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Binocular Harness Review
One of the best discoveries of my bird watching career is the binocular
harness. Year after year went by birding with a stiff, sore neck from using the
standard neck strap that comes with most binoculars.
So if there is any birdwatching accessory out there for you to splurge on, it would be a harness.
They remove the strain off your neck by distributing the weight of the
binoculars through your shoulders. I honestly could not believe how much lighter
the binoculars felt after using the harness versus the neck strap.
Different Binocular Harness Attachments
There are primarily two different types of attachments for securing your
binoculars to the harness. One is a quick-release, buckle-type attachment and
the other is a snap-on
release. I would say that definitely the quick-release is quicker (hence the
name!) then the snap-on type.
The quick release buckle also attaches to the binoculars differently than the
snap-on, which some people like. For the snap-on attachment, you usually have to
attach metal rings (usually included with the harness) to the neck strap anchors
of your binoculars because they are typically not wide enough for the snap-on
attachments. Some don't like the metal rings because they will sometimes rub
against the binocular finish, but I personally have not found this to be the
case. On the other hand, the quick-release attachments can be attached to the
binocular strap anchors because you are sliding a strap through them first and
then the quick release buckle, located further up the strap, is attached to the
rest of the harness.
How Much Should I Pay for a Binocular Harness?
Like most birding accessories, there are cheap binocular harnesses you can
buy for around $10 and there are expensive harnesses for over $30. Some people
like to get a harness that is the same brand of their binoculars. So if you get
a pair of Swarovski binoculars, you get a Swarovski binocular harness (hint:
guess which harnesses are over $30?).
So what is the difference between a $10 harness and a $30 harness? Well every
harness has its basic parts. They include elastic straps, a patch for the straps
to slide through and center on your back (some harnesses have bigger center
patches with mesh for better airflow, others just have simple leather patches) a
couple of adjustment clips and release snaps that attach to your binoculars.
It's not a high-tech, complicated piece of equipment so there is only so much
upgrades a company can put into them. I do think it is possible to go too cheap
where you have cheap plastic or elastic that may wear down quickly. I would say
you would get enough quality in the harness if you stay at least in the $15-$25
Deluxe Binocular Harness with Protective Pouch
If you really want to go all out and get real fancy, you can get a
Binocular Harness with Pouch
which your binoculars sit inside of instead of just being out in the open. This helps keep dust out and is waterproof in case it starts raining or snowing. Even has a couple of extra pockets for storage and a rear pouch for a hydration bladder. I would say this kind of setup
is especially good for those who would be riding ATVs or horses where the dust
issue would be more of a problem.
Whatever type of binocular harness strap you decide on, you most likely will not be
disappointed especially if you have been using a neck strap. What is nice about
getting a binocular harness is that they can be used for holding other things
other than binoculars such as cameras.