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If you are using larger size binoculars for bird watching or astronomy you will need a tripod. Make sure the one you find is designed for the outdoors. One at the very least, has these three basic features:
- Lightweight construction for easy travel.
- Legs that lock for uneven terrain
- Rubber feet that will provide solid footing on any surface.
One of the advantages of using binoculars with a tripod is it is a great sharing device. If you have the binoculars on the tripod aimed at an incredible sight it is a lot easier to share that view with people. All you have to do is give them a turn looking. You don't have to take time to direct people where to point a set of handheld binoculars. Tripods (for the most part) were designed for cameras. Which means that in order to connect binoculars to a tripod you need what's called a binocular mount. If you are unsure of what to buy look for sets. Tripod manufacturers will package tripods and binocular mounts together. This way you know you are getting the perfect fit.
Not all binocular mounts need a tripod. Some mounts can be used on something as unrelated as a car. These car window mounts sorta work like a vice grip, attaching to the window. Then it can be attached to either a camera or binoculars. A binocular mount like this obviously works very well for any type of surveillance situation. However, it can also be used in road trips at sights that are located in dirty, rocky areas that aren't great for walking. So you can take in the sight without leaving the inside of the car.
If you are on a hike things need to not only be compact, but simple to use. If you have too many tiny pieces for anything you run the risk of losing something along the way. Cleaning kits consisting of delicate wipes, tiny solution bottles and miniscule brushes could easily face this demise. Fortunately now all of these things have been combined into a single device that looks like a pen, rightfully named the lens pen. One side features a retractable hairbrush. The other end features a rubber tip laced with a unique cleaning compound that won't dry out and can clean all kinds of microscopic dirt and grime. Once you are done just place the protective cap on it. Pop it in the bag. And you're off.
When you're on vacation it's hard not to look like a tourist. Especially to an experienced thief. To avoid being a target you might want to rethink your day bag. A lot time's people will actually use bags that are designed specifically for their pricey binoculars or other electronic equipment. This type of binocular accessory can be spotted by crooks a mile away. So choose a regular looking day bag. Something that doesn't look like it would hold a specific electronic device. One that also doesn't have one flimsy shoulder strap. Look into buying day travel backpacks. Since they have a number of straps you can keep your valuables really close to you at all times.
Sometimes the tiniest of things can cause major problems. You could be hiking along with your binoculars you shelled out 2 grand for. Then accidentally kick a pebble that flies up and scratches your lens. It is not outside the realm of possibility. You could put your binoculars in its case, but if something quick darts out for you to see they won't be handy. The other option is lens caps. These circular caps are made of plastic. It is a binocular accessory that fits right over the objective lenses & eyepieces. They usually come with binoculars that are bigger than a compact size. However, if you lose them or want sturdier ones you can buy them separately. Though, before you place ‘em in the cart, double-check they will fit the model you own.
If you do take bird watching or astronomy seriously you'll probably be taking quite a few hikes. Chances are you'll be bringing other gear aside from your trusty binoculars. Stuff like a camera, binocular tripod, lens filters, batteries, field guides and maybe even lunch. To carry all of these things with ease you should probably look into buying a tripod case. Since this is the biggest piece of equipment. These bags vary in size, shape and features. Since you will be carrying extra gear, look for one that is big enough to accommodate everything else. You should also make sure the bag you buy has a number of pockets. Since you'd want to keep some of your gear separate. Instead of having delicate lenses shake around with your heavy tripod.
One of the best binocular accessories doesn't even attach to the binoculars. And needs no batteries. It's the notebook. Essentially, it is the way to record all the results you get in the field – instantly. Birdwatchers can note about what birds were in the area. Astronomers can jot down area markings from the best view sites. If you are packing light for these day and night excursions then pocket size is perfect. As a safe precaution you might also want to bring along a sealable sandwich bag to pop your notebook into in case it starts to rain.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|