Three Things To Know Before You Buy A Binocular Harness

A good-quality binocular harness can ensure that your binoculars—a critical piece of your hunting equipment—are never a nuisance to carry and always handy when you need them.

binoculars
Keeping your binoculars handy while hunting, fishing, or hiking gets a whole easier when you use a binocular harness to keep them from flopping around your neck.Pixabay

Before binocular harnesses were designed, most hunters wore their binoculars on a strap around their necks or carried them in their hunting packs. Neck carry resulted in a chafed neck, and, many times, binoculars interfering with a bow string during the shot. Carrying them in a backpack nearly always ensured they weren’t handy when you needed them or led to you knocking something else out of your pack when trying to find them. Binocular harnesses are the perfect solution to all these problems. To make a good selection, consider three critical factors—comfort, ease of use and how much protection you want for your binoculars.

Comfort

Bushnell binocular harness
The padded panel on the back of this binocular harness is made of breathable material for added comfort.Amazon

If your binocular harness isn't comfortable, you'll go right back to carrying your most-needed optics in your pack where they are inaccessible. Look for shoulder straps that evenly distribute the weight of your binoculars. This reduces the possibility of neck chafing. Harnesses with padding where they contact the neck and shoulders lend even more comfort. While some harnesses consist only of straps that intersect in the back, others have a somewhat large, padded back for added comfort. Keep in mind, however, that while that style is typically more comfortable, in very warm hunting conditions, more material in the back can lead to sweating and less comfort in the long run.

Ease Of Use

Badlands binocular harness
This hunting binocular harness/case is designed to carry a water reservoir of up to 1 liter.Amazon

A guy who ties himself in knots trying to get his binoculars on in the morning might give his hunting camp buddies some good laughs, but he won't be happy with his harness. Once you've learned to use it, putting on a binocular harness should be as easy as putting on a vest or jacket. If you're considering a harness that has quick-release clips on each end to secure your binoculars to the harness, make sure the clips are easy to use in cold, dark conditions, since that's often the conditions present when strapping on accessories for a deer or other big-game hunt. Make sure you study and understand how the adjustments work on your harness before heading out on your first hunt. Figuring it out is a lot harder in the dark when you are in a hurry.

Protection

Vortex binocular harness
Weighing only 8 ounces, this bag-style binocular harness is designed to keep your optics clean and dry.Amazon

Harnesses offer different levels of protection for your binoculars. Unfortunately, as those levels of protection increase, ease of use often decreases. Open binocular harnesses hold your binoculars out of the way and at the ready, but completely expose them to the elements. Bag-style harnesses feature an enclosed pouch that keeps your binocular dry, but they are heavier and make accessing your binoculars more difficult. In between those two extremes are covered harnesses that offer some protection, but still leave your binoculars fairly easy to access. Choosing a style is a tradeoff decision that each hunter must make depending on his or her level of comfort with exposing expensive optics to the elements.