Depending on the hunting conditions and location, the tree stand can come in several types or configurations. Choose the type that best suits your need or purpose. After deciding on the type you can read our buying guide to identify the best tree stand for your needs.
A climbing stand or climber consists of two components, the seat and the footrest. The stand is attached to the tree at ground level and is then utilized to inch or worm up the tree by moving one section and keeping your weight on the other section. The fulcrum-type configuration is one of the most comfortable tree stands on the market and also offers easy setup. However, it can only work on limited kinds of trees. You can’t set it up on a tree that is too small or too large, has low hanging branches or doesn’t have a straight trunk to support the tree stand. This type is perfect for the hunter who is physically fit, since it can be carried to the site on the hunting day itself and set up right there. Eliminating the need for any extra equipment, the climber provides effortless portability.
A lock-on or fixed tree stand is lightweight, relatively easy and quick to put together and attaches to a wide variety of trees. Many models come with backpack-type straps for problem-free portability. Most are really basic or barebones structures with small seats and little to no padding, with just a big enough platform to rest the feet on. This type is left in a permanent position for all-day use. It doesn’t feature climbing capability so you may need to have a ladder, climbing sticks or tree steps to get the unit to your desired height or to get to it from the ground. The fixed tree stand has to be set up a few days ahead of hunting day and at daylight. The biggest selling point of a lock-on unit is its ability to attach to many types of trees such as those with large diameter trunks or many limbs. It is also quiet, perfect for stealth hunting.
A ladder stand is for the most part a ladder that attaches to trees. The platform on top provides enough room to stand and shoot. Some models already ship with a seat, while others require making a separate purchase. Plenty of ladder stands are made for more than one hunter so you can take along a hunting buddy, a child or a videographer. This tree stand configuration is quite heavy and will require between two to three people to set up. Typically, a ladder stand is left in place for the entire hunting season. If comfort, stability and safety are primary considerations, a ladder stand is best.
A fourth type of tree stand is the tripod or tower. It is uniquely designed to sit on three or four supporting legs, with a padded seat and platform and perhaps some form of enclosure in some models. You can get an all-around view of the hunting terrain on a usually rotating platform that swivels 360 degrees. Many models do not come with an enclosure or platform blind so you may have to make a separate purchase for this component.
A damaged or poorly constructed tree stand could easily fail under load, so it is important that you make sure it has a solid build and you won’t slip from the steps or lose your footing while climbing. Fortunately, with a set of proper safety gear, proper maintenance and use as well as careful tree stand use habits, a tree stand could enhance your hunting experience. Bear in mind to check that the unit itself is in perfect working condition. Use of a three- or four-point climbing harness or fall arrest system is always a safe practice that ordinary rope just can’t match. Use a rope only to raise or lower hunting equipment from and to the ground. Make sure not to nod off while on the tree stand.
Tree Stand Accessories
Having all kinds of hunting gear with you on the tree stand can cramp the space up. You may have to invest in some additional accessories to make the most of the tree stand. Some of those extras include shelves, a hang-it-all belt, or rifle and bow holder that you simply secure to the stand itself or the tree so you can have easy access while having sufficient space for all the gear you need. With a branch bracket or cover system that you attach to the tree or stand, you can get added concealment among the branches and limbs of the tree around you.
There are times when you may have to get yourself more than one tree stand to accommodate different settings and applications. The most essential thing is that each of the units you do get offers enough support, safety and stability to handle those variations easily and maximize every hunting trip you make in the wilds.