Editor’s Note: We’d like to thank our friends at Western Hunter and Elk Hunter Magazines for allowing us to re-publish this incredibly comprehensive article from Nate Simmons. If you’re a diehard western hunter, WH and EH are two of the best print magazines available today. Nate also wrote an extensive review of the best rangefinders for western bowhunting. You can read this piece in this month’s Down Range column.
Nearly every hunter carries a rangefinder these days. In the past, carrying it in a place that is protected yet easy to access at a moment’s notice has been an issue. That isn’t the case anymore, with several companies making great products for this application. Our friends over at Western Hunter reviewed several of the best options out there.
Crooked Horn RF Hookup
Crooked Horn Outfitters was a pioneer in the binocular system market; they were also one of the first to make a functional rangefinder holster system. The RF Hookup has been around for several years and has proven to be a functional system. It can be fastened to the Crooked Horn Bino System, but it can also be fastened to many other binocular harnesses.
Best Feature: This system puts your rangefinder in a very comfortable place so it’s always at the ready.
Could Be Better: Would be good if it had a cover over the top to keep dust and moisture out.
Cost/Contact: RF sidekick (rangefinder holster only) – $24.99; whole system (bino and rangefinder system) – $39.99; www.crookedhorn.com.
FHF Gear Rangefinder Pouch
FHF is a newer company that has quickly created quite a buzz in the western hunting market. Their rangefinder pouch is a simple yet effective product that can be fastened to the FHF binocular harness or to many other systems. The coiled equipment lanyard must be purchased separately, but together they make this system tough to beat.
Best Feature: Easy, quick access to your rangefinder case at all times.
Could Be Better: Perhaps a little quieter material.
Cost/Contact: Rangefinder pouch – $36; equipment lanyard – $12; www.fhfgear.com.
Badlands Range Finder
Badlands has been around a long time and is known for making tough gear; this RF case is no exception. It’s a well-thought-out design that uses strong magnets to stay closed.
Best Feature: Magnet closure is fast to open when you need to get your rangefinder out quickly.
Could Be Better: The magnets are a double-edged sword. Excellent design, but it sometimes gets hooked on things and comes open, causing the rangefinder to fall out. As long as your rangefinder is tethered in you’ll be OK, but this was still a nuisance when it happened.
Cost/Contact: $69.95; www.badlandspacks.com.
Oregon Pack Works Rangefinder Bro
The Rangefinder Bro by Oregon Pack Works is an extremely simple, yet effective design. It can be attached to their own Bino Bro harness system or to other systems, your belt or pack. It simply pulls over your rangefinder with a bungee system.
Best Feature: Super simple design makes it quick and easy.
Could Be Better: You have to use the rangefinder’s tether. It should have a tether incorporated into it.
Cost/Contact: $24.99; www.oregonpackworks.com.
The retractable rangefinder holster by Gear Keeper is a well-padded rangefinder case with a smooth quick-detach retractor that can be hooked to your rangefinder. This case is made to be hooked to a belt or your pack waist belt rather than to a binocular system. I like how padded it is, but it also makes it more bulky and cumbersome to have attached to your belt.
Best Feature: Good padding protects your rangefinder.
Could Be Better: I’m not a huge fan of the retractable-style tether. They’re noisier and just not as effective as some of the other tethers available.
Cost/contact: $44.99; www.gearkeeper.com.
About the Author:
Nate Simmons is the Backcountry and Gear Editor at Western Hunter and Elk Hunter Magazines and the Producer and Co-Host of The Western Hunter TV show, as well as past Co-Producer of Eastmans’ Hunting TV. He has written dozens of hunting articles. Nate is one of the most extreme backcountry bowhunters on the planet and prides himself on being a self-sufficient DIY hunter.