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take binoculars or not

Old 04-22-09, 03:34 PM
  #1  
soulfullspirit
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take binoculars or not

just wondering what you guys think about making room in the panniers for binoculars, i know its a personal thing but would appreciate your thoughts **********?
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Old 04-22-09, 03:40 PM
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Decent binoculars are pretty heavy and every ounce adds up. Too much weight is the one thing sure to ruin a trip. They would have been nice at times when I was in Yellowstone or similar places, but if I took everything that would be nice at times, I hate to think what all I might have carried.

If the primary or at least a very major purpose of the trip was bird/wildlife watching, maybe otherwise no. At least that is my opinion.
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Old 04-22-09, 04:01 PM
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If you like them, take them.
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Old 04-22-09, 04:14 PM
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You can get good compact binoculars in the 8-10 oz range - a bit of weight but not nearly as bad as full size, and they are much better these days than used to be the case.
https://www.birdwatching.com/optics/pockets_reviews.html
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Old 04-22-09, 04:21 PM
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I find that binoculars always sound like a good idea, but rarely are used.
I put them in the too much to lug category.
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Old 04-22-09, 04:29 PM
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You can always take as much as you want.
Then mail it back home when you decide you don't need it.
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Old 04-22-09, 04:29 PM
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I quite often carry a compact pair with me, if I know that I am going somewhere I will use them. Especially to the lake where the eagles nest. They also come in handy for reading road signs at a distance if you are at a turn and not sure if you want to continue

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Old 04-22-09, 06:04 PM
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How about a monocular?
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Old 04-22-09, 06:10 PM
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A small monocular/telescope makes much more sense when being weight conscious.


(I'm a very slow typest Erick L !)
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Old 04-22-09, 07:23 PM
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just wondering what you guys think about making room in the panniers for binoculars, i know its a personal thing but would appreciate your thoughts **********?
If you will use binoculars, take them. There is nothing wrong with hauling bulky and heavy stuff. Some people bring SLR cameras, tripods, hardcover books, art supplies, laptop computers, hiking boots, and stainless steel pots.

I once met a bike tourist who, rather pathetically I thought, mounted the teddy bear that he had stolen from his ex-girlfriend on his handlebar bag. Scary! A psychopath on wheels!
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Old 04-22-09, 07:33 PM
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Here's my theory. First, you take the items necessary for basic survival. Then you choose a few luxury items--just a few--that will add great value. You strictly limit the number of these items, choosing only items you think you will use nearly every day and get great enjoyment from. For some people, binoculars would fit into this category. E.g., that might include people with a strong interest in birds.

I don't take items that fall into the "that might be nice" category. For me, that would include binoculars. Even though I think I might use them occasionally if I had them, I think the trip will still be awsome without them. But you're not me, and you might think that my luxury items are stupid.
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Old 04-23-09, 01:17 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Randochap View Post
If you like them, take them.
I have the same opinion. It's your trip, your pleasure, your decision...by the way I missed them a few times in Africa on a photo-safari. But I can look through my camera... (9x zoom)

Thomas
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Old 04-23-09, 05:28 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
You can always take as much as you want.
Then mail it back home when you decide you don't need it.
That may work for some, but it is easy to wind up with 50, 60, 80, or even 100 pounds of stuff. At that point sending a few things home won't make that much difference.

Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
Here's my theory. First, you take the items necessary for basic survival. Then you choose a few luxury items--just a few--that will add great value. You strictly limit the number of these items, choosing only items you think you will use nearly every day and get great enjoyment from. For some people, binoculars would fit into this category. E.g., that might include people with a strong interest in birds.

I don't take items that fall into the "that might be nice" category. For me, that would include binoculars. Even though I think I might use them occasionally if I had them, I think the trip will still be awsome without them. But you're not me, and you might think that my luxury items are stupid.
I think John hits the nail on the head here.

I too take a few items on some trips that are luxury items, but if the overall weight of the load creeps up I go back over the list. I find that even if I am pretty careful there will be things to send home.

We each took a few heavy extras on the TA, but most of them got sent home. My daughter even took a huge fluid dynamics text book, but it went home after the first mountain pass. She had it mailed back to her for the Great Plains where weight was less critical and sent it home again before the Ozarks!

I always splurge on a small pillow (10 ounces), and sometimes on a DSLR and an extra lens (I don't even want to know what that weighs). For me to take the DSLR, photography has to be a very major part of the trip. On my next trip in three weeks, the DSLR stays home, but I will take a small palm sized tablet PC (7 ounces). If the weight of the panniers and their contents get much above 30# I will go over the list again multiple times. If the weight gets above 40# a major rethink is likely. If it comes in at 25# I will be happy.
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Old 04-23-09, 07:17 AM
  #14  
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I could think of about 1,000 things I would choose to carry on a bike tour before adding binoculars. But, heh, you're going to be the one carrying them. I suspect that if you brought them, you would be mailing them home before long.

My first long backpacking trip, hiking the Long Trail in Vermont, I must have carried 60 lbs of gear when we started. I had so much gear that my back frame cracked. The first stop we made in a town, I went through my gear and removed everything I didn't absolutely need (even my sleeping bag). I packed all the extra stuff in a box and mailed it home, and I didn't miss any of it -- except the sleeping bag. Man, I had some cold very cold nights on that trip!
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Old 04-23-09, 07:20 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
You can always take as much as you want.
Then mail it back home when you decide you don't need it.
Should a person be concerned with the potential for damage to them from mailing?
 
Old 04-23-09, 07:37 AM
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I use the zoom lens on my camera as a low-power monocular. If you're gonna bring a camera anyway (particularly an SLR), getting a decent zoom might not be a bad idea.
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Old 04-23-09, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
Should a person be concerned with the potential for damage to them from mailing?
I generally didn't, but it depends on how expensive the stuff you are mailing is. I think I insured the box when I sent my GPS home.

BTW, always compare the "flat rate" box with the one where you pay by weight. Depending on what you are sending one or the other can be a much better deal. Post office staff is usually very patient and helpful with this in my experience.
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Old 04-23-09, 09:14 AM
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I'm an avid birder, so binoculars, yes. They go with me every day. If you fit that profile, I can't imagine not packing binoculars. In addition to my primary pair, I have a smaller set of roof prism binoculars -- Nikon Monarchs 8x32. They're excellent optically, rugged and submersible -- nice for touring to be sure. I'd guess these, at under $300 a pair, are very close to my oh-so-much-more expensive "go to" binoculars. The only difference I can detect is in low light conditions.

As has been said, it's a personal decision, but if I had to choose between a mini laptop, or binoculars and a notebook I'd always opt for the latter.
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Old 04-23-09, 10:56 AM
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Also a birder here. My binocs and often a field guide make the cut. However as a former backpacker i know how to keep my loaded weight down, for many years my pack weight minus food and water was 18 lbs, this included the binoculars. Now that i am a little older the pack has gotten a little heavier, bigger tent more cook ware etc, however i now have a bike to haul it on.

Seriously, look at what YOU consider essential for a pleasant trip, pack that and don't worry about other folks, for instance i rarely carry rain gear unless temps will be below 60F. Me being wet just isn't an issue, not having my binoculars or a book to read would be.
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Old 04-23-09, 03:48 PM
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I ended up buying some mid-tour last summer and really appreciated having them. Here's the thread where I solicited advice about qualities to look for in a set:
https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/432437-binoculars-birding-tour.html

I ended up with a pair of Pentax 8 x 25s for around $150 and was quite pleased with their performance. I'm no aficionado, though.
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Old 09-07-09, 10:58 AM
  #21  
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Bushnell 8x21, $10 shipped (if you have prime).

Give them away if the 7oz ever becomes too much. Every once in a while *very* handy.

amazon
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Old 09-07-09, 12:05 PM
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If you need to gigle, I'v sen't the same Bushnell 8x21 home two times, hope that is enough rember.
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Old 09-07-09, 12:52 PM
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If you have to ask then you don't need it. Leave it home.
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Old 09-07-09, 02:36 PM
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I could imagine that if you had a bird watching hobby it would make sense but if binoculars are simply something you have in case you need to use binoculars I wouldn't bother. In other words if binoculars are a part of your everyday activities but if you only use them occasionally you'll only use them occasionally or less while riding.
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Old 09-07-09, 03:00 PM
  #25  
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I carry a Zeiss 4x monocular just about everywhere, it weights about 2 oz. Probably use it everyday
to check out something. When used backward -it is a great magnifier to read map detail, don't have
to get out my glasses.
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