I’ve written many articles about the importance that good optics play in successful hunting. You can’t kill what you can’t see. Many hunts, I have been scanning the woods from my tree, but only noticed nearby deer after seeing movement out of the corner of my eye and subsequently looking through my binoculars. One issue that arises with binoculars and rangefinders is being able to quickly deploy them, spot the animal, get a range, and then prepare to shoot. You have to be well-coordinated to do this quickly and effectively without making too much movement and spooking the game. If your binoculars are buried in your backpack and your rangefinder is tucked away in a jacket pocket it can be almost impossible to do. This is why serious hunters tend to utilize binocular chest harnesses. The chest harness is a case that goes over your shoulders and then straps around your chest. It holds your binoculars and allows you to quickly deploy them and put them back. Like any piece of gear there are quality harnesses and cheap ineffective ones. I’m going to talk about what I use, the FHF (Fish Hunt Fight) Gear Bino Harness.
FHF, or fish hunt fight, gear is a small company that designs and manufactures serious gear for hunters, fishermen, and tactical users. Their product catalog is small, but every piece is built with an attention to detail, practical use, and quality. Made exclusively in house in the United States, they build some of the best gear available.
Bino Harness Pro-M
I am going to say right now, that I think the FHF Pro-M bino harness is the best on the market by a long shot. Built from 500 D Cordura fabric, it is extremely durable, features a microfiber lining to protect your optics, and includes strategically-placed closed cell foam padding to cushion your glass from any bumps. The harness looks serious and performs even better than it looks. The main section for your binoculars is sized well to ensure a snug fit without extra bulk thanks to the three different sizes it is offered in. There are 3 small mesh pockets, one on each side and a larger one on the back. The side pockets are perfect for bowstring wax, a bottle of wind indicator, and the back pocket works well to house a microfiber cloth for cleaning your glass. There is also a small front zipper pocket that is the perfect size to hold your driver’s license, CPL, and hunting license.
The main compartment closed with an adjustable bungee that feels very secure which means your binoculars will not fall out when climbing over deadfall. Even if they did fall out, the inside of the compartment features two leashes that tether to your binoculars. The shoulder and chest straps are highly adjustable which allows you to get the harness high and tight to your chest. One of my main gripes with less expensive harnesses has been that they often feel like they won’t stay where you want them and tend to bounce around while you’re hiking. That is not a problem with the FHF harness. At $110 for the harness, it is fairly competitively priced with other quality harnesses, though you will want to buy a couple of add-ons from FHF as well. For $20 the harness shoulder pad is one I would strongly recommend. It is a durable padded sleeve that goes over the shoulder straps and greatly increases the comfort of the harness.
The Chest Rig
Now, by itself, the Pro-M is a fantastic bino harness. However, where the design by FHF really shines is when you build the harness into a whole chest rig system. For $38 you can purchase their rangefinder pouch which is made from the same Cordura fabric as the main harness. It attaches semi-permanently to the side of the bino harness allowing you to also keep your rangefinder closeby. Also featuring a strong bungee closure, the rangefinder pouch sits very securely next to the harness. From here, you can browse the other options FHF offers to build out your own chest rig. Think of the Pro-M harness as the heart of the system, with the add on pouches all adding functionality. Personally, I also have a GPS pouch on the other side of my harness and run the FHF Razco pistol holster under the Pro-M when I am in bear country. Sometimes I remove my pack, but my chest rig stays on and keeps the gear I need close by handy. My binoculars, rangefinder, GPS/SOS device, and pistol are always ready to be deployed when needed.
Worth The Wait
While the price is more than reasonable for the quality of the FHF and comparable to other market offerings, FHF gear tends to be in really high demand. The small hands-on approach to manufacturing means the company is often sold out of the most popular products. In other words, it is not a purchase you want to make 2 weeks before hunting season starts. Plan your purchase out now and subscribe to the email notifications if the color or size you want is out of stock. There is a reason that FHF is utilized by some of the best and most well-known hunters in the world—it is simply the best harness on the market.