Saturday, March 14, 2015

Off-Season Gear Review- Alpen Super Compact Spotting Scope

Alpen Super Compact Spotting Scope

When I am planning a hunt whether it be a 7 day backpack trip or a day hunt my main concern as hunter when loading my pack is weight. Spotting scopes can allow me to decipher whether an animal is legal or help me determine whether it’s an animal want to pursue. I have lugged around everything from a mid-size spotting scope to a giant 80 objective lens and I have to say it has made me question whether I was gaining anything by taking all the extra weight and bulk by bringing a spotting scope in my backpack.

A recent trip to Alaska pushed me to start looking into compact spotting scopes. I did a lot of research and what pushed me over the edge was price and size of the Alpen Super Compact Spotting Scope. I, like most hunters, don’t have $500 or more to shell out for a compact spotting scope that I may use a handful of times a year; especially since the majority of my LONG range glassing is done from a truck or nearby with my larger spotting scope.

When I first saw the Alpen Super Compact Spotting Scope I didn’t hesitate, for the price, indoor clarity, and of course its stature, I was sold.

The scope runs about $100 and comes with a case and mini tripod. The scope comes in at a miniscule 10 ounces and has a body that is right around 8 inches long. I could fit this in the cargo pocket on a pair of hunting pants. It is the definition of super compact and affordability.

The body is a nice dark green and seems to be rubberized making is resistant to slipping on rocks and major scratches if used without the tripod. The tripod and case that come with the scope are nothing special but fit the build and I’ve had no problems with them yet. The case does have a nice belt loop on it that help secure to a strap or backpack. I do use a separate ultralight tripod with the scope that I bought separately that can be extended for use in a sitting position. This helps if the terrain isn’t conducive to placing the scope and mini tripod on. The scope also has a little sun shade that is retractable for when glassing into the sun.

The scope is nitrogen filled and fully waterproof and dustproof. Last year in Alaska it rained and poured on us and we had no issues whatsoever with the scope fogging or losing its water seal.

The glass

Even though this isn’t the best glass it performed great for the price of the scope. The 20X magnification is just enough to give you that edge when identifying key features on an animal. Last year I was on a day hunt with the scope and found a deer bedding near a rock outcropping. I could barely tell size at the distance with my 10x binoculars, however when I pulled out the Alpen Compact Scope it was definite. I was also able to count points and see the body of another deer to the left of the buck. This little scope helped me decide what position I was going to take when putting a stalk on the buck.

*Notice the brown deer body to the left of the bedded buck.

The Scope lenses are coated and have very good clarity in all conditions. The 50 MM objective is plenty big for letting in ample light even in low light situations. The scope also has an adjustable eye piece that can accommodate people with and without glasses.

The Company

I don’t have a ton of firsthand experience with them yet but when I have questions, Alpen reps are very responsive. I recently had some questions about what scope and binoculars to pick out and they gave me some great information which led me to selecting my new pair of binos and riflescope for 2015. The company also has a bulletproof warranty that will replace any product you return, No Fault, No questions. So that puts my heart at ease when I am in a questionable situation or are more than a little rough on a piece of gear.

To sum it all up, I am sure there is better glass out there if you have a few more hundred dollars to play around with but for the price and the size it can’t be beat. I have had the pleasure of using this scope on numerous hunts and it’s been great at providing my wife and I, as well as others who often hunt with us, something extra when glassing at a distance. It fits easily in my backpack and I don’t question anymore on whether to bring the scope, at 10 ounces I just throw it in!
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