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Binocular Uses: Common & Uncommon Use Cases


Article Categories: Gear
Article Tags: Hiking Gear

Binoculars are extremely useful tools that improve the overall power of your eyes. Here, we are going to highlight some of the most common uses for binoculars, and also bring up some less common uses you may have not thought of. You may find value in reading our article on the best hiking binoculars.

As outdoor enthusiasts that love hiking, trail running, animals, scoping out ski routes, and are pretty much always in the mountains – we have a unique perspective on binoculars. We don’t use them like most, and that leads us to some great insights (hopefully) as to some of the best uses for these great tools.


Common Binocular Uses


Bird Watching

Binoculars and bird watching go hand in hand. Many species of birds are small, quick, or don’t like to be near humans. That means, in order to view them clearly, and really appreciate their uniqueness and beauty, magnification is required. For this reason, you’ll see birders with binoculars frequently.


Scoping Lines

For me, and our team, using binoculars to scope backcountry skiing lines for snow coverage, cliffs, and potential cruxes is a crucial use case. It helps keep us safe in the mountains, and find the best possible routes.


Watching Sports

When viewing a football game, baseball game, horse racing or any other sporting event, viewers often find themselves a distance away from the action. Binoculars can allow you to inspect things far more closely, and you’ll see the occasional fan or viewer with a pair of binoculars to enhance their viewing experience.


Hiking / Sight Viewing

When hiking, individuals may want to take a closer look at distance mountains, lakes, cities, stars, or wildlife. While hiking, binoculars have a ton of use cases to enhance the hikers’ experience. Not to mention, they can potentially be useful in an emergency situation.



When sitting in a blind, stalking, or just waiting around, binoculars can be hugely valuable. You’ll be able to spot animals from significantly longer distance, or identify animals or objects far easier. For many hunting situations, binoculars are highly recommended to improve the chance of success. In hunting situations, the use of a tripod to hold the binoculars or monoculars in use steady is very commong.



Binoculars can allow viewers to see the moon, nearby planets, and other stars with far more clarity. Especially when purchasing a pair specifically for stargazing. In this application, having a tripod to hold the binoculars steady is highly recommended.


Marine / Whale Watching

Binoculars are very frequently used by captains, whale watching tours, or wildlife viewers. It is often difficult to see ships in the distance or wildlife in the distance, and a pair of binoculars can improve safety, and improve the overall viewing experience. Binoculars meant for those on ships generally don’t have extremely large zooms due to the sea creating a lot of movement, and making heavily zoomed in objects hard to follow.



You cannot go on a safari trip without a pair of binoculars. While you may get lucky and have wildlife approach you closely, you’ll be able to experience a lot more with a pair of binoculars.


Uncommon And Additional Uses


Emergency Fire Starter

Convex and Concave lenses inside of your binoculars can be used to start a fire when bright sun is available. Finding the right angle and distance away from your fire fuel can enable you to ignite objects in an emergency situation.


Camera Zoom Lense

Want to increase the zoom of your phone? Try putting your phone and putting it up to a pair of binoculars. While your image may not be super clear, you’ll be able to get some impressive zoom from this.

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, backcountry skier, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued climbed all of the Colorado 14ers, is always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about

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