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Deer Stalker binocular strap field tested

Tom Cackett tests out the Deer Stalker binocular strap in the field to see how it stands up to all that the elements have to throw at it

Deer Stalker binocular strap field tested

I immediately wanted to try out Härkila’s new Deer Stalker binocular strap (I call it a harness) when I saw it. The reason being that it incorporated two features I’d always wanted from a binocular harness – a silent magnetic closing mechanism and an opening flap that opens away from you.

It retails for £99.99 and is available in two colours: Willow Green or a camouflage pattern called Axis MSP Forest Green. MSP stands for multi-season pattern. The harness is made out of a brushed material, the same as you’ll find on other Härkila garments like the Mountain Hunter smock. It has a nice feel to it and, most importantly from a hunter’s perspective, is completely silent. If I was to level a criticism, it would be that the brushed material does seem to pick up debris.

Unlike lots of other harnesses on the market, it comes with a nice broad back panel, which does a good job of spreading weight across your shoulders. All of the straps can be adjusted across quite a wide range, so I don’t think anyone of any size will struggle to tailor this to their physique. It also means you can wear it high or low on your chest depending on preference. There are two straps that can be attached directly to your binoculars if required. The advantage of these is that if you do drop your binoculars, they won’t go anywhere because they’re attached to the main harness.

The item’s adaptability is impressive

Along both sides of the harness and on the bottom are MOLLE (modular lightweight load-carrying equipment) webbing straps. This is another nice touch as it allows users to attach all sorts of accessories all over the harness if required. In fact, Härkila has gone the extra mile and supplied two accessory pouches with each harness, so you don’t need to buy anything extra to put your thermal or night vision in.

Both pouches are elasticated, so will readily adjust to fit accessories of all shapes and sizes. I removed one of the supplied pouches and replaced it with a holster for my Spartan bipod, which goes to show the item’s adaptability.

If storage is a key consideration for you, then you’ll probably appreciate the inclusion of a hidden accessory pouch on the back panel. This is pressed against your body when the harness is in use, so is best used to store relatively small or flat accessories such as a smartphone, cleaning cloth or a set of disposable gloves.

The harness on the Deer Stalker binocular strap comfortably accommodated my 10×50 GPO binoculars, which measure 13x16cm. If you have larger binoculars, there’s a good chance they’ll also fit because the harness has a built-in padded spacer that can be removed for larger optics. This feature would save you from having to buy an entirely new harness if you bought a larger, or smaller, set of binoculars in the future. (Read here for our list of the best budget binoculars)

Overall, I like this product and, as with most things from Härkila, it is well thought-through, well built, and made from good-quality materials. The fact the harness is as customisable and adaptable is a major plus point for me as we all hunt in different ways so have different demands from our kit.

This product is well thought-through and well built