Best Compact Binoculars for Birding, Hiking, Travel

Finding the best compact binoculars to take with you when birding, hiking, and/or traveling is a matter of knowing the uses, features and accessories for your particular needs.

Uses for Compact Travel Binoculars

The best Compact Travel Binoculars work well for Bird Watching, Fishing, Wildlife, Safaris, Concerts, Opera Viewing, Sports Events, and Golf. These are all activities that can be within range of a lightweight, folding, pocket size pair of binoculars.


The best compact travel binoculars typically magnify an object 8, 10, or 12 times, which means a bird will appear 8, 10, or 12 times closer through the binoculars than with your naked eye. Higher numbers mean that objects will look larger, however, binoculars with a larger magnification will not be compact and lightweight, so stick within this range.

Object Lens Diameter

Compact travel binoculars typically have a front lens diameter from 21 to 25 millimeters, which work well in medium to high lighting levels. Buy larger binoculars for low-level lighting situations such as dawn, dusk, and shaded areas.

Size and Weight

Most travel binoculars fit in the palm of an adult’s hand. They typically weigh less than a pound and many of them weigh less than half a pound, which make them easy to carry around on a full-day outside.


Look for these features when you buy lightweight binoculars:


The best Compact Travel Binoculars are often packaged with accessories such as a carrying case, neck strap, lens cleaning cloth, and an instruction manual.


Some of the best brands that offer Compact Travel Binoculars, including:

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