Dave Conrad
Field Evaluation - Vanguard Spirit Binoculars
By Dave Conrad - Senior Field Evaluator
Mar 17, 2010 - 10:18:52 AM

I have always said that one of the best tools in your arsenal while bowhunting for whitetail deer, turkey, predators or any big game species is a good set of binoculars.  This evaluation will cover Spirit 8360MO, a mid-range set of binoculars from VANGUARD.  This mid-range model carries many features crucial for hunting while being a competitively priced binocular.

Vanguard has approximately 25 years of global leading experience in high-quality sporting optics.  They have been a staple in the industry, which has had an impact on many new and feature-rich products.

Vanguard has been awarded ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 Certification.  ISO 9001 pertains to a generic set of requirements for implementing a quality management system, and ISO 14001 is for an environmental management system.

Picking up Spirit, you instantly feel the lightweight but durable design.  Vanguard uses state-of-the-art engineering of space age technology, resulting in a body made of a lightweight but strong and durable polymer.  The body is also nitrogen filled, making them waterproof and resistant to internal fogging.

The Spirit Series binoculars feature fully multi-coated and higher quality glass lenses.   The BaK4 prisms with P2 Phase and Emerald Coating are the secrets to brighter edge-to-edge yet crystal clear images, especially during lower light conditions.  The Emerald Coating also enhances the full spectrum of color, especially the natural shades of green.

These Spirit binoculars are lightweight, weighing in at only 18.7 ounces.  The light weight is critical when stalking or when on a stand.  Larger and heavier binoculars tend to add stress on the neck and upper shoulders, which can become uncomfortable and rob you of time in the field.

A hunter will have no problem blending in with the environment either, as these optics sport Mossy Oak's™ Break-up camouflage pattern.

The large objective focus ring is a well thought out feature, as it allows you to quickly adjust for clarity.  The 8X power Spirit gives you a clear field of view, which measures 367 ft. at 1,000 yards.  The 36mm objective lens diameter is a benefit on this fairly compact size of optics, allowing enough light, which is beneficial to the all-important low light morning and evening hunting times.

My first test was conducted on an overcast day with snow blanketing the ground.  With the snow I was able to pick up more movement in the woods.  The P2 coating on the BaK4 prisms gave me a crisp, clear view, and I was quickly able to distinguish two fox squirrels scurrying and foraging in the deep snow.  Pileated wood peckers, cardinals, as well as an occasional bluebird and robin were also detected.  There were patches of sun during the day, and the high quality, multi-coated lenses cut down glare that is normally a problem during these changing conditions.  The over sized eye cups helped, making it easy on my eyes. With a simple twist, the eye cups can be adjusted for eyeglass wearers as well.  

At the onslaught of evening, Spirit did not disappoint, as the optics continued to produce clear and detail-rich views.  The snow did aid in extending this low light time of day, and the binoculars didn't disappoint and continued to pick up movement.  I judge a pair of optics strictly on the ability to perform in these crucial low light times.  Reason being, trophy game tend to be more active during this time and are most vulnerable.

So what is included with the binoculars in the box?  First off, Spirit comes packaged in a nice black multi-function bag.  A fully adjustable and comfortable neck strap makes carrying afield easy, while the lens caps cover the all important optics. Also included is a soft cleaning cloth for lens maintenance. All in all, a very nice package.

The suggested retail list price on the Spirit is $279.99, but you should be able to pick them up for just under $200.  This price point makes them very affordable to any outdoor enthusiast and when stacked up against other models in this price range makes them a great buy for these feature rich optics. 

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