Treestands come in varying forms. There are climbing treestands, hang-on treestands, and ladder treestands. You may find the number of options overwhelming if you’re a first-time purchaser.
Ladder treestands are noticeably different from alternatives because they typically have a ladder attached to the platform. These stands are assembled on the ground and then fixed to the tree via anchor and ratchet straps.
But which ladder stand is best for bow hunting? We’ll break it down for you below.
Comparison of the Best Ladder Stands For Bow Hunting
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Factors to Consider Before Buying a Ladder Stand For Bow Hunting
Before making a purchase, you want to make sure the stand will be both comfortable and safe. Many hunting accidents involve unsafe equipment while sitting during long hunts can be unbearable in certain treestands.
So, before we get into the reviews, let’s discuss a few factors you should consider:
Every treestand on the market has a weight capacity. Ultimately, this guide is for your safety. If you exceed the limit, the stand won’t support you. Keep in mind this number needs to include both your weight and that of your equipment.
You want to make sure your ladder stand has a comfortable seat, especially if you plan to hunt for long periods of time.
A quality chair will reduce soreness and stiffness. Look for thick padding, as well as backrests to help posture.
Treestand platforms are designed for you to stand on or rest your feet while sitting. If you’re a larger hunter, you’ll want a larger platform. This accommodation will ensure your feet don’t dangle over the edge and you don’t feel cramped.
These platforms also work well if you plan to have another person in the stand with you. If you have a smaller stature, you can get away with a smaller one.
Review of the Best Ladder Stands for Bow Hunting
Now that we’ve covered a few of the factors you should look for in a ladder stand, let’s get into our review of the top options on the market:
Guide Gear 15.5’ Climbing Ladder
Height: 15.5 ft.
Platform Size: 26 by 15 in.
Seat Type: Mesh
Max Capacity: 300 lb.
This product works fantastically for any archer who wants a lightweight ladder stand that’s still incredibly sturdy. We found this treestand was easy to assemble. However, a few customers did complain that the instructions were of poor quality.
The flip-up shooting rail makes going between sitting with a gun to standing with a bow easily. However, if you’re a tall archer, you may find it too low and difficult to push over your head. We did find the stand didn’t have enough room for larger hunters.
The Guide Gear 15.5’ Climbing Ladder is a fantastic option. It’s lightweight, sturdy, and easy to assemble. Keep in mind that the shooting rail may be too low if you’re tall, and you may not have enough room if you’re of bigger stature.
Muddy MLS1150 Stronghold
Height: 21 ft.
Platform Size: 27 by 14 in.
Seat Type: Lumbar-Style
Max Capacity: 300 lb.
Consider this product if you want a taller treestand. If you have a fear of heights, you might want to go with a shorter option. The MLS1150 Stronghold also works well for larger hunters. The seat size is considerable and so is the platform. You’ll have plenty of room.
If you’re easily frustrated, don’t buy this ladder stand. We found assembling this product complicated and time-consuming. It requires a lot of patience. Do you need to carry your stand a long way? Then this option isn’t the one for you. The stand is pretty heavy, coming in at a whopping 71 pounds.
Go with the Muddy MLS1150 Stronghold if you want a tall, comfortable stand that’s accommodating for all sizes. Remember, it’s a challenging assembly that isn’t for the faint of heart. Plus, the stand is heavy.
OL'MAN Treestands Assassin
Height: 18 ft.
Platform Size: 39 by 32 in.
Seat Type: Canvas
Max Capacity: 500 lbs.
If you want to hunt with a partner, this stand is your go-to. The massive platform and extra-wide seat easily fit two people. The product has a sturdy steel construction that’s made even sturdier by an anti-flex bridge support system. Plus, it accommodates up to 500 pounds.
Don’t buy this treestand if you plan to carry it a long way. It’s cumbersome, weighing in at over 100 pounds. Also, some archers found the instructions confusing. Keep that in mind if you’re an impatient person.
The OL’MAN Treestands Assassin is comfortable, extra strong, and large enough for two people. However, this accommodation means it’s heavier than other options. Additionally, you may have difficulty following the instructions.
4. Rivers Edge One Man Ladder
Height: 18.5 ft.
Platform Size: 35 by 26 in.
Seat Type: Mesh
Max Capacity: 300 lb.
This ladder stand works well for any archer looking for a lot of room. With one of the largest platforms and a wide seat, you’re sure to never feel cramped. However, fidgety people should look elsewhere, as any movement on the seat will cause loud squeaking.
This noise can easily scare off any prey and ruin your hunt. But, if you don’t have an issue sitting still, it shouldn’t be an issue. Some people found this product difficult to get into the tree, as it weighs about 99 pounds. If you want to install it by yourself, this may not be the one for you.
Buy the One Man Ladder by Rivers Edge if you want a stand that is massive, sturdy, and extra safe. This product isn’t lightweight, quiet, or easy to install.
Guide Gear 18'
Height: 18 ft.
Platform Size: 25 by 17.5 in.
Seat Type: Padded
Max Capacity: 300 lbs.
This product is fantastic for bowhunters who prefer to stand while shooting. You can move the flip-up seat out of the way with ease. This feature ensures a clean shot, with nothing blocking your arms.
As the lightest option, it’s perfect if you need to carry it a long way for installation. It only weighs 58 pounds. However, the seat doesn’t have a backrest. Sitting for hours will become uncomfortable. Plus, larger hunters will find the seat is too small to accommodate them comfortably.
The Guide Gear 18’ is quiet, durable, and very lightweight. However, some people find its seat uncomfortable because it’s small and has no backrest.
When Would a Ladder Stand for Bow Hunting Be Ideal?
When is a ladder stand ideal for bow hunting? Let’s discuss a few situations where these stands are the best option for you:
Hunting in Heavy Coverage
When you use your bow in heavy coverage, consider going with these products. This way, you'll be able to hide the legs of the ladder.
These stands give you a height advantage and allow plenty of room for you to stand and draw your bow. So, if you’re able to keep your stand hidden, ladder treestands are the best option.
When You’re Older
Whether we like to admit it or not, some tasks become more challenging as we age. This is undoubtedly the case when it comes to getting into a stand. Products like climbers can be nearly impossible for older hunters to use.
Ladder stands are much easier to enter than alternatives. Climbing up is much easier, and the sturdy design ensures the stand stays still as you do.
When You Have Time to Install Them
Ladder stands take longer to install; you’re probably going to make a lot of noise doing it. You’ll find the benefits of these products are only worth it if you have time to set them up before your planned excursion.
Climber Treestand vs Ladder Stand for Bow Hunting
What’s the difference between climbers and ladder stands? We’ll break them down below:
With these stands, you climb the tree. First, you’ll set the top platform into the tree. Then, pull up the bottom with straps or hooks. Apply pressure to push this platform in as well.
Next, raise the top higher. Repeat until you reach your desired height.
When using climbers, you’ll need to find straight trees that have little to no limbs. If you encounter small ones while ascending, you may need to cut them.
- Easy to move to multiple locations
- Can choose how high you go
- Installing them is a workout
- Requires smooth straight trees
These products have a ladder that stretches from the ground to the platform. This feature makes them one of the most accessible stands.
- Climbing ease
- Better for beginners
Top Manufacturers of Bow Hunting Ladder Stands
If you’re new to bow hunting, you may be shocked by the number of manufacturers of ladder stands. However, not every company’s product is equal. Let’s talk about some of the best manufacturers on the market.
Guide Gear carries several popular ladder stands. Sportsman’s Guide, founded in 1970 by Gary Olen, exclusively offers this brand.
Sportsman's Guide is best known for its catalog. The initial one was only one page. Since then, the company has increased to full-sized magazines that they mail out annually.
Sportsman’s Guide’s stands are well-known, but they offer many other products as well. They sell ammunition, clothing, footwear, garden and patio items, and more.
Rivers Edge makes fantastic treestands. The company hires expert hunters, designers, engineers, and fabricators to work on these products. People love these stands because they’re genuinely made by hunters, for hunters.
In 1998, Rivers Edge was founded by Pat Wrob in St. Claire, Missouri. Incredibly quickly, the brand dominated the market. Since then, the company has partnered with Guy Harvey. Harvey is one of the world’s best marine wildlife artists.
A portion of the proceeds for Harvey’s work from Rivers Edge goes towards the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. This organization funds scientific research and marine conservation programs.
Price Points of Ladder Stands for Bow Hunting
Ladder stands can vary quite a lot in price. What price point you go for will affect what quality and features you get. Here’s a breakdown:
For this price, you’ll find ladder stands by brands like Guide Gear, Rivers Edge, and Big Dog Hunting. These products tend to be about 15 feet tall with a 300-pound capacity.
Companies like Rivers Edge, Muddy, and Big Game Treestands sell products in this category. You’ll find stands with wide seats that can fit two people and have a 500-pound capacity. Heights tend to be between 16 and 20 feet.
This range includes brands like Lonestar and X-Stand. Like the previous bracket, these products can hold two people. These options don’t bring any extra offers to the table, so we don’t recommend spending this much.
These products are the top picks for ladder stands. The one you should go for depends on what you’re looking for. Some are better for hunting with a partner. Others work best if you want something lightweight that you can set up by yourself.
Make sure to consider weight capacity, seat comfortability, and platform size before purchasing. You should also evaluate how much you want to spend.
Now that we’ve given you all the information you need, you can figure out which product is your best bet and start bow hunting today!
People Also Ask
There are several questions a hunter would need to ask themselves before buying a ladder stand. Questions range from safety concerns to which stand would be best for your style of hunting. The decision depends on personal preference. Below are a few questions with answers that may help you make your decision:
How Safe Are Ladder Stands?
Ladder stands are the safest option on the market. However, accidents can still happen. Make sure always to be careful and take proper safety precautions.
Are Ladder Stands for Bow Hunting Hard to Set Up?
Setup can be challenging if you’re by yourself. You should bring someone to help you when possible. If you can’t do this, staking down the bottom rung will help prevent sliding.
How Many People Can a Ladder Stand Hold?
How many people a stand can hold depends on the design and weight capacity. Some options are meant for a single hunter, while others can support two. If you have more than one person, make sure your total weight, including equipment, doesn’t exceed the limit.