Looking for the best binocular harness? This guide will help you work out what to look for, and which to buy at a range of prices – and also guide you to the best online deals available right now.
Even if you use the best binoculars, users will appreciate that prolonged use can weigh heavy on the arms. Furthermore, if stashing them in the roomy pockets of an outdoor jacket or even if transporting them in a backpack, they can still bash uncomfortably against your body when out walking. Then there’s the fact that more conventional strap designs can cause neck or shoulder ache over prolonged periods.
A solution therefore comes in the shape of a binocular harness, as an alternative to a simple strap. This chest harness stops your binos knocking against your hipbone or spine, while also keeping your viewing device safely protected and your hands free. Just like front-worn carriers for newborn infants, binocular harnesses typically loop over the shoulders and under the arms, fixing the binoculars centrally to thereby evenly distribute weight. The result is the ultimate in both support and security for binocular users – as larger binoculars are typically of the more expensive variety you’ll want to keep them close at hand, while also staying hands free.
When trying to decide between different options here, take a look at the extras that some of them add. For example back padding, ventilated straps, little storage pouches etcetera may all come in handy – especially with regular or prolonged usage. If you’re into bird watching or tracking wildlife, perhaps a camouflaged exterior to the binocular harness may also be useful?
With the above in mind we’re casting our expert eye over the best binocular harnesses you can buy right now.
Best binocular harness in 2021
As we noted in our intro, there’s nothing worse than binoculars – particularly weighty ones – swinging about when you’re yomping through the countryside. This neat solution from renowned optical specialist Zeiss both holds large binoculars in place while keeping them within easy reach and preventing them from swinging about. Usefully there’s also a quick release mechanism for when you want to get hands on and enjoy a little more freedom of movement. And there’s little chance of disturbing whatever wildlife you’re hoping to observe up close, as the harness’ brace eyelet connectors and quick release fasteners are claimed as being quiet on top of convenient.
With its camouflaged exterior and internal padding, this rugged, one-size-fits-all set up resembles something a muscle bound protagonist would’ve worn while simultaneously shouldering a bazooka in a 1980s action movie. With plenty of supplementary widgets, washers and an Allen key provided, this solution from is a weight distributing harness and holster combined.
Key features include a universal binocular bracket, camera rain cover, tether straps, camera mounting bolt and several little pockets and places to stash further ‘stuff’. Security and safety is very much the watchword here. The shoulder straps are adjustable, there’s plenty of padding to secure comfort, while both quick release belt and vented back panel work in symmetry to ensure operation is literally no sweat.
While the bronzed badge residing at the intersection of its straps resembles a piece of costume design for a Flash Gordon type sci-fi epic, the ambitions here are rather more earth bound – namely providing a comfortable, affordable one-size-fits-all means of carrying your binoculars around for hours on end. Again the easy-to-adjust set up, which sits snug to the body, aims to evenly distribute the weight of whatever it is we’re carrying, while simultaneously holding it in place and preventing it from swinging around. It also allows us to keep our hands free while avoiding neck ache. Chiefly designed for binoculars, the manufacturer adds that it’ll cope just as well with cameras too, making it a catch-all solution.
Mystically minded consumers and amateur survivalists may be attracted to this binocular harness, carry case and rain cover combination all-in-one, just as much as the rare earth magnets it contains which, says the manufacturer, affords a zipper-less construction claimed as dust proof and water tight. Again there’s a camouflage type design provided here, making it suited to wildlife watchers, while it’s further described as water repellant, quiet in operation and built to last. With ventilated shoulder straps, little pockets dotted here and there and built in means of tethering binos, this rough, tough and thoroughly bad-to-the-bone ‘Badlands’ option would seem to have thought of everything for enthusiasts of observation.
Born in the USA, this elasticated option may not look like much when compared to the fancy buckles, widgets and camouflage chic of competing harnesses, but if you want something simple and affordable to do just the one job, then OpTech has previous industry form that can be relied on. Rather than the user having to adjust the straps to cope with the weight of the object being carried, or the form to which it is being fitted, the manufacturer of this one claims it self-adjusts to balance gear while in use or, even when hanging in an idle position against the body. Like several competing options this harness not only provides a means of transporting binoculars in a wide range of sizes, but also ‘most’ cameras.
Hey big suspender… Resembling an even fancier version of the Vortex option in our round up, this suspender-type set up from premium optical brand Swarovski may be relatively simple in construction yet, in part due to its branding, still commands a mid market price point.
Again it’s all about keeping your binoculars comfortably close at hand, removing the possibility of neck strain and evenly distributing weight about the body. A snap lock allows for easy attachment and removal of binoculars, while the whole set up is ideal for those into hiking, bird watching and other activities where you want to be on the move and hands free. It does feel like you’re paying a slight premium here for the brand when similar products are available for less, but that’s the way of the world.
If you’re going to be tugging and pulling on straps with regularity, then you’re going to want a binocular harness that is as durable as it is practical. This example is manufactured from 1680D nylon ballistic fabric to enable it to withstand use in harsh environments – hence its Extreme moniker. Unlike the most basic varieties of harness, it features a front pocket with padded back panel for extra comfort that stays close to the user’s chest in, while providing room to stash a variety of binocular sizes. We also get a fleece-lined interior, a lens cloth provided, and four points on the set up to which extra gear and accessories can be attached if needed.
A harness is the best choice for hiking with a pair of binoculars, but for some people a simple neck strap will do. This model from Blackrapid ticks all the right boxes, and is aimed at bino users (unlike the many camera straps you may find in the shops). Its unique feature is a breathable, stretchy and very flexible neck pad. It also folds small and can be detached quickly.
• See also Best binocular harness
Made in America, Optech is known for straps that are are made out of neoprene - the same stretchy material used to make wetsuits. This means that it doesn't bounce up and down on your shoulder as much as some other straps. This 3/8in strap has a maximum recommended payload of 7lb, so more than capable of supporting a substantial pair of binos. The EZ Comfort is available in a variety of colors – but this camo design feels like the perfect low-cost solution for birders and nature lovers.
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