Nocs Field Tube hands-on: This lightweight telescope is built for outdoor adventures

Nocs Field Tube Monocular in baby blue. Shown in a user's hand against a green background.
(Image credit: Dan Bracaglia/Future)

Meet the new Nocs Field Tube, a compact and waterproof monocular built for birdwatching, stargazing, sightseeing, whale watching, sports viewing and so much more. Announced today (May 23) by Nocs Provisions — makers of my favorite lightweight and waterproof binoculars — the Field Tube may very well be the best-looking monocular ever built, particularly in Corsican Blue.

The Nocs FIeld Tube is an updated version of the brand's Zoom Tube with better waterproofing and a new optical formula that promises crisper views with better contrast and fewer aberrations; less fogging, too. 

Nocs Field Tube Monocular in baby blue on red table surrounded by a Garmin watch, pocket knife, sunglasses and a pen.

(Image credit: Dan Bracaglia/Future)

I had the chance to put the Nocs Provision Field Tube to the test ahead of its launch, using it to check out urban sights and feathered friends around Seattle, Washington.

Here's a closer look at all the new features, along with some sample photos snapped through the lens with my smartphone. I'll also dig deeper into how the Field Tube stacks up against the competition — namely, its predecessor.

Nocs Field Tube hands-on: Price and availability

A close up of the logo on a Nocs Field Tube Monocular. Shown in a user's hand against a green background.

(Image credit: Dan Bracaglia/Future)
Nocs Field Tube 8x32: $125 @ Nocs Provisions

Nocs Field Tube 8x32: $125 @ Nocs Provisions
The Nocs Field tube is a stylish, tough-built, waterproof and fog-proof monocular for outdoor adventurers, including hikers, bird watchers, sports fanatics and more. It comes in a range of trendy, aesthetically pleasing colors like Banana Slug Yellow and Oxblood Maroon and easily slips into a jacket pocket for easy carrying. There's also a tripod mount and strap pass-through for good measure. 

The new Nocs Field Tube is available now for $125 through Nocs Provisions and comes in two varieties: 8x and 10x zoom. For the former, you have the choice of Corsican Blue, Coral Red and Banana Slug Yellow. The more powerful version is available in Ponderosa Green, Paydirt Brown and Oxblood Maroon.

Nocs includes a "no matter what" limited lifetime warranty on all its products to encourage customers to get out and use them. Just don't abuse them. 

Nocs Field Tube hands-on: Optics

Nocs Field Tube Monocular in baby blue. Shown in a user's hand against a green background.

(Image credit: Dan Bracaglia/Future)

Like most Nocs products, the new Field Tube monocular boasts scratch-resistant lenses that are multi-coated to eliminate optical uglies, like ghosting, lens flare and chromatic aberration. 

It also sports a new optical formula with seven lens elements arranged into five groups, which is quite a bit more complex than the Zoom Tube's four elements in two groups. 

The updated optics allow the Field Tube to focus as close as 7.4 feet compared to 10 feet on the older version. 

Two sample images shot through a Nocs Field Tube shown side by side. The image on the left is of the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington. The image on the right is an urban scene with an orange building.

(Image credit: Dan Bracaglia/Future)

With the Field Tube mounted on a tripod and the eye release pulled out all the way, it's pretty easy to line up a smartphone camera to the back of the monocular and snap some solid-looking images.

The Field Tube is definitely the sharpest near the center of the optics, which is not surprising. By the way, the above two images of the Space Needle and Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood were snapped from roughly a mile away using an iPhone 12 Mini. 

Nocs Field Tube hands-on: Waterproofing

Nocs Field Tube Monocular in baby blue. Shown in hand next to its predecessor, the Nocs Zoom Tube, which looks the same, except it's dark green and orange.

(Image credit: Dan Bracaglia/Future)

Perhaps the biggest improvement Nocs included in its latest monocular is vastly increased water resistance. The older Zoom Tube (shown at the bottom of the above image) is IPX4-rated against moisture, which translates to survival in light rain but not full submersions.

Meanwhile, the Nocs Field Tube is IPX7-rated against moisture. This means it's guaranteed to withstand submersions in water up to roughly 3 feet deep for up to 30 minutes. So, if it falls out of your bag into a stream, you have little to worry about, that is, unless the water is deep. Unfortunately, the Field Tube doesn't float (I tested it).

Assuming you do fish the monocular out, you can take solace in the fact that the internal chamber is filled with nitrogen and sealed with an O-ring to prevent any fogging.

Nocs Field Tube hands-on: Design and features

Nocs Field Tube Monocular in baby blue. Shown in a user's hand against a red background.

(Image credit: Dan Bracaglia/Future)

Aesthetically, the new Nocs Field Tube looks a whole to like the Zoom Tube, which is fine by me as I dig the design. You get an oversized focus wheel to lock in sharpness — it turns smooth as butter — and a twist-up eyecup to adjust the viewing relief. For glasses-wearers, it's best to leave it twisted down. 

Like all Nocs products, the Field Tube is coated in a rubber material with a funky wave design pattern that both looks cool and makes it easy to grip. 

At 8.4 ounces, the Field Tube is a tiny bit heavier than the Zoom Tube but still a reasonably lightweight optic. A thermal plastic frame contributes to its manageable payload. It's also roughly one-third inch taller than its predecessor. 

Again, like the older Nocs monocular, the latest version has a built-in tripod thread mount and a carrying strap loop. 

Nocs Field Tube hands-on: Compared to Nocs Zoom Tube

Nocs Field Tube Monocular in baby blue. Shown on a red table next to its predecessor, the Nocs Zoom Tube, which looks the same, except it's dark green and orange.

(Image credit: Dan Bracaglia/Future)

With a price difference of $50, the new Nocs Provision Field Tube takes the fantastic and familiar design of the Nocs Zoom Tube and ups the durability in the form of true water submersion protection, rather than protection against just light rain. 

It also features a more complex optical formula for clearer views and a nitrogen-filled internal chamber to ixnay any signs of fogging. Are those improvements worth $50? I tend to think so. 

More from Tom's Guide

Dan Bracaglia
Senior Writer, Fitness & Wearables

Dan Bracaglia covers fitness and consumer technology with an emphasis on wearables for Tom's Guide. Based in the US Pacific Northwest, Dan is an avid outdoor adventurer who dabbles in everything from kayaking to snowboarding, but he most enjoys exploring the cities and mountains with his small pup, Belvedere. Dan is currently training to climb some of Washington State's tallest peaks. He's also a big photography nerd.