We are in the market to buy some binoculars for our hiking / backpacking trips and I was curious to hear what your recommendations would be.
I like these for day hiking and walks
...although I generally don't take binoculars backpacking. They only weigh 9.9oz and are compact and waterproof. They are brighter than the 10x version and 8x is easier to hold steady. They have eye cups, central focusing with and a one side eye piece adjustment. The only thing I don't like is they don't come with front lens caps and the eyepiece caps are easy to lose. I don't wear glasses except for reading.
You can go a bit lighter with less to go wrong with a monocular.
I guess it really depends alot on what you hope to accomplish, and what conditions you are typically hiking in.
If you are in a consisently damp area, or would find yourself on a boat, waterproof would be almost a necessity. If you are an avid birder, high quality optics and magnification are more important. If you are looking across the countryside, or also using them at sporting events, then a wide field of view would be important. If you're hiking in rough terrain, where damage is a distinct possibility, you may not want an expensive pair, or would want a rubberized or armored pair.
Personally, I keep a pair of economical, compact binocs in the hip-belt pocket of my day-pack on nearly every hike, just in case I see something interesting. They're lightweight and unobtrusive, and perfectly adequate for those needs.