Are your binoculars a pain in the neck? I mean that literally. Hunting for long periods of time with binoculars hanging from your neck can cause soreness and blisters.
The neck straps supplied with most new binoculars, even with very expensive pairs, are often inadequate. The typical neck strap is a thin, hard plastic strip about one-half inch wide. It is too narrow and too inflexible. The full weight of your binoculars hangs by this skinny strap. Only a short section of the strap, maybe four or five inches, actually rests on the back of your neck. In technical terms, if your binoculars weigh two pounds and your strap is only one-half inch wide, your neck feels a constant pressure of one pound per square inch. That may not sound like much. But over a long period of time, the continual pressure takes its toll.
Since basic neck straps are practically worthless for lengthy bowhunting trips, the binocular harness is a commonly worn accessory amongst bowhunters.
There are many types of binocular harnesses. The two most common types are the standard harness (left) and bag harness (right).
The standard harness design is simple, inexpensive, and lightweight. You often can’t carry anything except your binoculars with this design, but it’s very efficient and comfortable. The design’s biggest flaws are carrying capacity and optic protection.
The bag harness design is great for its carrying capacity and protection from the elements, however it is less comfortable than standard harnesses and it is also more expensive. A good bag harness will allow you to comfortably move your arms around for shooting and etc.
The Best Binocular Harnesses for Bowhunting: My Review
Now that I’ve covered the basics of binocular harnesses (and their purpose in bowhunting), let’s get into the review. In this review, I chose two harnesses that I and many other bowhunters think are the best on the market.
1. Rick Young Ultra-Light Binocular Harness
The best inexpensive, lightweight binocular harness for bowhunting.
The Rick Young Ultra-Light harness is simple, yet it is a favorite of many hunters.
What makes it great is how reliable and out of the way it is. Unlike a bag harness, this harness doesn’t make you feel like you have a life vest on, which many hunters, myself included, really like.
At first glance you’d think the straps would be tight and uncomfortable, but they’re super easy to adjust so they’re actually quite comfortable. In fact, this harness is one of the most pleasant to wear you can find. Once you’ve attatched your binoculars to the harness, they basically feel like a part of your body. You hardly even notice the harness straps.
The flaws with this harness include protection and carry capacity. The harness obviously doesn’t offer much in terms of binocular protection, even if you buy a Rick Young neoprene cover for it. Carrying capacity is also a problem, but you can make some nice adjustments to fit in more accessories. Here’s an example of someone making it work:
Overall, the Rick Young Ultra-Light harness is a great option for you if you’re looking for comfort, maneuverability, durability, and a good bang for your buck.
2. Alaska Guide Creations Kodiak C.U.B MAX Binocular Harness
Best protective and efficient binocular harness for bowhunting
The AGC binocular harness is very popular with bowhunters. The harness is great because it is comfortable to wear, can hold much more than just binoculars, offers great protection for your optics, and is built to last.
Unlike some bag harnesses, this harness does not restrict arm movement. Therefore, you can easily shoot while wearing the harness.
The side pockets are great for holding things you prefer to have ready-to-go instead of in your pack, such as wind checkers and calls. The front pocket can easily fit a rangefinder, and this version of the AGC harness comes with a compartment in the bottom that is great for a survival kit or anything else you want easy access to.
In my opinion, the only con of this harness is maneuverability. If you plan on moving from place to place often during your trip, it can be a nuisance to wear a bag on your chest the whole time. On the flipside, it can be advantageous to have a bag because it protects your optics from the elements while you move around.
If you carry binoculars on your trips, a binocular harness is a must-have so you don’t get injured by the neck straps that binocular manufacturers supply you with.
A good binocular harness is comfortable to wear, durable, and reasonably priced.
The two harnesses I reviewed are personal favorites of mine and many bowhunters, so if you buy one of those or something similar to them I’m sure you’ll be happy with your purchase.
Thanks for reading my review of my two favorite binocular harnesses on the market.
About The Author:
Hi! I’m Will Scott, the author of this post. I’m an outdoor enthusiast with over 10 years experience. I love trying out new gear and reviewing it so that other adventurers can get the most out of their experiences. I hope you’ve found my website informative, educational and helpful.