Alaska Guide Creations Bino Harness Review
By Luke Moffat, Rokslide Prostaff
How to carry your binoculars? This topic is hashed and rehashed on the forums nearly as often as the “what pack to use” or “what boots to wear.” Honestly it comes down to the end-users preference just like anything else. Growing up I felt I was pretty spiffy with my elastic harness that clipped on my binos. The problem was that while running or riding a wheeler, my binos bounced around on my chest like a bad episode of Baywatch.
In 2009 I was researching what some guys in Arizona were using to carry their often heavy 12 to 15 power binos, and Alaska Guide Creations “AGC” was mentioned frequently. In looking over the AGC website, I quickly realized that the chest packs designed by owner Jarret Owens could not only better secure and protect my binoculars, but also provide space to carry other necessities I might need on a final stalk or if I was caught away from my pack.
Not having to put my binoculars under my raincoat while hiking (which would pretty much ensure foggy lenses) was a huge benefit as the binos would now be in their own climate inside the AGC pouch. This meant they’d be ready to look through whenever I needed them and I wouldn’t have to dig them out of my rain jacket or wipe rain, sweat, or condensation off the lenses.
Aside from not having to wear the binos under outer layers, the best upgrade was what I could carry in addition to my binoculars. Far too often when I drop my pack on final stalk, I’d only have my rifle, rangefinder, and binos on me. That all sounds great until that “final stalk” turns into four hours, leaving me starving and deyhydrated. Also, if I actually killed the animal, me or a partner had to return to the packs instead of starting to break the animal down right away. Bears, bugs, heat, and darkness don’t wait for the unprepared.
Now I always have not only my binos and rangefinder, but a Havalon knife with extra blades, extra rifle cartridges, license, tags, lens cleaner, snack, GPS, Kestrel weather station, beanie, and a headlamp with me whenever and wherever. All this fits in the large-sized AGC bino pouch along side my somewhat large 12X50 binoculars (AGC also offers a compact version.)
Having those items with me at all times has saved some serious time on more than several occasions. Not only that, but all the above items are at my fingertips without having to take off my pack. This also allows room for other items to be stashed in the waistbelt pockets on my pack.
Another feature of bino pouches often overlooked is that they can make a great rifle rest if needed. I have personally witnessed about a dozen animals shot with an AGC positioned under the rifle. All that said, I often hear folks worry that the AGC is too large and bulky for their needs. That may very well be true, but most of the people I know that had that worry forget all about it once they actually use the AGC harness in the field.
There are certainly a lot of options and different ways one can choose to wear their binos. None are wrong so long as they fit your needs. I have tried quite a few but always keep coming back to the Alaska Guide Creations due to the protection they offer my optics, additional space for other essentials, and how well they secure my optics from bouncing around while hiking, running, or riding an ATV. I believe Jarret has designed the best bino pouch out there to fit my needs.
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