How to Choose the Best Binoculars for an Alaskan Trip

How to Choose the Best Binoculars for an Alaska Trip

Alaska is a land of stunning natural beauty and abundant wildlife. Whether you want to see the northern lights, glaciers, mountains, or animals, you will need a good pair of binoculars to enhance your viewing experience. But how do you choose the best binoculars for an Alaska trip? Here are some factors to consider:

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Size and Weight

The size and weight of the binoculars are important for travel and comfort. You want a pair that is lightweight and compact, yet still offers good optical performance. You don’t want to carry a bulky and heavy pair that will strain your neck and shoulders, or take up too much space in your luggage. However, you also don’t want to compromise on the quality of the image and the field of view. A good balance between size and weight is essential for travel binoculars.

Magnification and Objective Lens Size

The magnification and objective lens size are the two numbers that describe the binoculars’ power and light-gathering ability. For example, a pair of 8×42 binoculars has a magnification of 8 times and an objective lens size of 42 millimeters. The magnification determines how much closer you can see the object, while the objective lens size determines how much light enters the binoculars and how bright the image is.

For an Alaska trip, you want a pair of binoculars that has enough magnification to see the details of the wildlife and scenery, but not too much that it makes the image shaky and blurry. A magnification of 8x to 10x is ideal for most situations, as it provides a clear and stable image. A higher magnification may require a tripod or a steady hand to avoid image distortion.

The objective lens size affects the brightness and clarity of the image, especially in low-light conditions. A larger objective lens size allows more light to enter the binoculars and produces a brighter and sharper image. However, a larger objective lens size also makes the binoculars heavier and bulkier. A good compromise between brightness and portability is an objective lens size of 32 to 50 millimeters.

Quality of Optics

The quality of the optics is another crucial factor to consider when choosing binoculars for an Alaska trip. The quality of the optics depends on the type and coating of the glass, the prism system, the focus mechanism, and the eye relief. The quality of the optics determines how clear, crisp, and colorful the image is, and how well the binoculars can handle glare, reflection, and distortion.

Some of the features to look for in high-quality optics are:

    • BAK-4 prisms: These are a type of optical glass that provides outstanding light transmission and contrast. They produce a brighter and sharper image than other types of prisms, such as BK-7 or Porro.

    • Fully multi-coated lenses: These are lenses that have multiple layers of anti-reflective coating on all air-to-glass surfaces. They reduce glare, reflection, and loss of light, and enhance the color and clarity of the image.

    • Roof prism system: This is a type of prism system that aligns the objective lenses and the eyepieces in a straight line. It makes the binoculars more compact and streamlined than the Porro prism system, which has a zigzag shape. Roof prism binoculars are easier to hold and carry, and more durable and waterproof than Porro prism binoculars.

Smooth and precise focus mechanism: This is the part of the binoculars that allows you to adjust the sharpness of the image. It can be either a central focus knob or an individual focus for each eyepiece. A smooth and precise focus mechanism makes it easier and faster to focus on the object, and avoids frustration and eye strain.

    • Long and adjustable eye relief: This is the distance between the eyepiece and your eye when you see the full field of view. It is important for people who wear glasses, as they need a longer eye relief to see the whole image without vignetting. A long and adjustable eye relief also helps prevent eye fatigue and discomfort.

    • Durability and Weather Resistance The durability and weather resistance of the binoculars are also important for an Alaska trip, as you will be exposed to harsh and unpredictable weather conditions. You want a pair of binoculars that can withstand rain, snow, fog, dust, and impact, and still function properly. Some of the features to look for in durable and weather-resistant binoculars are: 
      • Rubberized exterior: This is a layer of rubber that covers the body of the binoculars. It provides a better grip, shock absorption, and protection from scratches and dents.
      • Waterproof and fog-proof construction: This means that the binoculars are sealed with O-rings and filled with nitrogen or argon gas. This prevents water, moisture, and dust from entering the binoculars and causing damage or fogging. Waterproof and fog-proof binoculars are essential for Alaska, as you will encounter high humidity and temperature changes.
      • Tripod adaptable: This means that the binoculars can be attached to a tripod for more stability and comfort. A tripod can help you avoid hand shake and image blur, especially with higher magnification binoculars. A tripod can also help you enjoy longer and more relaxed viewing sessions, without straining your arms and neck.

      Brand and Price The brand and price of the binoculars are also factors to consider when choosing binoculars for an Alaska trip. The brand reflects the reputation and reliability of the binoculars, while the price reflects the value and affordability of the binoculars. You want a pair of binoculars that comes from a reputable and trustworthy brand, and that offers the best quality and performance for your budget. Some of the best brands for binoculars are:






Nikon: This is a Japanese brand that is well-known for its high-quality cameras and lenses. Nikon binoculars are also renowned for their superior optics, durability, and innovation. Nikon offers a wide range of binoculars for different purposes and budgets, from entry-level to professional models.  






Vortex: This is another American brand that is a family-owned and veteran-owned company. Vortex binoculars are famous for their quality, performance, and lifetime warranty. Vortex offers a range of binoculars for different levels of experience and expectations, from beginner to expert models.







For the Buget minded the Accer brand is a good option. They are light weight and  small, it’s hard to go wrong with them. 

The price of the binoculars depends on the features and quality of the binoculars, as well as the brand and model. You can find decent binoculars for under $200, but you can also spend more than $1000 for premium binoculars. The price of the binoculars should reflect your needs and goals, as well as your budget. You should invest more in good quality binoculars if you can afford them, as they will last longer and provide a better viewing experience. Conclusion Choosing the best binoculars for an Alaska trip can be a challenging task, but it can also be a rewarding one. By considering the size and weight, magnification and objective lens size, quality of optics, durability and weather resistance, brand and price of the binoculars, you can find the perfect pair for your needs and preferences. The best binoculars for an Alaska trip are the ones that suit your style and enhance your enjoyment of the Alaskan wilderness. Happy viewing! 😊

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