8 Crazy Uses for Binoculars; #6 Is Actually Useful

Everyone knows how to use binoculars. Most often they are put through their paces by hunters, birders, and sky gazers. Spotting game, song birds, and comets aren’t the only reasons to own a decent pair of binoculars though.

Let’s take a look (no pun intended) at some crazier (or creative, if you prefer) uses for binoculars. The more you can use them, the better value they are for your money.

We’ll look at them as if we were dealing a hand of sheepshead – first 3 (sporting), then 2 more (survival), and 3 (stuff) at the end.

If you’re more interested in one group or item than the others, just click it in the table below. Or you can just keep reading.

#1-3 Sports

Spotting golf balls

It’s time to admit it. Most of us who golf aren’t really all that good. If we were, we’d be on a tour, either pro or amateur, making our living by hitting that little white ball across the grass from tee to cup.

Lady golfer

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Having a pair of binoculars at hand while on the links can be really useful, especially for those of us with a wicked hook or slice.

Since you probably never golf alone, give the binoculars to your partner and have him or her spot your ball for you as it flies over the rough and into the trees.

Not only will you save time finding it later, but you’ll lose far fewer golf balls than you used to.

See what other fishermen are catching

When you’re out on the lake casting for your favorite fish, whether bass, walleye, or crappie, some days they just aren’t biting.

For you.

Fishing boats

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As you look around at the other boats, you notice a couple of significant things.

  1. They are there.
  2. They are there because they’re catching fish.

Having a set of binoculars in your boat allows you to see what the others are catching without moving closer or shouting across the water – something which no one would appreciate.

When you notice that everyone else is pulling in trout, but you were trying to lure sunfish, you can change you bait accordingly. That will give you a fighting chance at bringing something home for dinner.

Differentiate between grizzly and black bear

If you’re hunting for black bears, you don’t want to kill or capture a grizzly by mistake.


Grizzly bear

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The problem is that, even if you know the differences between the two, you don’t want to get too close to make the distinction.

Binoculars can save your day.

For those who are wondering, the main differences are in the shoulders, the face profile, and claw size. If you see a shoulder hump, a concave face, and huge claws, you’re looking at a grizzly bear.

Back away from the bear.

#4-5 Survival

Disassemble to start a fire

True survivalists already know this. You can disassemble binoculars to get at one of the lenses and use it to concentrate a beam of sunlight on some kindling to start a fire.

Starting a fire

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Unfortunately, many binoculars today are made so sturdy that it might take a lot of effort on your part to take them apart. You might have to smash them and yet do so carefully enough not to crack the lenses.

Disassemble to use mirror as a signal

Signaling with a mirror

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Once you do have them in pieces though, you can also use one of the mirrors inside (if yours are so equipped) as a signaling device. Obviously both of these life-saving techniques require sunlight. If it’s cloudy, you’re out of luck.

#6-8 Stuff

Cell phone camera zoom lens

Virtually every adult (and some children) today owns a cell phone with a built-in camera. Most of us have used that camera to take pictures of interesting and not so interesting subjects.

Sometimes it would be great if you could have gotten closer before clicking the shutter (except for selfies).

You can use binoculars like a zoom lens by holding them in front of the lens of your cell phone camera and snapping away. It may take a little practice to know exactly how to line up the lenses, but once you’ve got that figured out, you’ll be surprised at what cool pictures you can take.

Invert to help locate splinters

Binoculars are usually used to bring the far away up close. When you flip them around, the far away looks even farther away.

Backwards binoculars

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But if you invert them and hold them up to something very close and relatively small, they act like a microscope – just the thing for finding splinters and slivers in your fingers.

If you had a real microscope handy, you could you that instrument just as well. Most people, however, own binoculars but not microscopes.

Reading signs from a distance

When you’re on the road, especially in an unfamiliar part of the country or city, and you’re looking for your destination, having a pair of binoculars along in the car can save you a lot of time and trouble.

Street signs

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Sometimes your cell phone will guide you in the right direction, but other times it’s just best to use your eyes. Whoever is sitting shotgun with you can hold the binoculars and spot street signs and highway markers long before you get to them.

No more surprises, wrong turns, or missed exits!

Gary Sonnenberg

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