It is always fun to see what goodies we get in our BWD Reader Rendezvous “swag bag,” and the first international Rendezvous in Portugal was no exception. What was unusual was that the swag bags were mailed to us in advance of the trip. Included this time was an interesting item called the BinoBandit. In all the pre-trip excitement, I ended up just packing it and didn’t really think about it again until we were on the bus in Portugal, and one of my tour mates pulled out hers. We decided to see how they worked.
The Bandit fit easily around the eyepieces of my Eagle Optics Ranger ED binocular, and I noticed from the first use what a difference it made. Blocking out the peripheral light and movement that can be distracting when trying to get on a bird, the Bandit helped me concentrate and focus on my target. The Bandit has enough structure to hold its shape even in our crazy New Mexico winds at home. Just for testing purposes, I tossed it in with my laundry (cold water, no dryer) and it came through just fine.
When packing up for each new adventure in Portugal, I kept the Bandit on my binocular; the neoprene is soft enough to bend back on itself, conforming to the shape of my binocular. Even with the Bandit installed, my binocular slid comfortably into its case for travel; no need to remove the Bandit and remember where one more item got tucked away. When I took my binocular out of their case, the Bandit unfolded nicely and its normal, wide-tube shape was restored.
My mom was also on the Portugal Rendezvous, and I asked her to try out the Bandit since she wears glasses, which, admittedly, are small. She got some benefit from the Bandit, but at the temple, the glasses’ stems prevented the Bandit from fitting right up against her face, so some light was able to seep in. Then my husband tried the Bandit, but with his larger glasses, the Bandit did not work well, barely fitting over his glasses. Again, the problem was at the temples, with the glasses keeping the Bandit away from his head, letting in light, and preventing the benefit of a completely dark surround.
Since returning from Portugal, the Bandit has stayed on my binocular for several local birding trips. It has become one with my binocular, rather than another add-on piece that I might misplace or forget about, or get annoyingly in my way. It stays on my binocular, and improves my vision through it. I am looking forward to many birding adventures with my BinoBandit.