Adak Bino Harness
As binocular harnesses continue gaining popularity, so do the variety of styles and options. Off the top of my head, I can think of eight different companies that all offer their own spin to a binocular harness. A feature I’ve found that I like is full containment. Full containment is just as it sounds, completely covering the binoculars in the harness to keep dust, snow, and other debris out. A while back I saw an article Brock Akers wrote on the Outdoor Vision Ridgetop harness and the design intrigued me. I also had just received the Adak Bino Harness sold by BlackOvis. Being similar but much different harness designs I thought they would be great candidates for a head-to-head review.
The Adak was the first harness I received. I used it in Wyoming on an elk hunt and in Nebraska guiding mule deer and whitetail. The first thing I noticed was how quiet the material is on the outside along with the inside. The polyester-nylon outer material doesn’t have any “swish” sound when brushed up against, which for a bowhunter is a big positive. The harness lid opens forward and I really like their closure system. The harness is closed securely by tension around the binoculars by overlapping the lid of the harness over the back panel closest to your body.
There are two integrated bellowed open-topped pockets that wrap around from each side to the front. These pockets are very slim with little stretch. They are ideal for diaphragm calls, although I did fit chapstick and my tiny e-light headlamp with some force. A small wind-checker bottle will also fit in a pocket. Beyond the integrated pockets, the most innovative thing I noticed on the Adak was how the external pocket attaches. On both sides of the harness there’s a wide section of velcro where the range finder pocket and other soon to be pockets attach. That design keeps the pockets firm in place and not sliding around on the strap.
- Price: $149.99 from BlackOvis
- Colors: Coyote Brown and Wolf Gray
- Sizes: Currently one size. Fits large-bodied 10×42 or small-bodied 10×50.
- Accessories: INCLUDES the range finder pocket. It comes with tethers for binoculars and rangefinder. Additional accessories are not currently available.
Outdoor Vision Ridgetop Bino Harness
After eyeing this harness for quite some time, I was excited to get my hands on it. My binocular fell in the size medium category for the harness. I was pleasantly surprised by how quiet most of the SilentHyde material was on the outside. A big improvement over the noisy Cordura material commonly used by other companies. The upper portion of the harness is a molded foam that cups completely around the binocular eyepieces and uses different outer material. Slightly louder than the bottom material, but not what I’d consider an issue. The harness is shut securely with two magnets on the back panel. The magnets are quiet enough I haven’t had them “snap” shut even when I tried.
A front zippered pocket fits tags and diaphragm calls easily. With the stretch material, I have easily fit chapstick and my Outdoorsman binocular tripod adapter in it. Two open-topped mesh side pockets on either side fit a wind-checker bottle perfectly. Something that is included with the harness is a rain cover located in a zippered pocket located on the very bottom. The rain cover is removable which frees up a whole other pocket for things like fire starter, a lighter, aqua-tab water drops and an e-light with room for more. A large pull tab on the top of the harness makes folding the lid forward easy with bulky gloves on. The Ridgetop features YKK zippers and ITW slides and buckles. There is vented material where the straps go over your shoulders and rest on your back for ventilation.
- Price: $108.99 – $117.99
- Colors: Coyote Brown, Wolf Gray, Ranger Green, Multicam
- Sizes: Medium, Large, X-Large
- Accessories: INCLUDES rain cover and binocular tethers, Sightline rangefinder pouch, GPS pouch (two sizes), Lanyards, OV Field Aid First Aid Kit (fits in the front pocket).
The Head To Head
I used the Sig Sauer Kilo3000 range finding binocular in both of these harnesses. The bottom portion of the Adak is shaped, making one-handed operation putting binoculars in and out easy. The Ridgetop doesn’t have as much shape on the bottom portion but one-handed operation is still smooth. The lids on both harnesses fully contain the binoculars and I haven’t had troubles with dust or moisture getting into either. Both harnesses were comfortable for me under my pack and the ventilation wasn’t measurable between the two.
The Adak has an edge with its closure system. The lid overlapping the back panel is a quiet no-fail system that plain works. The magnets on the Ridgetop work well when aligned, however the magnets slide apart from each other fairly easy with heavier optics. With the structured upper portion of the Ridgetop I can’t imagine you being able to lose the binoculars even if the magnets let go.
An item high on my list of wants in a harness is the ability to hold extra things. That ability clearly goes to the Ridgetop with the mesh side pockets and zippered pockets on the front and bottom. The pockets on the Adak are just too small to fit anything beyond a mouth call very practically. A wind-checker can fit in an Adak pocket but in my experience, one-handed operation is difficult. The Ridgetop’s mesh side pocket is one-handed operation friendly with a wind-checker. The bottom zippered pocket of the Ridgetop is large enough to fit some essential backcountry items without becoming bulky.
While I do really like both harnesses, the edge currently goes to the Outdoor Vision Ridgetop for me. It has the right amount of extra room while still functioning well without bulk. The Adak is an exceptional harness for someone that doesn’t carry extra items and needs a dead quiet, minimal harness. With just a few hunts to test these, it’s tough for me to comment on the long term durability of each harness, but I can comment on their warranties. Outdoor Vision covers its harness for one year if the product fails under typical circumstances. Adak doesn’t have a specific warranty written out on its website, but BlackOvis is known for its fantastic customer service members working with customers for a solution.
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