Glassing with your binoculars attached to a tripod has taken a firm grasp on the hunting world. Many people prefer the stability offered from the stable platform, plus you do not get fatigued from holding your optics so you can continue to glass for longer periods of time. With better stability and improved glassing ability, it is easy to see why people throw their binos onto a tripod.
Personally, I can’t stand glassing from a tripod. Yes, the tripod does help with my stability and focus but I cannot get over the idea of a large, clunky and heavy piece of equipment in my backpack that is hardly suited for the task which I am carrying it for.
While the tripod can be beneficial at times, they usually do not allow for stable, clean movement when tracking across the area you are glassing. So, for the longest time I chose to leave my tripod at home instead of carrying extra weight—that is, unless I was carrying my spotting scope as well. The tradeoff: My arms fatigued faster and could not spend as much time with my glass focused on the target area.
Now there’s a piece of equipment that I will put in my pack for every hunt because it’s lightweight, collapsible and durable. The Kestrel Glassing Systems Ultra-Light Monopod is the tool that I have been waiting for to take my glassing to the next level.
Weighing in at just six ounces, weight will never be an excuse for me not to carry it. Built from two pieces of durable,10mm pultruded carbon fiber with a tension cord — similar to that of a tent pole — connecting them it deploys in seconds and stows just as quick. One of the greatest parts of its construction is that it is nearly silent upon deployment. The foot of the monopod is a metal stud, like a trekking pole, which keeps the Kestrel from slipping out for under you while you are glassing.
Measuring in at 44 inches when deployed, you have plenty of room to use the monopod how you please. I have not been able to find any type of terrain where I was unable to put the Kestrel to use while glassing. Although it seems long, the two-piece construction allows for you to easily carry the device when broken down.
It was also designed to be durable. The product engineers wanted to make sure that it would last through the rugged abuse that usually befalls a hunter’s equipment. The materials were tested in a wide range of temperatures — including lows of four degrees Fahrenheit — and no change to performance was noticed. The QD post latch was tested to well over 10,000 insertions without a failure and the ferrules are made of 6061 hard-anodized aluminum and are designed to work flawlessly when dirty, dusty and wet.
Now let’s get into the engineering; the part that makes this monopod the most efficient glassing aid that you will ever use. The shock cord attaches to a free-floating paddle—which slides along the carbon fiber tubes — that supports the weight of your binoculars. Optics attach with the QD post latch that screws into the bridge of your glass. Simply slide it in and out to attach or remove your binoculars. When attached to the paddle the counterbalance and pull of the shock cord suspends your optics with little or no additional effort.
With your binoculars supported by the monopod you are free to glass from any position that suits you, no need to bend and break yourself around your tripod legs. This is what I was most impressed by with this system: I could move my binoculars to any position, with no effort and I never had to reposition my monopod.
Now I know that sounds like I’m just being lazy, but I don’t want to have to adjust legs, loosen and tighten a pan head or contort my body in weird ways just to see a few more feet of ground. With the Kestrel, I can easily shift my point of view — the same as if I were glassing freehand — without ever putting myself in an uncomfortable position.
With two models, a long frame and a short frame, this monopod can be used with most binoculars — a fit guide on Kestrel’s website will tell you if your binoculars are compatible with the system.
You can pick up the Ultra-Light Monopod for just $100 dollars. That is a fraction of the cost of any lightweight tripod on the market. Many of the high-end tripods will cost you upwards of $500 dollars. If you are interested in learning more about this monopod, head over to the Kestrel Glassing Systems website.