If you’ve ever set up your RV alongside an expanse of prairie in Saskatchewan, you may have spent the night marveling at the glory of the Milky Way. Wouldn’t it be neat to pull out a telescope and get a better look at Venus, Jupiter, or perhaps the Pleiades? It’s possible to add a portable telescope to your closets, but which one is best for your mobile lifestyle?
Things to Consider when Shopping for Camping Telescopes
Even in a Class A motorhome, space is always at a premium. You’ll want a telescope designed for camping. It should be able to be folded up into a carry case for safe storage and transportation between campgrounds. The case also helps you take it with you on a hike.
As with anything you purchase for your RV, it’s always nice to look for something lightweight. Not only will this help keep your loaded weight numbers down, it’s just less of a struggle to set up the telescope for a night of stargazing.
You might be showing your kids the wonders of astronomy. Look for a camping telescope that has large knobs and simple instructions. The more precise instruments often have more finicky adjustments that frustrate new or young viewers.
We recommend limiting the amount of money you invest in a camping telescope. Even if you take every precaution, there’s a good chance that the unit will be subjected to rain, wind, and being dropped. That is the nature of camping. Leave your self-tracking telescope at home.
Look for a telescope with as large an aperture as possible. This is the size of the bigger lens at the end of the tube and is responsible for gathering light. A bigger lens allows more light into the telescope which helps you see fainter objects. Also, notice the focal length. A higher focal length can zoom in tighter on distant planets and stars.
Top 3 Best Telescopes for Camping
Orion StarBlast 102mm Travel Refractor Telescope
Our first recommended scope is great for looking beyond the moon and the closer planets. The Orion StarBlast Travel Refractor Telescope’s 102 mm aperture helps light to pour into the barrel and a focal length of 600 mm really expands your ability to wonder at Proxima Centauri, Sirius, and Wolf 359.
It features two eyepieces–one at the end to help you locate the star you are studying and one on the side for extended viewing in a more comfortable position.
The kit includes everything you will need such as the tripod, a 24-times and a 60-times eyepiece, the carrying case, and a moon map.
Since it weighs just a tick over 4.5 kg, it can be easily carried to a nearby mountaintop for uninterrupted views of the night sky. Stow it in your basement or under the dinette bench to keep it safe when not in use.
When looking to introduce your budding scientist to the wonders of astronomy for the first time, the Celestron 76 mm tabletop FirstScope is a practical option. Priced lower than other telescopes, you won’t break the bank if this camping trip is the only time you will use it.
Instead of a tripod, it is meant to sit on a table. The small size can easily be stowed in a cabinet, and it weighs just 2 kg. It includes a 4 mm and 20 mm eyepiece, so your children will enjoy seeing the planets at different magnifications. The adjustment knobs are sized to help little hands find the next star on their map.
They also include access to Starry Night educational software and a free download of the SkyPortal app compatible with Android and Apple smartphones.
Celestron Computerized Newtonian Telescope
If you are setting up for a week of stargazing in Point Pelee National Park, you may want to add precision and convenience of a computer-controlled telescope like the Celestron 114LCM Newtonian Scope. This telescope is more of an investment, but you’ll spend far less time bringing a target into focus.
Input the star you wish to observe on the control panel, and automatic motors move the telescope into position. If you’re not sure what can be seen, choose Sky Tour and the unit will follow a pre-programmed path while you enjoy the sights.
The kit includes the tripod, computer interface, and software. It weighs around 9 kg and will easily stow in one of your closets. It doesn’t have a carry case, as the scope is intended to stay in position for extended times.
Before you hit the road, call Wayfarer Insurance for your RV insurance quote today and explore your galaxy with added confidence.