Survival Uses for Binoculars

Binoculars may not be the first thing most people think about when the subject of preparedness is approached, but they may be one of the more useful pieces of gear in the collection. The ability to see clearly at a distance can be a key factor in surviving a disaster, either as a way to find shelter, to find resources, or to spot potential threats. 


When moving from place to place, having binoculars can aid in being prepared for whatever is ahead on the path being traveled. It can alert ahead of time to obstacles such as washed-out bridges or fallen trees and provide a way to see potential shelter from a distance, as well as determining useful paths and whether wildlife – or plant life – in the area may be hazardous. 


In the same way, binoculars are useful to look for potential human threats in protecting a shelter whether one is alone or traveling with a family. They can aid in determining the safety of an area and allow a wider view of surroundings, whether from the ground in a clear area or from the top of a tree in a wooded area. Guarding an area is much simpler with a way to see clearly for a long way.


One might wonder, “Do binoculars work at night?” since most guarding of an area may be necessary at night rather than during the day. The good news is that there are binoculars that include night vision, allowing for 24-hour protection of whatever property is chosen for shelter. 

Fishing and Hunting

Finding food is one of the biggest things required for survival. To find game in a large area can be a real challenge with natural eyesight but using binoculars can greatly aid in finding game paths and possibly the animals themselves. They can also help to spot schools of fish in rivers and lakes, making it easier to cast a line where it is more likely to tempt a fish to bite. 


It might seem surprising that binoculars can be used to start a fire, but they can, indeed. Since having a fire can make a difference between surviving and thriving (or even dying, in a very cold location), the lens of the binoculars and the sun can be combined to focus the sun’s rays into a Firestarter. However, it is important to be aware that doing this may require disassembling the binoculars to get the lenses usable for this purpose. A pair of straight-through binoculars may be able to be used without taking them apart. 


To signal for assistance, the mirrors in a pair of binoculars can be exactly what is needed. However, those who do not wish to disassemble their binoculars can still use the glass lenses to reflect the sun, though it will be a little less bright than a mirrored reflection would be. 


If worse comes to worst, binoculars can be traded for essentials such as medical supplies, food, or water. 


What to Look For

To determine what type of binocular would best serve the purpose in survival, consider the uses that will likely be needed. Factors include the magnification level, weight, durability, and price. 

Ideally, magnification should be 8x-10x. Smaller magnifications will not allow users to see as far or as clearly, while larger magnification levels will result in heavier and bulkier binoculars. This can be a problem because weight can be an issue when adding things to a survival bag or bug out bag. People have a limit on what they can carry easily, and in a survival situation, being able to carry the bag for some time may be required. This makes a compact or mid-sized pair a more beneficial option.

At the same time, a durable pair of binoculars are best because obtaining a replacement is likely to be difficult in the aftermath of a catastrophic event. A stronger case made from more durable material is the most important part of durability. Well-made binoculars may cost a little more than their weaker counterparts but will be well worth it in a post-disaster world. 

The most important factor for a lot of people will be price. When budgets are tight, necessities must still be purchased and items for the future may be put on a back burner. However, building up a survival pack can be done over time, and saving for the better quality can be done after creating a bug out bag with what is currently accessible. It is important to remember that the adage is usually true that “you get what you pay for” – which means that paying little is likely to get lower quality.


Where to Buy
Compact Binoculars 8x
Lucid View Compact Binoculars 8x
Travel Binoculars 8x
Waterproof Binoculars with Phone Adapter 8x
Marine Binoculars 10x
Night Vision Binoculars

1. Compact Binoculars 8x

A budget pair of binoculars, this option is inexpensive enough to include a pair for everyone in the household, if desired. Created for children, the foldable style means that a pair can be adjusted to the eye width of the user, so many adults will also be able to use these.

2. Lucid View Compact Binoculars 8x

Made to be lightweight and portable, these binoculars maximize light transmission and have a knob for focusing the view. The included carrying case and neck strap make them easy to carry when not in use, and the lens covers and cloth aid in keeping the lenses from getting scratched and keeping them clean.

3. Travel Binoculars 8x

These waterproof and fogproof binoculars are excellent for people of any age. They are small and lightweight and easy to sue. The durable eyecups are made to be easily used with or without glasses. Their anti-slip grip will help to keep them right in front of your eyes while you view the distance.

4. Waterproof Binoculars with Phone Adapter 8x

Sealed binoculars are waterproof for 30 minutes under a meter in depth. The solid structure is covered with rubber armor that absorbs shocks. These are made to improve vision in low light. They show clear images up to 1000 yards.

5. Marine Binoculars 10x

Professional quality binoculars offer a 305’ field of view in HD detail up to 1000 yards away. They are waterproof and durable, resistant to fog and have a tripod adapter.

6. Night Vision Binoculars

To be able to see in the dark or the light, this set of binoculars has the clarity and illumination to both view and record in absolute darkness. The illumination does require 6 AA batteries (sold separately), so rechargeable or extra batteries would be necessary for long-term use at night.