Our Favorite Van Camping Binoculars

Woman using binoculars to search for bird in tree

Let’s face it, purchasing a new pair of binoculars isn’t something you do every year. In my case, it isn’t even every few years. The last pair of binoculars I bought was probably five-plus years ago. They were a pair of 10x50s, and over the years, they have become a bit tattered. The lens covers are long gone, and the case is held together with camouflage duct tape.

For the past year or so, I have been considering the idea of buying a new pair of binoculars to take on our van camping trips, even though my old ones are still functional. They were not O-ring sealed, and tiny dust particles have gotten inside the binocular and on the lens. Therefore, the view isn’t as bright and clear as it used to be.

It was time to purchase a new pair, which turned out to be quite an undertaking with so many manufacturers and models of binoculars available. I decided to start by doing some online research, a lot of research. You can read what I learned in my post 19 Tips For Choosing The Best Binoculars For Van Camping.

Dollar for dollar, the binoculars manufactured today are vastly superior to those of just 5 or 10 years ago. Advancements in glass quality, production methods, quality of coatings, and innovative design, for instance, contribute to better quality binoculars.

Vortex Diamondback

I had an opportunity to test and evaluate several different binocular brands. I put them through their various paces, and the one I liked the most and ended up purchasing was the Vortex Diamondback® HD 10×42 binocular. They provide exceptional quality at a price that won’t bust your budget.

They come with a binocular case, case harness, neck strap, objective lens covers, and eyepiece cover. When out in the field, the binocular harness safeguards your binocular and keeps them handy for quick use. To prevent accidentally dropping the binocular, you can attach them to the built-in tether straps.

Binocular and accessories laying on wooden picnic table

The roof prism design allows them to be more compact, and they are not as heavy as my old pair, weighing in at 21.3 ounces. They have something I should have had years ago, O-ring seals that stop dust, debris, and moisture from entering in; now that is a significant improvement.

Their sturdy construction and rubber armor coating is a nice feature that adds an extra layer of protection against those inevitable bumps, jolts, and severe impacts. The coating also helps provide a non-slip grip.

The Diamondback® HD binocular is waterproof. Now that doesn’t mean that you can spend hours underwater glassing fish; it means that if you accidentally drop them in the water when you are crossing a stream and pick them right back out, or you get caught in a sudden downpour, it shouldn’t bother them a bit.

Also, the binoculars are fog-proof. The air inside the tubes has been removed and replaced with Argon gas, which stops internal fogging no matter what the temperature variation is. The lenses have a protective coating to help keep the outside of the lenses from getting scratched during use.

The right eyepiece diopter allows you to adjust the binoculars to your specific eye differences, and the center focus wheel allows for quick focusing of both barrels. The adjustable eyecups turn up and down to give easy viewing whether you wear eyeglasses or not.

The HD optical system provides excellent resolution, cuts chromatic aberration, delivers a bright, sharp image, dielectric prism coatings provide accurate colors. All the air-to-glass surfaces are fully multi-coated, which increases light transmission.

The Diamondback® is an excellent general-use binocular. They are much better than my old pair, especially when viewing at dusk and dawn when the lighting isn’t exactly the best. By adding an adapter, you can mount the binocular on a tripod or vehicle window mount to steady your viewing and eliminate long periods of having to hold the binoculars by hand.

Model Eye Relief Field Of View Close Focus Weight
8×28 18 mm 332 feet at 1000 Yd 6 feet 14 oz
8×32 16 mm 426 feet at 1000 Yd 5 feet 15.9 oz
8×42 17 mm 393 feet at 1000 Yd 5 feet 21.8 oz
10×28 16 mm 273 feet at 1000 Yd 6 feet 15.9 oz
10×32 14 mm 340 feet at 1000 Yd 6 feet 16 oz
10×42 15 mm 330 feet at 1000 Yd 5 feet 21.3 oz
10×50 17 mm 315 feet at 1000 Yd 6 feet 30 oz
12×50 14 mm 271 feet at 1000 Yd 6 feet 28.9 oz

The Diamondback® HD is available in eight different models. Check the Diamondback® HD 10X42 binocular price. 

Woman taking binoculars out of carrying case

Vortex Vanquish

Cindy wanted a pair of general use binoculars that she could take when birding and looking at wildlife. However, as you can see from the photo above, the Diamondbacks® were bigger and heavier than what she wanted to carry. She also didn’t want to have to worry about misplacing or damaging a more expensive pair.

Priced right around $100, the Vanquish® 8x26s was just what she wanted. The reverse porro design has high-quality glass with multi-coated optics. The smaller size makes them easy for her to carry, they weigh in at only 12.7 ounces, and they come with a neck strap to keep them handy. To protect the binos, Vortex included an eyepiece cover and a carrying case.

Vortex vanquish binoculars on rock leaning against stick

The Vanquish® offers a super clear, bright view and allows you to see things with good detail. And the center focus wheel enables you to focus them quickly. The binoculars have a rubber armor coating on them so you won’t lose your grip, no matter what the conditions are. To top it off, they are waterproof and fog-proof, making them perfect for all-around use.

She uses them all the time and says she should have gotten them sooner!

Model Eye Relief Field Of View Close Focus Weight
8×26 15 mm 352 feet/1000 yards 7.6 feet 12.7 oz
8×26 16 mm 294 feet/1000 yards 7.6 feet 12.7 oz

The Vanquish® is available in two different models. Check the Vanquish® 8X26 binocular price.


Vortex Optics’ VIP warranty is one of the best in the industry. If your Vortex product happens to get damaged accidentally, breaks or becomes defective, they will repair or replace it for you. Even if you’re not the original purchaser, they will still take care of it for you! No receipt? No problem, they’ll take care of any issues.

The warranty is an unlimited lifetime warranty and they will repair or replace your product at no cost to you. If, for any reason, Vortex cannot fix your item, they’ll replace the binocular with one equal or better. You can’t argue with that. I have to say that Vortex develops binoculars for reliability, durability and customer satisfaction.

Final Thoughts

With their extraordinary attention to design, engineering and service, Vortex Optics has built a solid reputation for providing some of the best products and services available anywhere. The people at Vortex have you, the customer in mind when creating rock-solid optics that function exactly the way you want them to.