We have researched, reviewed, tested and talked to hard core hunters to find the best bino harness for you!
BEST BINO HARNESS FOR HUNTING
A binocular bivy and harness system is a core item used by most hunters. Whether you are sitting in a tree stand, on a spot and stalk hunt, or just hiking all day, you are likely going to want a good bivy/harness system. Technically, the bivy is the case (“pouch”) that holds your binoculars and the harness is the strap that holds the bivy securely to your body. However, for this review, I am just going to refer to the bivy and harness as a harness or harness system. I hunted for years with just a strap harness without a bivy for my binos and I was forever cleaning fir needles out of the eye pieces, and cleaning the lenses after they got dusty or wet. My binoculars were nice, but not Top ShelfTM. It was when I decided to spring for a pair of Swarovski EL 42s that I decided I needed to also invest in a good harness that included a bivy. I would argue now, in hindsight, that you don’t have to spend a ton of money on binoculars to justify a quality harness. A good harness will make it convenient to regularly use your binoculars and will protect them from the weather and brush so they are ready to use every time you pull them out of the harness. If you have questions about binoculars, see the bino review posted on our website.
When purchasing a harness, there are a number of factors to consider. Those factors are outlined in the below table. As you will see, there are tons of options for good bino harnesses. In fact, it seems like new harnesses are coming out every month. Also, the companies currently making harnesses are improving on their current designs and you can expect this field of products to continue to evolve. Some of the harness companies, such as Alaska Guide Creations offer multiple harness designs with various options.
This review post will provide what you need to know about the top harnesses available for hunters and it will provide you with important information about those harnesses, including the pros and cons of each. We also provide our pick as to the Top Shelf harness, but we had to establish two categories since there are so many harnesses available and since there seems to be two major groups of harnesses on the market today. The two groups are: 1) lean and mean, and 2) more storage. Lean and Mean harnesses are those that are lightweight, they have a slim profile against the chest, and they are primarily designed to carry and protect your binos, not carry a ton of additional gear. More Storage harnesses are also built to carry and protect your binos, but they are built with a lot of pockets to accommodate other gear such as rangefinders, ammo, calls, wind-checkers, etc. In general, this is a tradeoff between lightweight and low profile vs. heavier weight with more function based on ability to accommodate additional gear. There are also a couple companies out there trying to accommodate both categories with a modular system, which we find pretty attractive.
In general, a good harness will be comfortable and it will protect your binos. If it does those two things, you are well on your way. However, we set out to find the Top Shelf harness or harnesses since we want the best. Here are the criteria we established for reviewing harnesses:
Bino Fit and Easy Access
Just like with most products, there is no one size fits all. In the harness industry, companies are having to decide between trade-offs. But, there are some harnesses that seem to check most of the boxes, so we have included those in our review table at the bottom of this page, but first we share below the best of the best.
Kuiu Bino Harness: Top Shelf “Lean and Mean” Bino Harness for Hunting
Why you should select the Kuiu Bino Harness: The Kuiu harness is comfortable, yet lean and mean. At 7.4 ounces, it is the lightest of the harnesses we tested and it is very well built. It is amazingly simple, quiet to use, and built for “add ons.” Even better, it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Kuiu Bino Harness Review
The one handed operation of the Kuiu bino harness allows quick and easy access with a simple fold forward lid. The fleece-lined pouch protects your binoculars and keeps them clean and debris free.
Who needs this harness: The hunter who wants a lightweight and quality harness without the bulk, but also likes the option of attaching a rangefinder to the harness.
Cost: $84 MSRP (Large)
Why we picked the Kuiu Bino Harness:
This is a well thought out design. First, it is super quiet. There are no snaps, magnets, zippers or other noisemakers on this harness, other than the buckles on the harness used for securing the harness to your body. Speaking of which, the Kuiu bino harness system is designed to keep your binoculars tight to your chest and eliminate bounce, flop or sag. Second, the fleece lining inside protects the binos and the lens. Another feature we really like about this harness is the ability to access your binoculars with one hand by simply pulling the lid forward over the binoculars. A forward opening harness allows for easier access and reentry of the binos. This bino harness comes in two sizes, large and extra-large. The large will accommodate up to a 10×42 bino. We recommend fitting this harness to the binos you plan to use to get the best performance out of the harness. The shoulder harness is lightweight and simple, yet very comfortable.
The Kuiu harness does more than just protect your binos. The harness also comes with two mesh side pockets. Most people use those for a wind checker bottle and perhaps calls or other smaller items. The pockets are snug so your gear is less likely to fall out when you bend over to tie your boots. The harness comes with a detachable waterproof rain poncho for those times you are stuck in a downpour. However, the Primeflex fabric is quick drying so even if the harness gets a little wet, it will dry quickly. The Spacer Air Mesh allowed for improved air circulation and moisture management. The harness also comes with detachable elastic binocular holders when not using the pouch.
Kuiu offers several options to accommodate this harness, which makes this harness even more attractive. A hook and loop system on the bottom of the pouch provides an attachment point for an optional rangefinder and/or ammo holders. These are sold separately. You can also purchase a rangefinder lanyard and microfiber lens cloth to hook to your harness. The only thing this harness seems to be missing is a simple way to adapt a GPS radio unit. But, you can’t have everything with a harness this lightweight and low profile. This Top Shelf harness will do its job and meet your needs! This product is made in the U.S.A.
The Kuiu harness comes in several patterns: Yukon, Chugach, Guide, Attack, Alpine, Northstar, and Peleton 130.
Alaska Guide Creations Kodiak C.U.B. with M.A.X. Pocket: Top Shelf “More Storage” Bino Harness for Hunting
Why you should choose the Alaska Guide Creations Kodiak C.U.B. with M.A.X. Pocket:
The Alaska Guide Creations Kodiak C.U.B. with M.A.X. Pocket harness is a really well built harness that will not only protect your binos but has room for other gear, such as a rangefinder, GPS radio, cell phone, wind checker, calls, maps, etc. Choose this bino harness if you want comfort and you want to fully enclose your binos with a well-built harness that has room for other gear that will be available at your fingertips.
Who it’s for: The hunter who wants fully protected binos and is willing to trade weight for the convenience of having a lot of frequently used gear readily available because it is stored in his or her harness. This harness is perfect for the hunter who believes it is better to have more than not enough.
How much it will cost: $105 MSRP
Why we picked the Alaska Guide Creations Kodiak C.U.B. with M.A.X. Pocket:
Tons of hunters use this harness and rate it very high. The Alaska Guide Creations team has been making harnesses for years and they know what they are doing. They offer 4 models with varying options, but this model seems to fit in the sweet spot of not being overly bulky, yet offers a lot of storage. The C.U.B. with M.A.X. pocket at the bottom of the harness easily fits a rangefinder. The shoulder strap system is well built and comfortable.
This harness comes with the harness, binocular tether system & auto-locking buckles.
C.U.B. stands for Compact Utility Bag. As such, the C.U.B. integrates simplicity and utility to deliver optimal storage in a compact option. Most 10×42 binoculars will fit in this harness. In fact, Alaska Guide Creations indicates this harness is perfect for Swarovski, Leica, Zeiss, Vortex, 8×32, 8×42, 10×32, 10×42. The main compartment measurements are 3 inches deep, 6 inches wide and 6.5 inches tall.
Another great feature of this harness is the hook and bungee system used for closing the lid. This closure allows for quiet, easy one handed operation to open and secure the main component. The side, front and rear pockets use zippers. The M.A.X. pocket option on this harness add a pocket at the bottom of the harness that is separate from the main compartment and is about 1 inch tall. The depth and width match the main compartment. This pocket was designed for storing your headlamp, knife and blades, or any other small necessities. You could also store your rangefinder in this pocket.
Alaska Bino Creations offers an optional Bino Shield for this harness (sold separately). The bino shield is very lightweight and waterproof/dustproof. This is a great option for those hunting in inclimate weather or riding an ATV. This harness is made in the U.S.A.
The Alaska Bino Creations harnesses come in coyote brown, krytek highlander, multicam, first lite fusion, first lite cipher, mossy oak break-up country, and mossy-oak bottomland.
FHF Bino Harness – Gear Small Pro-M:
Runner Up Lean and Mean Bino Harness -Hunting
Why you should buy this harness: You want a well-built, lightweight bino harness that is modular.
FHF Gear Medium Pro-M
The FHF Gear Medium Pro-M is a great option.
Who is this bino harness for: The hunter that wants a low profile harness that is “lean and mean” but also wants a harness that accommodates “add on” pouches for range finders, bear spray, GPS units, etc.
Cost: $113 MSRP
Why we picked the FHF Gear Bino Harness as a runner-up:
This bino harness is lightweight, low profile, quiet and modular. The basic harness system only weighs 9.5 ounces in the medium model (the large model weighs 10.2 ounces). The hook and bungee lid is easily operated with one hand and is designed for quiet access and reentry of your binoculars. The lid opens toward the chest. The shock cord closure is simple to use and easy to re-secure.
This harness is made with high quality 500D Cordura on the exterior, a microfiber lining, and closed cell foam padding. The rear panel is Airmesh. The harness was made with comfort in mind. It uses very little elastic so bounce is eliminated. The medium harness will accommodate binoculars under 7.1 inches in length. The medium size harness will accommodate most 10×42 binocular models.
The FHF Gear harness has several small pockets. The harness has a pocket on the front, a larger rear pocket for easy storage of tags and small items. It also has a small pocket on the lid for mouth calls. The two mesh side pockets provide quick access to your wind checker or a small call.
The harness comes with a secondary bino hanger straps to attach to your shoulder straps to all tension free glassing without unbuckling a sternum strap. This system also helps prevent you from accidentally dropping your binoculars.
Modular System: the FHF Gear harness is a very close second to the Top Shelf Kuiu harness in many respects, including its modular system. For example, FHF Gear offers a number of great optional items that are designed to go with this harness. First, you can purchase a coil equipment lanyard made specifically for rangefinders, GSP units and other outdoor equipment. The coiled nylon lanyard uses quick disconnect buckles and comes in two lengths: 3” which extends to 16’, and 6” which extends to 30”.
The harness also has a MOLLE on the underside of the pouch that allows for easy, versatile attachment of MOLLE compatible accessories. For example, the FHF Gear bear spray holster could attach here.
The FHF Gear harness does not come up all the way on both sides just under the top of the lid, which slightly exposes your binoculars to the elements and dust. Because of this, and the traditional lid opening toward the chest, I put this harness in the Top Shelf runner up position. However, I can assure you, this bino harness system is comfortable, it will protect your binoculars and it will not disappoint.
Sitka Harness: 2nd Runner Up Lean and Mean Bino Harness for Hunting
Why you should choose the Sitka Bino Harness: It is a very good harness with a comfortable shoulder strap system and easy to use functionality.
Who it’s for: The hunter who wants a lightweight, comfortable harness with great functionality made of quality materials.
How much it will cost: $129 MSRP
Why we picked the Sitka Bino Harness as Runner Up:
The Sitka Bino Harness is very light weight, fully encloses your binoculars and is built tough. It offers most of what you want in a harness, but was given the runner-up status because it lacked the modular options available with the Kuiu system and it relies on a zipper, which can make noise. This harness features a simple forward opening system which we really like. It is easier to extract and return your binoculars to the harness with a front opening system. The main pocket on the Sitka bino bivy utilizes a zipped closure for max protection of your binoculars when on an ATV or moving through brush or inclement weather. However, once you in the clear or ready to start glassing, you can unzip the main compartment and utilize the built in magnetic button on the top and the bottom of the pack that holds the lid open or closed. Most people run the harness with the main compartment unzipped for convenience. We tested the Sitka 8x-10x which fits just about all 8x –10x binoculars. The bungee tethers are shorter than some would like.
The Sitka bino harness features a lens cloth included in an internal pocket, 2 exterior pockets, and 2 lanyard straps. The material is quick dry with durable water repellant (DWR) finish. This bino harness will protect your binoculars and is very comfortable to wear all day.
Vortex GlassPak: Best Budget Harness Option for Hunting
Why you should choose the Vortex GlassPak Bino Harness: It is a great harness that is affordable and will protect your binoculars while keeping them close at hand.
Who it’s for: The hunter who wants a lightweight, comfortable harness with basic functionality at a great price.
How much it will cost: $69 MSRP ($49 when on sale)
Why we picked the Vortex GlassPak Bino Harness as the Best Budget Harness:
When it comes to “budget” harnesses, there are tons of options. However, the Vortex vino harness checks many of the boxes for features we want to see in a binocular chest harness. For starters, this harness weighs only 8 ounces making it one of the lightest on the market. The GlassPak harness accommodates a range of full size binoculars and the harness fits snug and secure. The harness uses a hook and bungee system to secure the lid. The lid opens toward the chest.
The harness has two mesh side pockets that can hold wind checker, calls, and other small quick-access items. In addition, the harness has a rear zippered pocket that can hold larger items such as a cell phone. The harness also has tethers that attach to your binoculars to prevent accidental dropping. The harness measures 6.75 x 6.25 and 3.75 inches. The harness is comfortable to wear and has fully adjustable straps for a comfortable fit.
Future bino harness reviews:
Horn Hunter Bino Hub with X-Out Harness