The ever popular “Bino Harness” seems to have taken the industry by storm over the last couple years, and at this point it seems that everybody is making one. So, with as popular as it is, I thought I would share what I like, and what I carry in it.
With so many options, this is obviously a thing of personal preference, and for me, the FHF gear harness has worked out about perfectly. It has just enough space to carry exactly what I want on it, but while still maintaining a low profile on my body. It also needs cleaned in a bad sort of way by now…
So for starters, my binoculars obviously go inside the main compartment of the pack. I carry a pair of razor 10x42s with an outdoorsman’s stud mounted to them to adapt to my tripod. I have played around with keeping the outdoorsman’s adapter post in my bino pack, but honestly I haven’t found the need to. Anytime I am using a tripod then I need to be packing my tripod around which involves my backpack. Simply put, I like keeping the post in the hip pocket of my pack where I can get to it easily any time I break out the tripod. A knock against the FHF harness I sometimes hear is that it doesn’t have full closure to protect your glass from dirt. I leave the lens covers on my binos all the time so that negates that issue and keeps the eyepiece end free of dirt and dust.
Next off I’ll mention game calls. You wont see any in the photos basically because it’s not elk season right now. One of the things that originally appealed to me about the FHF harness though was the two slotted pockets on the lid for diaphragms. I like these so much that I would wear this harness for calling even if I never needed my binos. They’re always at my fingertips, and it allows them to still dry out after I take them out of my mouth. I also always keep an open reed cow call in the mesh side pocket on my ride side, which I tether off with a short piece of cord. I like it on my right so that I can drop it and let it hang if I need to draw my bow in a hurry, and I don’t have to worry about it ever coming in contact with my bowstring on that side of my body.
In the long vertical pocket in the front I keep my pocket knife which is currently a benchmade bug out. Its a great EDC blade made from S30v, and this is a place where I can always get to it quickly for any time I need it around camp at night or throughout the day.
In the left side pocket I keep my flashlight/ headlamp. This one is a zebralight H32 and it runs off of a cr123 battery. I like the cr123 for a couple reasons. Mostly, a single cr123 contains more power than 2 AA batteries, yet it weighs less than one. It also is a more compact battery which allows for a small light. This lamp fits into a great head strap that makes it a phenomenal headlamp. I keep the head strap in my pack for when I want it, but I carry the light on my chest in case I need it in a pinch if it gets dark on a stalk and I have to find my way back to my pack. This lamp puts out up to 480 lumens, yet I can still get 11 hours out of it on medium output which is what I typically hike with, or up to 8 days on the brighter of the two low settings which I use in camp.
Next, in the zippered front pocket I keep a spare cr123 battery, and a mini bic lighter. These are pretty self explanatory. I have other means of starting a fire in my pack, but I like having a lighter on me at all times just in case, and this one in my harness is the one I use on a daily basis to light a stove, start a fire, ect.
In the flat pocket on the back of the harness I keep my license and tags, a tyto 1.1, and some replacement blades for the tyto. I’m a big fan of scalpel blades for breaking down game, and I’ve never had an issue with breaking them. They’re razor sharp and I can carry the handle and 5 blades for well under 2 ounces (yes I know there are no blades in the container in the picture.) The tyto and blades are flat enough that I can’t tell a difference in the feel of the harness against my chest whether they’re in it or not. I also like the plastic blade case from havalon so that I have somewhere to put the dull blades, as well as somewhere to put a blade that is still sharp when I am done using the knife.
Carrying this stuff on my chest allows me quick access to the things I use frequently, and it’s also just enough to get me by and get me back to my pack after a stalk, even if that is in the dark. I will most likely add a rangefinder pouch back onto the right side of the harness for bow season this year, but lately while I had been rifle hunting for bears I preferred to keep it in the hipbelt of my pack since its a little less critical to have at my fingers.
I fully subscribe to the theory of having your gear organized and in the same place 100% of the time so that when things happen quickly, you’re organized, prepared, and don’t need to make any more movement in close than is necessary.