular for hiking then 6x, 8x, 10x, or 12x magnification monocular is pretty well depending upon your using purposes. One important thing is that, the more the magnification the more you lose the field of view. So, do not take excessive large magnifications unit. Otherwise, you will lose some probable targets, also you’ve to pay more prices for that.

Size of Objective Lens

Objective lens diameter is a prime factor for choosing a monocular. The lens size controls the amount of light that will come and pass through a monocular tube. A larger size will allow more light passing through the lens, thus you will get a wide field of view, clear and brighter images. But, the price will be higher for a larger objective lens. So, you should pick that lens size which is appropriate for you.

Typically, the lens diameters of monocular vary from 20 to 45mm. But the smaller and larger lens is also available.

Prism Types

You may think, optical devices like binoculars, monocular, or rangefinder uses the lens for forming images. But it’s not true completely, both lenses and prisms refract lights to create the images. There is an important role of prisms in the image creation process. Actually, lenses create an image with backward and upside-down images. After that, prism makes the orientation accurate so that you can see the image correctly.

Most monoculars use two types of prism- roof prism and Porro prism. The Porro prisms are widely used as it provides brighter images. On the other side, roof prism will allow you higher magnification but narrower images than Porro prisms.

Exit Pupil

You need to consider the objective lens size and its magnification ratio that is the exit pupil. The exit pupil is measured in mm, and you need to compare this value with the human eye pupil diameter.  For optimum results, the exit pupil of the monocular must be lower than the human eye pupil. Otherwise, the extra lights are nothing than a waste.

Lens and Body Protection

Monoculars need some basic protection to use it for any environmental situations and ensure its durability. Most monoculars come with anti-glare coatings. The coatings will enhance image brightness. When it features a fully multi-coated lens it means all the lenses have multi-layers of anti-glare coatings so that your view is not blurry.

Most quality monoculars have o-rings sealing, and nitrogen purged to protect the product from water, rain, dust, or fog entering. The body also made with quality materials. There are some monoculars that will allow you rubber, non-slip, secure external armor.

Some Other Facts to Check

If you want to view larger areas, then go for the products that offer a wide field of view. Usually, the field of view (FoV) is measured by m@100m or in angle. Eye relief is also an important factor, it means the distance between your eye and the monocular’s eyepiece. When buying a monocular, you need to check its warranty, and other accessories such as batteries, carrying bag, lanyard, etc.

Don’t forget to check whether it’s night vision or not. Some monoculars specifically called rangefinders have a range measurement option, consider this feature if necessary. Price is an important feature, handle it wisely. Always take a lightweight and pocket-sized one for hiking on a trail.


Monocular is a perfect hiking tool as it is compact enough. This device will be great for sight-seeing, bird-watching, and seeing the terrain. If you are confused about which one is most suited for you, then try out for several magnifications and objective lens size combinations. Hopefully, you will get a nice one with a handsome price for your next hiking trip. Enjoy your hiking with monocular!

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