By Joe Ferronato
From the time of its inception, Stone Glacier has been coming out with ultralight equipment that, while barely tipping the scales, stands up to the abuse of repeated use in the field. The newest addition to their lineup is a bino harness—a piece of gear that is, in my opinion, of the utmost importance when in the field—which was born from well over two years of product development and testing.
At first glance the Skyline Bino Harness shares many of the same characteristics as other top-of-the-line harnesses: Small side pouches, a rear pocket, a classic harness-style strap system and of course a rectangular pouch to hold your optics. Despite the similarites, there are several features that set this new harness apart from the competition.
When I first picked up the harness, I could tell immediately it was lightweight and quiet. The outer layer is made of the same waterproof material that is used in the M5 raingear. The waterproof shell keeps your optics dry and out of harm’s way when mother nature decides to throw a curve ball in your hunt.
Weighing in at only 8.8 ounces you can barely feel it on your chest. The harness is comfortable, it sits tight to your chest and does not impeded movement. A noteworthy attribute is how stable the harness is: Even while running after hounds on a cat track, I noticed minimal movement coming from the harness, it kept my optics snug and secure.
The hood offers true one-hand operation to access your binoculars. The hood folds down to reveal your binos and is attached via Velcro and a shock cord—both intricate parts of the patent pending OptikFit technology that I will discuss later. The Velcro is a static attachment point to hold the hood in place while the shock cord fastens the hood tight when closed. A tab in the center of the top edge of the hood allows for easy operation. The greatest part of this design is how quiet it is: The operation of the harness is nearly silent, and you never have to worry about a magnet, hook, zipper or clip to close the hood.
The only part of the operation I found difficult was replacing the Leupold BX-5s. The forward bridge fit snug in the pouch and required some extra force to get them to sit properly. This, I’m sure, will correct itself with added break-in time.
The construction of the harness also lends itself available for adding attachments. The company has two accessories that go along with the harness; one is the Skyline Range Finder Pocket. Designed to operate just like the main harness, I had no issue accessing my rangefinder with one hand. The rangefinder pouch can also be adjusted to fit the wide array of rangefinders on the market. It attaches easily to the harness and sits snug against your body adjacent to the main pouch.
The other accessory that Stone Glacier offers is the Skyline Bear Spray Holster which I have not yet had the opportunity to use.
The Material and the OptikFit system
As I said previously the material is the same used to construct the M5 raingear. The outer shell is made from a 3-layer HydraShield, which is a laminate textile that is lightweight and durable. While I haven’t had the opportunity to wear the new harness for long, the raingear has definitely stood up to rigorous abuse with no issue. I have no reason to believe that the harness would perform any different.
Other noteworthy materials are the shock cords and the Velcro that play a very significant part in the construction of the harness. I am sure many people will look at the Velcro and doubt the longevity of the harness due to it wearing out (at first glance, I doubted the Velcro). The Velcro on this pouch is not a dynamic part of the system, but static fastener and the without constant use the Velcro’s tensile strength should stand up to the test of time. Along with durable shock cords and an adjustable rear post, the Velcro allows for the hood to be adjusted to fit a variety of binoculars.
The regular size can hold binoculars from 5.5 inches to 7.25 inches tall and it will hold them all equally snug to ensure they don’t fall out or move around within the harness (if this size range doesn’t suit your needs are larger harness will be available early next year). You can adjust your harness with three simple adjustments—the measurements for which can be found on the Fit Card which comes with the harness and can also be found on their website.
To fit the harness, measure your binoculars in length, set your front hood height to the corresponding measurement and then set the height of the back plate. Once these measurements are set snug up the shock cord to hold the hood snug over the back plate. Make sure to not over tighten the shock cord. Once you go through these simple steps you have harness that is comfortable, easy to operate and will protect your optics in the field.
Retailing at $119 for the harness and $35 for the rangefinder pouch, this system is worth every penny. Make sure to head over to the Stone Glacier website and check it out.
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