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How do you carry your binoculars? (1 Viewer)

How do you carry your binoculars


  • Total voters
    205
I think youre onto something, that the voting/poll has sort of highlighted. There's a lot of justifying the choice of 32s on the basis of weight. Most agree 42s are arguably, usually, better optically, so why would one spend a couple thousand dollars in order to save a half pound? What if... and Im just wondering, what if most folks who bird, dangle binoculars around their neck, as the poll suggests, and it is that weight, bearing down on the neck uncomfortably, that folks are trying to get away from - not the load on legs walking, or hands when bino is to eyes?? Just wondering.

You are probably aware, discussions of hunting are verboten on BF. Some folks are particularly sensitive to any hint of the conversation going in that direction. Your poll though seems to suggest the possibility that birders maybe don't know about harnesses or especially packs and the benefits that accrue, that would enable different possibilities for bino selection.... of the dozens of birders I see each migration, Ive never seen a pack, and only a couple harnesses in use.
Yeah the data seems to suggest that most use the original neck strap either around front or bandolier/safari style. Seemingly they either dont prefer harnesses as Im sure some have tried them, or have not tried them or are not aware of them as you suggest. I find that carrying 42mm or even 50mm bins quite comfortable with a harness and even more so with the bino pack. Spreading the weight out over my back and shoulders was a big improvement compared to having all the weight on my neck, it was a game changer. Locking them into place in a chest pack was even better because they arn't bouncing down on the shoulders constantly, which made a pretty big difference. Also, the pack puts just a little more support spread over the chest to help support the weight even better than a harness. I think I would choose to keep the versatility and performance of the larger objective binoculars and use a harness or chest pack to make them more comfortable rather than trading off optical performance for a lighter weight compact. The neck strap is more simple and costs less, and if it works for them, good for them. More than one way to solve a pain in the neck so to speak.
 
Moving binos to my eyes.

You're right, we're talking about fractions of a second. But those fractions of a second can be really important at migration hotspots.

I make sure my strap is set so the binoculars nestle fairly high up on my chest. Saves a few more fractions of a second ... :)

Hermann
I definitely think a chest pack would be slightly slower than a neck strap or harness if speed to the eyes is of high importance. I dont find it too slow for my uses but acknowledge it would be slower to the eyes.
 
I like the idea of a 'kangaroo' pouch... Back when I was a student (30+ years ago...) living in Wales I had a locally made cotton fisherman's smock with an open pouch that I lived in. I wonder whether you can still get something similar. I don't mind harnesses just over a shirt, but when you're layering up or wearing a coat I find them a pain.
 
Hi,

What's the supposed disadvantage of neck straps? I'm familiar with military webbing, so I guess I might have a vague idea what a harness is trying to achieve.

However, I seem to have no pain point with the neck strap at all, so I officially don't get it.

Regards,

Henning
 
Hi,

What's the supposed disadvantage of neck straps? I'm familiar with military webbing, so I guess I might have a vague idea what a harness is trying to achieve.

However, I seem to have no pain point with the neck strap at all, so I officially don't get it.

Regards,

Henning
A harness takes most of the weight on the shoulders and some on the back which some people find more comfortable. Personally I found getting a decently wide padded neck strap that is shaped to sit at the base of the neck perfectly comfortable for long periods even with 2 1/2 lb (1.15kg) binoculars, but I've got a fairly short wide neck. Thinner straps were less comfortable for me. I suspect if you walk with a slight forward stoop (a lot of people do) or wear your binoculars fairly low rather than high on your chest a neck strap would be more of an issue.

I found a bino harness a pain when wearing winter layers, and didn't like the trussed up feel, but I'll give one a go in the summer when I'm just birding in shirt sleeves and neck straps can get hot and sweaty.

I don't think any solution is inherently universally better for everyone, but it's good to have alternatives.
 
It only took me a few days
transecting for miles off trail through the forest doing wildlife surveys with an 8x40 porro dangling from a neck strap before I knew kneck straps were not the thing for me. Perhaps it is also that I had a whiplash in a car accident. My neck can't take it for more than a half a day and my neck starts to give me a head ache. Once I switched to a harness I could wear the same bins all day every day over miles of trail without a problem. For me the harneses spreads the weight out and takes pressure off my neck. But I acknowledge that not every one carries their binoculars for as long nor as often as I have done. A neck strap might be perfectly fine for less rigorous outings or with a lighter binocular. And yes I have experienced being "all strapped up" for lack of a better term. I have also experienced having the hassel of removing bins when layering up or doubling up wearning a backpack. So I can understand the other camp. To me totally worth it and a chest pack even moreso. I never thought this thread would go 90 responses and I learned a few new things. Thanks everyone.
 
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Kevin, This has been fun and informative. I am shocked at the 65% "neck strap around neck" choice, and surprised so few seem to know the benefit of bandolier. The comfort, accessibility, and maybe more importantly stability while moving, seems obvious once you give it a try. As I wrote above, how many 8x32s have been sold cuz folks use neck on neck?

Having been thinking about front packs for awhile, inspired by this thread, I was pushed over the edge. I drove to the Kuiu store here in Cali couple days ago, and bought their "Pro Bino Harness." Getting pack straps to torso right and the bino straps to pack, took some fiddling. That effort revealed how nicely made and well thought out this thing is. The front opening, with lid that folds forward/down, kind of cams over, inverts itself into a semi locked position, is very clever. It gets the lid out of the way, so you dont have to fight it to get bins in and out. Pulling it back over top delivers a complete coverage of the whole binocular.

I wore it yesterday for first go. Confess I was feeling a little weird, conspicuous maybe, as Ive never seen another birder using a pack. Nobody sniggered.... In terms of ease of use, comfort, initially there seems pluses and minuses. Getting into the thing is more complicated then slipping strap over head/neck/shoulder. Though not that much. The weight seemed more "out front" than my long used bandolier carry. Curious. Pressure point at neck/shoulder junction gone, not that that was much of a thing. A main goal was better protection for the binos. Rain, snow, spit and sweat come from above, the oculars on my bins always get dirty first. Using the rain guards that came with the ELs help, don't eliminate the issue, and do require fiddling every time you stop to glass, then start walking again. The harness does not eliminate that step, but seems easier and a more complete protection walking between viewing.

Time will tell....
 
Hi Kevin,

Perhaps it is also that I had a whiplash in a car accident.

Sorry to hear that, that would certainly justify switching to a neck-relieving carry system!

Good to be aware of the harness solution in case I ever need it. So far, I'm perfectly fine with my 8 x 42 roof binoculars on my neck strap, but I've just acquired the substantially heavier Canon 10 x 40 IS, so I'll keep the harness recommendation on the back of my mind, just in case!

Regards,

Henning
 
As is the usual way of things, it’s no surprise that with carry choices, no one solution suits everyone - or even suits one person in all situations.

And in terms of possibilities, there’s two main choices discussed above:
• the convenience of a single strap (either around the neck or diagonally across the body bandoleer style), verses;
• the off-the-neck comfort and stability of a full harness/ full pouch combo.


However, there’s also a couple of intermediate possibilities, using a slip on/ off elastic edged 'shower cap' style cover, that's held around the torso by an attached elastic strap. Either:
a) the shower cap/ elastic strap used with a seperate neck strap or harness, or;
b) the shower cap/ elastic strap with an integral harness.

Neither of these approaches ever seem to really take off. Every few years or so they're 'rediscovered' and then offered by a small company for a while.

For a current example of a), see an image of the Alpine Innovations Bino Slicker NX Cover & Control Band. There’s also an upmarket version by Swazi, that as shown was briefly offered by Leica.

For a current example of b), see two images of the AI Bino Slicker XD Harness (and interestingly the concept is covered in two patents US6926184B2 and US6983870B2 lodged in 2003, see an image from the first).

- - - -
My default is a neck strap adjusted so that the binocular is worn high on my chest (the strap is so short that it barely fits over my head),
which minimises swing and bounce.
And with heavier binoculars, a wide neck strap contoured to lay flat at the back of the neck significantly adds to comfort.

With my EL 12x50 I often add a version of a). The key point is that as the binocular is worn high, the cover/ elastic strap is also high around my chest
(this is in contrast to most images that show a binocular worn much lower, with the strap around the abdomen).
A significant advantage of the high carry is that the elastic strap can be adjusted to comfortably support at least 2/3 the weight of the binocular, and so a simple neck strap works fine.

. . . so another possibility to consider.


John
 

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This is the kangaroo pouch that I mentioned in an earlier post. No dangling when hiking, scrambling or when creeping up on an animal with the camera.
Inspired by your post, but being a cheapskate I tried a cheap 'military spec' smock from Amazon Smock - heavy duty poly/cotton -very windproof and unproofed will cope with a light shower - the kangaroo pocket worked well - cheap but cheerful.
 
I am shocked at the 65% "neck strap around neck" choice, and surprised so few seem to know the benefit of bandolier. The comfort, accessibility, and maybe more importantly stability while moving, seems obvious once you give it a try.
Absolutely the only way I'm interested in carrying binoculars, as any other method is just in the way for me. Well, sometimes in my pocket or on the window sill.
 
Hi Kevin,



Sorry to hear that, that would certainly justify switching to a neck-relieving carry system!

Good to be aware of the harness solution in case I ever need it. So far, I'm perfectly fine with my 8 x 42 roof binoculars on my neck strap, but I've just acquired the substantially heavier Canon 10 x 40 IS, so I'll keep the harness recommendation on the back of my mind, just in case!

Regards,

Henning
Yes and my whiplash was from a car accident back in 1994 and it still bothers me.
 
As is the usual way of things, it’s no surprise that with carry choices, no one solution suits everyone - or even suits one person in all situations.

And in terms of possibilities, there’s two main choices discussed above:
• the convenience of a single strap (either around the neck or diagonally across the body bandoleer style), verses;
• the off-the-neck comfort and stability of a full harness/ full pouch combo.


However, there’s also a couple of intermediate possibilities, using a slip on/ off elastic edged 'shower cap' style cover, that's held around the torso by an attached elastic strap. Either:
a) the shower cap/ elastic strap used with a seperate neck strap or harness, or;
b) the shower cap/ elastic strap with an integral harness.

Neither of these approaches ever seem to really take off. Every few years or so they're 'rediscovered' and then offered by a small company for a while.

For a current example of a), see an image of the Alpine Innovations Bino Slicker NX Cover & Control Band. There’s also an upmarket version by Swazi, that as shown was briefly offered by Leica.

For a current example of b), see two images of the AI Bino Slicker XD Harness (and interestingly the concept is covered in two patents US6926184B2 and US6983870B2 lodged in 2003, see an image from the first).

- - - -
My default is a neck strap adjusted so that the binocular is worn high on my chest (the strap is so short that it barely fits over my head),
which minimises swing and bounce.
And with heavier binoculars, a wide neck strap contoured to lay flat at the back of the neck significantly adds to comfort.

With my EL 12x50 I often add a version of a). The key point is that as the binocular is worn high, the cover/ elastic strap is also high around my chest
(this is in contrast to most images that show a binocular worn much lower, with the strap around the abdomen).
A significant advantage of the high carry is that the elastic strap can be adjusted to comfortably support at least 2/3 the weight of the binocular, and so a simple neck strap works fine.

. . . so another possibility to consider.


John
Thanks for sharing! Great contribution!
 
.
On a week long birding break earlier in January I didn’t see anyone using a harness on bird reserves/hot spots around the north coast of Norfolk. That was out of a sample of well over 100 individuals.
Only one birding friend of a group of approximately twenty people I know well and see regularly, uses a harness.
And, of the birding friends mentioned above, the preference is for 10x42 binoculars (Leica, Swarovski and Zeiss are the preferred brands).

I wonder how much of the perceived preferences you have observed are due to geographical location.
I suspect it’s more to do with the type of bird watching one engages with. The needs of someone who, for want of a better term, stalks their target species through forest and over mountain is certain to benefit from a rig that prevents their bins swinging like a church 🔔 whenever they stoop. Whereas the more sedentary twitcher birder who potters around a Reserve with a Costa coffee in one hand or sits in a hide timber observatory all day will be perfectly happy with the factory supplied noose.

LGM
 

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