KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions

Review by Laurie H

The KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions was provided for review.

KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions

The KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions

The company

Backcountry Solutions is a small manufacturing company located in the foothills of the Rockies in Tabernash, CO. Everything that they sell is manufactured and packaged in Colorado. They make and sell several innovation systems designed to allow you to carry gear such as cameras, binoculars, phones, GPS, glasses, etc. hands-free.

The Premise of KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions

The KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions

I was not familiar with Backcountry products before reviewing the KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions. When I first read about the hands-free system for carrying binoculars, my first thought was “Yes, please!” I am a hiker and a birder. When I walk through the woods, I usually carry field glasses with me. I hate the feeling of having a binocular strap handing around my neck. It feels like I am being pulled forward and down. In fact, I usually carry my binoculars with the strap slung over my shoulder. That is not a secure method of transport, I know. I was excited to give the The KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions a try.

Unpacking the Box

The KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions

When the box with the KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions came in the mail and I opened it, it was a little bit intimidating. The harness has a lot of straps and buckles to adjust, and there were other components that looked like I would have to assemble. I got out the instructions and started reading.

Instructions

The instructions recommend that you have someone to assist you make the adjustments to the harness the first time you use it. After the harness is set up for you, only minor adjustments must be made depending on the bulkiness of the clothing that you are wearing. There was no one home except me, so I thought I would give it a try.

The Set up

Even making the adjustments by myself, setting up the harness for the first time was extremely easy. I did it in less than 10 minutes. The advantage of having someone to help you is that you don’t have to take the harness off and put it back on every time you need to make adjustments to the straps on the back of the unit. I got all of the straps adjusted properly, attached the bracket assembly, slipped the bracket assembly through the key hole, and clipped the binoculars to the shoulder straps.

Minor Difficulties

The only difficulty that I had was attaching the split rings to the binoculars. The neck straps of my binoculars are not clipped on. A web strap is threaded through a loop to attach the strap to the field glasses. I would have had to completely disassemble the strap. Maybe at some point I will do this, but for now, the extra strap does not bother me. I had to use a screwdriver to pry the rings far enough apart for them to fit through the loop on the binoculars.

How the System is Used

The KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions

The bracket

The KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions

The keyhole

The KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions is basically a harness you wear over your shoulders. The keyhole system is where the binoculars (or camera) are attached to the harness. A bracket screws onto your binoculars at the tripod mount. One end of the bracket slips through the keyhole to secure the binoculars. The harness has two buckles in the front, which is how you take the system off and put it on.

Initial Assessment

KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars

The KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions

Once the harness was adjusted and the bracket assembled, I put the harness on and slipped the knob attached to the binoculars through the keyhole. The weight of the binoculars is spread out across the entire harness. No more binocular weight pulling down on your neck! I am excited to try the KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions on an actual birding expedition to see how it works.

Thank you. Check back in a Month

Thank you to 4alloutdoors and Backcountry Solutions for allowing me to test the KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions. Check back in about a month to see how the system works in an outdoor setting.

UPDATE: KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions. March 12, 2018.

Testing at the Wildlife Management Area

There is a wildlife management area located just north of where I live. Each year thousands of tundra swans, snow geese and other waterfowl gather on the man-made lake there to await the perfect time for their journey north. I just checked. 70,000 snow geese were counted today. (How do they make those counts?) More are expected tomorrow. They come every February, congregate on the lake and eat the leftover corn from surrounding fields. One day in late March, one of the geese sounds the call, and they are all gone. Woosh! Like that! Off to their breeding grounds in the tundra. I tested the KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions to view the snow geese and ducks at the lake and surrounding ponds.

Driving

The lake at the wildlife management area is surrounded by a road. There are several marked spots to pull off to view wildlife on the loop road. Several smaller ponds are also located along the road. Snow geese and tundra swans are mainly on the lake. Several species of ducks are on the smaller ponds. I wore the KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions in the car. My initial concern was about comfort, but the harness was fine to drive with and allowed me to access my binoculars quickly. I was able to view the ducks, geese and swans both seated in the car, and standing on the road beside the car.

Hiking

The best place to view the thousands of snow geese is by parking the car and hiking a half mile to the Willow Point viewing area. I tested the comfort of the KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions on the hike. Because I was already wearing the system to drive, I exited the car ready to hike. Again, I found it very comfortable; much more comfortable than having binoculars handing from my neck. The hike out, viewing the birds and the return hike took about an hour. The KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions remained comfortable throughout. The binoculars were readily accessible, and the system worked perfectly.

Thank you. Check back in a month.

I will review the KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions one last time next month. In the coming weeks, I will use the system when hiking to view songbirds. This will test the speed with which the system allows the user to access binoculars. When viewing songbirds, being able to raise binoculars from the carrying position to the eyes quickly is very important. This will allow me to test this aspect of the KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions.

FINAL UPDATE: KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions. April 6, 2018

The KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions

Power line cut

I took the KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions out in the field to try it out while looking for song birds. I was hoping to find some early migrants, but no luck. There were plenty of birds around, though. One of my favorite places to spot birds near my house is a power line cut. There are several different types of habitat there. I saw woodpeckers drumming, bluebirds nesting, and hawks kiting above my head. I did not see yellow-rumped warblers, as I hoped, but juncos and white-throated sparrows were still plentiful.

The KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions worked perfectly. I was concerned about the speed with which I could get the binoculars off of the bracket and up to my eyes, but it was not an issue at all.

Final assessment is that I definitely recommend the KEYHOLE Hands-Free Carry System for Cameras and Binoculars by Backcountry Solutions as a convenient, comfortable way to carry binoculars while hiking. The system was durable, comfortable and easy to use. I had no issues with chafing or loose stitching on the straps. When I first unpacked the box, all of the straps on the harness were intimidating, but the harness was easy to assemble following the manufacturer’s instructions and easy to adjust, even without help. The distribution of the binoculars’ weight was much more comfortable using the harness than using the straps that came with the binoculars. The harness spread the weight of the binoculars across my shoulders, rather than concentrating it on my neck. After using the system for  several months, I would not want to go back to using a conventional binocular strap.