Best Climbing Tree Stands for Rifle and Bow Hunting

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Hunters, experienced or green, the best climbing tree stand can elevate your hunting to the next level (sorry, pun intended!). While a climbing tree stand may be a pretty specific tool, when it works there's no replacing it.

The right tree stand for your needs makes all the difference. Of course, there's no single stand that works best in every scenario for every hunter. But if you have to set up and take down your tree stand at a moment's notice, the best climbing tree stand may be the one thing that ensures a successful hunt.

CHOOSING THE BEST CLIMBING TREE STAND FOR HUNTING

As you know, hunting is a challenge that requires you to understand your prey. Knowing the way the deer move and the terrain you're hunting in makes all the difference.

If you can't set up a stand to come back to, you need a stand you can set up and take down when you've found the perfect spot. That's where the best climbing tree stand comes in. Knowing how and when to use this tree stand can completely change your hunting experience.

climbing the tree stand

Image via Flickr

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TYPE OF HUNTING STAND OR BLIND

There are two common types of hunting cover: tree stands and hunting blinds. Hunting blinds provide ground cover, and they're perfect for when you need to hunt at ground level. Using a ground blind is ideal for hiding out in underbrush and watching high-traffic areas.

Ground blinds have a few other advantages. Many shelter you from wind and precipitation. They're more comfortable to move around in, so you can wait for the perfect moment to take your shot. But, hunting blinds can limit a lot of your field of vision and make even small noises and smells problematic.

When it comes to tree stands, these are much more versatile to a variety of situations -- as long as you have appropriate trees available. They elevate your scent above the deer, and a high-angle shot is safer. You may also have better visibility of the area around you.

But tree stands can be dangerous to set up without proper safety equipment, and make noise when you're setting them up. Some are also difficult to relocate. We're going to cover tree stand types, quickly, for those who aren't fully sold on climbing tree stands yet -- you can skip to the next section if this info isn't for you.

TYPES OF TREE STANDS

Once you've decided that a tree stand is the best for you, you'll have to pick between hanging, ladder, and climbing tree stands. Hanging tree stands are most common. They let you set up anywhere there's a tree, and you can leave them and come back.

But, you have to be able to climb the tree using branches or a climbing system.

Ladder tree stands are the easiest to get into, but the bulkiest as well. They aren't tree stands that you would use if you need to pack them in and out on the same day. Ladder stands are often the most stable and comfortable, though.

Finally, climbing tree stands loop around the tree with serrated bands that dig into the bark. Then, you crawl yourself and the stand up the tree like an inchworm. You can't leave them behind, but you don't need anything other than the stand itself to get up to hunting height.

WHY USE A CLIMBING TREE STAND?

As we mentioned earlier, climbing tree stands have a lot of mobility and versatility while also giving you the elevation bonus over a ground blind. With them, you can move to a new hunting spot if you need to. All you need is the right kind of tree.

Climbing tree stands work well when you have straight, branchless trees to climb up. However, they can make a lot of noise and don't work on twisted or branch-covered trees. Because of this, they don't work in every area the way a hanging tree stand would. Without the right tree to work with, these stands can be all but useless.

One of the best parts of the climbing tree stand is that it's easy to relocate. In a hunting location that won't let you leave tree stands behind, such as many public hunting areas, you'll be able to put it up and bring it back down without a trace. It will also help you move with your prey as you find where the hunting is best.

Even the best climbing tree stands have a limited use range.

Their climbing mechanisms mean they only work on straight and smooth trees. If you plan on leaving your stand up for a while, you might want to use a different design or at least bring separate climbing gear. But if you need mobility and the terrain is right, this kind of tree stand is perfect.

women learning how to use tree stand

Image via Flickr

WHAT MAKES FOR THE BEST CLIMBING TREE STAND?

When deciding which is the best climbing tree stand for you, there are a couple of major things to think about.

The first one is what kind of weapon you use to hunt. Climbing tree stands often include a shooting rail. These are comfortable and helpful for rifle hunters. On the other hand, bowhunters who don't want to stand up to take the shot should look for a stand that either doesn't have a rail or has one that can move out of the way.

Another critical aspect of any climbing tree stand is its weight. If you've got miles to hike to your hunting spot, you'll start to feel that extra weight. But, extra weight can correspond to extra features. Cushioning and other comforts add weight, so don't write off a few extra ounces.

Also, pay attention to how easy a stand is to carry. Weight will be the least of your problems if the stand is clumsy and awkward. The best climbing tree stand also assembles soundlessly, so you don't scare away the deer.

Of course, there is one consideration that trumps all the rest. Any time you're up off the ground, you run the risk of falling. So, make sure you always look for safety first.

Thankfully, climbing tree stands have significantly improved over the years where safety is concerned. Make sure the best climbing tree stand is one that helps you bag your game, and get home to enjoy it.

HOW WE CHOSE THE BEST CLIMBING TREE STANDS

group of man setting up tree stand

Image via Flickr

When it came to selecting the best climbing tree stands, we used two sources of experience. One, expert reviews, which gives us the point of view of those who know just what to look for in a climbing tree stand. The other, customer feedback, is from folks who use their tree stands the same way you do.

Professionals have a major advantage in that they review hunting gear for a living. This line of work gives them the experience and the resources to compare tree stands to each other. Given the cost of tree stands, that's something that most hunters can't afford.

Because of this advantage, expert feedback allows you to see how each climbing tree stand shapes up to the others. Rather than just saying one is the best, they show you how each tree stand performs.

Customers usually can't afford to do this, but they do have a distinct numbers advantage. The number of customer reviews can range from a dozen or two to a few thousand.

A customer consensus can make or break a product. So, every candidate for the best climbing tree stand has to have 4.0 stars or more out of 5 on Amazon.

OUR TOP CHOICES FOR THE BEST TREE STANDS

We've listed our choices for the best climbing tree stand below. You can find them in alphabetical order.

LONE WOLF ASSAULT HAND CLIMBER COMBO


With the Lone Wolf Assault Hand Climber Combo, you can get the best of both hanging and climbing tree stands. It's a lightweight tree stand that doesn't skimp on comfort.

The main draw of the Lone Wolf Assault Hand Climber Combo is that it has everything larger Lone Wolf stands do. It has a contoured foam pad for maximum comfort, as well as a molded plastic bow holder.

On top of that, it has a six-point fall arrest system, so there are plenty of backups should you take a spill.

On Amazon, 32 customers rated the Lone Wolf Assault Hand Climber Combo tree stand 4.5 stars out of 5.

Pros

  • Light and compact for easy carry
  • The stand is silent while climbing
  • Holds up to 350 pounds

Cons

  • Stand may be too small for some hunters

LONE WOLF WIDE SIT & CLIMB COMBO II


Lone Wolf Wide Sit & Climb Combo II Climbing Tree Stand
  • Comfort meets convenience,...
  • The unique, pivoting sit &...
  • 2-panel contoured foam seat...
  • Features the full-size 30" x...
  • Weighs just 21 pounds and has...

The Lone Wolf Sit & Climb Combo II is the pinnacle of comfort and ease when it comes to climbing tree stands. This stand has a full-sized platform and a two-panel foam seat for maximum comfort.

This stand's molded foam seat will make you feel right at home out in the woods. You'll be able to wait all day for the right target to come along. And the best part is, you have help when it comes to getting up the tree. The Sit & Climb refers to an attached bar that gives you some support when shimmying up to hunting height, and turns into a rifle rail.

Twenty-nine Amazon customers gave the Lone Wolf Sit & Climb Combo II 4.4 stars out of 5.

Pros

  • Packs up very small
  • Comfortable for 6 hours or more
  • Holds up to 350 pounds

Cons

  • Others recommend replacing the straps
  • May get the same quality with cheaper stand

OL'MAN MULTIVISION TREE STAND


OL'MAN Multivision Treestand, for Gun & Bowhunters
  • LEGENDARY TREESTAND: The...
  • 3 TREESTANDS IN 1: Configure...
  • QUIET: The Multi-Vision Series...
  • SPECIFICATIONS: Steel...
  • OL'MAN EXPERIENCE: From our...

The OL'MAN Multivision Tree Stand has a few features that make it ideal if you like to switch up your hunting style. For one, it has a reversible gun rest and foot stand which moves out of the way for bow hunting.

This tree stand also has a fixed bar if you only hunt with a rifle. It will keep your arms comfortable and your gun steady. However, this tree stand suffers a little in terms of weight. It is nearly 30 pounds. Plus, the netting-style seat may not be the most comfortable for long stretches on the hunt.

Amazon customers rated the OL'MAN Multivision Treestand 4.1 stars out of 5.

Pros

  • Netting means the seat can be comfortable without being level
  • Steel frame is much stronger than aluminum construction
  • 300 pound weight limit

Cons

  • Some safety straps may need to be replaced

SUMMIT TREESTANDS GOLIATH SD


Summit Treestands SU81119 Goliath SD Climbing Treestand,...
  • Closed-front aluminum climbing...
  • Suspended foam-padded seat...
  • Weighs 25 lbs. and holds up to...
  • 18" W x 12" D seat size, 21"W...
  • Includes Full Body Fall Arrest...

This is an aluminum tree stand, which you may think is lighter than the previous OL'MAN steel stand. However, it weighs nearly as much. But that doesn't mean you should write it off, because all that weight comes with some bonus features.

For one, this tree stand is covered in camo where it isn't bare metal. That doesn't just mean your stand will stay invisible to prey. Everywhere that's camo is also cushioned, from the full chair and armrests to the gun rest. Not only is this tree stand sturdy, it's comfortable enough to post up in all day.

More than 90 customers on Amazon rated the Summit Treestands Goliath SD at 4.7 stars out of 5

Pros

  • Rugged foot clips for easy climbing
  • Comfortable enough to spend all day in
  • Holds up to 350 pounds

Cons

  • Straps and bungee cords wear out quickly

SUMMIT TREESTANDS TITAN SD


Summit Treestands Titan SD Climbing Treestand
  • Closed-front aluminum climbing...
  • Suspended foam-padded seat...
  • Weighs 25 lbs. and holds up to...
  • 18" W x 12" D seat size, 21"W...
  • Includes Full Body Fall Arrest...

The Summit Treestands Titan SD is one of the top of Summit's climbing tree stand line. It features a suspended foam seat that's as comfortable as any on the market. And, it can hold hunters up to 350 pounds so that you'll always feel secure in your perch.

If you're worried about being uncomfortable in your seat, the Titan SD is actually adjustable. You can raise or lower the chair relative to the platform, so you have the perfect amount of space for your legs. If you're worried about falling, this treestand has a full-body harness to keep you secure as long as you're up in the air.

On Amazon, 63 customers gave the Summit Treestands Titan SD a rating of 4.4 stars out of 5.

Pros

  • Larger than other Summit tree stands
  • Securely supports even the largest hunters
  • Holds up to 350 pounds

Cons

  • Makes more noise than others due to size

SUMMIT TREESTANDS VIPER STEEL


Summit Treestands Summit Viper Steel Climber
  • Steel frame holds up to 300...
  • Uses quickdraw cable retention...
  • Includes summit rapid climb...
  • The classic summit Viper at a...

The Summit Treestands Viper Steel is the closest thing Viper has to a budget option. Its steel construction makes it cheaper than aluminum models, and still not too heavy at 29 pounds. You don't have to break the bank to have a high-quality climbing tree stand.

This tree stand is smaller than others that we've reviewed here, but it still has plenty of space for most hunters. It holds up to 300 pounds. Its QuickDraw Cable Suspension System lets you rapidly secure it to the tree, and know that it won't let you down. It may not be the most deluxe tree stand, but you'll be sure to get your deer.

The Summit Treestands Viper Steel earned 4.4 stars out of 5 on Amazon.

Pros

  • Larger than other Summit tree stands
  • Securely supports even the largest hunters
  • Holds up to 350 pounds

Cons

  • Makes more noise than others due to size

SUMMIT TREESTANDS VIPER SD


Summit Treestands 81120 Viper SD Climbing Treestand, Mossy...
  • Closed-front aluminum climbing...
  • Suspended foam-padded seat...
  • Weighs 20 lbs. and holds up to...
  • 18" W x 12" D seat size, 20" W...
  • Includes Full-Body Fall Arrest...

Don't be confused — the Summit Treestands Viper SD is a different tree stand from the Viper Steel. While it might not weigh as much as its heavier counterpart, it does hold the same weight.

This lightweight aluminum stand has a comfortable, suspended foam seat that will go easy on you for long hunts. Every cushion, from the gun rest to the armrests, is covered in forest camo from Mossy Oak. The closed-front stand and the full-body harness will make sure you won't fall from a dangerous height.

On Amazon, 208 customers rated the Summit Treestands Viper SD 4.6 stars out of 5. It is also for sale on Summit.

Pros

  • Intuitive to setup and use
  • More comfortable and safe than other stands
  • Holds up to 300 pounds

Cons

  • Foot platform is a little small

XTREMEPOWERUS TREE STAND CLIMBER


XtremepowerUS Tree Stand Climber Climbing Hunting Deer Bow...
  • XtremepowerUS is a solid...
  • Hanging stands connect to the...
  • Solid front bar makes climbing...
  • Comfortable foam padded seat...
  • Highly portable with a frame...

The XtremepowerUS Tree Stand Climber is far and away our budget option for the best climbing tree stand. But the low price doesn't mean your hunting will suffer.

This tree stand is aluminum, so it's not going to break or bend while you're out in the woods. Camouflaged cushions on the gun rest and seat make sure that you stay blended in. But the weight of the stand may turn you off the price, because it's nearly 40 pounds.

On Amazon, the XtremepowerUS Tree Stand Climber earned 5.0 stars out of 5, from one review.

Pros

  • One of the least expensive stands we recommend
  • Front bar offers support while climbing
  • Weight limit 300 pounds

Cons

  • Heaviest climbing tree stand

WHICH IS THE BEST CLIMBING TREE STAND FOR YOUR HUNT?

Choosing the best climbing tree stand can still seem difficult, even with our selection here. All of them are excellent choices, but there are a few that stand out for specific purposes.

If you're looking for an inexpensive option that will still hold you up, the Summit Treestand Viper Steel is both rugged and low-cost. Should you want to make a bigger investment, the Summit Treestands Titan SD is a better option. It's more expensive, but can support about anyone who needs to use it.

Have you ever used a climbing tree stand? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image via Flickr

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