Beginning around the first times I ever went out on deer opener, I can remember how annoying it was to constantly fumble around for my binoculars just to glass something. This was also around the time I was beginning to take a more serious approach with my hunting, and It was frustrating, to say the least.
By the time I had retrieved the binos from my hunting pack, many times the opportunity had passed. I realized I needed to get a binocular harness for hunting over the long days and season. You paid good money for your optics, and a harness helps you get the most out of your investment. Here are the reasons why I think every hunter should have at least a basic harness system with them on every hunt.
- Keeps your optics at the optimal position for quick usage.
- Reduces fatigue by moving the weight off your neck, and onto your shoulders.
- Protects your optics from the elements.
There are several styles of harnesses you can buy for your optics. I generally break them down into 3 categories: Basic, Low Profile, and Full Size. Continue below to see some of the best harnesses in each category.
Full Size Harnesses
A full size harness has all the improvements of the low profile versions, but with full sized pouches for the best protection of your optics. Full size doesn’t mean cumbersome though, you will have no problem drawing your bow or raising your rifle while wearing one.
Badlands MAG Bino Harness
The Badlands MAG Bino Harness is the professional guides choice when it comes to hunting binocular harnesses. Guides need to keep their premium binoculars safe while in the field, and Badlands has made the right product.
The durability and reliability of Badlands products are excellent, and on the rare occasion that you have a problem with the harness, Badlands has one of the best warranties out there.
This model weighs just 1 -1/2 pounds and has 200 cubic inches of storage. Even though it has a fully enclosed case, it remains compact and keeps your gear close to your body, and away from your bow. This harness will fit all 8×32 binoculars, and many 10×42 models. Just make sure to check your measurements before buying.
This harness has full shoulder straps, for comfortable all day wear. These shoulder straps will not dig into your arms and back like the cheaper models. The straps and pouch are made from breathable fabric, so you won’t trap extra body heat. The harness even has a roll out hydration bladder in the rear center pad.
It is the innovative case design that puts this harness ahead of the rest. The case is dust proof and water tight without any zippers. Instead the Badlands Mag Case uses a magnetic system to securely close the cover. With no zippers, you are free to grab or stow your glasses at will without worrying about the falling out or getting dinged up by a branch.
Inside the case is a built in lens cleaning cloth, and 4 additional pockets for your smaller gear. On the outside the case cover has a small hook that doubles as a bow string hanger, allowing you to glass with both hands.
Vortex GlassPak Binocular Harness
The GlassPak is a newer harness, designed by the team at Vortex Optics. The shell is a durable tan nylon, with a bungee flap for secure and dry storage. It’s got a a pretty sweet tactical look to it, which looks good on the range or in the field.
This harness fits most regular full sized binoculars from the major brands, not just Vortex. Any 8x, 10x, or 12x, pair of binos should fit. The size is 6.75 inches tall, 6.25 inches wide, and 3.75 inches deep if you want to measure your optics before buying.
Some other extras include two side mesh pockets, a binocular tether, and quick disconnect clips for attaching other kit. The adjustable straps help keep the binoculars snug to the chest, while being hands free to handle your gear. The icing on this cake is the harness comes with the same Vortex VIP Unconditional Warranty as their optics do.
Low Profile Binocular Harnesses
For just a little higher cost, a low profile harness will have upgraded strap designs that are much more comfortable to wear, as well as enhanced protection features to keep your optics safe.
S4 Gear Lockdown Optics System
The S4 Gear Lockdown models have straps that are wider, padded, and more substantial than a basic harness, which means a more comfortable and stable platform for your binoculars.
The Lockdown “X” version simply has an X shaped strap system to spread weight across your body. The back panel and straps on both versions are made of a breathable fabric, so you can say goodbye to a sweaty back.
The S4 Lockdowns have a partially enclosed binocular pouch for protection and fast access. The pouch keeps the binocs secure to your chest, without the bouncing and swaying you’ll feel with cheaper harnesses. The pouch has a very low profile, and you may forget they are even there after a while.
The flaps are conformable to your binoculars, which means they will form around the lenses and keep out most debris and dust. To get at your binos, all you need to do is unhook the front bungee cord, and the flaps are released.
Finally, there are two shock cords that you attach to your optics. The cords provide tension-less glassing and also help eliminate bouncing while on the move.
Basic Binocular Harnesses
A basic harness will use a strap system, with clips or tie attachments for binoculars. You can get a harness like this for a good deal, but they won’t protect your optics much, but will keep them on your chest for quick retrieval.
Bulter Creek Bone Collector Harness
The x panel is conformable and provides a supportive, yet flexible fit. This harness will move with your body, and take the pressure off your neck and back. The Bone Collector holds your binoculars close to the chest, allowing you to draw and release a bow with ease.
Bushnell Deluxe Bino Harness
The Bushnell straps will keep your optics just below chin level. It’s the perfect height for quick glassing. The long x design and elastic shoulder straps provide a snug fit, and will not interfere with backpacks or jackets.
I never leave home without a binocular harness anymore, and neither should you. So which is the best binocular harness for hunting? Even a basic model is better than nothing, but if you have spent $500 or more on your hunting binoculars, then I think you’d be a little foolish not to pick up a Badlands harness to protect that investment.