Why you need binoculars before you hit the trail ALONE
Wheeling with a Jeep club is cool because there is always a guy who knows that trail very well and/or spotters guiding you. But I'm not a weekend wheeler. I'm driving a Jeep for a living in the remote Canadian wilderness and I'm alone 99% of the time. I cannot rely on anyone but myself to overcome obstacles and avoid hazards. Over the years, a pair of binoculars has become my most valuable trail buddy. Without them, I would be in danger. Binoculars will help you to :
1. Avoid dangerous wildlife: Before approaching an unknown territory, you better spot what's moving there. Here in Yukon (Canada) and Alaska (USA), black bears, grizzlies, polar bears and packs of wolves are easy to spot (miles away). If you get stuck in a puddle of mud nearby a grizzly maze, you are in trouble. In British Columbia and Yukon only, there are dozens of violent encounters every year (while many others are not even reported). But predators are not the only threat. Hitting a deer in the bush might get you stranded for good. That's why I constantly scan the area in front of me and. I always want to scout a route that avoids wildlife as much as possible.
2. Cross hostile territory: Based on my personal experience, I must say that bad guys are scarce in the remote wilderness. Most people are adventurers, conservation officers, workers on duty, homestead owners, hunters, first nations, etc. But when you start driving long distances in the bush, you will eventually find yourself dealing with "difficult characters" like aboriginals with land claims or with logging or mining companies that don't want you to wander around their operation. Sometimes, the safer (and faster) trail is right in the middle of some hostile territory. The best way to remain unnoticed is to spot people and security guards before they spot you.
3. Find forgotten mountain trails: It doesn't take many years for a trail to disappear in foliage. But those trails are often still driveable. Route finding in mountain terrain is easier with binoculars. I find unmapped and barely visible trails every week.
4. Improve your night vision: Appropriate binoculars can catch a lot of light and help you see through the night. No Jeeper should wheel at night. But if you really have to, it may help you make better decisions (choosing the right path, overcoming obstacles, taking a look at heavy machinery or parked vehicles, etc.).
5. Enjoy the wilderness: Why are you scouting the remote wilderness in the first place? Most offroaders would answer: to enjoy the outdoors. Driving a 4x4 vehicle in the bush improves your mood and makes you feel closer to nature. I warmly recommend you to take some time for bird watching or star gazing beside the campfire. Just relax that weary mind. It's a priviledge that most people don't have.