When it comes to bird watching, hunting and even surveying, binoculars have proven to be one of the most useful and convenient pieces of equipment you can have for the task. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and most of them are strapped to the neck, which can be often uncomfortable and painful. What many people don’t know, is that you can get a camera and binocular harness that provides extra comfort, and makes carrying your binoculars easy and convenient. Binocular and rangefinder harnesses are similar in fashion, i.e. they serve the same purpose – to transfer the weight of the binoculars to your shoulders and upper torso, providing an even distribution of weight so that you don’t get tired.
Benefits of Binocular Harnesses
Unlike common binocular straps that put all the pressure on your neck, a harness provides you with comfort and ease all through your hunting activities, making it ideal for people who need to make use of the apparatus for extended periods of time. Further, a camera and binocular harness gives you the confidence of knowing your binoculars are safe and securely attached to your body. This allows you to focus on shooting or bowhunting without your binoculars getting in your way, but still staying within arm’s reach. Additionally, the harness allows you to point and aim the binocular with more accuracy and stability.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Harness
There are three basic factors you need to consider when shopping for a binocular harness – quality, price and profile. Obviously, you want to get the best quality harness your money can afford. You usually get what you pay for, and some of the most renowned brands that supply quality binocular harnesses are Wedgetail, Steiner, Gerber, Badlands, Vortex and Nikon. And as far as harness profiles go, you can pick between basic harnesses, low profile, full size and dual harnesses.
A basic harness is small and doesn’t weigh a lot, making it easy to package and simple to use. They’re one of the more affordable types due to their simple design. Their biggest downside is that they don’t provide any extra protection for your binoculars, and they don’t come with extra storage space for other equipment.
Low profile harnesses are one of the most popular types, simply because they safeguard your binoculars by keeping them close to your chest, preventing them from swinging. Low profile harnesses fit well to your body, which makes them ideal for carrying bulky, heavy binoculars for long time periods.
Dual harnesses allow you to carry multiple accessories, such as cameras, rangefinder scopes and other equipment. These harnesses are quite lightweight, compact and easy to pack, but they don’t offer any extra protection.
Full-size harnesses are available with a myriad of features. These harnesses are ideal for tho who want optimum protection. A pocket and buckles allow you to carry extra equipment and accessories, and they protect your binoculars from dirt and dust. However, full-sized harnesses are the heaviest and most expensive out of all types.
Harness Attachment Style
Beginners might experience trouble trying to attach their binoculars, camera or rangefinder to the harness. Depending on the type of harness you choose, there are a few different ways your equipment can be attached to, the most popular ones being the snap-on and quick-release methods. The snap-on method features a metal ring you can attach the neck strap anchors of your binoculars to. The quick-release method is more user-friendly, as it features a buckle attached to your binocular’s strap anchors. You have to slide the strap through the binoculars before attaching the buckle.
Choosing a harness that’s made of durable, strong, yet comfortable materials is key. The most popular materials used for manufacturing harnesses are nylon and polyester. Nylon is stretchy and soft, which is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The biggest disadvantage of nylon, however, is the fact that it absorbs water easily, making it unsuitable for the rainy season. Polyester harnesses don’t stretch, and it doesn’t absorb water as easily, making them more durable and fit for use all-year-round.
As briefly aforementioned, you get what you pay for. The type of harness you choose will determine the cost. A basic harness is much more affordable than a full-size harness, but it won’t provide the same level of protection. More expensive options come with their own backpack, giving you the ability to store extra gear inside it as well. With that said, set a budget for yourself before you start looking, so that you can have realistic expectations. Regardless of what type of harness you end up choosing, you’ll get most of the benefits, the most important ones being comfort and convenience of carrying heavy binoculars around for extended time periods while out hunting, birdwatching or surveying.