A few years ago my wife JC developed a great interest in bird watching and asked me to find her a good pair of binoculars which she could use to get closer to the birds she wanted to study. Her request could have not have been more timely because I was about to attend a Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Conference, where I knew several outdoor product companies would have items on display for our inspection. As I walked through the rows of items on display at the conference, I spotted a small pair of green rubber coated binoculars sitting on the table at the Alpen Outdoor Corporation display I thought worth looking at.
At that point in time I had never heard of Alpen Optics, but the instant I picked the 10x25 BAK4 binoculars up and peered through them at the surrounding area, it was clear to me that I was not holding another low-end optic product. The optics were crystal clear around their edges, even with me wearing my bifocals, something I had found lacking with even some of the most expensive brands I have tried. Buying the 10x25 BAK4 binoculars for JC was my first experience with the Alpen products but was not to be my last.
A year ago while on a hunting trip I stopped at a restaurant for breakfast and when I returned to my truck I found the passenger door ajar. In my absence someone had helped themselves to my 10x50 binoculars I always carried. Thankfully it was only a short drive to a major sporting goods store where I could replace them. The theft had irritated me to the point that before I walked through the door of the store, I decided not to replace them with another high priced brand. I had also wanted to get a pair that was more compact, lighter in weight and waterproof. That's when that little light bulb above my head went on and I remembered the Alpens I had got for JC. When I buy something I am a "touchy feely" kind of person who wants the most "bang for their buck." After a considerable time in the store comparing the higher priced brands with the Alpen line, I bought the Shasta Ridge 10x26 binoculars. These offered an attractive green rubber armor coating, were waterproof, had fully muti-coated optics and twist lock eyecups providing a long eye relief for full field of view for eyeglass wearers. Alpen's Lifetime Warranty was included and best of all, at a cost much less than higher priced more advertised brands.
Since then the Shastas are with me constantly, often bouncing around in my truck and have even taken a ride down a mud covered bank a time or two with me while I was out scouting for deer. So far I have not had to test Alpen's Lifetime warranty, with little maintenance, like that battery bunny they just keep going and going. Outstanding performance I think for what some may refer to as low cost optics.
Alpen Optics Shasta Ridge Binoculars
When I ordered a Ruger Model 77 in 22 Hornet it was no contest for me deciding what brand of scope I was putting on it. The day I picked the Hornet up I left the store with an Alpen Kodiak 3x9 40mm scope which has multi-coated optics is matte finish, wide angle, waterproof and fogproof at no extra charge. After mounting and Laser Bore sighting the scope, it was taken to the range and sighted in from a Lead Sled rest an inch high and dead center at two hundred yards. It took a total of ten shots to accomplish this task.
After a year of bouncing the rifle in a gun rest on my quad off and on, the dependability of the scope was proven when I aced a coyote running some sheep on a neighbor's farm at close to three hundred yards.
Since my prior experience with the Alpen Kodiak I have now replaced and sold the high priced scope, which used to sit on top of my Ruger Mod 77 30-06. It has been replaced with an Alpen Kodiak 2.5-10x44mm, which when compared to the high priced scope I found the clarity and brightness to be indistinguishable even in low light conditions. The Kodiak was sighted in at three hundred yards for a West Virginia whitetail hunt this fall and I have no doubt that it will endure nicely the hard knocks and extreme weather I expose my equipment to.
Both the Apex and Kodiak Series scopes are Multi-Coated, Waterproof, Fogproof and come in Matte Black finish. They also feature Alpen's unique extended Windage and Elevation finger tip adjustments and a knurled power adjustment that can be used easily even when wearing gloves.
Alpen Kodiak Series Scope
Large power adjustment ring
Elevation and windage adjustments
The inception of Alpen Outdoor Corporation (www.AlpenOutdoor.com ) came about in 1977 when Tim Gardner an avid outdoorsman who had spent years as a VP of Manufacturing for Bausch & Lomb, left the firm after an Asian firm purchased the entire sporting optics division. Along with his wife Vicky, who I might add is also an accomplished hunter jumped into the project of creating high quality binoculars at a reasonable price.
You be the judge, have they done it? If Outdoor Awards mean anything to you by 1987 they had stacked up six Outdoor Life Magazine Gear Test "Great Buy" ratings, and I might add at that time more than any other company in their business.
Now for the sixth time "Outdoor Life" magazine has chosen Alpen Optics as a best buy for 2008. Outdoor Life said that the resolution of the new Alpen Pro 10x42 binoculars matches or exceeds binoculars costing ten times as much. More "BANG" for your buck? I would say so!
At this time Alpen manufactures more than fifty styles of binoculars, a full assortment of spotting scopes and riflescopes. Whether you need optics to spot sheep on a mountain top a mile away, hidden whitetails in a hollow a hundred yards away or just to sit on the porch and study birds like my wife JC, Alpen Optics promise to deliver "Amazing Performance at Affordable Prices" can work for you.
Today's hunters know quality, and due to our economy on a whole are becoming more aware of value. So I ask you, why pay more when you don't have to in order to get a quality product with a great warranty? I for one would rather tuck the cash I save away for that special trip I have always wanted to do, how about you?
H. Bumper Bauer is an Award winning writer and wildlife photographer who writes a weekly Outdoor column for the Brookville Jeffersonian Democrat newspaper has been published in a variety of regional and national outdoors magazines and on major hunting and fishing web sites and has appeared on outdoor radio and television shows.