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When it comes to binoculars, most people think that these ocular devices are only useful to hunters and birdwatchers. But like most everything in your house or cabin, there are many more uses that have probably never occurred to you. We often get in the “one-track” mindset when it comes to the things around. “This is meant for that.” And so we fail to think creatively about alternative uses for these items that can be quite handy and enjoyable. Nowadays these are called “hacks,” but really it’s just creative thinking about everyday objects.

If you have a pair of binoculars or are thinking of getting a pair, here are 8 things you can do with your binoculars that you might not have considered.


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Spotting Traffic Congestion

How many times have you been sitting in traffic on a freeway and wondering what in the heck is causing all the delay? Often times you can see the line of cars miles ahead. The really frustrating part is not knowing what’s going on. If you could just find out why you are at a stand-still you could endure the wait. Well, whip out your binoculars and take a look! Most of the interstates we travel on have long straight stretches where a pair of binoculars could easily pinpoint whether it’s an accident or police blockage. Keep a pair of small binoculars in your glove compartment to find out!


If you’ve ever been looking through your binoculars and spotted something really amazing, you’ve probably thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could take a picture of that and share it?” Well, you’re in luck! Almost all smartphones today come with an autofocus lens that is quite small. In fact, it’s small enough to look through one of the tubes of your binoculars! This use of binoculars for distance photography is becoming more and more popular. So much so that a few companies have even begun making an adapter that clamps on your binoculars and also holds your phone in place! Don’t miss sharing that great view with all your friends and family!


Most of us have probably looked through the wrong end of binoculars just to see what it looks like. And when you do, you get a magnification of a different sort. If you aimed the eyepiece of your binoculars at some crawling ants or at a splinter in your hand, you would be surprised at how well it works as a sort of microscope. Now, it is somewhat awkward because of the elongated view, but in a pinch, a pair of binoculars can help you see up close as well as far away!


Not only can you use the binoculars for micro-viewing, you can also use them for macro-viewing. Many people think that you have to have an expensive telescope to do stargazing. And while a good telescope will probably see more than the average binocular, a high-powered binocular can do amazingly well when looking up at the night sky. You might be surprised how much of the moon you can actually see with just your standard pair of binoculars. “Stargazing” is also one of the “common uses” of binoculars for people who are experienced, but it is surprising how many average people don’t think about looking up!

People Watching

If you’ve ever gone to a festival or county fair, you know there are lots of interesting people walking about. But it can be a bit awkward to just go around staring at people. With a pair of binoculars, you could entertain yourself all day just watching some rather out of the ordinary people enjoying themselves. And with the binoculars, no one is the wiser that they are your entertainment!

Neighborhood Watch

Related to people watching, is also security. Now, we don’t mean spying on your neighbors (though let’s face it, many people use binoculars for this too, but we’re not judging!). Instead, many neighbors have a “Watch” system that is simply meant to be a presence in the area to deter crime. If criminals know that neighbors are looking out for one another, they are less likely to rob or cause trouble in those areas. Well, a good set of binoculars could be critical to spotting trouble in your neighborhood whether you are officially on duty patrolling around or just sitting on your front porch in the evening. Keep a good pair of binoculars with you at these times to make sure you can spot the maleficence and report it with ease.


Some binoculars have a truly beautiful design. If you have a rustic office, hunting room, or cabin, an elegant pair of binoculars can add a great touch of flavor to your room. These can be strategically placed on end tables or even mounted on a wall next to your trophies. You might be surprised how much a quality pair of binoculars can really add to your room.


OK, now we’re getting into the “hack” element of binoculars. These tips all involve disassembling your binoculars in some way. If you are ever caught out in the woods and get lost, a pair of binoculars could make a real difference.

First, your binoculars have lenses on them that you can often access by unscrewing the lens cover. With a lens and a little practice and patience, you can start a fire by magnifying the sun’s rays. This works the same way that some boys use a magnifying glass to burn ants (and we don’t recommend you do that!). By focusing the sun’s rays you can create a beam of light hot enough to start a fire in small grass kindling.

Another survival tip is to access your binocular’s inner mirrors. Binoculars work by bouncing the incoming light off of mirror prisms and then focusing that light to your eyepiece. You can use these mirrors as a signal by reflecting the sun’s rays to people who may be looking for you.

And while you’ve got the binoculars opened up, most are waterproof, so you could use the casing as a canteen to carry water.


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