nocs field issue binoculars used in person at the grand canyon
Megan Swinney

These Binoculars Combine the Fun of Being a Kid with the Features You Want as an Adult

Whether birdwatching, stargazing, or hiking, the Field Issue adventure binoculars adds serious excitement.

I loved using my dad's binoculars as a kid. They were a giant clunky pair of 1980s technology, but they did the trick for everything from checking out birds sitting in the massive oaks in our front yard to watching the flames climb over a distant hillside every time there was a wildfire. His ancient binoculars were hard to focus and even harder to keep steady, but the experience all boiled down to fun being had and memories being made.

As an adult, I never got my own pair, but always cherished the memories I had with them as a kid. When I heard about Nocs Provisions Field Issue Binoculars, touted to be incredibly well-made binoculars with a modern feel, I thought: How far can binocs really have come?

Boy, did I underestimate how far modern technology can take a simple piece of gear. 

Nocs Provisions is a well-known brand in the binocular world for combining quality manufacturing and modern technology, like stabilization, crystal clear optics, and durable materials. The brand has leveraged a love for the outdoors and desire to disconnect from technology and created multiple lines of adventure-ready, sturdy binoculars.

They recently released a midsize model, which blends the durability of their waterproof lines and the technological advances of their Pro models. This has created a mashup that sounds ideal for any nature enthusiast. Even the brand says the newly released model is perfect for every outdoor activity imaginable.

But are they actually as Goldilocks as they sound?

To find out, I tested the Field Issue 8X32 in some pretty spectacular locations.

Pair of Nocs Field Issue 8X32 binoculars.

Photo by Megan Swinney

Field Issue 8X32 Specs

To assist with focusing your lenses, the large, centrally located wheel adjusts your view from a close focus of 9.3ft to a max distance of 1,000 yards.

The lenses are covered with a special coating to produce a bright, sharp image.

The Field Issue only weighs 11.8 ounces thanks to a medical-grade, thermoplastic frame making them lightweight on your neck and in your hands.

Dust, water, and humidity won't impede your view, thanks to the Field Issue's lab-testing rating of IPX-7, which means they can withstand being submerged under 3 feet of water without condensation gathering for up to 30 minutes.

For reference, there is only one rating higher, the IPX-8, which allows for full submersion in underwater conditions.

They're designed with a rugged, wavy texture on the outside of the thermoplastic frame, which allows for a sturdy, no-slip grip in your hands.

Nocs have a unique design wherein the lenses are specifically optimized to allow you to take a picture through them with your smartphone with lenses that are specifically designed to retain picture quality. Just line up your smartphone with the binocular's lens and snap away, preserving your view forever.

The Field Issue's adjustable eye cups have three different twist-up positions for more comfortable viewing.

How Nocs Field Issue Performed

Kid looks through Nocs Field Issue binoculars

Photo by Megan Swinney

Right out of the package, I was impressed at how slim the 8X32 was and how grippy the outside was. The rigid exterior felt like it could prevent any slips while still fitting comfortably in your hands.

I took the Field Issue along for a day of hiking along the Grand Canyon's south rim. The canyon is a stunning view without binoculars, but using the binocs to see the walls on the other side with more detail was amazing. Looking deep into the canyon, I could see the greenery along the floor and a smattering of buildings.

Here's where Noc's exterior design pattern proved it was not just for show. They are made from a medical-grade thermoplastic, creating a wavy pattern on the binocular's exterior that is durable and gives users a secure grip. It's hard not to feel nervous about accidentally dropping something when you're faced with a drop as far down as the Grand Canyon, but the rugged grip felt really secure in my hands, and the attached neck strap ensured the binoculars weren't going anywhere.

These binoculars have two other important attributes: The Field Issues have a lab rating of IPX7, which is a technical way of saying their lenses can withstand dust, water, and humidity without compromising their visibility. While I didn't get to test out the water and humidity aspects, my vision stayed clear with all the pollen and dust that was swirling through the air. Nocs also constructed them to be waterproof if dropped in 3 feet of water or less, and the lenses will not fog up.

Of course, this was the perfect opportunity to snap a picture through the lens with my smartphone. One unique feature of these binoculars that gives them a modern leg-up on their predecessors (and other binoculars on the market) is the viewfinders are compatible with your smartphone camera, allowing you to take photos with your phone through the lens.

The floor of the Grand Canyon as seen through the Nocs Provisions Field Issue 8x32.

The floor of the Grand Canyon as seen through the Nocs Provisions Field Issue 8x32. Photo by Megan Swinney

The photo came out slightly glare-y, but I think that was more a point against the phone's settings than the Field Issue's fault. When I retested it at home, my phone was having proximity issues and having a hard time distinguishing what it was looking at. So the success of using this very cool Nocs feature may depend on how "smart" your smartphone is.

Overall, the Field Issue has an impressive viewing field. I didn't feel like I was missing out on any of the finer details of the canyon, and the focus wheel made for simple adjustments to the overall clarity. Just be slow in your movements. The wheel moves so smoothly it can be easy to overcompensate.

I was also impressed with just how lightweight the binoculars felt. The 11.8 ounces feels almost as light as my phone (with its case), and it fits easily into my backpack for safekeeping when I am done.

I've been carrying these with me almost everywhere, even on a plane, and I barely notice them in my pack. I was hoping to see how they would fare out the airplane window, but it was unfortunately too cloudy to see anything.

Now, they aren't just being slid into my backpack by themselves. Nocs ensures their binoculars will be properly stored by providing caps for front and back lenses, a cloth for cleaning each lens, and a cloth drawstring bag for everything to slip into.

Are the Field Issue 8x32's the Right Binocs for You?

Close up of the Nocs Field Issue 8x32

Photo by Megan Swinney

I found the Field Issue to be very user-friendly and easy to carry around, even my nine-year-old and his 10-year-old cousin had an easy time using them. Admittedly, the average adventure binocular shouldn't be too complicated. Usually, the more complex models come in the form of hunting binoculars. The Field Issue is lightweight, sturdy, and built to last throughout many adventures. They come in three colors, coral red, Corsican blue, and deep slate. I appreciated the wide field of view of the 8x magnification and the level of detail that came with the 32 mm lens, which lends to light and clarity.

If hassle-free and eco-friendly packaging is something that's important to you, you'll appreciate that Nocs binoculars ship in plastic-free, recycled boxes, and all the printing is done with soy ink.

While the Field Issue's $175 price point may make it a more affordable option, given that binoculars can range from $20 to well over $2,000, it would still be a bummer if anything were to happen to them. This is why another huge selling point is Noc's "No Matter What" lifetime warranty. We can all get into hairy situations while out on the trail or even while kayaking. The waterproof design and warranty give me some peace of mind making the Field Issue an active participant in my travels.

READ MORE: The 3 Best Binoculars for Kids: Perfect for Hiking, Stargazing, + More