There are two trains of thought when it comes to carrying big 15 powered binoculars into the field. Some guys prefer to carry them on their chest with our Large Bino Pack, while others keep their big glass stowed away in their backpack, only to take them out when they get to their glassing point.
We asked two of our friends, Nash Clark and Jay Park which option they prefer and why, and got two very different answers. Each presents a solid case for how they carry them.
However you decide to carry your 15 power optics, we've got a protective solution for your glass.
Nash Clark - Hi Lo Outfitters
Over the years of hunting in the desert, I've had many friends and clients ask why I carry my heavy pair of 15x56 on my chest. There are many reasons why I do it and many reasons not to! I will explain why I carry my 15s on my chest everywhere I go, from chasing Coues deer to sandhill cranes during the Arizona hunting season.
The biggest issue people have with carrying 15s on their chest is they are big, bulky, and heavy. Honestly, after switching over to a Marsupial harness years ago, I haven't even noticed how big and heavy they are. The harness makes carrying that weight super easy and comfortable. I use my 15 power binoculars for 98 percent of my glassing, so why would I want to bring a pair of light ten power binos on my chest and pack my 15s in my pack. So by wearing my 15s on my chest, I'm cutting weight by only carrying one set of binoculars into the field. When I get to the hill I want to glass from my binoculars can be set up on my tripod in seconds rather than digging through my bag to find them and switch them out with my 10s or 12s. Once my binoculars are on my tripod, I walk around with them on the tripod if I have to switch up angles or whatever is needed, and I don't need to pack them up and carry them along with me. If I only have one pair of binoculars, it simplifies everything!
Don't get me wrong, 15s are heavy to freehand if you're stalking, and you need to check to see if your animal is still bedded. But I've never lost an animal because my binoculars were heavy or I had too much magnification. I use my binoculars so much that I know the ins and outs of using them comfortably at close and extended ranges without a tripod.
Every hunter is different on what they feel is comfortable or needed, and when push comes to shove, I can do everything I need with my Zeiss 15s strapped to my chest. It's what works best for me. I don't need to carry multiple sets of binoculars for comfort. If I were using a different harness to carry my 15s, I'd probably be taking smaller glasses on my chest, but with the Marsupial harness, it's just so comfortable that I have no reason to change what works.
Jay Park - The Mountain Project
The distances encountered in western hunting most often require the use of big glass. Perching on a vantage point to scanning distant hillsides is more manageable with 15 power binoculars than with smaller, lighter 8 or 10 power options. In all my time hunting, I've never carried a set of 15s on my chest. They always go in my backpack.
There is ample time to set my backpack down at those distances, open the lid attachment, and grab my 15s. As I stalk closer to an animal, my 15s stay in their protective case, tucked away safely in my backpack and I use a set of Sig 8 power rangefinding binoculars on my chest. They're easy to pull out with one hand, locate my quarry, get a range, and decide to move or set up.
Having only a set of 15s on my chest makes it more challenging to find the animal at closer distances, and the narrow field of view at close range could mean that I miss noticing another nearby animal that could frustrate my stalk. And the 15s add extra weight that wears on my back muscles over the course of a long day. I would rather carry the weight on my back than on my chest for the same reason I prefer doing back squats to front squats.
I don't have clients that depend on me. And I'm rarely in a hurry. If I was, things might be different.