Multiplying Your Survival Choices with Binoculars in Your Pack
One item that is often left out of the survival pack is optical enhancement (binoculars or monocular). Fortunately, today there is a full range of reasonably priced, durable and functional optics. Many years ago the only good binoculars were large, bulks and delicate. On my very limited budget, I had a cheap pair of toy binoculars in my pack. Sure they were junk, but still much better than my one-power eyeballs. I am not an expert on binoculars, but unless you have unlimited fund, buying a pair of Zeiss Terra EDs at $500.00 seems excessive when you can get the same level of magnification and field for less than $100.00 and use the other $400.00 for other survival needs.
I do have a large pair of binoculars at home that I bought in the 1960s. These 20×50 optics are good for home situations (not to mention astronomy), but too bulky for the pack. In compliance with my own “not what you have, but what you have with you” rule I have a small pair of 10×25 binoculars that I carry in my truck (along with my Emergency Response Guidebook) for road situations. I carry a slightly larger pair of 16×32 Bushnell’s that I keep with my pack in their belt pouch. When traveling light I have a small 8×21 monocular. This cheap, lightweight monocular actually is faster to use and spot with than the larger binoculars. I took the Bushnell’s on a recent trip to Alaska. It’s a good idea to see a grizzly bear 16-times sooner than he sees you!
My point is that enhanced optics provides you with an advantage that fully justifies the allocation of funds, weight and space. Knowing what’s around you at a distance gives you choices that you may not have when you get closer. “I didn’t see that coming” can be your last words! For example:
• On the road you can see roadblocks, violence, hazardous materials, washouts and other hazards well before you encounter them. You can chose how to avoid or deal with these issues
• In camp or at home you can identify friend or foe, approaching looters, etc. before you are seen. Then you can prepare to defended or retreat as necessary.
• You can spot safe routs, safe camp sites, useful supplies, game, water sources and other needs many times further out than with the unaided eye.
These are significant advantages! Unless you like to miss opportunities and you like surprises, you need to include enhanced optics as part of your survival equipment.