Bushnell NatureView 6x30 Binoculars
BEST FOR: Neophyte Birders
These glasses were made for wildlife enthusiasts, and it shows. Their sleek design and light weight (17 ounces) make them easy to carry around your neck, and the fully multicoated lenses offer superb clarity. This size felt a bit slight in the hand, but it’s also available in five larger ones if you’re looking for more heft (or power).
Carson 3D/ED 8x42 Binoculars
BEST FOR: Serious Outdoorsmen
The 3D/ED’s feel solid in hand, have comfortable rubberized eyepieces that make extended viewing easy, and are nitrogen filled to keep out moisture. But the most impressive feature is the lenses themselves, which have a proprietary coating that reduces color distortion—perfect for getting a clean view through trees.
Steiner Champ 10x26 Binoculars
BEST FOR: Hikers
Steiner is best known for making heavy-duty law-enforcement and marine-grade binoculars, but it’s managed to transfer that rugged sensibility (and its crisp lenses) into the pocket-size Champ. Because of its size, it can be finicky to handle at first, but fast-and-light hikers and birders will appreciate its portability.
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 8x42 Binoculars
BEST FOR: Demanding Trekkers
The Crossfire IIs are a steal. Their fully multicoated lenses offer sharp images, and the focus wheel is exceptionally smooth. We also loved how durable and well built they are: rubber armor and a solid chassis (along with that price) make them perfect for worry-free stashing in a glove box or backpack.