Vortex Diamondback Binoculars (Read our Review): I bought the 10×42 Vortex Diamondback binoculars which are inexpensive, but still are good enough quality for hunting or birding in low light. I have used binoculars as part of my outdoor field work for over 30 years, so I know what qualities are needed in a good binocular. The Vortex Binoculars are easily comparable in quality to the Nikon Monarchs, which are the mid-priced standard (my wife has a pair of Monarchs). In addition, Vortex offers their VIP Warranty (Very Important Promise) – Vortex Optics will fix any problem – No questions asked.
View the Vortex Diamondback Binoculars
Field Spotting Scope
Nikon ProStaff Compact Spotting Scope (Read our Review): I needed a waterproof spotting scope that was light weight and compact but with very bright and clear images. No 65 mm objective will ever gather as much light as an 88 mm objective, but the Nikon Prostaff cost less than $400 and I can easily pack it around. The compact size fits perfectly into an exterior pocket of my day pack or easily fits inside the pack for extra protection when I’m packing light. I chose the Nikon Prostaff after comparing to 19 other compact spotting scopes in the $200-$500 price range.
View the Nikon 16-48×65 ProStaff Spotting Scope
Nikon Buckmasters 1×20 rifle scope (muzzleloader) Nikon Buckmasters 3-9×40 rifle scope (7 mm Rem. Mag.). Mounted with Weaver style scope mounting base and mounting rings. Rugged quality Nikon optics that don’t break the bank.
Simmons 8-point Rifle Scope – (see one here) Also mounted with Weaver base and rings. I bought one for my muzzleloader after the state changed the rules and allowed us to hunt with magnified scopes. This is a great scope for about $40 and it proved to be tough when I fell crossing a creek.
Vanguard MAK 203 Tripod (Read our Review): A spotting scope requires either a rifle mount or a tripod. I am happy with the Vanguard tripod because it is lightweight (2.4 lbs), compact (23.5 inches folded), so it fits into side pocket of my day pack. The tripod extends high enough so I can use it while standing. It is sturdy enough for a steady view of the target and has a quick shoe release for fast attachment and release of scope, camera or trail cam. The Tripod also doubles as a shooting stick.
View the Vanguard MAK 203 (Compact Field) Tripod