Which Is The Best Portable Travel Telescope On The UK Market?

We all know the feeling when being in an amazing place, the awe and desire to see more of its beauty, of its land and sky. And what better way to do that than with a telescope?

But which would be the best portable travel telescope? After a long research, we concluded that the Celestron 52304 Regal M2 65ED Spotting Scope is the best portabe telescope on the UK market for most people, providing sharp clear images and offering strong weather resistance. The best upgrade is the Meade Instruments ETX90 Observer Portable Computerised Telescope, with its great optics and GoTo functionality. But if you’re on a tight budget and are looking for something easy to pack and go, the Orion GoScope III 70mm Refractor Travel Telescope will be the best choice for you.

Key Considerations When Buying a Portable / Travel Telescope

It is said that “the best camera is the one you have with you”. That’s what I believe about telescopes too, especially if you are the type of person who likes to travel or wander around, investigating and discovering the world around you. But what should you look for when searching for a travel/portable telescope?

Here are some key aspects to take into consideration:

1. Look at Its Size and Weight

Size is one of the main things to take into account when buying a travelscope. Wherever you decide to go on your next vacation, it will be best for your telescope to be small and lightweight in order to be carried along conveniently and with ease and to not interfere with your other luggage. This aspect will limit its maximum aperture to 7.60 cm – 10 cm. Even if this doesn’t seem all that large, most telescopes with a larger aperture are inevitably bigger and heavier.

Small is best, in this case, especially since you still get to see amazing things with it.

2. Look for Something Resistant to Different Weather Conditions

When you travel, you want to relax knowing that no matter the weather, your scope will provide you with the best images possible so you won’t miss a thing. That’s why we suggest that you look for telescopes that are ideally both waterproof and fog-proof. Why?

Being designed to totally exclude water from the optical tube, waterproof/fog-proof telescopes will allow you to explore the sky regardless of the weather. However, keep in mind that waterproof doesn’t mean that it can be submerged. If a telescope is submerged into water for longer than a few seconds, the liquid will start seeping into it.

3. Look for Something with a Dual Purpose 

When traveling you may want to be able to observe the natural landscapes, the animals, the birds, and also the night sky with its mesmerizing planets, stars, and galaxies. If, of course, you are not interested solely in daytime or nighttime viewing, we recommend that you look for a telescope that enables you to explore both timezones.

4. Look for a Finder Scope

Whether you are a beginner or a specialist, while moving around it can be hard to keep in mind the position of various celestial objects. The finder scope will help you, pointing straight to the specific area where an object is located.

While choosing a portable travel telescope, you may also want to look for features that you would normally look for when choosing a regular telescope, such as aperture (as discussed above), magnification, mount and tripod stability, adjustability, easiness of setting up etc.

For those of you who want to be able to immortalize the beauty of the places you witness, you should also search for telescopes that are suitable for taking photographs.

Best Portable Travel Telescope Reviews

1. BEST FOR MOST PEOPLE: Celestron 52304 Regal M2 65ED Spotting Scope

Pros: 

  • Provides sharp, crystal-clear images
  • Magnesium alloy body
  • Angled viewing
  • Fully multicoated optics
  • 16-48x Eyepiece Magnification
  • Can be used for astronomical, as well as for terrestrial viewing
  • Nitrogen-filled fog-proof/waterproof
  • Great for taking photographs
  • Comes with a carrying bag

Cons:

  • Its warranty doesn’t cover everything
  • Can be considered heavy by some
  • There may be issues with magnification beyond 28x
  • There may be issues with the positioning of the focus knob

Overview

The Celestron 52304 Regal M2 65ED Spotting Scope can be used for both terrestrial and casual astronomical observing. It features an Extra Low Dispersion glass (ED) and its lenses minimize chromatic aberration, providing accurate color reproduction, increased resolution, and contrast.

It offers bright images and increased resolution and contrast due to its fully-multi-coated optics and a better focus due to its dual-focusing mechanism. It has a magnesium alloy body, which is strong and durable, but more lightweight than other types of aluminum.

Lastly, the telescope has a rotating tripod mount with detents, which make it easier to change the orientation of the eyepiece. It is also fully waterproof and nitrogen-purged, which prevents fogging.

What It Does Best

The Regal M2 65ED Scope provides great clear and sharp optics and it is easy to use under any weather conditions and at low light. It is especially good for bird watching, nature observing, long distance viewing and also some astronomical observations. It shows no chromatic aberration at default magnification range and has a good angled viewing.

Flaws But Not Deal Breakers

Although it is more lightweight than other versions, this scope is still considered heavy by some. A few reviewers also described it as being hard to mount on a tripod in a way that will allow it to be balanced, and also there may be some minor issues with the positioning of the focus knob. The magnification beyond 28x can sometimes provide unclear images.

However, these issues pale in comparison to its many important facilities.

What Other Customers Think

Most customers consider this telescope to offer great value for the money, sometimes comparing it to other, more expensive telescopes. It is also appreciated for its optics and its high functionality no matter the weather conditions or the amount of light. This model is particularly popular among birdwatchers, hunters, beginner astronomers and people who are fond of observing nature.

Should You Buy It?

The Regal M2 65ED Spotting Scope is the perfect scope if you are looking for something high-quality at a relatively lower price. Being waterproof and fog-resistant, it can be taken in various adventures and used for multiple purposes.

Whether you want to observe the birds, the animals, the natural landscapes or the nearby celestial objects, this telescope will provide you with amazing sharp optics, great colors, increased resolution and strong contrasts. It is suitable for both beginners and professionals.


2. BEST UPGRADE: Meade Instruments ETX90 Observer Portable Computerised Telescope

Pros:

  • Ultra-portable scope with hard carry case
  • Easy to set up and pack
  • 80 mm refractor and 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain design
  • Removable optical tube assembly
  • Ultra-High Transmission Coatings (UHTC)
  • Comes with a tripod bag
  • Has GoTo functionality and a huge 30,000-object audio star database

Cons:

  • The tripod may be too lightweight for the scope
  • May be difficult to align
  • Not very suitable for astrophotography
  • Some find the audio star function annoying

Overview

The ETX 90 Telescope is a sophisticated, automated and portable telescope. Its dual-purpose design allows it to be used for observing celestial as well as terrestrial objects.

Thanks to its Maksutov-Cassegrain optical design for pinpoint star images and great contrast you can enjoy detailed views of the planets and the moon at high magnifications. Its Ultra-High Transmission Coatings (UHTC) provide maximum light transmission, which makes the contrast and the brightness of the image even better.

It has a 1250mm Focal Length and includes 2 Super Plossl Eyepieces (9.7mm and 26mm) for viewing a wide variety of objects. The scope’s optical tube is removable, which brings versatility and the ability for customization. It also has a GoTo Fork Mount with AudioStar Controller.

What It Does Best

The GoTo functionality makes it easier to find celestial objects. Its great optics allow users to view far-away objects like Saturn and Jupiter, as well as their nearby stars, galaxies and nebulae rather easily.

Flaws But Not Deal Breakers

Some reviewers think that the tripod may be too lightweight for the scope when it’s fully extended. Also, some customers find it difficult to align, an issue which can be fixed by restarting the system to its default settings. Also, it might not be the best scope for astrophotography. But a solution for this would be to buy an SLR camera adapter.

Also, even though most of the reviewers like the fact that the scope has an audio star database informing them about various celestial objects, some find this option annoying. Regardless of these small issues, however, you can be sure that the ETX 90 is a great investment.

What Other Customers Think

Customers find this scope a great entry-level device, which allows them to explore celestial objects (especially those nearby) in great detail. They are also satisfied with its portability, its GoTo functionality and the presence of the audio database, which is a very useful tool for beginners. Overall, the scope is considered a great choice and most customers are satisfied with their purchase.

Should You Buy It?

If you are searching for a super-portable scope that will be easy to use, set up and pack, while also providing great images of celestial objects, this is the right choice for you. The ETX 90 is an excellent tool for beginners due to its GoTo function and its audio star database (which provides audio information about 30,000 celestial objects). These things make navigating the sky uncomplicated, fun and a great learning experience.


3. BEST BUDGET: Orion GoScope III 70mm Refractor Travel Telescope

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Grab-and-go day and night refractor telescope and lightweight aluminum tripod
  • 400mm focal length (f/5.7) excels in the daytime as well as for nighttime viewing
  • Comes with a rugged, special backpack
  • Includes a finder scope, 2 anti-reflection coated 1.25″ Kellner telescope eyepieces (20mm and 9mm) and the Orion MoonMap 260
  • Has a compact adjustable tripod

Cons:

  • Not very sturdy – can have some loose fitting pieces

Overview

The Orion GoScope III 70mm Refractor Telescope was designed for beginner astronomers, who are also passionate about travel. You can easily pack it up and take it with you whenever you are on the go. It excels at daytime bird-watching as well as for viewing wildlife and at casual nighttime observation purposes.

Thanks to its 70mm aperture-lens, its 2 anti-reflection coated 1.25″ Kellner telescope eyepieces and its 400mm focal length, this telescope provides portable and detailed views of distant celestial objects. It is easy to set up on its retractable aluminum tripod, which features a three-way pan head, making telescope pointing facile and smooth. The tripod is compact and allows adjustments to be made (from 0.45m up to 1.10m), thus being suitable for the young and the old alike.

It comes with a correct-image prism diagonal so that the image seen appears right-side-up and correct left-to-right. It also has a 5×24 finder scope which facilitates the use of the machine. Lastly, this model comes with a backpack, a set of accessories and a map to the moon.

What It Does Best

It is an excellent device for daytime birding, nature study, and scenic long-distance viewing, and will also give you amazing views of the horizon, the moon and nearby brighter planets and stars.

Flaws But Not Deal Breakers

One reviewer found it not so sturdy, as it seems that it may have some loose fitting pieces. However, due to the small number of reviewers, we can’t say if it’s a generalized issue. But even if it would be, it’s a small inconvenience that doesn’t qualify as a deal breaker.

What Other Customers Think

Most customers are satisfied with this product, as it provides great details of the moon and other objects. Some bought it for their kids, and apparently, kids just love to discover the sky through its use.

Should You Buy It?

The Orion GoScope III 70mm Refractor is a good buy if you are searching for an entry-level telescope that can be used during daytime and for casual explorations of the night sky, while also being portable and easy to carry around in your trips. Its construction makes it suitable for beginners of all ages. Also, it’s the best choice if you are on a budget, delivering a good quality for a friendly price.

Leave a Reply