Vortex GlassPak Binocular Harness
The GlassPak chest case
Most binoculars come with what we have always called the “never-ready case.” When you spot a bird, seconds count, and sometimes it takes too long to remove your binocular from the case. So you usually leave the case behind and carry your bins around your neck.
But not everyone's neck enjoys having a weight hang from it. So many birders adopt the use of a harness, which distributes the weight on your shoulders. It's a big help. The binocular feels weightless, and it stays closer to the chest. I quickly adopted the harness technology and started carrying my binocular that way.
Then, a few years ago, I saw the movie “Wind River,” in which the hunter-hero carried his binoculars in a chest pack harness. They stayed protected, but he could open the case instantly. I was intrigued. Using Google, I tracked down that chest case and bought one, the cheapest and smallest size, for $79.95. I loved it instantly, and it became my every-day carry solution.
I kept wondering why this solution wasn’t more common. It’s so useful and versatile that I wished more birders could use it.
The folks at Vortex must have read my mind.
Now the 42 mm and 50 mm versions of the new Vortex HD binoculars include a nice, soft-fabric GlassPak Harness Case that comes free with the binoculars. You carry your binoculars protected, but ready.
The catch has an instant release, but you can leave it open as well. Or fold the top back behind, for the fastest possible access. I found my Plus sized iPhone fits easily inside the case behind the binoculars.
A second strap works like a regular neck strap but is attached to the case, so you can also carry your bins outside the case, but with the weight off your neck. You may also choose to fold back the top and carry a field guide in the case, for immediate access.
The binoculars strap has quick-release snaps. These are very much appreciated if you want to hand your bins to a friend.
You can tighten and lengthen the straps for a custom fit. There’s a bit of a learning curve when setting up, hooking all the straps up correctly to the case. However, if you take your time and study it, you will soon figure it out.
There are two small net pockets on either side of the case and one in the back with a zipper closure. They hold small items like some bug repellant, a pen, or glasses.
Even if you don’t want to carry the chest case, it still provides a quick-opening, dust-free storage solution. Hang it on a hook ready to grab at any time. I hang mine by a large window that looks out on Diane’s prairie garden. There’s also a rain gauge there, but it’s too far away to read — except with binoculars. So quick access to my bins saves many steps.
And, best of all, with the 42 mm and 50 mm models, it’s included for free.