The Best Ladder Stands For Safe And Secure Elevated Hunting


Hunting from an elevated stand gives you a stealthy position and great vantage point to get the lay of the land. Tree stands come in all shapes and sizes, including the ladder stand, which makes it easy and comfortable to hang out and wait for your target to come into range. Ladder stands are among the easiest elevated stands to place and are comfortable for hunters of all ages and experience levels, giving them a 270-degree field of view, and a considerable opportunity for success.

Best Ladder Stands

  • Best Overall: Hawk 20-Foot Big Denali 1.5-Seat Ladder Stand
  • Best Value: Guide Gear 15.5-Foot Ladder Stand
  • Best Two-Person Stand: Hawk 18-Foot Denali 2-Man Ladder Stand
  • Best Extra-Wide Seat: Guide Gear 20-Foot 2-Man Double Rail Ladder Stand with Hunting Blind
  • Best Tall: Primal Treestands Mac Daddy Xtra Wide 22-Foot Ladder Stand
  • Best for Bowhunting: Big Game Hunter HD 1.5-Seat Ladder Stand

The Expert (Nancy Jo Adams):

What to Consider When Buying a Ladder Stand

Ladder stands have become a vital piece of hunting gear in regions from the Midwest to the Southeast, where woodland hunting allows you to make effective use of an elevated position in high-traffic areas.

That said, ladder stands are bulky and often quite heavy. Frequently weighing 50- to 100 pounds, they are generally too heavy to carry in and set up and on a single-day hunt. It always pays to look for a lightweight option, but don’t get too hung up on weight: Every ladder stand will be heavy, so it’s more important to focus on the details that will set you up for success.

Safety First: Always Wear a Harness

When using a stand or hunting from an elevated blind, you should always wear a safety harness. All of our picks lift you around 20 feet in the air: Without a harness, slipping or missing a step could lead to a fall, which could kill you.

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If you need a harness to go with your stand, look for a “full-body” harness, which alleviates pressure that could cut off circulation to your limbs or torso. We recommend the Hunter Safety System Hanger Harness for hanging stands or the Hunter Safety System X1 or similar for all-season hunting. Both are easy to use and fit well under your hunting jacket and hunting pants.


There’s no point in using an elevated stand if you don’t get up high enough to avoid detection. If your stand is too low, your prey might be able to see or smell you. We’ve found that most hunters should look for a stand that’s 18- to 22 feet high, and our picks are all in that range. Manufacturers typically measure stand height from the ground to the platform, seat, or rail. (They’ll tell you which one with the specs.)

A taller stand makes it hard to line up your shots, though, so keep that in mind when picking out your stand. If you’re hunting in an area with thick brush and cover, you can get away with something shorter-around 10- to 12 feet high. A few ladder stands feature an adjustable ladder, allowing you to hit both sweet spots with a single stand. It’s a very useful perk, but not a standard feature.


The main disadvantage of a ladder stand is its size. It is bulky and often heavy compared to other types of stands, which may or may not be a problem for you on a hunt. It’s worthwhile to invest in a stand designed to weigh less, but don’t sacrifice comfort for the sake of a smaller, more portable stand. There are no ultralight options, and you may be up there for a while.

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Keep in mind whether you plan to carry and set up the stand on your own or with a hunting partner. Remember that some stands are designed for solo outings, and others are made with a duo in mind.

Load Capacity

Make sure your stand can handle the weight you plan to put on it. That means everyone who plans to use it, plus the weight of their gear. Your stand’s load capacity should be significantly higher than that number. You do not want to exceed the limit because you brought some extra stuff.

Seat Size & Style

The seat quality is essential to any ladder stand. You will not be still if you are uncomfortable, and moving around can ruin your hunt quickly. Ladder stands generally come in single seats, extra-wide “1.5 seats,” and double seats for hunting duos.

Ladder stand seats are usually made with waterproof nylon or Cordura exterior and a 1- to 2 inch foam insert, or a tightly woven mesh material riveted to a metal frame, similar to some patio furniture. Many seats will flip up out of the way, allowing full access to the platform, which is especially helpful for bowhunters, who need more room to draw and shoot.


The rail on your ladder stand is, first and foremost, a shooting rest for guns and crossbows. It is not a safety feature. Wear a safety harness.

Ideally, you should look for a padded railing, which allows you to rest your weapon without marring the weapon’s finish, and adjust your aim quietly. If you get a stand with an unpadded railing, you can also add padding yourself using pipe insulation.

See also  .270 Winchester for Mule Deer Hunting? Best Ammo (Round, Load, Cartridge) for a Successful Mule Deer Hunt Hunting Calibers 04 Apr, 2020 Posted By: Foundry Outdoors Is the .270 Winchester a viable caliber/load/round/cartridge for mule deer hunting? The accurate answer is “it depends”. However, the goal of this article is simply to address the question of whether the .270 Winchester is within the ideal range of suitable calibers to harvest mule deer. As with anything, the devil is in the details. To answer the question completely, we would need to evaluate the downrange distance to the mule deer, the bullet type, the grain weight of the bullet, the physical condition of the firearm, the size of the mule deer in question, the shot placement, the local wind conditions, the expected accuracy of the shooter, the ethics of the ideal maximum number of shots – the list goes on. [Click Here to Shop .270 Winchester Ammo]What we can do is provide a framework to understand what average conditions might look like, and whether those are reasonably viable for a shot from the average shooter to harvest a mule deer in the fewest number of shots possible, i.e., ethically. Let’s dive right in. In the question of “Is the .270 Winchester within the ideal range of suitable calibers for mule deer hunting?” our answer is: Yes, the .270 Winchester is A GOOD CHOICE for mule deer hunting, under average conditions, from a mid-range distance, with a medium grain expanding bullet, and with correct shot placement.Let’s look at those assumptions a bit closer in the following table. Assumption Value Caliber .270 Winchester Animal Species Mule Deer Muzzle Energy 3780 foot-pounds Animal Weight 225 lbs Shot Distance 150 yardsWhat is the average muzzle energy for a .270 Winchester? In this case, we have assumed the average muzzle energy for a .270 Winchester round is approximately 3780 foot-pounds. What is the average weight of an adult male mule deer? Here we have leaned conservative by taking the average weight of a male individual of the species, since females generally weigh less and require less stopping power. In this case, the average weight of an adult male mule deer is approximately 225 lbs. [Click Here to Shop .270 Winchester Ammo]What is the distance this species is typically hunted from? Distance, of course, plays an important role in the viability of a given caliber in mule deer hunting. The kinetic energy of the projectile drops dramatically the further downrange it travels primarily due to energy lost in the form of heat generated by friction against the air itself. This phenonemon is known as drag or air resistance. Thus, a caliber that is effective from 50 yards may not have enough stopping power from 200 yards. With that said, we have assumed the average hunting distance for mule deer to be approximately 150 yards. What about the other assumptions? We have three other primary assumptions being made here. First, the average bullet weight is encapsulated in the average muzzle energy for the .270 Winchester. The second important assumption is ‘slightly-suboptimal’ to ‘optimal’ shot placement. That is to say, we assume the mule deer being harvested is shot directly or nearly directly in the vitals (heart and/or lungs). The third assumption is that a projectile with appropriate terminal ballistics is being used, which for hunting usually means an expanding bullet.Various calibersA common thread you may encounter in online forums is anecdote after anecdote of large animals being brought down by small caliber bullets, or small animals surviving large caliber bullets. Of course those stories exist, and they are not disputed here. A 22LR cartridge can fell a bull elephant under the right conditions, and a newborn squirrel can survive a 50 BMG round under other specific conditions. Again, the goal of this article is simply to address the question of whether .270 Winchester is within the ideal range of suitable calibers to harvest mule deer - and to this question, the response again is yes, the .270 Winchester is A GOOD CHOICE for mule deer hunting. [Click Here to Shop .270 Winchester Ammo]This article does not serve as the final say, but simply as a starting point for beginner hunters, as well as a venue for further discussion. Please feel free to agree, disagree, and share stories from your own experience in the comments section below. Disclaimer: the information above is purely for illustrative purposes and should not be taken as permission to use a particular caliber, a statement of the legality or safety of using certain calibers, or legal advice in any way. You must read and understand your own local laws before hunting mule deer to know whether your caliber of choice is a legal option.Foundry Outdoors is your trusted home for buying archery, camping, fishing, hunting, shooting sports, and outdoor gear online.We offer cheap ammo and bulk ammo deals on the most popular ammo calibers. We have a variety of deals on Rifle Ammo, Handgun Ammo, Shotgun Ammo & Rimfire Ammo, as well as ammo for target practice, plinking, hunting, or shooting competitions. Our website lists special deals on 9mm Ammo, 10mm Ammo, 45-70 Ammo, 6.5 Creedmoor ammo, 300 Blackout Ammo, 10mm Ammo, 5.56 Ammo, Underwood Ammo, Buffalo Bore Ammo and more special deals on bulk ammo.We offer a 100% Authenticity Guarantee on all products sold on our website. Please email us if you have questions about any of our product listings. Leave a commentComments have to be approved before showing up Your Name * Your Email * Your Comment * Post Comment

Make sure to look at the shape and angle of the railing, as well, as some sit higher or lower than average, which can affect your shooting position. Some rails are adjustable to allow a customized height.

If you are a compound bowhunter, make sure to look for a ladder stand with a removable or adjustable rail to free up space when you shoot.

Other Features

Some ladder stands offer less common features, such as fold-away footrests, side hooks for hanging gear, adjustable rail heights, cup holders, adjustable seat backs, removable seat pads, and the ability to remove a rail section for a shorter height. These are all perks and can be useful in the right circumstance, but they aren’t always necessary. Think about how they might improve your hunt before picking a stand because of them.

How We Selected The Best Ladder Stands

We selected the best ladder stands based on experience, research, and the opinions of other hunters. Considering the location, the type of hunting you are doing, and how far you will need to transport a stand will significantly influence the style of ladder stand you choose. With our combined evaluation, experience, and research, this article can assist you in determining which option below best fits your needs and is worth your investment.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>