So, you’re looking for a lightweight climbing tree stand but don’t know where to start?
Well, we’ll teach you what qualities to look for.
Plus, we’ll review the best and safest products on the market. Let’s get started!
Comparison of the Lightest Climbing Tree Stands
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Qualities to Keep in Mind While Choosing a Climbing Tree Stand
Before purchasing a climbing tree stand, there are several qualities you should consider:
Your biggest concern when buying these products is their safety. Tree stand accidents are very hazardous and can be fatal. However, modern advancements have made these stands safer than ever before.
Look for products that include safety features like harnesses and fall arrest systems. Read reviews and look for any comments on the quality of these mechanisms. You should also pay attention to any comments about how well the stand grips trees.
Ease of Carrying
You should also consider how easy a stand will be to carry to your destination and setup. If you don’t plan on carrying the stand very far, this quality may be less critical. However, it is vital if you plan to move the product long distances.
Find out the tree stand’s weight and compactibility. The more compactable a product is, the better. Lighter stands will be easier to carry but can lack some of the extra features of heavier stands.
Evaluate whether ease of carrying or these other features are more important to your personal needs.
Nothing is worse than a noisy stand scaring away all the game before your hunt even begins. Many companies boast about how silent their products are. But don’t just take their word for it. Look for what customers have to say about the noise of any tree stand you want to purchase.
Often you may end up sitting for several hours during a hunt. If your tree stand has an uncomfortable seat or is too cramped, this waiting can seem almost unbearable.
Find products that are known for having seats that customers enjoy sitting in. You should also consider the size of the stand. Look for the seat and foot platforms' measurements and consider whether they’re large enough for you to fit in comfortably.
Features That Fit Your Needs
You may find different designs helpful based on the type of hunting you plan on doing. Bowhunters may prefer a stand with a flip-up rail or no rail at all so that they can shoot without interference on their draw.
On the other hand, gunmen may prefer having a spot to rest their firearms on. Make sure the product has a design that fits your needs.
Review of the Lightest Climbing Tree Stands
Now that you know what you want in a climbing tree stand, let’s go over our top picks of these products:
Summit Treestands 81120 Viper SD
Summit’s 81120 Viper SD is the best climbing stand on the market. Here’s why:
This stand is perfect for hunters who want a lightweight tree stand that is comfortable to sit in for long periods. Summit ensures customer safety by providing a full-body harness. This product is versatile and can fit any type of hunter.
However, if you’re looking to carry this stand for long distances, consider purchasing better replacement straps or simply buying a different product. If you don’t like your feet dangling in the air, you may need to buy a footrest extension.
Some hunters have also found it challenging to shoot a bow while sitting down in this tree stand because sidebars get in the way. If you’re a bowhunter who prefers sitting, you may want to look for a different stand.
Overall, the Viper SD is the best climbing stand on the market. The product is safe, comfortable, fast, quiet, and versatile.
The stand does have a few issues, but these can be combated by buying better straps and an extended footrest and ultimately won’t be detrimental to your hunting.
Summit Treestands Mini Viper
If you like the Viper SD but want something slightly lighter, the Mini Viper might be the way to go.
This stand is excellent if you love the Viper SD features but find it too heavy to carry long distances. It features the same safety harness, comfortable seat, and silencing technology.
However, if you think the Viper SD’s platform is too small, the Mini Viper isn’t for you. Hunters taller than six feet find this stand hard to use, and even some shorter customers found the stand a bit tight.
This stand doesn’t work well if you want to shoot a bow sitting down. Both the front bar and the armrests will limit your mobility. This product also has shoulder strap issues you may find annoying. Some people found the instructions provided with this tree stand hard to follow.
The Mini Viper is a fantastic alternative to the Viper SD if you’re looking for a stand that weighs a little less. This stand is safe, comfortable, quiet, and very lightweight.
This product does have similar issues to its larger counterpart: limited mobility when sitting and low-quality carrying straps. Plus, this tree stand has an even smaller platform and doesn’t come with great instructions.
Best for the Money:
Summit Treestands OpenShot SD
Our editor loves the OpenShot SD from Summit, and maybe you will too!
The OpenShot SD is perfect for bowhunters looking to sit while shooting. The open front design eliminates the mobility issues you find in Summit’s other products. Plus, the foldable seat allows for more room when standing. At only 15 pounds, you can easily carry the stand long distances.
However, the open design does also mean some lost comfortability. With no backrest, your back may hurt after sitting for long periods. Add this factor to the very narrow design, and even shorter hunters may be in for a very uncomfortable hunt.
Many customers found the OpenShot SD hard to climb and recommended being in good shape if you get this stand. In some cases, the stand didn’t hold on to trees well, which can be dangerous if you aren’t wearing your safety equipment.
This tree stand is fabulous for bowhunters who want to sit while they shoot. The open front design prevents anything from inhibiting your draw. You can also stand comfortably with the seat folded up and acting as a backrest.
This seat doesn’t offer a backrest while sitting, and this feature added to the narrow design can make for an uncomfortable experience. You may also find this stand hard to climb, and it may not grip trees well.
XOP Ambush Climbing Tree Stand
Another good option is the Ambush Climbing Tree Stand from XOP.
The XOP Ambush Climbing Tree Stand is another wonderful option. This product packs down to a tiny four-inch profile and only weighs 18 pounds. These features make it perfect for hauling long distances.
You’ll also love the large platform that gives you plenty of room to stand and keeps your feet from dangling over the edge. These stands work well for both archers and gunmen because you can convert between an open and closed front.
However, no backrest does mean the seat can be uncomfortable. Low-quality straps may mean you need to purchase better replacements.
This tree stand works well for both bow hunting or using a gun. The XOP Ambush is compact, safe, and lightweight. You’ll have plenty of room in this stand with its large platform.
However, the seat may be uncomfortable, and the straps are low-quality, and you may need to replace them.
OL'MAN Treestands Multi-Vision COM-04
Another good product you should check out is the Multi-Vision COM-04 from OL’MAN.
This tree stand is excellent for hunters looking for versatility. The three-in-one setup allows you to adapt your stand to your needs. Despite costing less, this stand has a strong steel design and a comfortable netted seat.
However, this steel construction does mean this stand is heavier than the others we mentioned. Plus, it also has low-quality straps that can make carrying it difficult. If you’re looking for a lightweight stand to carry long distances, this stand might not be the best option for you.
This stand is an outstanding option for hunters looking for a cheaper climbing stand that’s still well built. The Multi-Vision COM-04 is safe, sturdy, comfortable, and quiet.
This stand is heavier than the other stands discussed in this review, so keep this in mind if you’re looking for a stand to travel long-distance with.
Top Makers in This Industry (And in This Article)
Curious about the top tree stand makers? Let’s talk about the two of the best in the business:
Avid hunter John Walter, also known as Big John, created the first Summit stand in the ‘60s in his garage in Alabama. John was unsatisfied with the products available at the time, so he decided to make his own.
At the time, John was working as a project engineer for NASA. Here he learned to handle aluminum, and he used this skill to create lightweight tree stands that were also safe.
John sold early prototypes to his friends and neighbors, and by the ‘80s, the first Summit products hit the market.
Today, the stands are well known for their versatility and durability. Summit has also widely contributed to modern products' innovation, with inventions such as an open lightweight design, padded seats, rifle rests, and silent plastic bushings.
XOP partnered with Andrae D'Acquisto, the founder of Lone Wolf Hunting Products, to create these stands. Andrae created the cast aluminum tree stand, and XOP is now the leader in this product.
Hunters love XOP’s lighter platform design and sound deadening cast aluminum l-beam center. This technology makes their hang-on stands strong, light, and dead silent.
Price Points of Light Climbing Tree Stands
Climbing tree stands can vary widely in price. Let’s break down what you’re getting for what you spend:
In this range, you’ll find brands like Guide Gear and Rivers Edge. These stands tend to have open fronts and folding seats with no backrest. Most will be made from steel and weigh between 15 and 20 pounds.
These stands are pretty compact but probably won’t have carrying straps included.
For this price, you’ll find Guide Gear, Rivers Edge, Big Dog, Bolderton, Millennium, XOP, and OL’MAN products. Most of these products are open front, but you will find seats both with and without a backrest.
For the extra money you spend, you’ll get extras like padded armrests and adjustable straps for quick climbing. These tree stands are mostly steel and weigh about 30 pounds.
This range includes Air Raid Revolution, Lone Wolf, Millennium, Rivers Edge, XOP, Summit, and Bolderton. You will find both open and closed stands that have seats with and without backrests.
These stands have a lightweight and compact aluminum construction and padded backpack straps for easy carrying.
Overall, the Summit 81120 Viper SD treestand is the best on the market. Go with this product if you want something lightweight and comfortable and don’t mind standing to shoot a bow.
If you like the Viper but want something even smaller, go for the Mini Viper. If you prefer an open design that allows you to sit while shooting, consider the Summit OpenShot SD. Now go out and get hunting!
People Also Ask
So, you still have more questions? Look for the answer to frequent questions below:
Are Light Climbing Tree Stands Safe?
Light climbing stands are safe as long as they’re made well and have the proper safety precautions. Look for stands with features like safety harnesses and fall arrest systems. Also, read reviews for any safety concerns, such as a stand not gripping trees well.
How Heavy Are These Stands?
The weight of these stands varies, but they’re typically somewhere between 15 and 30 pounds.