Over the years the hunting market has become inundated with the “latest and greatest” of products that are high on promise and low on delivery. The ads are everywhere, repeating the same phrases like a broken record. “Harvest more game with this!” “Never again take to the field without that!”
I know I’m writing to a crowd here that likely sees right through the gimmicks, but there are a few under the radar gadgets out there that I truly believe lead to an increase in success. The product that I want to highlight here is the Outdoorsmans Binocular Adapter. While glassing with binoculars mounted to a tripod isn’t necessarily uncommon, it amazes me that more people still haven’t caught on; especially with the simple and light weight mounting options that are readily available on the market.
We all know the significance in having a rock solid foundation when glassing with a spotting scope, yet it’s often ignored when the time comes to sit down for a glassing session with binos. Because binoculars have a much larger field of view than spotting scopes, we get a false sense that we can hold them steady enough by hand to pick out small details at relatively long distances. In reality, the small details we’re looking for not only appear even smaller through binos than through a scope, but there’s more to see and be distracted by due to the larger field of view.
I began using the Outdoorsmans Bino Adapter last Fall (2014) after using the Vortex Uni-Daptor mount in previous seasons. While the Uni-Daptor is a good product that performs well for the price point, the Outdoorsmans adapter is in a league of its own.
The Outdoorsmans takes pride in the quality of their product, which is apparent upon initial inspection of their Bino Adapter. Machined in Payson, AZ, all parts are made out of light weight yet incredibly strong 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum. This is an item that requires zero babying in the backcountry.
The OBA is a two part system. The 1.9 oz adapter (which attaches to the tripod plate) is purchased separately from the stud (which threads into the binoculars). It’s important to note that the adapter comes in either a Tall or Short version; the only difference being that the Tall adapter provides extra clearance to keep large (56mm) objective barrels from hitting the tripod head when squeezed together (see photo below). The Tall adapter is also recommended for use with the Swarovski EL Range due to its over-sized electronics housing on the underside of the barrels.
The small stud portion is a make/model specific piece that securely threads into the existing hinge threads on the binoculars. Weighing less than half of an ounce, there are zero drawbacks to having the stud become a permanent fixture your binoculars. Because they are sold separately, it’s easy to purchase a stud for each pair of binos in your arsenal to be used with the single adapter. I find myself frequently switching back and forth between my 10×42 and 15×56 during glassing sessions. Both pairs have their own stud attached which makes for a quick and simple transition depending on which pair I want mounted in a given situation. Lastly regarding the bino stud, The Outdoorsmans is the only company authorized to install a stud in the Swarovski EL without voiding the warranty. The EL series must be sent to Outdoorsmans for installation, whereas all other studs are easily installed at home by the user.
Mounting the binos for use is a quick and simple action. Simply press and hold down the knurled top button to open the locking mechanism inside the mounting hole on the adapter. Slide the stud into the hole and release the button. Lastly, twist the knurled button to the right to lock the latch. At this point, the binoulars will not come out of the mount until the button is once again unscrewed and pressed in. The entire process of inserting/removing and locking/unlocking takes less than 5 seconds. I’ve found that having the binos fixed securely to the mount is a huge benefit when quickly changing glassing positions over short distances. Many times I’ve found myself standing up and moving with my binos and tripod hanging from my neck as I walk. This keeps both hands available for carrying a weapon, pack, etc. Once I sit back down, I can get right back to glassing.
Once locked into the adapter, the binoculars still have some rotational play. This allows the binos to be leveled for comfortable viewing, even if the tripod is not completely level. Because of the precision machining, center of view remains the same even as the binos are canted side to side.
Don’t assume that you need to invest in high powered, 12x-15x optics to benefit from mounting binos on a tripod. I became a believer back when I began using this method with nothing but my 10x42s, as it lead to my first 30″ mule deer in 2012. Three of us were glassing a distant basin on an early October afternoon. We had yet to turn up a deer for size reference at that distance, which made the glassing tough (it’s always easier once you know the size of parts to look for, isn’t it?). I had my field of view locked in place on a small quaky patch at the base of a granite face. Just as I was about to scan to the left, I saw a wide-framed buck move quickly through an opening in the top right corner of my picture before disappearing back into the trees. His body was much smaller than I thought it would be at that distance, and there’s no way I would have seen him had I been free-handing the binos. To make a long story short, I made it up into the basin and killed him just as daylight faded. Without catching that first quick glimpse, I would have never made it up there in time- let alone known he was up there at all.
If you’re looking to adopt new tactics or upgrade gear this year, you simply will not be disappointed by picking up an Outdoorsmans Bino Adapter. It will last forever, you’ll increase your odds at success, and you’ll soon be out-glassing your hunting partner. This unit is priced at about $59 for the post and right in the $20 ballpark for each stud. For those on a tighter budget the Vortex Uni-Daptor, while not as refined and stable, will still provide a serious boost in glassing effectiveness at around half the cost.
For a limited time, mention this article when ordering a Bino Adapter from The Outdoorsmans for special pricing. They can be reached by calling 1-800-291-8065.