Let me guess. You just spent three intense hours over on YouTube watching POV cycling (the kind where guys bomb full speed down through tiny mountain towns somewhere deep in South America) and now you want to do the same. Don’t worry – I totally get it, and I’m here to help. If you want to create epic content like that for yourself, you’re going to need a GoPro chest mount.
To be more specific, you’re going to need both a GoPro, and a GoPro chest mount. Assuming you already have to GoPro for now, let’s just focus on what you came here to read:
My picks for the top five GoPro chest mounts:
- GoPro Performance Chest Mount (official product)
- AmazonBasics Chest Mount Harness
- MiPremium Chest Mount
- CamKix Harness
- VVHOOY Universal (kit)
Don’t worry. The article doesn’t end here. Keep on reading, and I’m going to tell you all about each one of these (plus a few more).
There’s actually quite a bit that goes into the purchase of a GoPro chest mount, and my goal is to guide you not only with the purchase, but all the ways that you can get the most out of it.
And just so you know: Yes. I do have the credentials to talk about this stuff. I’ve been riding bikes my entire life, and I’ve always been driven to combine my love of photography into the mix somehow. I’ve tried selfie sticks, helmet cams, handlebar mounts, and tons of different kinds of chest mounts. I know a thing or two about what’s good and what’s bad.
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What is the best chest mount for a GoPro?
I’ll be completely honest here: as far as I’m concerned there is no better chest strap for a GoPro then the GoPro version itself. There are a few that come close, but only the company who makes the cameras themselves can truly understand what it takes to take advantage of all that the GoPro has to offer. It has to be tough, it’s got to be simple to use, and yeah – it’s got to look great as well.
The official GoPro chest mount is the one that I’ve been using for the past three years. It’s the only one that I’ve ever owned that hasn’t broken on me, and it has stood up magnificently to all kinds of abuse. Whether it be high-speed crashes on pavement, getting dragged in the dirt down hills, or even snagged on prickly thorns – it’s stood up to all of that magnificently.
The only downside is that it’s slightly more expensive than some of the other chest months that I’m going to talk about. But don’t let that deter you. Just like all things in life, you get what you pay for. Don’t be afraid to spend a few extra dollars to get something that you’re going to get a lot of mileage out of. No pun intended of course.
The best budget chest mount for a GoPro
I realize that I’m in the minority when I comes to paying a little more for a slightly better product. Even though I fully stand by my recommendation of the official GoPro harness being the best, I fully admit that it’s a bit on the pricey side of the spectrum. Especially since there are a multitude of other harnesses which are nearly as good for far cheaper.
Case in point is this AmazonBasics Chest MountHarness. It appears to be every bit as capable as the official GoPro unit I described above. Not only that, it’s very highly rated as well.
For the record, I own several AmazonBasics items (mostly electronic gadgets) and I’ve been happy with all of them. If you don’t mind not having an official GoPro product, and you want to save money, this AmazonBasics unit is the way to go.
I know. There are cheaper chest mount harnesses available. However, this is my pick due to its overall ratings / price ratio.
Looking for maximum adjustability? The MiPremiun Chest Mount Harness is the one for you. I’m a fairly small guy (5‘10“ tall and 140 pounds), so I don’t have much of an issue when it comes to finding a harness that fits me. However, comfort is extremely important when it comes to these things, and this MiPremium unit looks to be more adjustable than most others at it’s price point.
It’s compatible with nearly every model of GoPro, so the MiPremium absolutely needs to be on your shortlist if you’re looking for a quality chest mount harness with lots of adjustment options.
Alternative option #1
If you are a fairly big rider (guy or a girl) looking for something that isn’t going to pinch in all the wrong places, the CamKix Chest Mount Harness is your solution. I like this one specifically because it adjusts to 67 inches at full stretch, meaning that it’s larger than nearly every other comparable unit on the market.
The reviews of this CamKix unit are quite good, with most users giving it high praise for adjustability and durability.
Alternative option #2
If getting the absolute most bang for the buck is your primary objective, look no further than the VVHOOY 3-in-1 Universal Waterproof Action Camera Accessories Bundle Kit. Don’t worry about the fact that it’s a difficult name to pronounce. Just focus on how much value you’re going to get with this package.
As you can see, not only does it come with the chest mount, you also get a highly-adjustable head strap and selfie stick. Yeah – this is the ultimate setup for anyone looking to get started with cycling photography.
How to get great video (and pictures) with a GoPro chest mount
To be honest, I really had no idea why anybody would ask this question before I had one of these chest mounts of my own. I was so excited the day I received my first one, and I wasted no time in strapping it on and heading out on my bike to create the most epic YouTube video ever.
However, 99% of everybody’s first ever chest-mount POV videos are terrible. Mine was too. Basically, it was an hour and a half of footage of the road beneath my wheels and not the view in front of me. Ask anybody what their first go pro chest mount video was like, and I guarantee they’ll tell you the same thing.
So – how the heck is it possible to get good video with one of these contraptions? It’s quite simple actually:
Make sure it’s tight enough to secure the camera so it’s not moving around
In addition to the angle, the other thing that will ruin a POV-style GoPro chest mount video is shaky footage. You need to be absolutely sure that the chest mount is tight enough to hold your GoPro securely while still allowing you to breathe heavily.
Don’t worry. It’s a delicate balance you’ll have to tinker with on your first few rides while wearing it. Once you get it set up correctly you’ll know.
Point the camera up towards your chin
I know. This sounds completely counterintuitive to what you might expect. The goal is to shoot footage of the view forward, right? Well, you have to understand what your posture is like when you’re on the bike with both hands on the handlebars. Take a look at other cyclists, and you’ll see that their upper body is at a 45° angle in relationship to the ground.
Therefore, you’re going to need to point the camera up. As a matter fact, you’re going to need it pointing up more than you would assume. Again, the only way to learn the proper angle is to get out there and do it for yourself. You’re gonna learn a lot about making quality video with a GoPro chest mount (and you ARE going to fail at first), so just have fun with it and enjoy the learning process.
Oh – if you’re looking to shorten the learning curve a bit, I do recommend using the live preview feature on the GoPro app for your smartphone (which is totally free). Simply launch the live preview, settle into your normal riding position on your bike, and make adjustments as necessary.
Let your GoPro breathe!
There are two reasons why you want to keep your GoPro as exposed to the elements as you can.
- It’s likely to get hot as you’re recording
- It’s the best way to capture clean audio
Regarding the first point, my own tests have shown that GoPro cameras can record up to two hours at a time. That in itself is pretty neat, but the downside is that they get extremely hot if left on for more than an hour. GoPro cameras can most certainly overheat, so you want to do your best by putting it in a minimal-style case which will allow for maximum airflow.
If you’re looking to capture audio as well as video, resist the urge to put your GoPro in a hard plastic case before attaching it to the chest mount. You want to have the microphones exposed to the elements, so you’ll be able to capture all of that nasty heavy breathing that you do as you crush those hills out in the canyons. After all, no GoPro bike video is complete without grunting and heavy breathing.
One more thing to note about capturing audio on a GoPro (especially on a bike):
Wind noise is a bugger, and you’re going to need to defuse it somehow
The most common method for diffusing wind noise on microphones is to apply what’s called a “dead cat” filter over it. I know. As a cat lover myself, I have a really hard time with the name too. However, these wind diffusers are incredibly effective and totally worth the investment. This is the one that I’m currently using for my GoPro chest mount setup:
Dead cat description
If you don’t want to spend any money, simply taking any fuzzy piece of cloth that you can find and placing it over top of the microphone holes will do the job just fine.
Don’t kill yourself!
That’s pretty much the primary goal in life, right? However, it’s especially important when you’re wearing a chest mount for your GoPro. It’s vitally important not to strap it on so tight that you have difficulty breathing and standing vertically!
If you’re the kind of person who wants a chest mount set up to record your epic videos, you’re likely the kind of person who is going to be pushing it really hard on your bike. You’re going to be breathing extremely hard at times, and anything that prevents that from happening can be very dangerous.
What works for me is to strap it just tight enough that I can fit my hand underneath it without stretching any of the straps. If I have to work hard to get my fingers (or entire hand) under the elastic, that’s a sign that I could potentially be robbing myself of precious oxygen while hammering up my favorite category 4.
For the love of God: wash that thing from time to time!
You need to think of your GoPro chest mount as an article of clothing just as you would a winter cycling jacket or pair of summer riding shorts. It’s going to get sweaty, stinky, muddy, and all that jazz. You don’t necessarily have to throw it into the washing machine with everything else after a ride, but do be sure to have the common decency to spray it down with the hose every time you wash your bike.
GoPro chest mount FAQ
By now I hope that I’ve given you some decent guidance on what to look for when it comes to purchasing and using a chest mount for your GoPro camera. However, I know that there are still a few commonly asked questions that I haven’t properly addressed yet in regards to these things, so let’s just take care of that now:
Is it dangerous to wear a GoPro chest mount?
In my opinion, no. As long as you’re not over-tightening it, it shouldn’t pose any extra danger to your normal ride. Keep in mind that I’ve ridden thousands of miles wearing chest mounts, and I’ve suffered my share of crashes while wearing them as well.
I’ve never once had an issue struggling to breathe. I’ve also never had any issues with the camera being pushed into my chest during a crash. It’s extremely rare to crash due to forward impact on a bike (even if you fall) so the chances of taking a GoPro straight though the heart are minimal.
Are these chest mounts uncomfortable?
I don’t think so. Again, I’ve ridden well over 3000 miles while wearing these things, and I’ve never once had to stop what I was doing to rip it off and throw it in the nearest garbage can.
The best way to describe the feeling is that it feels just like a seatbelt in a car. Although, instead of feeling it on one shoulder, it holds you in evenly all across your chest so there are no specific pressure points. I personally have no issues wearing a chest mount for my camera while on my bike.
How do you attach a GoPro chest mount?
It’s extremely easy! There is a single clip which is located directly on the front. Simply put it on just as you were putting on a jacket, and then clip together the center buckle.
To remove it, release the buckle and peel the mount off your shoulders.