If I were to ask ten hunters what they look for in a binocular harness, I’m guessing I would get back ten different answers. Some want extra pouches and the ability to carry essentials, some want the most comfortable harness, some just want a lightweight harness they can quietly open with one hand. Personally, I find that there are times when I want different characteristics in my harness. This has led to me using several different bino harnesses in the same year to meet my needs on different hunts. That’s why I was interested in the new for 2020 Sitka Mountain Optics Harness System. More info here.
Sitka Mountain Optics Harness system
It is designed as a modular harness system for your binoculars, rangefinder, and other smaller necessities. The harness can be customized in many different configurations to meet the needs of the particular hunt. The binocular compartment is flanked by two matching side pouches that are molded to fit a handheld rangefinder. There are an additional seven smaller pockets or slots on the harness. The complete system weighs 16.9 ounces and 10.3 ounces without side pouches.
A Modular System
The bino compartment is sewn into the harness and forms a chassis that can be added to if desired or ran without additional pockets/accessories.
On the inside of the bino compartment, you will find a small pocket with an included cleaning cloth. The sides of the main compartment feature side pockets for smaller items like a wind checker or elk diaphragms.
On the rear, there are two more pockets, one zippered and one without. These work well for tags, phone, and thin items. The lid is operated easily with one hand and has magnets incorporated to hold the lid up until you want to close it. The magnets do not make an audible click when coming together as other harnesses in the past.
The rear of the chassis on my harness has micro felt but I am told the production model will have a quiet aero-mesh fabric that breathes better and is much cooler against the chest.
One of my favorite features is the bino tether cords. They have micro-sized snap locks so you can easily remove them for tripod use of any other need to separate them from the harness. I have been told the production version of the harness has an improved tether but I honestly never had a problem with mine.
The low profile shoulder straps are only ¾” wide. When I first saw how narrow they were, I had doubts as to how comfortable they would be but was pleasantly surprised. The straps are very comfortable whether under a backpack or alone. The chaffing that often occurs from wider harness straps should be eliminated and the lack of excess material will be much cooler as well.
Mountain Optics Harness System Exterior
The exterior material is a brushed polyester that is very quiet to my ears. The sides or wings of the chassis have a mole type webbing. This allows attachment of the side pouches or any other accessories you might want to run next to your binos. Bear spray, a holster for a sidearm, Garmin Inreach, or anything else you need. There is also a small loop for cordage attachment at the top of the outermost tip of the chassis wings. This will be where a small cord for my rangefinder is attached so I can l drop it if needed at the moment of a shot.
Detachable Side Pockets
The two matching side pockets are big enough to hold my Leupold rangefinder and still have room to hold a beanie. A Garmin Inreach will fit but the antenna holds the lid up from sealing shut all the way. The side pockets lid folds forward and has a stretchy cord with a pull tab that opens easily one-handed. On the front of each side pocket is a thin slot that runs the entire face of the side pocket. Wind checker or calls could fit in the slot and there is a tab for pulling it open. There seems to be pockets and slots everywhere you look on the harness.
The harness seems to be as well thought out as any I have ever got my hands on. I have been impressed with it. And, I’m looking forward to having one system to cover almost all of my hunts. Whether you are the type of hunter that likes to have all kinds of accessories with you on your chest if you drop your backpack. Or, you like to keep it simple most of the time but want the option of adding additional items. I think this harness would work well for you.
The Mountain Optics Harness is available in Subalpine, Open Country, and Pyrite. It will sell for $149 and can be found anywhere Sitka is sold. Order yours here.
You can comment on this article or ask Tony Trietch and Josh Boyd questions here.
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