All hunters should have a tree stand in their arsenal of hunting equipment, as it allows you to better blend into the background and offers a better vantage point to scope out the game trails.
However, not all stands are the same. The multiple types offer different benefits and downsides.
This article will provide you with information about some of the best climbing tree stands on the market along with what makes a great climbing tree stand.
Comparison of the Best Climbing Tree Stands
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Types of Tree Stands
There are three main types that you can buy, all with a range of unique benefits and downsides. The following section will discuss these variations in more detail.
Climbing Tree Stands
These come in two parts, the seat and the actual platform to balance on. They take a little practice to set up properly as you’re more or less climbing the tree using these two sections. You can expect these stands to weigh around 30 pounds, which is a considerable amount more than a hang-on tree stand. However, they’re a lot better for stability and comfort.
Hang-on Tree Stand
The hang-on tree stand is a lot more portable and the maximum weight of one of these units would be around 20 pounds. You should be able to carry this in your backpack far easier than anything else. These stands come as one single unit and can be set up using tree climbing steps. They’re a lot quieter than climbing tree stands, however, they’re not as comfortable.
These stands are a lot less common and easy to set up. The ladder is the main difference from the other models. This type usually reaches around 15 feet with a platform and seat built into the top of the ladder.
You rest it up against the tree and then attach it halfway up with a strap as well as at the platform. They can be used more or less on any tree you want. However, they’re much heavier than any other type as well. It takes two people to set up the stand safely, which is why they’re usually just left in place once they’ve been installed.
Aspects to Consider Before Buying
There are a few considerations to make before jumping in and buying your first or latest model. The following section will discuss the things you’ll need to think about to find the best climbing tree stand.
The weight of your product is important as you’ll be the one hauling it through the woods to those game trails. You’ll want something that’s relatively lightweight. However, most weigh, on average, 30 pounds. The material is also an important factor as this could add more weight to the product.
The safety features of the product are an important aspect of any tree stand. You want to ensure that you have a satisfactory number of straps and high-quality materials for support. Your tree stand should also be able to hold a satisfactory weight minimum of 300 pounds.
For most hunters out there, comfort is the main priority when choosing your next investment. You want something that supports your back, as much as your backside.
Most of the best tree stands out there will have additional features like a bow rest and suitable platform size to move around on to find the best angle for that next shot.
When climbing the tree and sitting inside, you’ll need to make sure that it fits your size. Hunters come in all sizes and so do climbing tree stands, so make sure you’ve got something that fits.
Review of the Best Climbing Tree Stands
The most important part of this article is the review section. This is where we’ll show you some of the best products currently on the market and go into detail about the various features as well as the pros and cons of each.
Summit Stands Goliath
This product is the overall best on the market. You’ll have the full benefit of multiple features like the foam padded seats with a comfortable backrest. Gone are the days of a sore back. The full body harness system will ensure your safety from the time you’re setting up your tree stand to when you’re aiming for that perfect shot.
If you somehow fall, you’ll be happy to know that this harness system has your back at all times. The aluminum frame will again ensure your stability and safety as it can withstand up to 350 lbs of weight. You’d need to be a big guy or gal to make this product fail on you. The full product will weigh around 25 lbs, which isn’t much considering what features are included with this tree stand.
This product was voted best overall climbing tree stand for a reason. Holding up to 350 lbs of weight, you’ll be happy to know that there is a very small chance of this product failing structurally. Also, holding a huge amount of weight when it only weighs 25 lbs itself is another major benefit, as this is incredibly lightweight.
The comfortable seating of this product is one of the best on offer right now with a padded seat and backrests, you’ll never have to crack your back ever again after a long shift on this tree stand. If you ever do find yourself on the verge of falling off, your safety harness will safely support you. The reason why this is a great benefit is that you’ll very rarely find a safety harness feature included with the tree stand. The only downside is the limited space for standing shots, as the platform is tiny in comparison to other models out there.
Summit Stands Viper
The aluminum framing will ensure your stand is incredibly durable. This sound structure is what makes your tree stand withstand up to 300 pounds of weight, managing even the heaviest of hunters and equipment.
The comfortable padded seats will always be a benefit, including that relaxing backrest that solves all of the typical back pain problems that come with hunting. If you ever do find yourself about to fall, your safety harness will do its job and save you from disaster. The full kit weighs roughly 20 pounds, which is great for these.
This product was a strong contender for the position of the best overall. However, the only thing in the way was that it could hold 300 lbs which are 50 lbs less than the previous product could hold. The padded seat and backrest are really comfortable and are great for those long hunting shifts.
This product is also 5 pounds lighter than the previous product which makes it amazingly one of the lightest climbing tree stands on the market. The only downside with this product was the same as the previous product in the fact that it had no platform space for adjusting your angle or view.
Best for the Money:
Guide Gear Extreme Deluxe Hunting
The comfortable padded seats and backrest will offer plenty of back relief, which has always been a common problem for hunters with average stands. Having been built with a steel frame and structure you’ll be happy to know that this adds stability and allows your stand to support anything with a weight of up to 300 pounds.
The nylon foot straps make climbing a lot easier and the whole process is streamlined, as before you’d need to do this with the side frames which was quite uncomfortable. The full setup weighs roughly 33 pounds. The product also comes with a safety harness.
This product was voted the best value for money for a very good reason. There are plenty of benefits to this model, like the fact it can withstand around 300 pounds of weight because of the extremely sturdy steel used for the structure of the stand.
The strong and hard structure doesn’t sacrifice comfort as this product has both a padded seat and backrest that really help during those long hunting shifts.
Even climbing up the tree is made easy for you with the adjustable nylon foot straps that make everything faster and easier. As expected, there are a few problems with this product, like the fact there’s very little room for adjusting yourself for a better shot due to the non-existent platform space.
The 33-pound weight is also a huge problem as trailing this through the woods is going to be a huge burden. The safety harness is also quite cheap feeling and you probably wouldn’t feel safe putting your life in the strength of this harness.
Most Comfortable Climbing Tree Stand:
Lone Wolf Sit & Climb Combo II
This is one of the comfiest tree stands you’ll ever find. The two-panel, contoured padded seat and backrest will ensure your comfort the entire time you’re in that seat. Along with being an incredibly comfortable seat, it’s also able to withstand some great pressure. Roughly 350 pounds of weight can be supported in this stand without breaking.
When you’re actually trailing it through the forest, it comes with adjustable backpack straps and only weighs 20 pounds, which is great for any model. It can also be packed away into a tiny four-inch package, making it a lot more portable. You also get a decent platform size as well compared to most other climbing tree stands.
This product is amazing. It offers almost everything that a hunter is looking for in a stand. The sturdy aluminum frame offers a lightweight, yet strong, option as this product amazingly weighs only 20 pounds. This is way beyond what the average climbing tree stand usually weighs, so hauling this through the woods isn’t a problem.
Even with it only weighing 20 pounds, it can still withstand roughly 350 lbs at any time, which is also the most any tree stand can support. The full pack can be stored away into a four-inch package making this easily portable.
The padded backrest and seat are some of the greatest benefits that this product has to offer. However, the only complaint you might have is that the foam could be much thicker for even more comfort.
Best for Big Guys:
Lone Wolf Hand Climber Combo II
This climbing tree stand is one of the best for those of a larger size. If you’re a big guy, you’ll have plenty of space on this platform to move around. Not only that, you’ll not need to worry about it holding your weight as it can withstand up to 350 pounds of weight, which means it’s one of the strongest on the market.
You’ll not need to worry about space either, as this product can be folded into just a four-inch package that can easily travel with you anywhere you’re hunting. The full setup also only weighs 17 pounds. The padded seat offers some comfort during the long waits that most hunters have to endure.
This product has plenty of space that will allow you to move around and find the perfect angle for the shot. The portable and compact design is great for any hunter, as this tree stand can be folded down into a compact four-inch package.
The structure is also fairly sturdy as it can support 350 pounds of weight, which is best suited for those larger hunters or heavy equipment. Thankfully it also weighs as little as 17 pounds, which is fantastic for any climbing tree stand. The only problem with this product is that it doesn’t have a backrest to support your back.
Best Climbing Tree Stand Under $200:
OL'MAN Multivision Treestand
What Recent Buyers Report
Users have found this model useful for a number of options. They really admire the tough construction and versatility of this stand. According to them, it offers a lot of space for movement and ensures a comfortable experience during your trip. Moreover, there is not a lot of hassle in its transportation.
Why it Stands Out to Us
This stand is one of the most pocket-friendly tree stands in line from OL'MAN. It is built by using heavy-duty aluminum that speaks for its durability. You will definitely like how portable and quiet this stand is. You can easily take it from one place to another in no time, making it perfect for hunting in thick bushes.
A powerhouse of features, this tree stand comes with all the ideal features. The sturdy build with the ability to withstand heavy weight makes it a popular choice on the market. Last but not least, you get to enjoy all the features at a very affordable price.
Best Aluminum Climbing Tree Stand:
Summit Treestands 180 Max SD
What Recent Buyers Report
This tree stand got lots of appreciation from its customers. The most loved feature is a durable and sturdy construction. It is very portable and accounts for versatility. You can easily adjust the height according to your desire, and you can rely on its safety features to improve your overall experience.
Why it Stands Out to Us
The Summit tree stand is incorporated with tons of innovative features. It is manufactured from high-quality aluminum, making it one of the sturdiest stands on the market. There are multiple ropes, straps, and padded backrest. Moreover, this stand can easily bear heavy weights without compromising on the overall performance.
A great stand on the list; this model from Summit is not only ultra-portable but also durable. From fine craftsmanship to safety features, this model covers everything for you. Overall, it is an ideal choice for any hunter out there.
Lightest Climbing Tree Stand:
X-Stand The X-1
The aluminum structure is what gives this climbing tree stand the title of one of the lightest models on the market at only 11 pounds. Not only that, it can withstand the same weight as most other tree stands, up to 300 pounds.
This product is also made of four parts that have been included in just one unit. The stand is secured using strong wires and has a padded seat that will keep you comfortable during the hunting trip. The platform also has a decent size which can let you move around for the best shot.
This is the lightest product on this list at only 11 pounds. There isn’t anything on this list that can come close to the lightweight features of this product. The best part about this is that it can support the same weight as any other product, at around 300 pounds. Something that all models should have is the padded seats, which this stand can offer.
However, what it doesn’t offer is the backrest that should also be standard. The backrest is a crucial part of making the experience comfortable. The full stand is also secured using only a few wires, which doesn’t really scream safety but they do tend to work. The harness also doesn’t come with this product which should also be a standard safety feature.
Climbing Tree Stand vs. Hang On - Comparison Overview
Whether you should go for a climbing tree stand or a hung-on has been a never-ending debate. The final choice definitely depends on your desire. However, you need to understand what you are looking for fully.
In this section, we have drawn a detailed comparison between a climbing tree stand and a hang on to help you decide which one is better for you. Let’s jump in!
Both of these products share some common features. These include:
Hunters really like a stand or hang on for easy transportation. Both of them can be packed in no time, making them great for traveling.
Easy to Set up
Another characteristic shared by these products is their super-easy setup. You don’t have to spend too much time trying to set them up to begin your hunt.
While these products have similar characteristics, you will find a number of differences as well.
Time For Set up
One of the major differences between them is that a hang-on is relatively faster and much easier to set-up when compared to a climbing tree stand. Contrary to this, you first have to set up the stand and then climb it.
A hang on also has an edge when it comes to versatility. It goes well with almost any type of tree. On the other hand, you have to look for a limbless and straight tree for a stand. Unfortunately, it is not always available.
How to Install a Climbing Tree Stand
There are a few steps you need to follow when setting up your climbing tree stand. We have put together a guide that will help you set the stand up in the fastest way possible. Here, we’ve included some helpful tips that work really well.
- Make sure you choose a decent tree that’s alive and stable. This needs to be done carefully as an unhealthy tree could collapse from your weight.
- Attach the seat to the tree first. When securing the bottom half, make sure it’s secured to compensate with the thickness of the tree, as many trees might get thicker or thinner as you climb.
- If your system has straps that connect to each other, go ahead and connect them. This provides extra security. During the process of climbing, you should be using a harness system which connects you to the tree. This should be used for safety purposes.
- Your harness should be secured above your stand. Secure your feet into the tree stand platform, which locks it in place to start climbing. Use your upper body to pull yourself and the platform up against the tree and then lift the seat up higher so you can repeat the process until you’re happy with the height.
- To get back down, you just carry out the same process but in reverse. If you need a demonstration or even a few helpful tips, please take a look at this Youtube demonstration.
With a great climbing tree stand, you can’t miss on comfort and stability. It feels pleasant to sit in it and wait for your prey. However, you must know all about these stands to enjoy the experience to the maximum. Therefore, in this section, we have tried to answer some common questions regarding these.
People Also Ask
This section includes some of the most common questions that people ask. We’ve tried to answer them to the best of our knowledge and we hope it helps.
How Does a Climbing Tree Stand Work?
A climbing tree stand works by setting it at the bottom with the platform pitched up to a level of your desired hunting height. Make sure to angle the climbing sections and check all the safety measures. Most of the latest stands are equipped with metal contact points to grip the trees firmly and avoid any accident.
How High Should I Climb in my Tree Stand?
The height of your climbing tree stand depends on the conceal available during the hunt. Lesser conceal means you have to hang your stand higher. However, it is always recommended not to go higher than 25 feet. Try to look for a tree like a short cedar or pine tree that has abundant limbs to provide maximum conceal to the hunter.
What Size Tree Stand Do I Need?
When it comes to the size, it is recommended to look for a tree stand that has a wide opening. It needs to be wide enough to accommodate a trunk that is 20-30 inches in diameter easily. Moreover, you have to consider multiple factors like space and weight capacity to make the most of the tree stand.
Is it Safe to Use a Tree Stand?
It’s safe to use a stand if you know how to use one properly. It takes some practice in order to successfully and safely secure your tree stand. If you’re stuck on the best way to secure your tree stand, you should follow our guide and watch the YouTube video we included.
What Trees Are Comfortable With the Stand?
Almost all trees will be able to handle the climbing tree stand. You can adjust the belt attachments to fit even the thickest of trees. If you want a demonstration to get past small branches and bulges, you should follow our guide and watch the YouTube video we provided.
How Durable Are Tree Stands?
Tree stands are extremely durable as they’re usually made from high-grade steel or aluminum. All tree stands that are worth your money should be able to withstand 300 pounds or more. Anything below 300 pounds shouldn’t be considered, as this is the standard now.
Climbing Tree Stand Tips
Deer gather most of the information about their surrounding through scent. They find food, mating opportunities, and danger by using their nose. Most hunters know that hunting downwind from deer activity is the way to go. You should always hunt with the wind in your face. However, terrain can have a big impact on how wind moves through the area. Terrain should also be a major part of your strategy for entering and exiting the stand.
The deer hunting tree stand is a piece of hunting equipment no deer hunter should be without. Tree stands provide the deer hunter with a better view of the surrounding area and keep the hunter out of the deer's direct line of site as well as help scent to be dispersed before it reaches one of the deer's best defense tools, it's powerful nose.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a New Tree Stand
Tree Stand Safety
Tree stand safety is probably the most important thing to consider when hunting for a new deer stand.
How Much Weight Can the Stand Hold? (Remember That's You and Your Gear)
Is the Stand TMA Certified?
To gain certification from the Tree stand Manufacturer’s Association (TMA), manufacturers of treestands and related products must have their products tested by a TMA-approved firm. These standards include but are not limited to:
- Physical testing of hang-on treestands, climbing treestands, ladder treestands, tripods, climbing sticks, and related treestand equipment according to all applicable TMA standards
- Testing of harnesses in accordance with TMS 06-02, “Standard Test Method for Treestand Fall Arrest Systems”
- Review of treestand and harness instructions and labeling in accordance with the applicable TMA standards
- Review of manufacturing Quality Assurance Plans in accordance with TMS 09, “Standard Practice for Treestand Manufacturer Quality Assurance Program”
- Tree Stand Weight- Tree stands are manufactured in a variety of materials and styles all of which effect the weight of the stand.
How Far Do I Need to Carry the Stand?
The weight of the tree stand can become a big factor when you have to carry the stand into a remote location or long distances. In the past weight typically corresponded directly to comfort and price. Today's modern stands have come along ways in regards to comfort, but you can expect to pay more for light weight aluminum stands compared to their steel treestand cousins. Speaking from personal experience I had a long time to reflect on my choice to save a few dollars in return for 20 extra pounds while trying to drag a deer and carry my stand out of some state forest after dark and I must admit I'm not sure I would make that choice again. If you have your own land or don't have far to carry the stand save the money and go with steel. If the area you hunt is remote and you need to move your stand or remove it from the woods every day go with the light weight aluminum stand.
Tree Stand Hush Factor
All tree stands are not created equally when it comes to how quiet the stand can be transported, set up and climbed up.
Is the tree stand you are considering quite? If at all possible play with the demo or display stand at the store before you purchase it. If the stand requires you to make a lot of metal clanging noises to set it up or clanks as you carry it into the woods find a different stand. I had the pleasure of hunting some public land in Northern Minnesota last season and was in my stand and set up well before first light. As the sun was about to rise down the logging road came a guy with a full ladder stand on his back. The stand was clanging against itself as he walked and he set up about a half mile from me, but I heard it bank and clang as he assembled it and put it up into the tree. Neither one of us say a deer until late afternoon.
If you have a loud stand there are some things you can do to quite the stand down. I have found that pipe insulation wrapped around some of the key metal supports and taped down with black electrical tape will help to greatly quite a stand that clangs together as you walk. The same material can be used to help keep you bow or gun from clanging against the stand as you move in the stand.