Kenn and I are constantly getting asked about birding gear. Most questions are about what binocular or scope to buy, but more and more we're getting asked about binocular harnesses versus neck straps. If you've spent a long day (or a series of long days) birding, then you know that a neck strap can get to be a real, well, pain in the neck. (I had to say it!) Several years ago a new harness style binocular strap hit the market and lots of birders were eager to try it out.
|A conventional binocular harness.|
After a few weeks of struggling with it, I finally gave up on the harness and went back to the neck strap. Then, about eight years ago, someone gave me the Link.
For me, the Link harness system is much better. It's made of lightweight, narrow, nylon cord, so it reduces all that bulk of the old style harness...
...which makes your bins much more portable when you've got the strap all coiled up to put your bins in the case or carry-on for travel. It's a breeze to get on and off, and I really like that the Link allows me to wear my bins slung across one shoulder, like this...
The Link harness has proven to be comfortable in any birding situation. Even when you're dressed in your most formal attire the Link performs like a champ!
Yes indeed, that's me on our wedding day. We got married in McAllen, Texas, and no matter what else is happening, when you're in the Rio Grande Valley you need to be ready to get your bird on at any moment! But seriously, see how narrow the straps are? This really is a fabulous piece of gear!
If the situation calls for it, you can also shorten the straps and wear it as a conventional neck strap, as I am in this picture. This is helpful if you're wearing bulky outerwear and carrying lots of other gear; however, the Link is also easy to get on over even a bulky parka. I love that it's so versatile. I also love that the nylon cord is round, so you never have to worry about the straps being flipped upside down and going all wonky when you put it on. If you ever struggled into the old style harness, you'll know what I mean.
I've had the same Link harness for more than eight years and it's still in great condition with no fraying or worn out parts. And here's the best part: it cost less than $10.00! I loved the product so much that we started selling it in the gift shop at Black Swamp Bird Observatory. We sold hundreds of them -- but then the company went out of business, egads! We were really disappointed to lose this great product because nearly everyone we suggested it to loved it. Fortunately, the Link was recently purchased by a new company and is available again!
If you'd like to try it out for yourself, you can get one from the BSBO online Swamp Shop, HERE. (You'll need to scroll down a bit to get to it.) They're just $9.95 + tax and $4.50 for shipping and handling. And all of the proceeds benefit BSBO's research and education programs.
Thanks for reading, and Happy Birding!