The last straw came on a damp October Tuesday when I found myself on hands & knees inching towards the top of a grassy knoll somewhere along the Greensand Ridge with 1,250g of Leica HDC coated glass bouncing through overly moist sheep doo doo. It was then the penny dropped for if ever a man had justification to don a bra of the sports variety this was the moment!
Back in the warmth of my den I dug out some old sales brochures detailing the cross-braced elastic bino harness that has been around for many years. I still didn’t like the look of it. The ensuing trawl of the web came up with a few alternatives including an offering from a Stalking Directory trade member but in accordance with a life-long approach for over-engineering in everything now did not seem the time to throw in the towel. Finally I spotted something promising c/o Google images and after three site jumps arrived at FHFGEAR (http://www.fhfgear.com/About_FHF_Gear.html). Paul’s kit looked seriously rugged and even better rather expensive! A month later and after being hit for a further £15 VAT + £8 UK Customs charge (ouch!) this is what I found snuggled in the USPS box:
1No. Large FHFGEAR Bino Harness Multicam
First thing to say is I should have asked and waited for the next manufacturing run of XL’s as although my 10 – 15X50 Douvids are fully covered by a size L, a little more overlap would be preferable. My second and only real criticism (may as well get it out of the way now) is that a faux suede lining would be a significant improvement over the nylon in the context of UK woodland stalking as such would be quieter.
With my binos stripped of Leica strap, objective and ocular rainguards I soon had the new connectors installed and harness adjusted. Slipping into my first Bino Bra I was immediately pleased to note there are no buckles in the area of shoulder, and the straps sit high to the neck which is a key consideration if you still expect to carry a rifle without discomfort and mishap. The next nice touch is that the quick release mechanism allows the binos to be removed from harness in seconds. This allowing them to be deployed without significant undressing when used as a makeshift rest for those difficult prone shots where a DSCL2 Assessor’s back is unavailable! There is also a centre zipped pocket that will accommodate a folded FAC, latex gloves, tissue or some other key item. The two side pouches now secure my various Nordik Predator fox and roe calls that were attached by lanyard to bino strap and often swung wildly with attendant clatter.
So to the woods and where I deliberately belly-stalked a number of rabbits through a dew-soaked meadow to ensure my new-found and ample chest encumbrance received a good taste of things to come. No problems were encountered with snagging and the shock cord closure remained that way throughout. Although the pouch is not designed to be waterproof the Leica lenses remained free of moisture during the test. Comfort is a relative thing and although anything that is strapped to the person is less than ideal, the part elastic body strap provides enough free movement for the most energetic of stalkers and far outweighs the alternative that is the nightmare of keeping hold of glasses in one hand while trying to stoop or crawl with the other.
In summery a fantastic piece of kit that does what it says on the tin; is well constructed; looks the part and addresses a very real problem for stalkers. The only downside is the cost of procuring one of Paul’s harnesses due to shipping charges to the UK and VAT/Import Duty, but perhaps some entrepreneurial SD member might find a way around this by way of bulk purchase should FHFGEAR view the UK as a viable market.
Happy and bounce-free hunts.