Whitby Gear 8x42 Monocular review: watch nature in motion

Compact, lightweight and stable, this monocular allows you to follow nature on the go

Whitby Gear 8x42 Monocular
(Image: © Julia Clarke)

Advnture Verdict

This lightweight monocular is easy to transport and operate and lets you quickly zoom in on wildlife, even in motion


  • +

    Lightweight and compact

  • +

    Robust design

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    Good for general nature viewing

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    Lens cap covers

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    Carrying case and wrist lanyard included

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    Adjustable eye cup

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    Budget friendly


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    Not waterproof

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    No neck strap

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    One lens cap isn’t attached

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Whitby Gear 8x42 Monocular: first impressions 

Designed for nature enthusiasts who like to stay on the go, Whitby has designed a lightweight and compact monocular that delivers a close look at distant wildlife, but is light enough to carry on any hike. With a compact and robust design, you won’t think twice about packing this in your backpack for a day hike or camping trip, while 8x magnification with a 42mm lens means you can set your sights on that grazing elk or flock of birds as they fly through the sky. 


List price: £49.95
• Lens type: BAK4
Magnification: 8X
• Objective lens diameter: 42mm
• Field of view: 6.3 °, 110/1000M
• Eye relief: 18mm
• Closest Focusing: 2.5M
• Waterproof: No
• Dimensions: 160mm x 60mm
• Weight: 352g / 12.4 oz 

We’ve tested this monocular out on day hikes and found that it’s extremely easy to use, even when you’re pulling it out in a hurry. The focusing mechanism is smooth and effective and the lens and magnification make it easy to home right in on what you’re looking for and watch it without any shaking. This monocular comes in a carrying case with a wrist lanyard and lens caps. Some users might prefer a neck lanyard and one of the lens caps isn’t attached, making it easier to lose, but in terms of performance and quality, it’s hard to beat this monocular that’s great for novices as well as experienced users – especially at such a budget-friendly price. 

Whitby Gear 8x42 Monocular: in the field 

Whitby Gear 8x42 Monocular

We’ve tested this monocular out on day hikes and found that it’s extremely easy to use (Image credit: Julia Clarke)

For years now, I’ve been kicking myself for not carrying a pair of binoculars on my hikes. There have been multiple bear, moose and golden eagle encounters in Colorado that would have been enhanced by some magnification. But let’s face it, binoculars can be bulky and heavy, taking up a lot of room in a backpack. So when I was offered the chance to test out the Whitby Gear 8x42 Monocular, I jumped at the chance. I’ve taken this with me on all of my hikes for the past month and, while I'm still learning not to scrunch up my other eye, and Scotland is lacking in bears and moose, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to use it to enjoy our fantastic avian population.

Here’s how it performed:  

Weight and packability 

First off, and just 352g, this monocular is equivalent in weight to a can of Coke, and with the streamlined shape it’s easy to fit in my backpack and carry over long distances. That said, I can see how a monocular or pair of binoculars could be too light and make for a shaky viewing experience, and this manages to walk that line perfectly with just enough weight in my hand to be steady 

Whitby Gear 8x42 Monocular

8x magnification with a 42mm lens means you can set your sights on that grazing elk or flock of birds as they fly through the sky (Image credit: Julia Clarke)

Magnification and stability 

The 8x magnification of this monocular isn’t super long range, but that makes it ideal for nature viewing, where a long range lens can make it difficult to home in on what you want to see. I don’t have another pair of binoculars to compare it to, but compared to the massive zoom on my Canon Powershot, I’m able to get a decent look at birds in the near and middle distance, and the view is much steadier. 

Ease of use 

I find these easy to hold with both one hand and two. On our first adventure together, I was lucky enough to see a migrating stork, which is extremely rare in Scotland. Excitedly, I whipped out the monocular and was able to really easily adjust the magnification and get a closer look. Even though I consider myself a novice in this type of technology, I found it really easy to get the hang of without reading an instruction manual, which meant I could get out into nature faster. 

Durability and value 

I admit, I have dropped this already and it’s fine. It’s a robust piece of gear, well-padded with rubber and the lens covers are great for keeping it from getting scratched. It’s not waterproof, so the big thing for me is to remember to keep a plastic bag handy in case there’s a shower.

The carrying case is just that, a carrying case, so it doesn’t offer much protection but it does help keep crumbs and grime in my backpack from getting into the lenses, Ideally, it would probably be best for both lens caps to be attached so I don’t lose the one that isn’t, and a neck lanyard might be better than the wrist strap, but those are small quibbles and at this price, you really couldn’t ask for more. 

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.