Hunting while elevated on a tree can be satisfying as you patiently wait for prey. Besides going out for a hunt, perching on a tree can also be an excellent way to spend some quiet time. In both circumstances, if you desire to hunt in the forest, it is best to have a tree stand for easy blending with the environment and a better vantage point. Therefore, we recommend getting the best climbing tree stand for safe, quiet, comfortable, and stable tree hunting equipment.

We have compiled climbing tree stand reviews as part of our detailed buying guide. This article will also highlight qualities that make climbing tree stands suitable for a hunt. Even so, let us first understand the concept of climbing a tree stand.

What is a Climbing Tree Stand?

A climbing tree stand is an elevated mobile platform used by hunters to shoot down their prey. Ideally, climbing tree stands are mounted on trees, meaning they are used for forest hunting. Ideally, a bowhunter ascends to a perch by locking a tree stand's seat into a tree and subsequently lifts legs to raise the sitting platform. Considering this tree mounting method is unique, climber tree stands are only appropriate to certain trees that cannot die quickly and can support the weight of a hunter.

Correspondingly, a climbing tree stand is composed of two parts which are the seat and the climber platform. Even in the absence of a ladder, climber stands have features to enable quick and safe tree climbing. Additionally, ensure that your tree of choice has adequate bark for deep and stable tree stand security. Finally, a climber stand is only applicable on a straight tree regardless of mobile or permanent installations.

Even as we discuss climbing tree stands, we will also briefly look into the ladder, and hang-on stands in the course of this buying guide. But, first, let's look at the five best products in the category of climbing tree stand.

Which is the best climbing tree to use?

1. Summit Treestands Viper SD Climbing Treestand, Mossy Oak

Our top pick for the best climbing tree stand is the Summit Treestands Viper SD climbing tree stand. If you prefer a well-padded cushioned backrest for full-time comfort, this is the product for you. Primarily, we love this stand for its high-quality aluminum build that makes up for this stand's sturdiness, concealment, and lightweight. Additionally, as one of the best aluminum climbing tree stands, it is easy to climb with a full-perimeter frame that allows it to be used as both a climb and sit tree stand.

Additionally, this stand comes with the DeadMetal quiet design, which ensures this stand doesn't startle the prey. Also, this incredible climbing stand ranks among the lightest tree stands, able to support 300lbs without any noise or wobbling, while the tree stand weighs just 20 pounds. Furthermore, the Viper SD Climbing Treestand, Mossy Oak is a comfortable tree stand with a closed front and foam-padded backrest for all-day flexibility and comfort.

Even more, this tree stand has an auto-lock system that locks in place the QuickDraw cable retention system for easy cable insertion into a tree diameter bracket. Subsequently, the auto-lock feature saves you the hassle of fumbling with bolts, pins, nuts, or knobs. Furthermore, if you use a crossbow or a rifle, this equipment can accommodate additional shooting rest for a steady shot. Finally, your climb with this stand will be swift, thanks to its RapidClimb Stirrups, which are also designed to prevent hunting boots from slipping.

  • Pros
  • Comfortable padded seat and cushioned backrest for long periods of comfort
  • Safe with a harness, backpack straps, a bungee, and full-body fall arrest system
  • Durable and lightweight aluminum build
  • Reliable and easy to carry
  • Broad versatility to different tree sizes
  • Adequate room for maneuverability
  • Stable and non-slip foot platform
  • Useful attachments for both bow and rifle hunting
  • Cons
  • Low weight capacity seat compared to competing models
  • The front bar is less flexible
  • The cable system might get stuck in softwood bark
  • Inadequate harness system

2. Summit Treestands Summit Viper Steel Climber

Summit Treestands Summit Viper Steel Climber
  • Steel frame holds up to 300 pounds and features full...
  • Uses quickdraw cable retention System for fast and easy...
  • Includes summit rapid climb stirrups
  • Includes summit rapid climb stirrups

Another excellent recommendation for a climbing tree stand is the Summit Viper Steel, which is almost similar to the Viper SD, except for the steel build. Due to its steel body, this tree stand also ranks among affordable tree stands with all the necessary features for a quality climbing tree stand. However, despite its affordability, this hunting accessory comes at the cost of being heavier (29 pounds), making it difficult to carry it over long distances and set it up.

Even so, you still get to benefit from its DeadMetal noise reduction technology for stealthy hunting expeditions. In addition to its steel frame, this stand has a brown powder finish coating for rust prevention. Moreover, this stand is safe with a QuickDraw cable retention system and summit-Lokt system for easy tree securing, plus a sturdy umbilical cord for linking the upper and lower parts. We also love this stand for its comfort ranging from cushioned arm-rests, padded backpack straps, and padded seat bar.

Well, that's not all. With this tree stand, you can swiftly climb a tree while ensuring safety, using its non-slip and steady RapidClimb stirrups. Eventually, you can easily adjust the seat height of this stand and still enjoy adequate maneuverability. In addition, this climber tree stand can hold a weight capacity of up to 300lbs.

  • Pros
  • Affordable.
  • Anti-rust finish
  • Concealable brown color
  • Comfortable for long hours of waiting
  • Padded backpack straps for easier transportation
  • Quiet setup and application
  • Easy and rapid climbing
  • Adequate shooting rest for a gun or crossbow
  • Safe stand up and sit down
  • Cons
  • Heavy
  • A wrap-around bar is not ideal for all hunters

3. Summit Treestands Goliath SD Climbing Treestand, Mossy Oak

Summit Treestands OpenShot SD Climbing Treestand, Mossy Oak
  • Features foam seat pad
  • Includes written instructions and a safety/instructional DVD
  • Weight limit: 300lbs
  • Designed for hunters who like to pack into the deepest woods
  • Weighs in at just 15 pounds

Goliath SD climbing treestand is another candidate from the Summit Treestands for the best climbing tree stand. We love this great climbing tree stand for its increased room and broader platform for hunting maneuverability. The Goliath SD is a climbing tree stand best for bow hunters due to the increased room. As depicted in its name, the Goliath SD also has greater clearance for optimal bow handling without the risk of falling off the stand.

Moreover, this Summit tree-stand has a lightweight design despite its extensive platform for easy transportation. This stand also weighs more than the Viper SD and has an increased weight capacity of 350lbs. In addition to the increased weight capacity, the Goliath SD has a more oversized aluminum frame, 21.75” x 26.5”, for increased rigidity, sturdiness, and strength. If you are worried about carrying this huge climbing tree stand, it comes with comfortable backpack straps for easy carrying.

Despite its huge size, the Goliath SD is one of the comfortable tree-stands with a suspended foam-padded seat, coupled with a padded backrest for optimal comfort all day long. With a similar construction as other Summit Treestands models, you can still enjoy safe and fast climbing using the sturdy cable attachment. Furthermore, if you enjoy climber assisters of RapidClimb Stirrups and SummitLokt, you can be sure to find them on this incredible stand. In the end, the Goliath SD tree climber is quiet enough for hunting with the help of DeadMetal Sound Technology and has adequate camouflage.

  • Pros
  • An extensive platform for increased movement
  • Increased weight capacity of 350lbs
  • Extremely comfortable carrying and sitting features
  • Durable and stable aluminum frame
  • Lightweight for easy movement
  • Quiet and camouflaged build
  • Cons
  • Paint wears off
  • Poor harness system
  • Small space for standing shots
  • Manual isn't clear enough
  • Seat tends to be on the way while climbing

4. Summit Treestands Viper SD SU81138 Climbing Tree Stand

Summit Treestands Viper SD Climbing Treestand - Realtree Timber
  • Strong, lightweight aluminum construction keeps the Viper...
  • Closed-front designs makes climbing a breeze by giving...
  • Sit comfortably for hours in the suspended foam-padded seat...
  • Large 20”x36” aluminum 5-channel platform frame with...
  • Realtree Camouflage. Tree Diameter Range: 8 inch -20 inch

We also recommend the Viper SD su81138 climber tree stand, which is lightweight yet strong for hardcore hunters. It is specifically lightweight, weighing only 20 pounds, due to its aluminum build that is also strong. Besides being strong to carry a hunter, this tree stand comes with a comfortable suspended seat that is foam-padded with padded armrests and cushioned backrest. This hunting companion is also comfortable carrying with padded backpack straps coupled with tight frames against each other for easy portability regardless of the distance.

Furthermore, we love this tree stand for its DeadMetal dampening technology that adds stealth to its functionality through silence. Therefore, you can stand and make movements without spooking the prey with metal sounds. To add to its camouflage, the seat, armrest, and rail are decorated with Realtree timber camo for optimal concealment.

This climber stand also allows for maximum maneuverability with a closed front that allows for both stand-and-sit climbing and serves as a rest for a crossbow and gun. The closed front and the seat also make it easy for hunters to climb up and down a tree. Lastly, this highly functional stand offers adequate foot space for standing while taking a bow shot alongside a safety harness for the hunter's security.

  • Pros
  • Packable and portable
  • Simple to install and use
  • Ideal for mobile hunters
  • Smooth, camouflaged, and quiet
  • Easy and swift climbing
  • Durable and reliable build
  • Has a front bar for resting a rifle
  • Cons
  • Inadequate harness system

5. Guide Gear Extreme Deluxe Climber Tree Stand

Guide Gear Extreme Deluxe Climbing Tree Stand for Hunting with Seat and Foot Platform, Deer Hunting...
  • EXTREME DELUXE HUNTING TREE STAND – The Guide Gear Hunting...
  • DURABLE – Made from durable steel for rugged stability....
  • COMFORTABLE – Features a 1” thick foam padded seat,...
  • PORTABLE – The metal stand features a nesting design that...
  • INCLUDES FITTINGS – Our deer stands for hunting include...

Our list cannot be complete without the spectacular guide gear extreme deluxe climbing tree stand. Despite making it on our top 5 list, this climbing tree stand is the most cumbersome model of our recommendations, weighing 33 pounds. Even with such immense weight, this tree stand is only capable of supporting 300lbs. Nevertheless, this Guide Gear Extreme Deluxe climber stand has quality features beyond its installation.

First, the construction of this stand is made with sturdy steel and adjustable nylon foot straps for quick and easy climbing. Furthermore, it has cam-buckle straps for locking the foot and seat platforms firmly in place. However, despite having a small seat size, this stand comes with a padded climbing front bar and armrest and a padded foam seat for comfort. That said, you might find this climbing tree stand cumbersome, but once installed, it is an adequate hunting companion as long as you match its suitability.

  • Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Durable and stable build
  • Comfortable for a well-fitting sitter
  • Front bar for resting a rifle or a crossbow
  • Foldable nesting for low-profile transportation
  • Easy climbing
  • Quiet
  • Cons
  • Prone to rust
  • Small seat and foot platform
  • Straps aren't sturdy enough to carry the stand's weight
  • Paint chips easily
  • It is cumbersome to transport

Types of Tree Stands

There are 3 types of tree stands, each with its range of unique strengths and downsides. The following section presents the detailed analyses of climbing tree stands, hang-on tree stands, and ladder stands. Subsequently, you will make a wise decision on which stand would perfectly suit your hunting preferences.

1. Climbing Tree Stands

The self-climbing stand primarily comes in two parts, the platform to balance on and the seat. These stands require set-up practice because you will use two parts to climb, choosing the right height. Due to their versatile functionality, these stands weigh approximately 30 pounds, which is more than the hang-on type. Nevertheless, this type of tree stand is recommended for its comfort and stability.

2. Hang-on Tree Stand

Secondly, there is the hang-on type of tree stand that is more portable and lighter than the climber option. Its increased portability means you can carry this stand in your hunting backpack. Hang-on stands are built as a single unit and be installed on a tree using climbing sticks.

Furthermore, hang-on stands are quieter than climbing stands but have a deficit in comfort. Also, hang-on stands lack adequate maneuverability than their climbing counterparts. Finally, a hang-on might have the extra hassle of climbing sticks compared to a climber, but that depends on a hunter's preference. However, a hang-on stand would be preferable if you wish to leave a stand on a tree, thus providing the convenience of not carrying it every time you're out hunting.

3. Ladder Tree Stands

Lastly, there are ladder stands that are easy to install but are less common. The outstanding feature of this tree stand type is the ladder. Usually, this type of tree stand can reach 15 feet with a seat and platform built on the ladder top. Ladder stands can more or less find use on any tree, and you have to rest it against a tree and then attach it midway up and at its platform with a safety harness strap.

Also, unlike the climber tree stand, the ladder option is easier to get into but is hectic to move around. Therefore, we recommend the ladder stand if you have an excellent spot you would like to use often. However, a ladder stand requires two people to set up, justifying why they are left in place after installation.

How to Install a Climbing Tree Stand

Shifting our focus back to the climbing tree stand, we have also summarized a few tips to follow for the fastest and safest way of setting up this tree stand type.

  1. First, ensure you choose a stable and alive tree to avoid accidents of a tree collapsing due to your weight.
  2. Attach a seat to the select tree first. As you secure the bottom half, always ensure it is secure to compensate for a tree's thickness.
  3. If your stand has straps, ensure you connect them to each other for safety and security as you climb a tree.
  4. Ensure your harness is secured above the stand before you start climbing.
  5. As you choose the appropriate height for your hunt, secure your feet into the stand platform to lock it in place to start climbing. Subsequently, you should use your upper body to pull yourself and lift your seat to the preferred height. Repeat this process until you reach the preferred height.
  6. As go down, you simply have to repeat the climbing process but now in reverse. Again, we recommend taking a look at a few YouTube demonstrations for easier coping.

Factors to Consider Before Buying the Best Climbing Tree Stand

1. Camouflage

The first consideration to check for the best climbing tree stand is camouflage considering its primary function is hunting. Camouflage or a non-reflective finish is specifically essential in bow-hunting. The reason for this is that a bow-hunter needs to be close enough to shoot prey. Nonetheless, a non-reflective finish and camouflage are also crucial for rifle hunters to avoid scaring away prey.

2. Silence Features

Additionally, you will need your climbing tree stand to be as quiet as possible to avoid ruining your hunt. Considerably, different climbing stands in the market offer different silence levels. In light of this, I believe you will definitely prefer the best climbing tree stands that are extremely quiet. For instance, the Summit Treestands brand applies the DeadMetal technology, which features foam in different parts of a tree stand.

Mainly, silence features are a gem in quiet forests to avoid startling game when a tree stand is pressed against something. Therefore, you will find the most value and purpose in a silent tree stand.

3. Weight

Another vital consideration for the best climbing tree stand is the weight of the stand itself and the weight it can carry. Exceptionally, for bow-hunters, the best climbing stand should be portable, packable, and lightweight for hunting over distance and varying terrain. Accordingly, the lightest climbing tree stand may weigh around 15lbs, while the heaviest might be 30lbs or more. Therefore, to avoid fatigue before your hunting expedition, we recommend buying a lightweight climbing tree stand.

Even as you target a choice among the lightest climbing tree stands, you need to ensure that you get a reliable tree stand that can comfortably support your weight and that of your hunting gear. For example, for mobile hunting, you can get a 15-21 pounds treestand that can support a weight capacity between 300 and 350 pounds. Examples of climber stands with a weight capacity of 350lbs include the Summit Treestands Goliath SD and the Lone Wolf Sit & Climb Combo II.

4. Safety

A reliable climbing tree stand should also be built with safety features, and most come with a safety harness or belt. Most preferably, we recommend buying a three or four-point harness Fall Arrest System (FAS). Accordingly, a Fall Arrest System distributes weight around your legs and arms. In addition, a climbing tree stand best supports a hunter's movement when it has a Fall Arrest System, and eventually, you will experience a safe and relaxed hunt.

Moreover, you should also consider safety measures that will protect you in the event of falling from your tree stand. In most cases, falls happen due to slip-offs while standing or when a hunter loses a footing. In line with reducing accidents, the best climbing treestand stands are now built with an armrest. Progressively, innovation is working to improve how a tree stand bites into a tree, eliminating the possibility of your stand sliding.

5. Comfort

Hunting often requires patience as you wait for prey. Therefore, as you wait for the right moment to hunt, you also need to be comfortable in the stand of your choice. Different tree stand brands feature different comfort aspects, with a majority having padded seats and recliner pads. Apart from the padded seats, a quality climbing stand should have a good foot platform with room for stretching.

At the bare minimum, a comfortable climbing tree stand should offer an armrest, a backrest, and a padded seat for maximum comfort all day. Eventually, comfort will provide you as a hunter with relaxation, such that when a hunt is ripe, you can make an accurate shot.

Another factor related to comfort and space is maneuverability. This factor applies once the prey has been spotted. Ideally, you will want to have adequate room in the stand for preparing the ultimate shot. Some of the features that facilitate maneuverability include flip-up seats, which create more aiming space for standing shots while using either a rifle or bow.

Additionally, you also need comfort while aiming and taking a shot for optimal accuracy. Therefore, we recommend getting a self-climbing tree stand with a rail if you are a rifle hunter. Alternatively, if you are a bowhunter, you would be best suited by a stand without a rail. Nonetheless, if you can do both, other climbing tree stands are built with a removable rail or can be flipped quickly.

6. Easy to Pack, Carry, Set up, and Climb

We also believe you wouldn't want to engage in hunting equipment that is complex, from its movement to using it. Additionally, considering that hunting areas are often in the natural setting, you will want a climbing stand that is not hectic to bear in harsh terrain and conditions. To begin with, your select tree stand should be easy to pack and carry. Manufacturers, therefore, often include foldable stands with straps for easy transportation, like backpacks.

Alternately, you can consider a lighter stand model that will enable more walking. In that case, the lightest climbing tree stand can be made of aluminum and even be minimal on features such as lack of backrest to make a stand lighter. When it comes to setting up a stand, you should be sure to checkout text or video instructions to make sure you get the easiest to set up. Even so, it is ideal to do a practice set-up at home before venturing into the wilds for the actual hunt.

Also, under a setup, tree stands are built with a tree diameter feature for flexibility when choosing the tree to mount. Accordingly, the best climbing tree stands come with an adjustable climber with a big tree diameter to fit most tree sizes.

Even as you look for a stand that can be set up within minutes, you will also need to consider, ease of climbing it. Logically, it would be meaningless to set up a tree stand that you cannot climb. On account of easiness, the initial stages of carrying, setting up, and climbing should be hassle-free in creating the perfect hunting mood.

7. Durability

Moreover, a quality tree stand should be rock solid to perform its functions. Consequently, a tree stand's material determines its strength and ability to withstand harsh conditions in the wilds. Most appropriately, a strong climbing stand should be built with steel and aluminum materials. Resultantly, such a build is reliable and durable to carry the weight capacity between 300-350 pounds consistently.

Correspondingly, a durable build should ensure that a climbing stand doesn't wobble when standing or sitting on it. Therefore, the durability of a stand provides you as a hunter with firmness, stability, and a long-lasting hunting companion

8. Additional Features

Fatigue while on a tree stand can be increased by holding and balancing your bow or rifle. Preferably, it would help to purchase a climbing stand with rifle and bow holders, with adequate space for drawing weapons instantly.

Another extra feature that is equally important is a sturdy build for preventing a stand from collapsing under heavy loads. You should also look for stand steps with excellent traction to avoid sliding while climbing. Another feature to seek should be high-quality straps with four to six safety harness points for safety while on the stand.

9. Legal Law

Finally, you need to prioritize your State Law on the use of tree stands before buying one. For instance, in Florida, it is illegal to use a climbing stand with metal spikes. The reason for this is that the metal spikes can kill a pine tree. So, it is vital to align with the existing state laws on the use of tree stands and hunting.

Frequently Asked Question on the Best Climbing Tree Stand

1. Are climbing tree stands safe?

As far as we know, quality climbing tree stands are built with maximum safety, but it is good to be wary that accidents can happen if every step of installation and use isn't followed correctly. In most cases, accidents occur when a hunter is climbing up or down a tree stand. However, considering that you will always be on the tree stand except at the tree base, the occurrence of accidents is minimized if not eliminated.

Regardless of the type of tree stand you intend to use, you need to be cautious enough. Even for ladder equipment, you still need to be careful as much as it is not high in a tree. Ultimately, always ensure you follow the manufacturer's manual for maximum safety.

2. Do climbing tree stands damage trees?

Many of the quality tree stands do not cause significant damage to trees. Even so, they rough up a tree's bark when they bite into a tree for security. Nonetheless, climbing tree stands are not suitable for all types of trees. For example, tree climber stands might cause pine trees to die due to the deep bites of the supporting metal spikes.

Nonetheless, you should avoid climbing dead trees because they might fall, posing the risk of accidents. Also, you should avoid trees that might kick sideways, eventually dislodging them. In line with this knowledge, you should comply with laws regarding the use of climber stands.

3. How high should you climb in a tree stand?

In most cases, 20 feet high is the recommended highest benchmark. This benchmark is high enough for a vantage point and staying out of sight of prey. Additionally, 20 feet high is not uncomfortable for most hunters to climb. Even with a recommended height, the maximum height you achieve should be guided by a tree's shape.

The further you are from a deer's sight, the easier it will be to make movements and adjustments. However, you will need to make up for the elevated angle with practice. Finally, even at the best vantage point, you need to follow all safety tips, such as using safety straps and a harness.

Image source: outdoorempire.com

About the Author Anton Scharff

Anton is a hunting expert who respects nature. Ask him anything about large game. Lover of the great outdoors.

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