While many binoculars are lightweight, some do have quite a bit of heft to them. Either way, when you’re hiking, boating, or just taking a stroll, you don’t want to carry anything in your hands. That’s where binocular straps and harnesses come in. We’ve broken them down into three categories—straps, harnesses, and floating straps—to help you decide what best meets your needs for the activities you take part in. Or get one of each. You never know where your next adventure might take you.
You’re going hiking in an area that offers fantastic views. Or maybe you plan on doing a little birdwatching. Or maybe you just want to find out if you can see your house from the top of that ridge you plan to climb. Whatever the case, a pair of binoculars is going to make that hike a lot more fun and exciting.
But that’s just it—you’re hiking. You’ll need your hands free to pull yourself up over those rocks, or push those branches out of your path. You don’t want to have to hand carry your binoculars, but you still want them to be quickly and easily accessible. We have the solution—binocular harnesses and straps.
Whether you get a strap or a harness, and then what kind you choose, depends on a couple of factors. First, the size of your binoculars. You won’t want a large, heavy pair of optics hanging from your neck. Second, do you plan to use your binoculars on land or at sea? After those things are decided, it will come down to price and personal preference.
The place to start is with a basic binocular strap. It’s exactly what the name says—a strap that attaches to your binoculars and then goes around your neck. Your binoculars will hang right in front of you, easily accessible when that migrating bird makes a quick stop in a nearby tree. It’s easy to attach to practically any pair of binoculars, and most are sturdy enough to hold even a heavier pair. It distributes the binoculars’ weight evenly, reducing stress on the neck. It’s also padded to allow for long wear. Basic binocular straps are pretty inexpensive, ranging in price from $18 to $27. One to check out is the Nikon Super Bungee Neckstrap—it’s available in pink!
Say you’re not crazy about the idea of something hanging around your neck all day, bouncing against your chest. A harness is just the thing for you. Binocular harnesses reduce neck strain by distributing the weight of the binoculars over your shoulders, greatly reducing fatigue.Shop now for binocular straps
They’re adjustable, making them wearable and comfortable by people of all sizes. And your binoculars will still be just as easily accessible as they are with a neck strap. Harnesses cost a bit more than basic straps, but they’re worth it to keep your binoculars from swinging around your neck during intense activities. They also serve double duty by being attachable to cameras as well as binoculars. Prices range from $28 to $36.
FLOATING BINOCULAR STRAPSShop now for binocular straps
If a day on the water is more your thing than hiking up a mountain, you’ll need a strap that complements your waterproof binoculars. Marine straps are usually made from neoprene, the same material wetsuits are made from, making them water resistant and allowing them to float so you can retrieve your binoculars easily should they fall into the water. Marine straps also offer ample padding to reduce strain on your neck while skimming waves or sailing through choppy waters. Ranging in price from $29 to $70, they cost a bit more because of their ability to float, and in some cases, keep your binoculars afloat. One of the best ones we’ve found is the Swarovski Binocular Flotation Strap. It sits close to the higher end of the price range, but it’s worth it because it’s made from a specially buoyant material to keep your binoculars from sinking.
Whether you decide to go with a binocular strap or a binocular harness, the convenience of taking your binoculars on your adventures while keeping your hands free makes either choice worthwhile.