Skip to main content

Why You Should Use A Binocular Bivy System

The advantages to using a binocular bivy system are many, and they go well beyond providing full protection for your glass.

Why You Should Use A Binocular Bivy System
There are a number of harness systems on the market from companies like ALPS OutdoorZ, KUIU, and Alaska Guide Creations. Most bino harnesses offer extreme protection, while others trade maximum protection to improve binocular access. Sitka’s new Mountain Optics Harness (below) was designed to be both fast and quiet, yet the system fully encapsulates your binoculars in silent, brushed-fleece fabric.

Q: I've been thinking about switching to a binocular bivy system. I know the main benefit to using this type of harness is that it provides better protection for your optics. What are some other benefits? Also, with so many on the market, which one should I choose? J. Munoz, via e-mail

A: The advantages to using a bivy system are many. As you said, it provides full protection for your binoculars against harsh weather, dust, and trail brush.

However, a well-designed bivy keeps your optics close to your chest as well, so you can hustle and jog without worry of your optics swinging around your neck or chest.

This also improves stalking and crawling ability — no more dragging binoculars into the dirt, rocks, or mud. Glassing in the wind is improved, too. Many elastic chest-strap systems tend to flap around in high winds when binoculars are extended to the eyes, causing flutter and vibration that prevents solid viewing. With a bivy system, the tether straps are narrow and thin, and resist catching in the breeze.


Another small advantage is that the majority of bivy systems include small pockets or compartments to secure ancillary gear such as calls, wind-checker, hunting license, and rangefinder.


Deciding which system to purchase can be difficult, since there are many quality models on the market. However, as with any type of hunting gear, the system must be ultra-quiet, functional, and provide carrying comfort, particularly in warm weather and when shouldering a pack.

I’ve used several versions, and each has its pros and cons. Some models provide additional protection against the elements by encapsulating the optics in fabric or padded material, while others offer less protection to aid in faster access to your binoculars. Great examples of full-protection systems include KUIU’s PRO Bino Harness, Sitka’s Bino Bivy, Alaska Guide’s Bino Chest Pack, and ALPS OutdoorZ’s Extreme Bino Harness. The S4Gear Lockdown X is a great example of a hybrid-type design, where the binoculars are not fully enveloped in material, yet the system provides solid protection for the optics’ exposed lenses.

The new PRO Bino Harness ($99) from KUIU has a moldable case opening and stackable “shims,” allowing you to custom-fit the case to your binoculars and optimize the height at which they are positioned, so you can extract them with ease. The overlapped lid folds forward, and it can be opened and closed silently with one hand. Two side pockets have easy access elastic openings, and the outer material is quiet and, of course, waterproof.

Sitka-Bino-Harness.jpg

I recently field-tested Sitka’s new Mountain Optics Harness ($149), and I really liked what I found. First off, it provides fully padded protection with a silent magnetic flap. This is a big plus, as now you can pull the optics in and out of the pocket with complete ease using only one hand. I often leave the flap open when glassing repeatedly, such as when tiptoeing the final yards of a stalk. The flap will bend and tuck out of the way. Another great benefit is its special fabric, which the company designed to be as whisper-quiet as possible.


The harness is outfitted with super-thin, low-profile straps, so it rides completely unobstructed with your pack on. When surveying a number of serious hunters, Sitka found that some preferred additional pockets on a binocular harness, while others did not. With that in mind, Sitka tried to satisfy all by creating removable pouches.

While testing this system during a late-season mule deer hunt, I found it easy to get on and off. The straps and buckles are very strong and lightweight. I also liked the main chassis’ zippered stash pocket that rides against your chest — it’s perfect for storing a hunting license, big-game tag, and small knife. There’s also a hidden lens cloth in the main optics pocket.

Overall, if you’ve been shopping for a bino-bivy system and can’t seem to find one that fulfills every requirement, I’d urge you to take a hard look at the ones I’ve mentioned here.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mountain Caribou Hunt

Mountain Caribou Hunt

Curt Wells can't pass up this opportunity to hunt mountain caribou in the Northwest Territories.

Canyon Ranch Roundup Part 1

Canyon Ranch Roundup Part 1

Bowhunter TV's Derek Mleynek and Equipment Editor Tony J. Peterson head to Texas for a late-season mixed bag hunt that promises plenty of action.

Canyon Ranch Bowhunt

Canyon Ranch Bowhunt

Bowhunter Equipment Editor Tony Peterson sees plenty of action while hunting whitetails and hogs in Texas.

Early Season Kentucky Whitetail Bowhunt

Early Season Kentucky Whitetail Bowhunt

Christian Berg begins the scouting process in Kentucky on his first whitetail hunt of the season.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Go farther, hunt deeper, and trek lighter while enjoying all-day comfort.Tree Saddle Hunting — Demo Climb With Aider How-To

Tree Saddle Hunting — Demo Climb With Aider

Mike Carney - June 07, 2019

Go farther, hunt deeper, and trek lighter while enjoying all-day comfort.

Is FOC really all it's cracked up to be? Is it important to accuracy and penetration?Arrow FOC: Why It's Important for Bowhunting Arrows & Broadheads

Arrow FOC: Why It's Important for Bowhunting

Jace Bauserman

Is FOC really all it's cracked up to be? Is it important to accuracy and penetration?

A simple, classic steak and French fries duo gets a wild makeover with this Elk Venison Steak-Frites Recipe.Elk Venison Steak-Frites Recipe Recipes

Elk Venison Steak-Frites Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

A simple, classic steak and French fries duo gets a wild makeover with this Elk Venison...

You'll likely have to deal with a lack of destination food sources on public land. Summer Deer Scouting on Public Land Scouting Tools

Summer Deer Scouting on Public Land

Tony J. Peterson

You'll likely have to deal with a lack of destination food sources on public land.

See More Trending Articles

More Field Tools

There are some things in life where mere seconds can seemingly amount to everything. And, in thisField-Proven Gear Field Tools

Field-Proven Gear

Joe Bell - March 20, 2018

There are some things in life where mere seconds can seemingly amount to everything. And, in...

Find the perfect gift for your bowhunting dad this Father's Day!2019 Father's Day Gift Guide Field Tools

2019 Father's Day Gift Guide

Taylor Pardue - May 31, 2019

Find the perfect gift for your bowhunting dad this Father's Day!

The perfect gifts for your favorite bowhunter!2020 Father's Day Gift Guide Field Tools

2020 Father's Day Gift Guide

OSG Staff - April 20, 2020

Sponsored By
MANSCAPED
I've got a weird addiction to bow targets. It started before I had kids and had a lot of time toBest Archery Targets of 2017 Field Tools

Best Archery Targets of 2017

Tony J. Peterson - March 20, 2017

I've got a weird addiction to bow targets. It started before I had kids and had a lot of time...

See More Field Tools

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Bowhunter App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Bowhunter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now