Best Travel Telescope
The best travel telescope to buy in the UK (June 2020).
#1 Selection: Overall Score = 91%
#2: Best Runner-Up
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Travel Telescopes: A Buyer’s Guide
Millions of us love looking up at the stars! However, it can be difficult to get a good look at them all if you’re on the move. Telescopes are notoriously clunky at times – especially the most feature-rich models. However, there are some fantastic systems available which you can easily take on the go with you. Are you likely to go starseeing while trekking around? Then you’re going to want a powerful, versatile telescope that’s easy to pack up and set up wherever you are.
It’s safe to say that the best telescopes are those which you can set up and use at home – certainly in terms of functionality – however, it may surprise you just how capable and versatile travel telescopes can be. With that in mind, don’t be too quick to discount them as inferior. You can buy a robust travel telescope for less than you may think, and what’s more, you will likely find them easier to handle and move around than your run of the mill models. But what exactly should you be looking for in the perfect travel telescope?
In this buying guide, we will be breaking all of that down for you. We’ve taken the time to look through some brilliant systems and tools and want to ensure you have the best start when it comes to picking apart the pack. Shopping around for a travel telescope? Read on and make sure to check our frequently asked questions for the full lowdown!
Why Buy a Travel Telescope?
It may seem a little strange to some people that you would want to take a telescope on the go but think about the possibilities. If you travel a lot, you may find corners of the world where it is easier to see the stars thanks to a lack of light pollution. What’s more, you might even want to use a travel model as an alternative to binoculars. Travel telescopes are fantastic fun come day or night, though you will probably want to get your scope out at night to see the constellations. Who knows what you’ll see on one side of the planet compared to the other?
True stargazers will love being able to take their telescopes on the go with them, as they will be light in weight and easy to fold down and carry. If you are backpacking or taking limited luggage with you, then you will obviously need to look for a model that is particularly compact for use on the go. However, you should also be looking for a few basic functions as well as perks to ensure you’re getting the best out of your money.
Things to Look For
As always, with any technology or kit, there are going to be a few factors you’ll need to compare when buying online. If you’re unable to get to a specialist shop to compare in person, then you are obviously going to need all the help and advice you can get when it comes to narrowing down your choice. Here’s what you should be looking for in the perfect travel telescope, and what will likely differ from system to system.
Type of Telescope
You may think that all travel telescopes do the same thing. Think again! There are major differences in the types and styles of telescope available to you on the go. Therefore, be ready to compare.
Reflector telescopes, for example, are ideal for anyone who wants the most depth and the best views for their money. These models have larger viewing windows, which means that you should get better resolution than through other models and types. They are perfect for viewing the skies at night. For viewing across the land, however, you may do better to invest in a refractor telescope.
A refractor telescope is nice and easy to use, and often provides some of the best value and most convenience for stargazers. They are great for a variety of skies, even those with cloud cover and artificial light fogging the way. You might also consider catadioptric telescopes, too, if you want a good all-around experience for your money. These telescopes can even link up to your PC, meaning that you can always capture brilliant views through your lens.
Bulk and Weight
Of course, if you are going to carry a telescope around with you, you will need it to be lightweight and low on bulk. A cumbersome telescope is not going to travel well, meaning that you should be looking at miniature tools which will easily fit into your backpack or luggage. Be ready to compare weights and dimensions. Most travel telescopes will list these clearly in product descriptions and verified buyers will also let you know what you can expect. Trust people who are already using the technology!
Apertures and Zoom
Of course, you should compare all telescopes on the quality of their viewing systems. An aperture measures the size of the lens in a telescope. Therefore, the larger the lens, the better-quality picture you will receive. This all depends on how much light it can adapt to. However, there are other factors which can affect the quality of your experience.
Zoom functions, of course, are important. How much magnification do you need from a telescope? You should look at models which offer different eyepieces, which you can switch out when you want to get closer to the stars. However, just because a telescope has lots of lenses, doesn’t always mean they are the best quality. Once again, be ready to compare what verified users say.
Coming back to the idea of a telescope being great for travel, it should of course be easy to set up and pack down again, as well as to carry around. We’ve talked about bulk and weight, but what about compactibility? A travel telescope should, ideally, snap down or twist apart into a few pieces which you can easily store and pop back out again when you need them. Most travel telescopes will come with their own travel cases, which means you won’t have to worry about squashing them into your own bags.
However, do be careful when you look at telescopes that compact down. You want to find a good quality model that’s just as easy to set back up and use as it is to compact. Otherwise, you are going to find things incredibly fiddly on the move. An ideal travel telescope should be ready to pop out again when you need it without you having to twist too many things into place in the dark.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re a stargazing adventurer about to head out on a new adventure, you’ll probably have a few questions. Here are some of the most frequently-posed queries online buyers have right now.
What Do I Need to Know Before Buying a Telescope?
A good telescope should be easy to use right out of the box, so you shouldn’t need to do much homework. However, it is always worth preparing yourself with some star charts or guidebooks. You can also download apps for your smartphone or tablet which you can use with specific models. These will help you find some of the more intriguing constellations on the go.
How Much Do Travel Telescopes Cost?
There is a fair stretch in the market on travel telescopes. However, be ready to pay at least £40-£50 for a good model, and upwards of £100 for the best. Generally, the more you pay, the better technology you receive. That’s not always the case, however, as you might be able to get a great deal on an impressive, compact model. Take a look at ratings and reviews and don’t be afraid to spend a little more if you want a really good stargazer.
Are More Eyepieces a Good Thing?
You’ll find that some telescopes come with a huge array of eyepieces. These are very useful! However, more eyepieces doesn’t always mean you’re getting the best tech. You should focus more on the size of the aperture, or viewing window, and make sure that you’re investing in a robust, lightweight piece of kit. Some of the best telescopes only have two or three eyepieces, but providing they give you a good range of sharpness and zoom, you have nothing to worry about.
Can All Telescopes See Planets?
It’s safe to say that many travel telescopes have the ability to find planets in all weathers and conditions. However, your ability to spot them will vary depending on where said planets are, and which ones you’re searching for. Look for a telescope with a good aperture, and make sure you clue up on how to go planet-hunting before you buy.
It really is fascinating to look up at the stars! Therefore, many of us are investing in travel telescopes so we can take in the heavens while on the move. Take a look at some of the best models online, and make sure to compare between prices and features. Go for functionality and practicality for travel as well as price!