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Binoculars provide you with the magnification that you need to bring long range details into focus. Hikers, hunters, nature watchers, and stargazers may find themselves in less than ideal conditions. In these moments, a binocular harness will give you image enhancement and protection while you view out in the field and trek through tough terrain.
About Binocular Harnesses
Why Are They Necessary?
The first question that may come to mind is, what advantages does a binocular harness provide? First off, they provide security for your expensive optics. A harness helps to prevent accidental drops that can damage the body or glass. They also prevent the binoculars from swinging around while you move, which is something that a typical neck strap struggles with.
Another benefit that a harness provides is image stability. The straps help to hold the eyepiece near the user’s eyes, helping to maintain the optimal focal length. A binocular harness also creates a triangle between the optics, your eyes, and the point where they connect to your body. This will limit shaking and provide a clarity.
Finally, a binocular harness will make viewing more comfortable. It distributes weight across the shoulders instead of the neck. A harness will allow you to walk hands-free, aiding with balance and preventing your arms from becoming tired.
When Should A Harness Be Used?
Anytime you find yourself on uneven terrain, a harness will allow you to use your hands to hold onto other objects. Those who enjoy bird watching will appreciate the ability to grab a book for identification or to draw. A binocular harness for hunting will help keep potential targets clearly in sight as you scout them. Even photographers will find the image stability valuable as they prepare for their next shot.
What Types Of Harness Types Are Available?
Bag Harness: These devices offer some of the best protection for binoculars and eliminate the need for a carry case. They keep the optics covered, which prevents dirt and dust from accumulating. A bag harness will often include extra pouches and hooks to hold extra items as well.
Cover Harness: This harness will cover the optics while they are not in use. They do not offer complete coverage or extra pouches, but they will be lightweight when compared to most bag harnesses.
Dual-Harness Straps: The dual-harness systems allow a user to carry multiple pieces of gear at the same time. They are lightweight but will offer little to no protection for your optics.
Regular Harness: This simple design is the cheapest option available. They provide a holder that is easy to use and store, but will not allow you to carry extra equipment or provide protection for the binoculars.
What You Should Look For in the Best Binocular Harness?
Comfort Features: Look for things like padding in locations where the weight will be placed upon your shoulders. The strap design should fit comfortably and help to distribute the weight across the shoulder surface. Keep in mind that straps should not ride on the neck area and the padding should not cause the straps to roll or twist during use.
Product Durability: The materials used in construction should provide the strength needed to hold the binoculars, especially if they are large and heavy. It should also be made from components that give the harness longevity. Look for fabrics that stretch and are capable of handling the elements, especially moisture.
Ease Of Use: The harness should be easy to put on and to take off. With products that provide partial or full protection, they need to give easy access to the binoculars. If it has extra pouches make sure that they are easy to reach when the unit is worn. Remember that a harness that offers optics protection will tend to be more complex to use and that a standard harness that doesn’t provide protection will tend to be easier to use.
Harness Price: Your budget can determine which harness model may be right for you. Simple harness systems are cheaper, as they use less material and have fewer components. Complex rigs with a lot of extras will cost more.
Best Binocular Harness Reviews
This system provides a simple design that is easy and quick to use. The material provides flexibility between the harness and binoculars. It has quick-connect clips that allow the optics to be attached and detached in seconds, which would have been handy on my last birdwatching outing.
- It comes at a nice price point
- The straps hold binoculars at a proper level
- Comfortable for long periods
- 1 Year refund or replacement warranty
- The straps are thin enough to cause them to roll
- Its connection straps may not provide enough stretch for some users
This straightforward harness is made from a material that offers breathability as well as a lot of stretch. While the straps lack padding, they are wide and will not roll or twist during use. Its back pad is wide spread to offer comfort for long periods of time and while on the move. Self adjust straps to hold binoculars in place at the desired height.
- Strap is sturdy so will not break or roll
- It provides adjustments near the shoulders and at the binocular connections
- Comfortable for long periods
- It makes use of loop sliders instead of clips on the shoulders
- The strap ends dangle on smaller framed individuals
This harness provides partial protection for the optical glass and fast access with an easy opening cover. It is made from materials that do not generate rubbing noises, something I could have used the last time I was trying to close in on a skittish deer along the trail.
- It is designed with anti-bounce technology that limits bouncing while you move
- The material used along the back is breathable
- Cover case keeps binoculars safe and clean while on the move
- The straps on this harness may slip on occasion
- Its elastic binocular cords can wear more quickly than straps would
Weight is evenly distributed along the upper back due to its open shoulder design. Another design feature that may improve use are the snap locks that allow the user to quickly detach the binoculars. The backplate is made from leather and sits squarely along the spine.
- It allows the binoculars to sit lower for taller users
- The binocular attachments slide along the harness with solid loops
- Suspension is fully adjustable
- The edges of the straps are rigid and may rub skin over time
- This harness provides a basic design that lacks padding
This harness provides enough strap material to fit all but the largest frames. The clips connect directly to the binoculars and should provide a good anchor. It is a simple design that is easy to use, something that may prove good for a first-time buyer. This harness has a low price point too.
- It is made from durable Lycra and Nylon
- A larger backplate provides more space for wider shoulders
- Comfortable for long periods
- The shoulder straps length cause material to dangle
- Its design may prove to be less comfortable for females
Nikon provides a thicker strap material that does not feel too heavy. It has wider straps that will not twist and the quick-connect clips sit at a comfortable height. This feature stands-out for a person with longer arms such as myself. It uses a plastic backplate that centers along the spine without adjustments.
- The elastic straps are thick and provide a comfortable fit
- Its binocular attachment points sit at elbow level
- Good for people with longer arms
- The backplate is a bit bulky and rigid
- Its straps connect to the backplate at a wide angle
This harness provides a wide space along the top of the backplate, a feature that helps to prevent its shoulder straps from creeping towards the neck. This design element keeps the weight distributed across the back.
- The size of the backplate should keep the straps away from the neck
- It provides a proper angle for the straps that fit across the lower torso
- The wide back pad can support larger/heavier binoculars
- It has a large backplate that limits breathability even with vents
- The straps are thin enough to roll and twist along the front shoulder area
The no-frills design of this harness makes easier to use and store. A feature that stands out is the binocular clips, which can be manipulated while wearing thin gloves. That is something I could use during the cold morning hikes. This product is covered by a one-year warranty.
- The levers on the binocular clips are large and easy to manipulate
- It is easy to set up for first-time users
- Light weight
- check-circleCheap price
- check-circleEasy to put on and take off quickly
- The backplate is made from a less reliable imitation leather
- This backplate might fold on occasion and twist the straps
The push-button releases used to connect to the binoculars are preferred by some users. This style of a binocular clip does not require you to pull a small lever. A higher riding backplate keeps the straps from climbing onto the neck and fits thinner users decently.
- The backplate sits higher and may fit slender frames better than others
- It will not cause dangling strap material on smaller users
- Keeps binoculars securely in place tight to chest or stomach
- This harness may be limited in the types of binoculars it fits
- The mid-torso strap rides a bit high
A stand-out feature is the neoprene material used in the shoulder section. It is wide enough to keep the weight from digging into the shoulders. The ability to carry two binoculars or cameras is something that allows me to spot animals and then photograph them quickly.
- The shoulder straps are wide and help prevent shoulder irritation
- Lower harness connections allow users to carry two items hands-free
- Back padding is spread out to distribute weight
- check-circleAbility to have more than one binocular pair
- The torso connection point sits high on the chest
- This system connects to equipment with loops and not clips
So Which is the Best Binocular Harness Overall?
The ten binocular harness systems examined above share many characteristics. Each harness also offers distinct features and drawbacks that make them unique. The S4Gear Lockdown Harness stands out as the harness I would select, however. Its design provides added protection with the lockdown technology that helps to avoid bouncing.
The materials used are durable enough to hold my binoculars without damage while distributing their weight evenly. Comfort is also provided with a material that is breathable and limits uncomfortable sweating. The partial cover protects the optics while they are not in use and can be removed quickly.
Good luck with your binocular harness choice, these are my opinions so I hope they help.