When SHTF, you will be on constant surveillance, keeping your eyes open where ever you go. Whether you’re scouting for animals, defending your set perimeter, looking for water or other natural landmarks, or navigating through particularly hairy terrain with essential items like cooking gear or heavy bags filled with equipment, all of these actions require visual observation or guidance of some sort, making optics a very vital piece of your preparation plan.
The beauty of hand held optics verses drones or certain trail cams is that optics require only batteries, not electricity, to function. To be prepared for the long term all you need to do is stock up on the correct battery sizes for each optic accessory in your bag and you’ll be set. There are other considerations to caring for your optics, from cleaning kits to general maintenance if an item takes a particularly nasty fall, but first you must identify the most important optics to have on hand as part of your SHTF plan.
Binoculars and Monoculars
Binoculars and monoculars are truly vital pieces of equipment for anyone prepping for when SHTF. Binoculars don’t require any electricity to operate and are generally 100 percent weather proof and small enough to wear on your body. When you’re hunting and you don’t have time to set up a spotting scope for long range magnification, binoculars are an easy way to pull up quickly, get a closer look at what’s ahead of you and make smarter split second decisions from navigating the terrain ahead of you or to identifying if that’s an antler tip or just a stick.
Monoculars are another really great option for various reasons. They are smaller, thus even more lightweight than a set of binoculars, but they also get the job done a tad bit quicker as you aren’t going to need to drop whatever you’re holding in order to hold the optic with two hands. Monoculars are also great for younger kids who don’t want as much weight on them if they are trekking around with you and don’t cost as much as a set of binoculars, they also save on space and cut down on overall weight when added to emergency packs or supply bags.
Spotting scopes by nature require some very high quality parts from the powerful interior lenses to the weather resistant exterior of the optic. Spotting scope users require durable, long lasting quality that can preform in every imaginable circumstances from frigid temperatures to the sweltering heat. With a wide range of uses from surveillance, checking a marksman’s accuracy, surveying landscape for natural travel routes and even to spot bedded down game for hunting purposes.
Because a spotting scope offers significantly more magnification than your standard binocular you’ll find it beneficial to invest in a lightweight tripod of some sort so you can use the long range scope without any optical shake or losing your place when using it in a group setting. Spotting scopes tend to be considered a necessity for any prepper because there are so many instances where the important details you’re looking can’t be scoped out with binoculars alone. The spotting scope is the essential optical tool when you’re out in the field.
Range finders have gradually been incorporated into spotting scopes more and more over the years, but the hand held range finder still has its place in your prepper plans. The optics and laser sight technology on range finders today are quite impressive and offer the user an fast and accurate reading of objects long distances away. Knowing the range of something is great to improve accuracy, if you hit your intended target with the first shot you won’t need to use more ammunition on a second shot, thus saving money and resources.
Range finders clearly have their place in the hunting industry, but also when it comes to mapping out regions you’re traveling through and knowing the distance or reach of specific objects several draws over. It also helps users make more accurate assumptions about anticipated travel time if they know the exact distance they have yet to go. Preppers should keep in mind that range finder technology is advancing at a rapid rate and the industry has seen growth in the direction of adding GPS capability to high end devices.
Scopes and Sights
If hunting or surveillance is your aim, then having high end scopes on your weapons will benefit you for years to come. Most scopes do not require a battery or electricity as they are essentially long lenses, but some products boast added technology to the scopes that require some battery power.
A good scope, like many of your other optics, should be fully weather proof and of high quality. The lifetime and accuracy of a scope mounted to your weapon will be well worth the initial cost, even if it is a little steep. Many scopes can be modified and sighted in to work on multiple weapons, not just one. Their versatility and overall quality of such an optic should be of great importance to anyone prepping for when SHTF.
Night and Thermal Vision
An intriguing and useful optical tool that is often over looked could be the most important item of all. Having the ability to see in very low light conditions give you the upper hand in almost any situation. Imagine a scenario when you’re traveling by night and staying down during the daylight hours. We all know it’s not easy to travel at night comfortably or easily, but night vision brings a whole new aspect to these scenarios. You can pick out trails ahead of you without having to group around in the dark and have the upper hand in any scenario where you’re up against man or beast in the night hours.
Thermal vision, or infrared vision, is a great optical tool that allows the user to detect infrared radiation from bodies that are emitting more heat than surrounding objects. The beauty of these optical tools is the power it gives you concerning surveillance. They can be used both day and night because the technology is meant to detect objects based on their temperature not visual presentation.