Choosing the perfect tree stand for your next deer hunting adventure is complicated. Today, we will share with you some of our favorites and help you decide what features you need from your hunting gear.
What is a Tree Stand?
A tree stand is a device hunters use to gain an advantage over wily deer. Portable tree stands can be carried into the perfect spot, then hoisted and secured in a tree. Tree stands come in lots of styles and designs. Some are intended for the lone hunter, while others are suitable for more than one hunter at a time. When you are looking to purchase a tree stand for your next deer hunt, the key features you need to consider are quality of design and materials, ease of portability, and safety.
Sifting through the different products out there can be a challenge because each company is trying to get you to buy their product. With lots of items that all seem similar, picking the best deer stand isn’t easy. We can help by explaining some of the features different types of stands use that you will like. Let’s get into some of the features you should be looking for when you buy a new hunting stand no matter what type of game you like to hunt.
Why Use a Hunting Tree Stand?
Treestands are great for hunting wooded areas that are difficult to conceal yourself from deer. The animals have keen senses of smell, almost as though they are hunting you while you are hunting them. A tree stand gets the hunter up above the line of sight of a deer, making it more difficult for the animal to notice you. Good quality treestands let hunters stay in one place for long periods of time, allowing deer to naturally move into areas they like to forage, and providing help to the hunter searching for that trophy buck. Treestands are one hunting product you don’t want to shop for based on price. Good treestands are items many hunters don’t think they need until they realize how much they like hunting deer from a protected position.
Design of Tree Stands
The design of a tree stand is critical to getting the most comfortable experience on your next big game hunt. You want to make sure that the stand is designed to handle the weight you plan, so include your gear, you (don’t lie!), and any other weight you are bringing. Remember that if it’s raining or snowing, moisture will accumulate on unprotected gear, increasing the weight. Finding a stand that offers the best ergonomics and shooting position depends a lot on the type of hunting you are doing.
When shopping for a stand, consider whether you are using a rifle or a bow, or even both, and pick a stand that will give you the safety to make a comfortable and accurate shot. You will want to find a stand that allows you a comfortable sitting position but is also stable enough to easily stand or get into the best stance to help make your shot. Consider the type of tree you are most likely to hunt from when looking at securing straps. A bigger tree will require longer straps for safely hunting from a treestand. Some treestands include free equipment, but you may find the free product doesn’t always work well for hunting.
Lightweight stands are excellent for pack-in hunts, but may not be as comfortable or secure as a more bulky stand. It’s a good idea to know the terrain you are hunting so you will know how far you will need to carry your stand. Features like padded seats and arm rails, complex mounts and attachments, and bulky foot rests add weight to a tree stand. Sometimes these features are excellent, like all day hunts when you will be in the tree for extended periods of time. Many hunters find the extra bulk unnecessary and prefer lighter deer stands. You’ll like your stand better if it isn’t a bulky product you have to struggle with every time you go hunting.
Safety is Paramount
No matter what style of tree stand you pick, making sure the stand is safe is the most important thing. An unfortunate number of hunters are hurt each season by tree stands that fail due to inadequate safety designs or improper use. Before you go hunting with your new tree stand, find a practice tree and make sure that you know how to assemble and attach the stand to the tree correctly. A key piece of equipment every stand hunter should have is a harness with a safety tie-off. This will help ensure that even should your stand fail, you won’t fall and get seriously hurt.
Three Types of Tree Stands
All tree stands basically fall into one of three categories based on how the stand is intended to be used. Picking the best one for your big game hunt depends on the types of trees, distance to the location, and how the stand is to be used. Each type has advantages and drawbacks hunters need to be aware of before investing in the cost of a new tree stand. Lone hunters can get by with single-seat stands, but consider a larger platform if you plan on having lots of gear.
This type of stand is two pieces that use straps to help you climb and mount to the stand tree you pick. Climbing stands are the ultimate in portability and allow hunters to quickly remove the stand and relocate to a new tree for better opportunities.
Here are some examples of the best climbing stands on the market today.
Lone Wolf Wide Flip-Top Climbing Stand
Lone Wolf Treestands is an industry leader in top-quality tree stands. The flip-top combines some of the best tech from the companies extensive line in a compact, portable, and reliable stand. It features a padded seat that is comfortable enough for all-day use and a wide foot pad made from cast aluminum. Hunters that use this stand say it is one of the very best. It is portable and easy to set, and also absolutely silent. The climbing straps work great and are easy to replace when needed. The treestand weighs 21 lbs and has a weight capacity of 350 lbs. The stand includes a six-point fall arrest system.
- Easy to use
- Silent when climbing and resting
- Comfortable padded seat
- Wide foot pad allows for excellent aim
- Pricey product compared to other deer stands
- Carry straps are sub-par
Summit Tree Stands Viper Steel Climber
Summit is legendary in the tree stand marketplace, and for good reason. They build high-quality stands at good prices that hunters can rely on season after season. The Summit Viper Steel Climber is a steel climbing stand that weighs in at 29 lbs. Summit includes the QuickDraw strap system that allows dead-quiet climbing and mounting. A full-perimeter brace helps with safety, and the sturdy design of the treestand allows hunters to be in the perfect position to make the shot. The Summit stand has a weight capacity of 300 lbs. Summit also produces Viper treestands in a lightweight aluminum version. Summit climbing stands work best on a tree without lots of low branches.
- Durable climber with good foot space and seating
- Sturdy and safe mounting straps secure the treestand
- Poorly made carry straps
A hanging stand is a little more difficult to mount on a tree than a climbing stand, but offers more versatility in that you don’t have to trim as many branches to get the stand up a tree. Hanging stands often have more comfortable seats and padded armrests, but also weigh more and are more difficult to remove and relocate than climbing stands. A good product is one that is comfortable and a fair price.
Rivers Edge Big Foot
When it comes to hunting simplicity, a hang-on treestand is a perfect option. This model from Rivers Edge features an ultra-quiet single strap that holds securely. It has an oversized footrest to give hunters better positioning. A padded, flip-up seat ensures all day comfort from this product. The treestand weighs in at only 17 lbs, providing good portability and can handle up to 300 lbs safely. This is one product you won’t regret picking up before your next big game hunting trip.
- Lightweight steel design
- Strong and secure lever-action strap
- Wide footbed for optimal shooting stance
- Can be bulky to get positioned correctly
- Securing strap could be longer to accommodate larger trees
XOP-Xtreme Air Raid
This hang-on tree stand is the perfect pack-in product for your big game hunting adventures. Weighing in at only 17.5 lbs, this stand boasts a robust 350 lb capacity. The product design of the mount allows these treestands to be used on crooked trees, letting you get the best angle for those elusive whitetail that seem to know just where you can’t hit them. It includes a free harness and everything you need to get hunting at a fantastic price. One advantage of this tree stand is it’s easy to store when not in use.
- Cast aluminum construction
- Securely mounts, even on a crooked tree
- Small details could be improved, including rubber bumpers to prevent noise when packing
- Built-in bow holder is garbage
A ladder stand includes some type of ladder to climb a tree and position the stand and gain entry and exit. These can be very convenient for hunting when you don’t need a lot of portability. Ladder treestands are often heavy and the ladder adds bulk hunters must contend with when getting in and out of the best hunting spot. A ladder stand can be a great option for hunters that leave a stand in place all season.
Big Game Hunter HD Ladder Stand
This is a great ladder treestand for all your hunting needs. The four, tubular oval ladder sections allow for more than 18′ of climbing. That’s enough to get you into the perfect spot to help take that experienced old trophy buck without wasting time. The take-down ladder sections make it easy to store. The extra wide and deep platform provides plenty of room for getting the proper shooting stance. Padded, flip up rails also offer great stability for proper shot placement. The HD ladder treestand weighs in at 61 lbs, so it isn’t very portable, but it’ll safely accommodate up to 350 lbs so you don’t have to leave gear behind. This product is a great option for the price.
- Stable product design is ideal for less-agile hunters concerned about mounting other treestands
- Easy to set up and take down
- Very bulky and heavy treestand
- Customer service is lacking
Guide Gear 2-Man Ladder Treestand
Sometimes, hunting with a friend makes even those dreary, no-deer days almost perfect. This product from Guide Gear is designed to allow two people to roost 16.5′ up a tree, and the platform is big enough to provide ample space for lining up the ideal shot. At 71 lbs, it’s no lightweight treestand, but what it lacks in portability it makes up for with durability. One reason to choose a 2-man treestand even when you hunt alone is the added space available for all your gear. It’ll hold up to 500 lbs. Most treestands lack space for things you need, but not this good design from Guide Gear.
- Plenty of room for two hunters, or a lone hunter with lots of gear
- Ideal tree stand for all day hunts.
It may seem like there are only a few products on the market because so many designs are similar. It can be hard to tell the difference between a high-quality design from Summit over a budget one. It’s always a good idea to find a tree stand that meets your needs and budget. When shopping for stands, look for items that have free delivery, bulky stands can incur big shipping fees. Always remember that safety is paramount. Products that have rights reserved on patented safety equipment may offer longer durability and a greater sense of safety.
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