By Mark and Leslie Degner
Just like with cameras, we don’t particularly like using a traditional neck strap with our binoculars. Instead, we have replaced our binoculars’ neck straps with chest harnesses, which we greatly prefer. With a chest harness the binoculars don’t dig into your neck, nor do they bounce around when you move. In addition, when you lean forward the binoculars don’t hang down and swing into things.
When we received a pair of KITE Optics Lynx HD binoculars to review, also included in the package were a couple of Ultra-Light Bino Harnesses made by Rick Young Outdoors. These are chest-style harnesses, but unlike any ones that we’ve ever seen. Instead of being made from flat nylon straps, they’re made with rugged shock cord. This means that the Ultra-Light Bino Harness is considerably lighter, weighing only about 47 g, and significantly less bulky than traditional chest harnesses. The two quick disconnect clips on the Ultra-Light Bino Harness attach to the binoculars with split rings and these clips slide smoothly along the cords, allowing the binoculars to be quickly and effortlessly brought up to the user’s eyes.
The Ultra-Light Bino Harness is designed as one size fits all and is fully adjustable so it can fit just about anyone. It’s also large enough that most people can wear it over a big, bulky winter jacket. What we really liked about its design is its single adjustment point, whereas traditional chest harnesses have up to four adjustment points. The single quick adjustment clip allows for easy adjustment and once properly adjusted, the harness securely holds the binoculars close to your body, even when you bend over, and the binoculars don’t bounce around when you’re moving like they do when using a traditional neck strap. It allows your hands to remain free until you need to use the binoculars, making it ideal for the active outdoor enthusiasts. What’s also really neat about the Ultra-Light Bino Harness is that, in addition to being worn as a chest harness, it can also be used as a neck strap or over your shoulder in a couple of different ways, making it extremely versatile.
Since the Ultra-Light Bino Harness is made from shock cord, it’s considerably cooler to wear than a traditional chest harness, meaning it allows your body to breathe and reduces sweat. At first we were a little concerned that the shock cord would dig into our shoulders, but that wasn’t the case as it was very comfortable to wear.
In addition to the standard model of the Ultra-Light Bino Harness, there’s also second model that has a built-in safety whistle; both are available in black or olive green. Not only is the Ultra-Light Bino Harness great for people who use binoculars, like bird watchers, but also some photographers may find it useful for securely carrying their lightweight cameras. Leslie used it with her Olympus mirrorless camera system and really liked it. Overall, we were really impressed with the Ultra-Light Bino Harness, and with a price of around $32.49 it’s quite a bargain.