Multi-Editor Binocular Harness Review

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Multi-Editor Binocular Harness Review

Kifaru Bino Harness

The separation in binocular harnesses these days is in the nuanced details. Of course, the bucket needs to fit your binoculars, and the harness needs to fit your chest, but once those needs are met, you enter a world of personal preference and details that get fleshed out in the field. The reputation Kifaru has, including the little details and design features that make a difference in the field, is what drew me to the Kifaru bino harness. That, and I knew it was going to be built to last, and last it has. So far this harness has been with me on two bear hunts, a week on Kodiak, bushwhacking through alders and salmonberries, and a hunt through southern Arizona cactus country, and it truly looks the way it did the day it was delivered.

The minimal approach to design, not adding structure where it’s not needed to reduce the weight, was a good call in my opinion. By forgoing the reinforced foam structure in certain areas of the bucket, the harness also felt less cumbersome and bulky on my chest. Simply put, I noticed it less than I would when wearing other models on the market. The potential drawback to that decision is the fit with certain binoculars. One-handed operation is a little tricky with bulkier optics like 12x50 ELs and 10x42 EL Ranges. To account for this, I’d recommend going a size up on the bucket size – you won’t be bothered by the extra size of the bucket, and it will make pulling binos in and out much easier. I’d also recommend sizing up on the harness to account for bulkier layers you wear on cold-weather hunts.

The Bino Holster made by JC Custom Kydex is an excellent option if you need to carry a sidearm in a super convenient and secure location. It held my Glock 20 10mm secure without any issues in Alaska. Better yet, it was comfortable the entire time. The Navigation Pouch fit my iPhone 14 Pro Max perfectly and in a place that was always easy to get to – something that can be a pain with other pockets if you use your phone often in the field. On a separate Kifaru Harness, I used the Admin Pouch which appealed to me because it was less bulky. It fit my ear pro, pocket knife, and Ollin ring well, but it would not contain a phone.

Overall, this first-generation Kifaru Harness is extremely well made and feature-rich without being bulky and complicated, a quality I appreciate greatly when trying to simplify my kit.

$175 on Outdoorsmans.com

Kevin Guillen
Western Hunter Magazine Field Editor

T&K Gen 2 Binocular Harness

This is a review of the Gen 2 Harness. The latest edition, Gen 3.1, is available here:
tandkhunting.com/products/gen-3-binocular-harness

I picked up the T&K Gen 2 Bino Harness back in early 2021. I had been using a non-enclosed Marsupial harness that I still really like, but I wanted something that provided more coverage. T&K caught my eye for a few reasons. I love their no-BS attitude, build quality, and insistence on keeping every product sourced and built in the USA. It’s still my go-to harness to this day.

First and foremost, this thing is absolutely bombproof. T&K uses 1000 denier cordura on almost all of their products. I have worn that bino pack all over Arizona in all types of weather conditions, and outside of some dirt and charcoal marks (hunted a burned-out area a couple of times), the thing looks brand new. To that point, it’s awesome knowing that my glass is protected no matter what the conditions or how much brush I have to break to get to my glassing point.

The pack itself is a real simple, yet effective design. It’s a top-down, forward-opening pack with one large main compartment. There is one extra zippered pocket on the back that’s great for tags, diaphragm calls, or any other flat item. Magnets are used to hold the pack either closed or folded open.

I really like this pack because it’s simple, easy to use, and can handle all the punishment of hunting out west. I also really love the MOLLE attachment points along the sides. Most other bino harness systems allow for accessory attachment along the straps. This isn’t a bad location in the slightest, however, I love that my Admin and Ranger pouches attach to the side of the bino pack. For me, this provides a lower profile and a more compact fit and feel. I certainly have zero issues shouldering a rifle or shooting my bow.

Another feature that stands out is the large back plate on the shoulder harness. This seems like a minuscule detail, but it provides for a better, more comfortable fit. It’s hardly noticeable when you’re wearing it and helps keep your straps from twisting on you. The shoulder straps are also lightly padded, which is another nice feature. I had some concerns that the padding would be cumbersome while wearing my pack, but I was pleasantly surprised with how little I noticed that padding.
Finally, when it comes to accessories, T&K has a slew of different pouches and accessories for use with their Binocular Harness. All of their products are competitively priced with the Gen 2 harness sitting at $130.00. Their latest version, the Gen 3.1 Bino Harness, retails for $155.00.

$130 Buy now on Outdoorsmans.com

Joe Mannino
Western Hunter Magazine Field Editor

Eberlestock Recon Bino Harness

When I began looking for a new bino harness, I wanted to find one that solved some of the problems I had with my previous models from other brands. I found my previous harnesses either lacking ease of accessibility with pockets that are frustrating to take items out of, lacking sufficient and usable space for my need-to-have items (bino adapter, multi-tool, calls, etc) in the field, or simply sitting awkwardly because the fit was too bulky and obtrusive. 

The Recon bino harness was specifically designed with modularity and durability in mind. As

hunters, we all know that some hunts require more accessible gear than others, and the Recon can be easily scaled up or down with all of their available modular accessories. They currently have seven Recon accessories which include a utility pouch, rangefinder pouch, hand warmer, quickcase, rain fly, bear spray pouch, and MOLLE panel. All of these modular accessories can be utilized within seconds, allowing you the ability to customize your bino harness to your needs for all of your specific hunts no matter the conditions.

My favorite feature is the large front zippered pocket because it provides a useful and organized storage area that I can get to quickly. The front zippered area has elastic pouches sewn in to help keep things quiet and separate for when you need them. They even have a webbed opening that keeps those smaller items from falling out. They put a lot of thought into the design and functionality of this harness, fully maximizing the space.

The comfort level on the Recon is better than any harness I’ve ever worn. The wings on the sides of the harness help contour the harness and accessories directly to your body, making for a much better and streamlined fit. The Recon has a large footprint MOLLE panel on your back, allowing you to stay comfortable and add on any additional accessories you may want, such as a hydration system for an ultra-minimalist setup.

I must say, I don’t have any gripes with this binocular harness because if there are times I need more space, I add extra accessories. If I want fewer items, I simply downsize my accessories. Some people don’t want any magnets, so if magnetic closure is a dealbreaker, you may want to look at one of their other bino harness options. I have never had any issues with mine, and I prefer the magnetic closure.

I highly recommend looking at some informative YouTube videos on this system, so you can truly see all of the possible configurations and features. Overall, the Recon is quiet, durable, and extremely functional which is why it's my favorite bino harness on the market.

$129 Buy now on Eberlestock.com

Pedram Parvin
Western Hunter Magazine Field Editor

Marsupial Fully Enclosed Bino Harness

There is quite a bit to like about the Marsupial Gear Fully Enclosed Bino Harness. I’ve been running my current setup for about four years and have no desire to switch. The lid folds forward with magnets sewn into the edge of the lid and bottom of the pack which makes it easy to run open or closed, and have never really been too worried about the quiet snap it makes when closing. I run a pair of Swarovski 12x50 ELs in a size Medium, and the grippy material of the binos can hang up on the interior of the pouch at times, but again, not a big enough deal to make me want to switch.

Feature-wise, the side and front pockets are on the tight side. I use the zippered front pocket for tag, license, and backup bullets, the side pockets have enough room for a wind indicator on one side and my Outdoorsmans adapter on the other. If you are looking to carry a lot on your chest, you would want to add an extra side accessory pouch, as I do on mine.

The Padded Mesh Harness system is very comfortable, as it is wide enough to carry the weight of the binos without cutting into your skin. This harness also comes with safety tethers that can hook up directly to the sides of the binoculars to keep them from falling out, but I have never done that because it's a pain when you stop and set up your tripod as frequently as we do.

Overall, I highly recommend the Marsupial Gear Fully Enclosed Bino Harness. It has worked and will work for me, and I have no doubt it will work for anyone.

$135 Buy now on Amazon

Ben Britton
Western Hunter Magazine Field Editor

Alaska Guide Creations - Alaska Classic Max

About seven years ago, as I started to venture out from the dense wet forest of western Washington into the more intermountain west of the United States, I knew I had some gear updates that I wanted and needed. Toward the top of that list was a bino harness that could keep my new expensive (expensive to a broke college kid) binoculars dry, easy to access, and protected from damage. On came the long search for the specific design and fit that I thought would meet all those needs.

Not really knowing what companies at the time were making these, a post on a Rokslide forum about this Alaska Guide Creations harness caught my eye. Before going down the rabbit hole too much, I decided to contact them and order one right away. Quickly, I realized this harness had much more use than just what I thought I needed in a bino holder. With four different zipper pouches, I was able to stock them with essentials. If I were ever to drop my pack, I would have the critical items I needed if I was away for a longer period of time. 

What I really like about this harness is the extra bottom pouch where I keep my tags, extra lens wipes, or other miscellaneous items, and the elastic straps on top. The elastic has not stretched and will fit my phone tightly so I have quick access to my maps. The material is extremely durable and water resistant, which is huge, along with a rigid main compartment, making it easy to pull out and insert binos with no resistance. I know most companies have gone away from the front-opening lid, but I prefer this as it's quiet, which when on a stalk can make all the difference in unnatural sounds around animals.

I have had this same harness for almost seven years and have zero complaints, minus the buckles. They have since added locking buckles which will solve the falling down issue of the past generation. As a pioneer in the bino harness industry, Alaska Guide Creations should be on everyone's list of gear to try and check out.

$132 Buy now on Amazon

Chad Dembinkski
Western Hunter Magazine Field Editor

FHF Pro-M Bino Harness

The world of binocular harnesses has changed dramatically in the past five years. At first, there were neck straps, then the Rick Young harness, then came a handful of full rigs made from Cordura. FHF was one of the first few companies to produce a system that would not only hold your binoculars but also protect them from the elements and impacts. 

The FHF Pro-M is one of the most recognizable bino harnesses on the market. It features a simple bungee-style closure that is easy to operate with one hand. It is made of American-made Cordura and features one zip pocket on the front and another non-zip pocket that will easily house a tube of chapstick or a handful of 60A surgical blades. On either side of the harness, there are mesh drop-in style pockets, one of which will come with FHF’s custom wind checker bottle.

I was scared of the non-forward-facing design at first, but after a handful of days it became second nature, and it's arguably quieter than most forward-facing bino harnesses. The soft interior with no sticking points makes it extremely easy to remove my binoculars even in those in-tight situations.

On a recent hunt, I got into a situation where another hunter (damn Californians) bumped a buck I was stalking and I had to run over a ridge to cut the buck off some 500 yards away. While I was running, I remember thinking about how well the bino harness stayed in place and didn’t bounce around like a scene from Baywatch. I also appreciated the minimalist strap design keeping the sweat down while I ran.

My one gripe with the harness is that the side buckles are not auto-locking. They are normal pull-style buckles, so in my experience, they will loosen up over a day of hunting, causing the harness to sag a little bit.

If you’re looking for a no-frills style harness that will last you a lifetime, you may want to check out this classic from FHF.

$125 Buy now on Amazon

Brody Layher
Western Hunter Magazine Field Editor

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