There have been several impressive innovations in the hunting industry over the past several years such as carbon arrows, mechanical broad heads, and scent elimination technology. With that said, the climbing tree stand has revolutionized bow hunting like no other piece of equipment since the compound bow. Climbing stands make it possible to take advantage of your available hunting time by allowing you to combine a scouting trip and an impromptu evening hunt or sneak into a new area at daylight, find a spot, and climb a tree.
In this article we’ll explore some of the factors in choosing thebest climbing tree standfor different situations but first let’s look at the advantages of the climbers.
Benefits of Climbers Over Conventional Tree Stands
- Light weight and Portable
- Allows hunters to be mobile in new areas and still have the ability to climb a tree
- Maintenance is virtually non-existent
I imagine we’ve all shared similar experiences of preseason hunting chores. For example, we can likely all remember balmy September afternoons lugging a bulky homemade hang on stand through the woods, sweat dripping off your forehead, and the stand getting caught on ever bush you pass. Usually you probably had a hunting buddy in tow carrying a ladder, cursing at you, and reminding you with every step how big a favor you owe him.
Perhaps you have a few old ladder stands, including your favorite one that’s nestled in among the cedars and produces deer, year in and year out. You have to do a routine yearly maintenance run on them to check for rotten plywood, spray the red wasp nest, and knock the possum droppings out of the way. Yeah, I still have some of those spots too. Those old permanent stands in our perennial spots definitely have their advantages and are worth maintaining if they are productive.
5 Top Rated Climbing Tree Stands
|Summit 180 Max SD||Best Climbing Tree Stand Overall|
Ol Man Multi Vision Steel Tree Climber
|Best Climbing Tree Stand for Bow Hunting|
Lone Wolf Sit and Climb Combo II
|Best Climbing Tree Stand for Big Guys & Gals|
Summit Cobra SD
|Lightest Climbing Tree Stand|
|Guide Gear Extreme Deluxe Tree Climber||Best Climbing Tree Stand for the Money|
Climbing Tree Stand Reviews
The following are reviews of the top 5 climbing stands which have been classified into which category they are best used for.
Best Climbing Tree Stand Overall
Because of the size and comfort it may become your favorite chair, rivaled only by your familiar old recliner that faces the television. The Mossy Oak Breakup Infinity pattern camouflage really makes it a good looking stand and its sure to be the envy of deer camp.TheSummit 180 Max SDis my number one choice of climbing stands. This stand comes complete with an adjustable height, reversible surround seat. The reversible seat feature is a plus for the firearms season allowing you to use the tree trunk as a rifle rest. Another benefit would be using the trunk for cover if you’re feeling exposed due to lack of foliage.
The Max SD has more going for it than merely appearance and comfort. It’s one of the sturdiest climbers on the market, constructed of extruded aluminum, all joints are precision fitted to snap together before being welded, a process they callSummitLokt. This extraordinary craftsmanship reduces stress on the weld as well as preventing the aluminum from making a popping noise when the hunter shifts his weight. Summit added an extra channel brace on the platform for a total of six channels for increased strength and safety, making the Max SD a great choice for the big and husky hunter. The end result is a piece of equipment you can have confidence in and rely on.
With the beefed up options of the Max SD you might expect it to weigh like a Buick. Amazingly the total weight is only 23 pounds yet the capacity rating is a whopping 350 pounds. It fits smaller trees from 8” as well as timber with larger trunks up to 20”. The platform is slightly longer than most, just shy of 31” providing the hunter a little added peace of mind as he pivots while at full draw.
- Strength and durability
- Reversible seat
- 350 lbs capacity rating
- Not the cheapest (however, you get what you pay for)
- Overall length of 38″ can be a bit awkward to carry
Best Climbing Tree Stand for Bow Hunting
The Ol’ Man is a relatively compact no frills type of stand and makes the boast of being the quietest stand on the market. This stand is equipped with Comfort Tech Mesh Seating, a very simple and basic concept. The mesh is suspended on the frame and acts as a hammock with no moving parts to rattle or produce noise. Ol Man Multi Vision Steel Tree Climberis a good choice for bow hunters that share my aversion to being encircled by a stands safety bar as I draw my bow. I personally find it distracting to worry that the cam or the bottom limb of my bow will come into contact when I release. The Ol’ Man gives you the option to discard the rail and replace it with a curved bar that serves as a foot rest or flip it over and it becomes a rifle rest, included in the purchase price of approximately $185 bucks. Ol Man brand also offers a very similar aluminum version that’s considerably lighter than the steel model but the price is more expensive.
Weighing in at 29 pounds the Ol’ Man Multi Vision stand is fairly heavy because of the quality steel construction and has a capacity rating of 300 lbs.
- No obstructions to interfere with your bow
- Solidly built
- Optional foot rest and gun rest
- The weight isn’t optimal
- Susceptible to rust
- Seat not optimal for comfort
Best Climbing Tree Stand for Big Guys & Gals
Most commercial climbing stands are secured to the tree via cables. The Sit and Climb has opted to utilize a virtually silent alternative method they refer to as a “traction belt.” The traction belt has the appearance of a glorified alternator belt in an 80’s model sedan but grips the tree so effectively that at times it may hinder your descent down the tree. Lone Wolf Sit and Climb Combo llThe Sit and Climb is a very unique for various reasons and differs from any other stand I’ve ever hunted in. The first noticeable difference is its razor thin 4” profile while in theback packposition. The stand folds away for transport quickly and quietly and only weighs 20 pounds.
Something else that makes this stand unique is the absence of an umbilical cord. For those not familiar with the term as applied to a deer stand, I’m not being morbid. I’m referring to the line that attaches the hand climbing portion to the platform section to prevent losing half the stand while climbing and being up the proverbial creek without a paddle. Lone Wolf has exchanged the umbilical cord in lieu of adjustable stabilizer straps. The stabilizer straps serve a multi function, once the hunter has climbed to the desired position they cinch the straps down good and tight to stabilize the top portion of the stand.
The next innovation is quite significant and I suppose is the reason this stand is christened the Sit and Climb. To use it you literally sit and climb. This function is facilitated by the pivoting seat bar, instead of the traditional way of supporting your weight with your forearms while raising the bottom section. In some climbing tree stand reviews, I’ve read negative comments about the lack of room on the platform, but the seat bar is designed to be pushed back toward the tree simply by pushing with the back of your leg providing more standing room.
One modification that would improve the Sit and Climb; it needs stirrups. The lack of any type of strap to secure my feet in a climbing stand is a short coming because of the necessity to elevate your heels and point your toes down while lifting the platform. I do however like the non slip surface design of the platform.
The Lone Wolf Sit and Climb ll is sturdy enough to boast a 350 lb capacity rating, this and the seat design makes it a good choice for my big and tall hunting brethren. The stand has a built in bow rack so you can keep both hands in your pockets on those blustery, cold morning hunts and a six point fall arrest system ( I guess that is a fancy way of saying safety harness) is included in the purchase price of around $400.00
- Compact and quiet
- Grips the tree well for security
- High weight capacity
- Light weight, only 20 lbs
- Sit while climbing instead of the convention style
- No stirrups or straps to secure your feet
- Not camouflaged
- Platform needs to be longer
Lightest Climbing Tree Stand
The Cobra has a generous balance of features and is comfortable enough for the long hunts when the bucks are chasing does. Hunters can raise the padded seat for archery season or lower it for the gun hunt. Summit Cobra SD. Weighing in at 18 pounds the Cobra is one of the lightest climbing stands out there. Don’t let the feather light feature mislead you, this Summit stand is made of the same strong extruded aluminum as its counterparts, the Summit Viper and the Summit Max 180 SD. The five channel platform frame provides a strong and durable hunting surface, allowing you to rein down on the quarry below.
This stand features Summit’s patented Rapid Climb climbing stirrups as well as Quick Draw Cable Retention System. Insert the coated cables, pull the trigger, and you’re locked on the tree.
Another feature that bears mentioning is Summit’s patented Dead Metal sound deadening technology. Basically sound deadening amounts to spraying the hollow tubing full of “foam in a can” to prevent vibrations and echoes that occur when anything such as a falling acorn strikes the stand.
The Cobra is built with a five channel platform frame and has a weight capacity of 300 lbs. The fabric on arm pads, seat, and backrest are Mossy Oak Breakup Infinity pattern camouflage and blend in naturally with the fall foliage of late fall, early winter. The Cobra sells for about $280 bucks and like all Summit stands purchase includes a 5 year warranty and a safety harness.
As you may have guessed, I’m a big Summit fan. Although I’m admittedly a protective parent, my boys have grown up hunting from Summit stands. Of course they grew up hunting from a couple of 2x4s and a piece of plywood also, the point being I trust Summit stands.
- Adjustable seat to optimize bow hunting or gun hunting
- Lightest, high quality stand available
- Dead Metal sound deadening technology
- 5 year warranty and safety harness included with purchase
- Lack of excess roominess
- Weight capacity is only standard
Best Climbing Tree Stand for the Money
Guide Gear Extreme Deluxe Tree Climberis an affordable option when the budget is tight and hunting season is approaching quickly. Hunting has several expenses and they mount up. Permits, broad heads, arrows…none of these things are cheap.
This climbing stand from Guide gear is available for less than $200.00. It may not be fancy but it will get you up a tree.
How the Climbing Tree Stand Works
The climbing tree stand works on very basic principal, it simply binds on the trunk of the tree creating a wedge that is held tight by the hunter’s weight. This binding effect is accomplished by the design that the clamping device encircling the trunk is elevated to a 30 degree angle above the stand’s main framework. The frame work of the stand is at a 90 degree angle to the tree giving the climbing stand two points of contacts anchored at two different angles. Factor in the weight of the person standing at the furthest distance from the tree as possible and you have created a bind that supports the stand, preventing any slippage.
You can watch this video for a visual reference.
Before climbing a tree for a hunt, make sure the top and bottom sections of the stand are tethered securely together with the umbilical cord and don’t forget to tie a retrieval rope to both your climbing stand as well as your bow.
Fasten the safety harness as high as you can reach and climb in small increments until you reach the safety harness base.
Reposition the harness and repeat this process taking your time and remember to never release the secure grip of either half of your stand until you are absolutely certain that the other half won’t slip. When used properly these stands are safe and extremely effective.
The latest model bow or the best climbing tree stand in the woods can’t guarantee a trophy whitetail. There is no substitute for tireless scouting, a sound wind strategy, and good old fashion persistence but there’s a lot to be said for being comfortable and feeling secure while up a tree. Until next time, keep your powder dry and your nose in the wind.