Providing you with a good vantage point for visibility while keeping you way beyond the deer’s line of sight, a tree stand also ensures that your scent is not easily detected by the wild game down below.
However, even if the purpose of a tree stand is pretty simple, it doesn’t mean you should just buy the first one you find. W
ith safety being of primary importance in this type of equipment, the tree stand should also be built for comfort and full functionality.
While you could always elect to make your own, a commercial tree stand should be purchased with thoughtful consideration of a number of aspects.
Below you can find reviews of the top climbing, ladder and hang on treestands.
- Best Tree Stand Reviews for 2022
- These are the best climbing tree stands:
- These are the best Best Ladder Tree Stands:
- These are the Best Hang-On Tree Stands
- Types of Tree Stands
- Properly Using A Tree stand
Best Tree Stand Reviews for 2022
These are the best climbing tree stands:
Easily one of the most popular climbing tree stands from Summit, the Viper SD delivers a fresh new way to survey your hunting terrain as you stay high up and safe in the trees. This tree stand is a lot more than just a portable model as it represents an exquisite combination of comfort, roominess, light weight and versatility to ensure that every hunting trip is exciting and productive for the hunting enthusiast. These are the reasons why this tree stand continues to be a favorite for almost two decades and running.
Perfectly Designed for Hunting
Definitely a solid choice for bow and rifle hunting, this model boasts a distinctive Combing Mossy Oak Breakup Infinity camo look that will be difficult for the target to detect. Keeping you concealed high up in the tree, the tree stand boasts quiet engineering so your target won’t sense your presence so easily. When used with the proper hunting apparel, the tree stand keeps you virtually invisible among the tree limbs and branches so you can take aim and shoot without being detected.
This unit comes with the legendary DeadMetal Sound deadening SD technology that ensures reduced noise thanks to the critical parts of the platform being filled in with specialty foam that expands so unintentional noises get dampened when you move on the platform. In addition, the QuickDraw® Cable retention system exclusive to Summit ensures a fast and quiet cable attachment system that is simple to maximize. Once you get the suitable cable sizing for the diameter of the tree trunk, just insert the cable into the suspension arm bracket then pull the trigger to lock the cable firmly into place. This eliminates the need to fumble with tricky nuts and bolts or knobs and pins, ensuring a secure yet silent attachment system.
Perfectly Comfortable and Safe
Equipped with an aluminum 5-channel platform frame, this tree stand ensures adequate support for you. It comes with the Summit Lokt® precision welding, which utilizes premium quality extruded aluminum plus exclusive precision welds to deliver high rating strength and superior toughness. With every joint virtually locked in place prior to the welding process, the tree stand joints ensure minimal stress delivery to them. This means you have a strong, secure and safe tree stand built to be deadly quiet.
What’s more, the ergonomically shaped RapidClimb® Climbing Stirrups are made adjustable so they can accommodate any size boot. The tree stand is designed to last for many hunting seasons and even ships to you with a dependable five-year limited warranty as your assurance of total quality and craftsmanship. The four-point safety harness enables safe, problem-free and effortless ascent and descent. The backrest adds to the comfort provided by the foam seat, so you can settle easily into your hunting stance and have a comfortable time waiting for your deer.
Perfect As It Is
This tree stand comes with everything you need so you won’t have to make additional purchases. Lightweight at only 20 pounds, this model can easily be carried to and from your hunting grounds. It comes with: an aluminum seat/climber frame; two coated steel climbing cables; a four-point Fall Arrest System (FAS) or harness with attached SRS strap and safety strap; RapidClimb Stirrups to hold your boots securely as you climb; three 16-inch zippered arm pads so you can comfortably rest your arms while waiting for your target; camo backpack straps for easy carrying to and from the site; a green utility strap by which you can bring your hunting weapon from the ground to the tree stand; a stand umbilical rope to keep the unit strapped to the tree.
The included written instructions simplify setup and usage of the unit. You can always refer to those instructions should any issues arise during the use of the tree stand. This model also comes with a safety and instructional DVD so you can be fully guided in the optimal use of the product. This tree stand is ideal for trees with trunk diameters of 8 to 20 inches, allowing you to select a healthy and capable tree on which to mount the unit.
2. Ol Man Steel Tree Climber Review – Best cheap climbing stand
Portable tree stands don’t come cheap, at least in many cases they don’t. Fortunately, that rule doesn’t apply in this situation since the Ol Man Steel Tree Climber is an affordable unit that could even speak to the requirements of beginning hunters. It’s convenient, easy to use, and easy to carry around, and we’ll do our best at detailing its most important features below.
If you want to be able to pick a good vantage point apart from your hunting friends so that you can go after your dream buck all on your own, this tree stand will definitely prove its worth in most situations. Also, if you usually hunt alone or if you hate hunting from the same spot time and again, this type of portable alternative definitely suits your needs.
This lightweight tree stand allows you to benefit from excellent portability since it weighs in at just 29 pounds. It measures 22 by 6.5 by 36.5 inches, and we’d argue that the size is reasonable considering that it should never be too small so that you can sit in it in a comfortable manner. In short, with this alternative, you can enjoy the freedom of choosing whatever tree you want since all you have to do is unfold the stand and set it up conveniently.
As its name suggests right off the bat, this product is crafted from steel. On the one hand, you have the advantage of it being able to stand the test of time so that it serves you for as many hunting seasons as possible. This means that you will be spared the expense of another tree stand that you’d probably have to purchase if you were to go for a lower quality alternative. The steel construction also renders it reliable when you’re shifting in it. Without a doubt, you are going to do just that after sitting in the tree stand for an hour or so. Luckily, the steel design will allow you to remain safely put.
Comfortable and easy to use
Another aspect that needs to be taken into account is that this product is outfitted with a mesh seat in which you can sit for as many as several hours without feeling any discomfort. The foot rest pads are fine and they’re sizeable enough to allow you to focus on your target instead of trying to adjust your body position time and again. Additionally, it comes with two padded rails, but you can remove one if you find no use for it so that you can maneuver your weapon of choice as best as possible. The seat measures 18 by 32 inches, so it is one of the biggest in its line.
A silent partner
An area where this particular tree stand really shines is its quiet design. Based on the claims of the manufacturing brand as well as the reviews it has garnered from actual hunters, once you set it up and sit in it, you can forget about it. It will definitely not scare off your prey, unlike many other of its competitors, which seem to be made poorly on this account.
It’s often that tree stands are designed for one purpose and only one type of hunting. Naturally, if you were to benefit from one that can suit several applications, it would be far better. What do you know? This one can do just that. You can set it up with the classic straight bar or you can install it with the reversible foot rest/gun rest. This kind of design will allow you to get the most out of your purchase and obviously, it will make the tree stand offer good value for the money.
Since most of the manufacturing companies that make tree stands nowadays are focused on providing hunters with as many safety features as possible, you’ll find that this particular one doesn’t disappoint in this sense, either. Some buyers actually argue that the extra safety measures are almost comical since they are rarely required. For example, the strap connection hardware comes with a safety pin and a screw, the seat is equipped with netting plus straps that run under it, and these might make its operation cumbersome.
All in all, this climbing tree stand seems to be worthy of your consideration since it doesn’t force anyone to break the bank, it has a weight capacity of 300 pounds, it’s made of steel, and it comes with every safety feature you might want from it.
If you want to rest assured that the Summit Treestands SU81119 is going to be fully capable of handling both your body weight and that of your hunting gear, you needn’t worry about anything. This product is made to last, it’s convenient and easy to use, and most of all, it is capable of supporting as much as 350 pounds of weight, which makes it one of the most reliable climbing tree stands. Its construction is also durable, which means you won’t have to replace it ahead of time. Besides, it is equipped with most of the safety features you might want to see in such a product. Let’s look at what makes it stand out from the crowd so that you understand whether it’s a good choice for you or not.
The Goliath SD has one of the biggest platforms on the market today since it measures 20 by 26.5 inches. What this means is that big guys have a lot more maneuverability as well as clearance and that they can handle their weapon comfortably and conveniently, therefore making a clean kill way more often.
As for the construction of this product, you’ll be glad to know that it is crafted from aluminum, which means that it is capable of holding your weight but it’s not overly heavy. If it were to be made from steel, you’d undoubtedly find it a bit challenging to carry around. It weighs a little more than 21 pounds, but that certainly seems a reasonable trade-off given the fact that it can securely hold you and your equipment.
Its lightweight design is one of the features that recommend it. It’s highly portable, so you can just grab it and install it in another tree if you’re under the feeling that the vantage point you’ve used until now is no longer effective.
Now that we have established that this is a reliable tree stand we’re tackling, let’s look at some of the features that make this product unique compared to its competitors, especially in terms of design. First off, this one comes in a camo design, so it can seamlessly integrate into the hunting environment, allowing you to benefit from excellent stealth. While you might argue that this feature could be unnecessary given that you’ll on a higher plane than your targets, you’re not invisible from a distance.
The bigger frame that the Goliath has been equipped with gives you enough room and plenty of opportunity to benefit from its strength, rigidity and sturdiness. It measures 21.75 by 26.5 inches, so it’s even bigger than its older family member, the Viper. When it comes to portability, this product is a net winner since it is outfitted with backpack straps that allow you to carry it conveniently and effectively.
Easy setup and easy use
The Goliath SD comes with RapidClimb Stirrups and the Summit Lokt, much like many of the other models made by this particular brand. It’s quite easy to set up, at least based on the feedback that we have come across in this sense, but we do have to make a note regarding the instruction manual since there have been complaints about it not being very clear. As such, you’ll require some time to get used to it.
The unit comes with a backrest, as well as a suspended foam-padded seat that will enable you to remain comfortable all throughout an entire hunting day.
With most other tree stands, you have to manage an inconvenience as best as possible and it consists of the fact that they tend to make a lot of noise as you stretch or change your body position once you’ve been sitting in it for several hours. You won’t have to worry about losing your stealth and inaudibility with this model, though, since it boasts Summit’s DeadMetal Sound Deadening Technology.
There are critical parts of the stand where metal could have come in contact with metal, and these have been filled with expanding foam. As such, this is one of the quietest units in its class. Naturally, noise reduction plays an important part in keeping you concealed.
4. Summit Treestands 180 Max SD Review – One of the safest climber stands
The 180 Max SD Climbing Tree Stand by Summit is one of the favorite options of most hunters out there. It is a great choice for a crossbow hunter, but if you use a gun every now and then, this product can also meet your expectations. This particular unit is loaded with a variety of features, so we do have to note that it is not the most affordable alternative ever to have seen the light of day. However, it is an investment that really makes sense for a hunter who is either professional or hunts to feed his or her family.
Weight capacity and safety features
You’ll be happy to know that this stand comes with a weight capacity of 350 pounds, which means that it can be used by heavier hunters or those who like to use as much gear as possible. Remember, when picking out a tree stand, you always have to consider your own body weight but also that of your equipment. Otherwise, you might risk endangering yourself by overdoing it.
One of the best features which ensure your safety as you’re waiting for a prey to make its presence known in the environment consists of the full body harness that this model comes equipped with. You can use the bungee cords that are included in the purchase either to adjust yourself, your gear as you are sitting on the tree, or you can utilize them to carry the stand on your backpack.
Furthermore, this particular tree stand comes equipped with the brand’s proprietary SummitLokt technology which means that, while this product is crafted from aluminum, it has been welded precisely so that it offers excellent rigidity and maximum strength. Every joint has been locked into place before being welded and each and every one of them is made specifically so that the stress on the weld is minimal.
This product has a camouflage pattern on the arm rests and the seat, and the round seat that it comes with allows you to turn in any direction for quick and effortless position changes. It also has a significantly larger platform compared to many other models, including many developed by the same manufacturing company. You have a bit more space available for stretching out your legs.
Another aspect that ensures you remain concealed and inaudible in the hunting environment is the fact that the product boasts a foam-filled aluminum frame. What this means is that, as you start to feel tempted to change your position following several hours where you’ve focused on your prey, there won’t be any metal on metal sounds to scare your potential targets away.
Comfort and portability
We would like to note that this isn’t a highly portable alternative since it weighs in at 23 pounds. In case you didn’t know, there are tree stands that weigh just about seventeen pounds, and so they are significantly lighter. However, do consider that those also have limitations in terms of the amount of gear you can take with you on the tree or your specific weight.
As stated previously, this one comes with a sizeable platform thanks to which you can stretch your legs. Furthermore, it boasts an extended top backrest, so you can benefit from comfortable support even if you are taller than the average individual. Another aspect you might want to know about is that the seat is height adjustable, which means that you can customize it according to your own physical attributes. It’s becoming rather clear that this tree stand can offer you a lot in the way of making sure that your hunting experience is as comfortable as possible.
Everything you need to get started
Aside from all of the advantages you will be able to benefit from if you decide to go for this option, there’s another thing you have to consider and it’s that the Summit Treestands 180 Max SD comes with everything you might require. What that means is that the box includes a 4-point safety harness, pads, hardware, straps, and ropes, as well as Rapid Climb Stirrups. So, even though it is not the most budget-friendly unit out there, it’s definitely capable of offering plenty of value.
These are the best Best Ladder Tree Stands:
5. Guide Gear 18’ Jumbo Ladder Review – A value ladder
The Jumbo Ladder Tree Stand by Guide Gear is a durable and convenient alternative for the solo hunter. It boasts a rugged construction that enables it to withstand the test of time and it is sizeable enough for it to be comfortable even if you sit in it for as many as several hours at a time. The platform that it has been equipped with is also something to write home about since its size will allow you to stretch your feet. Since it is one of the most critically acclaimed options in its class, we’ll detail some of its features below so that you can make up your mind about whether you should give it a try or not.
If you’re wondering whether you will be forced to replace your tree stand even before the hunting season ends, then you needn’t worry about that with this product since it is made from sturdy material. Its steel construction makes it the perfect choice for a hunter who wants to know that he or she will be able to use this tree stand for as many as several years and even more. Based on the reviews we’ve come across, it seems that all of the parts of this product are welded effectively, so you needn’t worry about the unit getting a bit unstable and jeopardizing your safety.
Whenever you get a brand new tree stand, you have to do your research with regard to whether the model can keep you secure or not. Fortunately, this one comes with all of the accessories and gear that’s necessary to ensure your safety. The product includes a full-body safety harness, and needless to say, this extra is quite effective when it comes to keeping you strapped onto the tree stand. It also comes with two stabilizer straps, one ratchet strap, as well as a support bar that can be adjusted as per your specific requirements.
It goes without saying that using such a beneficial vantage point will give you an advantage over your potential targets, but the truth is that sitting on a tree for a long time can be more or less uncomfortable. Fortunately, this particular model can help you out in this respect since it is equipped with a platform that measures 24 by 25 inches, so you can conveniently utilize it to stretch your feet out.
The seat boasts a flip-up design and measures 13.25 by 26.25 by 19 inches, so you can make your shots both when you are sitting and when you are standing. On top of everything, the Jumbo Ladder Tree Stand by Guide Gear comes fitted with padded armrests, which can both provide you with the comfort you need and they can also assist you in steadying your shot.
There’s not a lot to take into account when analyzing the design of this product. It resembles many other tree stands with regard to its structure. While it does come with a camo design, the choice of colors might make it suitable only for a limited number of hunting environments. Even so, the unit does include a flip-up shooting rail that can give you the stability you might require from time to time. There’s also a flip-up foot rest that you can use when you start to get the feeling you’ve been keeping your feet in the same position for too long.
The model measures eighteen inches on the whole and the ladder width is 15 inches while the rungs are 16 inches apart. It’s also worth noting that this tree stand weighs in at 68.5 pounds, so you will have to make a bit of effort to get it up where you want it to be. The weight capacity is the standard one for a product in this line since it can hold up to 300 pounds. We do have to note that you should consider both your weight and that of your hunting equipment so as to prevent exceeding this weight capacity. The last thing you might want to do would be to make the tree stand unstable just because you want to use several weapons, for example.
These are the Best Hang-On Tree Stands
6. Millennium Treestands M100U Loc-On Review – Best Portable, Lightweight Stand
Made 20 percent lighter than the original M100, the M100U proves that the best can get better in more ways than ever. This tree stand delivers next generation innovation and comfort with its upgraded build without compromising on safety and comfort. The intelligent design is made for the hunting enthusiast who aims to make the most out of every hunting season without spending too much on supporting equipment.
The amazing Millennium Treestands M100U underlines the importance of reduced equipment weight in hunting gear. If you have to trudge many miles to the hunting site, it wouldn’t do to be burdened with too much weight, which will tire you out easily even before you get to the perfect tree. You need to conserve energy to be able to hitch the unit to the tree and bring it to the perfect surveying level. Weighing in at just 11 ½ pounds, this tree stand won’t even feel like a heavy-duty piece of hunting equipment at all. Proven to be the lightest lock-on tree stand from Millennium, this product will be a joy to bring along as you traipse around the hunting site.
Get all-day comfort while hunting as you sit high up waiting for the deer to come. This tree stand is equipped with a freshly designed seat that you can raise or lower according to your desired height up to 17 inches for a better viewing level. The aluminum construction makes the seat lightweight while still being able to carry a maximum weight rating of 300 pounds. The tree stand features a seat that measures 17 inches deep and 20 inches wide so there’s enough room to get to a comfortable sitting position during the hunt. The platform is 20 inches wide and 38 inches deep and provides adequate space to move around while observing the area below. You can add to the already comfortable design of the seat by purchasing a shooting rail separately on which to rest your weapon while waiting.
If you wish, you can also add a camlock ratchet strap receiver to make installation easier. The tree stand has been certified to the strict standards of the Treestand Manufacturers Association, which serves as your assurance of reliable performance and quality craftsmanship. The tree stand folds flat with ease so you can carry it like a backpack as you move around on the forest floor.
The unit comes with a full body harness that has also been given certification by the TMA to signify its adherence to the standards of the industry, thus ensuring safety. The seat folds up and out of the way so you have more space to take aim and get the perfect shot while standing so you can bring down that prized buck. The limited lifetime warranty testifies to the manufacturer’s commitment to making a trustworthy product that can last for years and for many hunting seasons.
The durable powder coat finish ensures safety by being free of harmful chemicals such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and solvents that are typical elements of ordinary paint. With this tree stand, you always have enough room to feel stable even when you have to take awkwardly difficult shots. The product accommodates up to 300 pounds weight so you can rest easy while being above the ground.
Easy and Comfortable to Use
The tree stand features Millennium Treestands’ proprietary comfortMAX contoured, tight sling seat in which you can settle comfortably while lying in wait for the prey. It is engineered to be quiet so it won’t scare the deer away with unwanted noise from the structural components. Easy to set up, this tree stand comes with a camlock receiver to ensure problem-free and quick anchoring to the tree. You can easily fit a bow holder to the seat to keep your hands free while waiting. You can also add a foot rest for greater comfort. This tree stand boasts a solid build that you can rely on for many years. Get it now and be sure to make excellent trophy catches every hunting season.
7. Guide Gear Hunting Hang On Tree Stand Review – Best for the money
If you have recently begun your hunting adventures and you aren’t looking to spend a fortune on a tree stand, then perhaps this one by Guide Gear might be a reasonable choice. It is durable, quite comfortable, and above all, especially for beginning hunters, it is affordable. Its compact build will allow you to carry it with you effectively and conveniently, therefore allowing you to change your vantage point as you wish. There are several features that you ought to be interested in if you’re considering purchasing this option, so let’s have a look at some of the most important aspects that you ought to keep in mind.
Probably the best thing about this particular tree stand is that it isn’t too hefty and won’t hang heavy when attached to your backpack. The product weighs in at just eighteen pounds, which means that it is among the lightest in its class. Based on the information that we have gathered by going through the reviews provided by some of the other hunters who have given it a shot in the past, this one is relatively easy to set up, allowing you to get up there and have a good look at your potential targets in a timely fashion.
It measures 29 by 20.5 by 4.2 inches on the whole, which means that maneuvering it won’t necessarily be a hassle unlike what you’d have to go through with some of its competitors.
Surely you are not in the market for a tree stand that fails to meet your expectations in this respect, so you want a product that’s capable of standing the test of time and that is able to serve you for as many hunting seasons as possible. Fortunately, that is just the case with the Guide Gear Hunting Hang On Tree Stand since it boasts a steel construction.
On the one hand, you have the advantage of the steel build which definitely adds to the ruggedness of the model. On the other, if it had been constructed from aluminum, it would have been just a little lighter and as such, a bit easier to transport.
Since rust is an issue that has been reported by some of the other hunters who’ve tried out this stand, we recommend using an anti-rust spray right after receiving the product and then covering it in matte paint. This method seems to work pretty well in most cases.
You might be tempted to think that this unit doesn’t necessarily take the cake when it comes to safety since it doesn’t come with that many parts as some of the others available on the market today. However, we couldn’t avoid noticing that the product is accompanied by a FAS safety harness as well as two ratchet straps, so there’s pretty much nothing to worry about in this respect. The platform cables are deemed strong both by the manufacturing brand and by those who’ve provided feedback in the past. You can definitely benefit from secure stability if you decide to go for this option.
This is perhaps one of the areas where this tree stand doesn’t shine. While the platform is sizeable enough for you to stretch your legs when you’ve been waiting for a target for quite some time, the seat doesn’t come with a backrest, which might bother some prospective buyers. Nevertheless, that’s probably the trade-off that the designers of this model have had to make so as to ensure that the product is affordable in the end. The foot platform measure 18 by 25.5 inches, so that should be enough for most users.
It’s also worth noting that the seat is padded and that its flip-up design won’t raise any technical difficulties. The closed-cell foam cushion boasted by the seat will ensure that at least your bottom is comfortable if your back can’t be for a prolonged period.
In a nutshell, while it might not be an excellent alternative for those hunters that are entirely focused on getting the most comfortable tree stand ever to have seen the light of day, this one’s pretty decent for the cost and it offers plenty of value for the money.
8. Millennium Treestands M150 Monster Review – Most comfortable hang on stand
The M150 Monster model by Millennium Treestands is one of the most popular in its class, but that should not come as a surprise given the many benefits it can offer to hunters. It is comfortable, easy to carry from one tree to the next, and it has been made with durable materials. We will detail all of the most important features of this option below so that you can make up your mind about whether you need to consider it or not.
Comfortable for you
We decided to start with this particular aspect because it can either make or break a stand. Probably the most significant advantage of the Millennium Treestands M150 Monster is its design since it boasts a mesh seat that stretches so as to hold your weight, while still remaining rigid enough. It has been designed to be ergonomic, and you can even customize its height as per your physical attributes and personal preferences.
You can also adjust the height of the seat and even flip it up so as to take standing shots. That is a feature you won’t find in many other hang-on tree stands, and it’s quite important especially for bowhunters. The product offers you plenty of room to maneuver your weapon, and since the platform that it has been equipped with measures 24 inches in width and 37 inches in depth, you won’t have any difficulty with wide stances, especially if the seat is flipped up. The platform is somewhat wider compared to many other products that we have come across, so you can comfortably stretch out your legs when you have been sitting in the same position for too long. The product is even outfitted with a foot rest, and that’s another benefit to mull over.
It goes without saying that you aren’t interested in spending your money on a tree stand that doesn’t last you for as many hunting seasons as possible. Well, you’ll be happy to know that this particular one boasts an all-steel construction. Its flat-fold design makes it easily transportable, and the thing to write home about is its welded steel construction. There is nothing to worry about with regard to durability. We would also like to add that we haven’t come across any complaints regarding rust with this product, and that’s all thanks to its powder coat finish.
The M150 is a bit heavier compared to some of the other hang-on tree stands we have analyzed to bring you this information. Weighing in at 19.5 pounds, it’s certainly a little hefty compared to some of its competitors, especially those that don’t come with a seat with a backrest. However, if you are focused on comfort and you want to spend a whole day out hunting, this product is undoubtedly worth giving a try. You will be glad to know that this unit accommodates hunters and their gear that weigh up to 300 pounds. That makes it pretty convenient and versatile, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should carry more gear with you since the tree stand can hold it. Keep your equipment as light as possible for maximum movability.
An aspect that does make this unit easily transportable is the fact that it comes with backpack straps that are built in the structure of the stand.
The build and the overall design of this product should give you the reassurance you need when you’re sitting on a tree. We would like to add that it comes with a harness, but that the latter does not include the carabiners. However, the safety rope with the special knot does come with one carabiner. The two ratchet straps are described by other hunters that have used this unit before as being thick and good quality, so definitely different from the cheap thin straps you might get with other tree stands in the same category. Many users say that they feel rather safe while they are sitting in it, so that’s something else you ought to consider.
Since the product is not accompanied by a climber, you could use climbing sticks but you have to make sure that you utilize a safety belt. All in all, this comfortable model should last you for a long time and should even enhance your hunting performance due to its features. There is a reason why it made it in our “top hang-on tree stands” list.
Types of Tree Stands
Tree stands are generally available in fixed, climbing and ladder styles. Let’s take a quick look at the attributes of each style so you can choose the best tree stand for you.
Climbing Tree Stands
With climber tree stands or as some people call them, climbing tree stands, a hunter can just backpack the stand to the best place for it. Of course the hunter will have to find a fairly large tree with a straight trunk and a minimal amount of obstructing limbs at the preferred stand height.
Looking for the best climbing tree stand? Climber tree stands come with a top part to sit on and a bottom part for the legs to rest on. They take a little getting used to in order to get up the tree to the level you want. It’s not necessarily an easy thing to do but then just climbing a tree is not that easy to do either. From a weight perspective, you can expect them to weigh close to 30 pounds.
In my opinion the best type of climber tree stands use a cable instead of a chain to attach themselves to the tree. You should also make sure that it is large enough to accommodate you and that the view is unobstructed with 180 degree sweep visibility.
Mother nature equips animals such as deer with a lot of defense mechanisms. The most acute is smell, but sight is also a strong factor. That being the case, be sure the stand cannot easily be seen. Some hunters believe that just because they are above eye level everything is okay. That may be the case, but for example, if there is a hillside near the tree stand location then at some point it may actually be at eye level with the game. Also, you don’t want to place it on a completely bare side of a tree. It will surely be noticed as something new and something to be avoided by the game.
Climbing tree stands are the best option when looking at all types of tree stands. They are relatively light (around 30 pounds) and can be backpacked in and aren’t that difficult to move to a new location. The combination of gravity and the cable or chain is what keeps them attached to the trees. Personally I prefer the cable type.
Watching a hunter raise a climber tree stand looks a bit like a caterpillar action to me.
Climber Tree Stands Cautions
Okay we know they are light and can be easily moved but we should also point out their biggest disadvantage. They are smaller and not nearly as stable as a permanent one. It can take some getting used to. They don’t feel all that stable and that can be distracting until you get used to it. But after one or two deer hunts (or other type of game) you should feel comfortable.
About the only other thing to mention is that somehow the best spots don’t seem to have large enough or straight enough trees to mount them too. I know it’s probably just me and a little bit of the ‘grass is always greener’ syndrome. But just know that the perfect spot you find may not work for a climber tree stand.
So what is the best climbing tree stand? I personally advise to spend a good amount of money and get a proven quality climbing treestand such as the Summit Viper SD Climbing Treestand (amazon.com) or the Lone Wolf Hand Climber Combo II (amazon.com). When it comes to my safety I want to take as less risk as possible so I only use the best products.
These tree stands are, as the name implies, built with a ladder that is generally around 15 feet tall. A platform and a seat are built into the top of the ladder. The tree stand rests against a tree and is attached to it at the platform and about halfway up the ladder. Those are great and easy to use because you can virtually sit anywhere you can find a tree. Branches and crooked trees are generally not a huge problem with ladder style tree stands. Their downside is that they can be very heavy and it usually takes 2 people to put up on a tree safely. That’s the reason why most bow hunters leave them in their original location once they are set up.
So what is the best ladder tree stand? My recommendation here is either this ladder stand by Summit (Amazon.com) or the Millennium L-110 Single Ladder Treestand (amazon.com link) depending on your budget and how roomy you want it.
Fixed Position Tree Stands
The original tree stand design, fixed position or hang-on tree stands are a platform with a seat that is attached to the tree usually with a strap or a chain. How you get up the tree is up to you. These stands are very lightweight and you can put them on almost any tree you like. They can be placed in very tight quarters and if you like to hunt in heavy cover for concealment they are an excellent choice.
As for climbing the tree, most hunters use screw win style steps. Just as the name implies, these steps are pointed and threaded on one end and shaped into a step. You screw the step into the tree trunk one at a time until you reach your desired height. This can be very hard work and time consuming as well. A hunting friend of mine takes a cordless drill with him to drill pilot holes for the steps, making it easier to get them started in the tree. Another option is small ladder sections. These are becoming very popular because they are easier to attach to the tree, but they add weight to your load going in.
Fixed position tree stands are generally left in their location like ladder stands because it can be time consuming and hard work to move these.
A good option -the best hang on tree stand from my experience- to consider is the Lone Wolf alpha II hang-on treestand (amazon.com link).
Which type I Personally Use
I own a ladder style tree stand that I bought to hunt a particularly well used deer run through a stand of pines and some very mature, gnarly old trees. It conceals me well and is always there ready for me to quietly climb up into and hunt. I also own a climbing tree stand that allows me to hunt a number of areas on that same property. It is light enough to carry on my back a mile or so to these other stand locations and allows me the flexibility to get into and out of different trees even in the same day if I’m not seeing deer.
I do not own a fixed position or hang-on style tree stand, but have sat in many over the years hunting with friends. I love the flexibility they provide when it comes to choosing a tree to set up in. These tree stands also allow you to sit in thicker cover with branches to break up your outline. The platforms are generally smaller than those on climbing tree stands so comfort and even safety can be an issue. Again, similar to the ladder style tree stand, they are there waiting for you to hunt and very quiet to get into quickly in the dark.
Your tree stands should be quiet to set up, they should be quiet when you are sitting in them and shift your weight and they should be matched to the type of trees you predominantly hunt in.
Properly Using A Tree stand
Hunting from a tree stand is one of the best ways to regularly get close to whitetail deer. The elevated position they provide place you outside the cone of vision of a deer, which is generally focused on what is happening at ground level. A treestand will help you get into position to draw undetected and even control the distribution of your scent to some degree.
How high is high enough?
The point about how high to hang a tree stand is hotly debated among bow hunters. My belief is that it first and foremost depends on your comfort level with heights and secondly on the terrain and cover you are hunting. If you are uncomfortable with heights you will not feel at ease in a tree stand. Having said that, I have a friend that regularly reaches heights in excess of 20 feet. To understand teh height, my rope to raise my bow to the stand maxes out at 18 feet. We both have success, but I need to hunt just a bit differently to make up for the lower height of my stands; many times just 12 feet off the ground. I simply seek out for those trees and areas that have better cover closer to the ground or those areas where I can use the rising or setting sun in my favor to keep deer from spotting me. My friend, being at much bigger heights doesn’t have that much to worry about- he overcomes some of these obstacles I face by getting higher and higher.
Hanging your tree stand in the proper location is more than just finding that pinch point or creek crossing the deer favor. It means that after you find that spot, selecting the right stand location on the spot. Hopefully, you will have at least a few trees to choose from within bow range of the trail. At First, I consider the direction of travel of the deer and look for trees in an area downwind of where the deer will approach. Secondly, I look for a good sized tree, because I feel more secure in a thick tree and I can better hide against it or behind it depending on how the deer are approaching. I like a tree at least 3/4 as wide as my shoulders. Third, I look for a tree that is in a stand of other trees to provide some cover behind me. One of my favorite tree stand sites is an old gnarled tree that has 5 main trunks coming out of one stump. It sits on a hillside with an old road bed below it. It is tough to get up the first few feet of the tree, but once I hook my lower platform of my climbing tree stand I can pull myself up and continue the process. I can only get up 10 feet off the ground in this tree, but the deer generally approach from the road bed which is another 4-8 feet below the tree adding some height to my position. The other tree trunks also provide me great cover once in my tree stand. In addition to the wind you can also use the sun to your benefit by positioning the stand so that a rising sun will be at your back while hunting in the morning. Deer looking up in your direction will not see you through the glare from the sun. Similarly, if you have an evening stand, pay attention to the path of the setting sun.
Not enough can be said or written about safety in a tree stand. Many manufacturers have started to provide a safety harness of some sort with the purchase of their stands. If you prefer a different style of safety harness that’s fine, but with the variety of styles on the market there should be no excuses about it being uncomfortable or in the way. You need to fasten yourself to the tree when you are climbing the tree and also when you are on the tree stand. It could save your life.
I hunted from the ground for the first 8 years and saw plenty of deer. Most of them were spooked or at least slightly aware of my presence and in some instances I just couldn’t hunt effectively. When I switched to a tree stand the number of deer I saw went through the roof and ironically, the best stand sites remain those that I still hunted through for years. Still hunting allowed me to constantly scout while hunting and the information I gathered on deer movement translated into great stand locations once I had the right tools and an understanding of proper placement.
A good tree stand will be quiet, easy to get into and out of the woods and should allow you some degree of flexibility in its placement. Climbing stands are not useful if all the trees in your area are covered with branches right to the ground. Similarly, if all the trees in your area are tall and straight and there is not much for cover at 20 feet up in the way of branches from other trees, a ladder stand is not going to be very effective because it will only allow you to get about 15 feet above the ground.
You can always take a tree stand safety course given by the Treestand Manufacturers Association together with other organizations in order to ensure that you really know how to make the most of a tree stand during hunting. That being said, there are some basic pointers you really need to focus on when using a tree stand. Whether you are a novice hunter or a seasoned deer hunter, these are the important things you need to remember.
Familiarize yourself thoroughly with the tree stand you buy.
Never assume that just because a tree stand is cited to be easy to use, you don’t really need the manufacturer’s instructions to set it up. On the contrary, you will have to read and understand the instructions and guidelines supplied in the manual of the unit prior to going out in the wild to use it. Practice using the tree stand both in the morning and evening to ensure you can set it up even with your eyes closed.
More importantly, remember to inspect every component carefully before use, making sure there are no rusty or worn out parts or cracks, no missing or loose bolts and nuts, no visible metal fatigue, rotting or deterioration. Do this too after use in case the problems only show then. Replace worn or corroded hardware immediately and tighten any loose elements. Chains, straps or other attachment points should show no signs of wearing out. Promptly replace any parts that appear unsafe for use.
Consult the corresponding link, if any, of the Consumer Product Safety Commission on any product recalls on tree stands to make sure the product you have isn’t one of them.
Let your loved ones know of your hunting plans.
Before leaving home, make sure your family and friends know exactly where to find you in case of emergencies. Leave a copy of your hunting itinerary with them, including the location of the tree stand you’ll be using. Whenever possible, go to the hunting ground with a hunting buddy and if you intend to use separate sites, let them know where yours is. Have a means of communication on hand, such as a cellphone or walkie-talkie. Keep track of the time you’ll be spending out and stick to your schedule.
Have a whistle, strobe, horn or any signaling device in your hunting pack. Make sure the device is loaded with fresh batteries.
Observe safety before and when leaving the ground.
Select a proper or good tree to which a lock-on or climbing tree stand is to be attached. The tree should show no visible signs of rot or damage. Stick to the tree size specifications and restrictions for the tree stand.
Be sure you are harnessed up with an effective, high quality and strong fall arrest system as you go up the tree. Make sure the tree stand has secure attachment to the tree trunk. Use a haul line or rope to get your hunting gear up to the trees tand after you’ve climbed up, so your hands are free while ascending. Make sure that your hunting firearm or bow is unloaded before climbing and before leaving the tree stand. If you’re sick, tired or on medication, do not use a tree stand. Inspect the condition of the tree stand and safety harness before use and during every season.
Check that the tree steps or ladder on a fixed or ladder tree stand are secure or tightly attached to the tree. Use tree stands extra carefully during ice, snowy or rainy conditions. Remember to have three points of contact to the ladder or steps when going up to and down from the tree stand. Inch your way up one foot at a time using slow and consistent movements.
Know your limits and those of the tree stand.
Don’t take chances by going beyond your own physical limitations. Don’t go any higher than necessary. An elevated tree stand should be less than ten feet above the ground, so don’t test yourself by going any higher than that.
In order to choose the best tree stand for you you first need to decide on what type you prefer and then read some tree stand reviews to make the right decision.