Archery

8 Best Climbing Tree Stands of 2021

Best Climbing Tree Stand

Photo: Summit Treestands

Climbing tree stands are vital pieces of equipment in a hunter’s arsenal. They enable you to set up camp high above on tree trunks so that you get a better vantage point when hunting whitetails or any other game.

As compared to hang-on tree stands, this type has 2 pieces that you use to climb the tree with. The latter has a single-piece design and requires ladders or climbing steps to setup. Other than that, climbing tree stands are more stable and comfortable, but weigh a lot more.

That said, they come with different features, and in this article, we take a close look at the best climbing tree stands so that you can pick your most suitable piece.

8 Best Climbing Tree Stands – Review

IMAGE

PRODUCT

FEATURES

Summit Treestands 81120 Viper SD

1. Summit Treestands 81120 Viper SD (Best Overall)

  • Foam-padded seat, padded armrests & a full backrest
  • Stealthy Deadening technology
  • Rigid pre-locked welded joints
Summit Treestands SU81119 Goliath SD

2. Summit Treestands SU81119 Goliath SD (Best Budget)

  • Reasonably priced
  • Wide seat frame
  • Foam-padded seat plus a full backrest
Summit Treestands 180 Max SD

3. Summit Treestands 180 Max SD (Best Adjustable)

  • 180º rotating & height-adjustable surround seat
  • Large platform for extra legroom
  • Extended top-frame for accommodating tall hunters
Summit Treestands Mini Viper SD

4. Summit Treestands Mini Viper SD (Best Lightweight)

  • Easily portable
  • Rigid 5-channel aluminum platform frame
  • Solid front bar for easy climbing
Lone Wolf Treestands 45574

5. Lone Wolf Treestands 45574 (Comfortable)

  • Wide 2-panel contoured foam seat pad
  • Full size 30 x 19.5-inch platform
  • 6-point fall arrest system
Summit Treestands Summit Viper

6. Summit Treestands Summit Viper (Easy-to-Secure)

  • Quickdraw cable retention system
  • Safe full-perimeter design
  • Corrosion-resistant brown powder coat finish
Summit Treestands Titan SD

7. Summit Treestands Titan SD (Closed-Front)

  • Secure front climbing bar/gun rest
  • Adjustable suspended foam-padded seat
  • Wide seat frame
Ol'man COM-04

8. Ol'man COM-04 (3-in-1)

  • 3-in-1 designs with 3 ways of setting up
  • Strong, high-quality steel frame
  • Quiet design

PRODUCT

1. Summit Treestands 81120 Viper SD

(Best Overall)

Summit Treestands 81120 Viper SD
  • Foam-padded seat, padded armrests & a full backrest
  • Stealthy Deadening technology
  • Rigid pre-locked welded joints

2. Summit Treestands SU81119 Goliath SD

(Best Budget)

Summit Treestands SU81119 Goliath SD
  • Reasonably priced
  • Wide seat frame
  • Foam-padded seat plus a full backrest

3. Summit Treestands 180 Max SD

(Best Adjustable)

Summit Treestands 180 Max SD
  • 180º rotating & height-adjustable surround seat
  • Large platform for extra legroom
  • Extended top-frame for accommodating tall hunters

4. Summit Treestands Mini Viper SD

(Best Lightweight)

Summit Treestands Mini Viper SD
  • Easily portable
  • Rigid 5-channel aluminum platform frame
  • Solid front bar for easy climbing

5. Lone Wolf Treestands 45574

(Comfortable)

Lone Wolf Treestands 45574
  • Wide 2-panel contoured foam seat pad
  • Full size 30 x 19.5-inch platform
  • 6-point fall arrest system

6. Summit Treestands Summit Viper

(Easy-to-Secure)

Summit Treestands Summit Viper
  • Quickdraw cable retention system
  • Safe full-perimeter design
  • Corrosion-resistant brown powder coat finish

7. Summit Treestands Titan SD

(Closed-Front)

Summit Treestands Titan SD
  • Secure front climbing bar/gun rest
  • Adjustable suspended foam-padded seat
  • Wide seat frame

8. Ol'man COM-04

(3-in-1)

Ol'man COM-04
  • 3-in-1 designs with 3 ways of setting up
  • Strong, high-quality steel frame
  • Quiet design

1. Best Overall Climbing Tree Stand: Summit Treestands 81120 Viper SD

Summit Treestands 81120 Viper SD

Photo: Summit Treestands

  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Seat Size: 18 x 12 in.
  • Materials: Aluminum
  • Weight: 20 lbs.
  • Tree Diameter: 8 – 20 in.

A combination of comfort, stealth, strength, and lightweight construction make this product the best of the best in this climbing tree stand review.

The stand has a comfortable foam-padded seat that can be raised or lowered for bow or gun hunting respectively. It also has padded armrests and a full backrest that provides back support so that you can concentrate on the hunt as opposed to back pains.

These parts are held in place by an aluminum frame, which normally would be noisy due to the metal tubing.

However, the Viper SD features Deadening technology, in which the critical parts of the frame are filled with custom-engineered expanding foam. This reduces the metal-to-metal sound so that you maintain stealth on the tree.

As for strength, the unit is built using high-quality extruded aluminum with pre-locked joints before welding. This design minimizes stress on the weld for enhanced rigidity and safety. It is built to last and the manufacturer covers it using a 5-year limited warranty to prove reliability.

With all these, the stand weighs only 20 lbs. and this makes it easy to get off the beaten path in search of the perfect tree spot.

More features include a QuickDraw cable retention system for easy setup/removal, universally-fitting RapidClimb stirrups to attach you securely to the frame when climbing, a closed-front for easy climbing with the front bar doubling up as a gun rest, and a full-body harness.

On the downside, the unit has a relatively narrow 19.75-inch top that limits your movement space.

Pros:

  • Foam-padded seat, padded armrests, and a full backrest
  • Stealthy Deadening technology
  • Rigid pre-locked welded joints
  • Lightweight
  • Quickdraw cable retention system

Cons:

  • Narrow top

2. Best Budget Climbing Tree Stand: Summit Treestands SU81119 Goliath SD

Summit Treestands SU81119 Goliath SD

Photo: Summit Treestands

  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs.
  • Seat Size: 18 x 12 in.
  • Materials: Aluminum
  • Weight: 21 lbs.
  • Tree Diameter: 8 – 20 in.

The Summit Goliath SD is a reasonably-priced climbing tree stand that features a wide 21.75-inch seat frame size. This gives you more room to move and spread out. It is also the perfect size for large-framed hunters.

Coupled with a suspended foam-padded seat plus a full backrest, this design ensures you get maximum comfort for those long hunting days.

Aside from that, the unit has a lightweight (21-lb) aluminum frame with Deadening technology for stealth. This incorporates the use of custom-engineered expanding foam to fill the critical parts of the tubing, which reduces metal-to-metal noises.

You also get a closed front with a front bar for easy climbing and this doubles up as a gun rest. The entire piece has a mossy-oak break-up infinity camo finish and a safe full-body four-point harness.

Other features include RapidClimb stirrups, a QuickDraw cable retention system for easy setup, and pre-locked welded joints for structural enhancement.

The only issue is that its wide seat frame makes it a bit bulky. As such, it cumbersome to transport.

Pros:

  • Reasonably priced
  • Wide seat frame
  • Suspended foam-padded seat plus a full backrest
  • Stealthy Deadening technology
  • RapidClimb stirrups

Cons:

  • Bulky design

3. Best Adjustable Climbing Tree Stand: Summit Treestands 180 Max SD

Summit Treestands 180 Max SD

Photo: Summit Treestands

  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs.
  • Seat Size: 18 x 12 in.
  • Materials: Aluminum
  • Weight: 26 lbs.
  • Tree Diameter: 8 – 20 in.

This 180 Max SD is equipped with a surround-seat that has a large, rounded perimeter frame. As its name suggests, the frame allows you to adjust the seat by spinning it 180º so that you can face the tree or the opposite side. This lets you shoot at all angles while seated.

The seat is also height-adjustable and this allows you to position yourself at the best spot for bow or gun shooting.

Comfort is heavily incorporated into this stand’s design because it has a very large 21 x 38-inch. platform. This gives you extra legroom to flex during long hunting days.

Combined with a padded seat, armrests, a full backrest, and an extended top-frame that is ideal for tall hunters, the unit is one of the most comfortable climbing-tree stands in the market.

Other features include a rigid aluminum frame with SummitLokt technology (pre-locked welded joints) that can hold up to 350 lbs., a stealthy design with foam-filled frame tubes, QuickDraw cable retention for easy setup, a full-body harness, and bungee backpack straps for easy carrying.

However, the product is very expensive and relatively heavy.

Pros:

  • 180º rotating and height-adjustable surround seat
  • Large platform for extra legroom
  • Extended top-frame for accommodating tall hunters
  • Sturdy pre-locked welded joints
  • Full body harness and bungee backpack straps

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Quite heavy

4. Best Lightweight Climbing Tree Stand: Summit Treestands Mini Viper SD

Summit Treestands Mini Viper SD

Photo: Summit Treestands

  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Seat Size: 18 x 12 in.
  • Materials: Aluminum
  • Weight: 18 lbs.
  • Tree Diameter: 8 – 20 in.

Weighing in at only 18 lbs., the Mini Viper SD is very easy to carry and is ideal for situations where you need to hike or get off the beaten path to get to a big buck.

That said, the unit does not sacrifice sturdiness and stability by being this lightweight. It has a rigid 5-channel aluminum platform frame, a solid front bar for easy climbing, and two coated steel climbing cables.

The suspended seat, backrest, and armrests are well-padded using foam for comfortable use. You also get universally fitting RapidClimb stirrups for attaching your boots to the stand securely when climbing, QuickDraw cable retention, a full-body harness, and bungee backpack straps.

On the downside, the seat has a relatively narrow 19.75-inch frame that is not ideal for big-bodied hunters.

Pros:

  • Easily portable
  • Rigid 5-channel aluminum platform frame
  • Solid front bar for easy climbing
  • Padded suspended seat, backrest, and armrests
  • Quickdraw cable retention system

Cons:

  • Relatively narrow seat frame

5. Comfortable Climbing Tree Stand: Lone Wolf Treestands 45574

Lone Wolf Treestands 45574

Photo: Lone Wolf Treestands

  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs.
  • Seat Size: 21 in. wide
  • Materials: Aluminum
  • Weight: 21 lbs.
  • Tree Diameter: 6 – 19 in.

With its 2-panel contoured foam seat pad, Lone Wolf’s 45574 is designed to give you all-day comfort so that you stay glued on it as you wait to spot deer. Additionally, this seat is very wide (21 inches) while the platform is a full 30 x 19.5-inch size, which allows you to stretch your legs.

Despite being this wide, the unit weighs only 21 lbs. and folds down to a slim 4-inch profile for easy transportation.

A pivoting sit & climb bar is built-in for easy climbing while a 6-point fall arrest system secures you from dropping off the platform to the ground.

The unit can hold up to 350 lbs. and it includes an in-cast bow holder that fits most parallel limb bows, as well as backpack straps, one bungee, and stabilizing straps.

On the downside, it is very costly. Also, no stirrups are included. You have to fit your boots under the platform’s hinge arms (below the stabilizer bar) to lift it.

Pros:

  • Wide 2-panel contoured foam seat pad
  • Full size 30 x 19.5-inch platform
  • Folds down to a slim 4-inch profile for easy carrying
  • Pivoting sit & climb bar
  • 6-point fall arrest system

Cons:

  • Costly
  • No stirrups

6. Easy-to-Secure Climbing Tree Stand: Summit Treestands Summit Viper

Summit Treestands Summit Viper

Photo: Summit Treestands

  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Seat Size: 18 x 12 in.
  • Materials: Steel
  • Weight: 29 lbs.

This Summit Viper is characterized by a QuickDraw cable retention system, which is a fast and quiet attachment system that locks automatically into place. This makes it easy to secure the seat and platform to a tree.

That said, the unit features a strong steel frame that holds up to 300 lbs. and has a full perimeter design that enhances your safety whether you are on the seat or standing on the platform.

While sitting, a thick cushion on the seat ensures you remain comfortable, especially during long hunting days. The seat is also adjustable height-wise to optimize your position for bow or gun shooting.

The stand has a tough brown powder coat finish for corrosion protection but its steel construction makes it very heavy. However, steel is cheaper than aluminum and this makes it very affordable.

Pros:

  • Quickdraw cable retention system
  • Safe full-perimeter design
  • Thick seat cushion
  • Corrosion-resistant tough brown powder coat finish
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Heavy

7. Closed-Front Climbing Tree Stand: Summit Treestands Titan SD

Summit Treestands Titan SD

Photo: Summit Treestands

  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs.
  • Seat Size: 18 x 12 in.
  • Materials: Aluminum
  • Weight: 25 lbs.
  • Tree Diameter: 8 – 20 in.

With its closed-front design, Summit’s Titan SD features a front climbing bar that secures you inside whether you are in a sitting or standing position. This bar doubles up as a gun rest to help enhance accurate long-range shooting.

Aside from that, the stand is fitted with a suspended foam-padded seat that is easily removable using the two-piece buckles on its straps. The seat has a full-length backrest and can be adjusted height-wise to a comfortable sitting position.

On top of this, the seat has a wide 21.75-inch and long 28.5-inch seat frame that is the ideal size for wide-bodied hunters.

The unit comes complete with two RapidClimb stirrups to secure your feet to the frame, a 4-point safety harness, and bungee backpack straps.

Other features are Deadening foam-filling technology, sturdy pre-locked welded joints, and a QuickDraw cable retention system for fast & quiet climbing. However, weighing in at 25 lbs., this stand is quite heavy.

Pros:

  • Secure front climbing bar/gun rest
  • Adjustable suspended foam-padded seat
  • Wide seat frame
  • 4-point safety harness
  • Stealthy Deadening foam-filling technology

Cons:

  • Quite heavy

8. 3-in-1 Climbing Tree Stand: Ol'man COM-04

Ol'man COM-04

Photo: Ol'man

  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Seat Size: 21 in. wide
  • Materials: Steel
  • Weight: 29 lbs.

Ol'man’s COM-04 is a very unique product because it is 3 climbing tree stands in one. Basically, it can be set up in 3 ways, which are with the classic straight bar to secure you inside or with the gun rest. This gun rest is reversible to form the third way, which is with a footrest.

The unit is made using steel to form a strong high-quality unit that is synonymous with what the brand is known for. Additionally, it is made to be very quiet so that you don’t scare your targets when they get close.

You also get a 21-inch seat that is ideal for wide-bodied hunters, as well as a large 18 x 32-inch platform that gives you space to stretch your legs. However, this seat is not cushioned; it is in a net form. Also, the stand is very heavy.

Pros:

  • 3-in-1 designs with 3 ways of setting up
  • Strong, high-quality steel frame
  • Quiet design
  • Wide seat and platform

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Non-cushioned seat

How to Buy the Best Climbing Tree Stands

How to Buy the Best Climbing Tree Stands

Photo: Summit Treestands

1. Hunting Method

There are two main hunting methods: gun and bow. Ideally, you need an adjustable seat if you use both weapons. The seat should be raised for bow hunting then lowered for gun hunting.

The reasoning behind this is that you need more space when bowhunting because drawing one requires ample room. By raising the seat, you get some clearance above the front rail.

Alternatively, you can look for an open-front stand, which does not have a front rail. The perfect compromise would be a pivoting front rail, which can be folded out of the way then folded back for gun resting. This can be found in Lone Wolf’s 45574.

2. Weight Capacity

Each climbing tree stand is built and rated to carry a certain amount of weight. This usually ranges from 300 – 350 lbs. and you should pick one based on how much you weigh.

That said, the higher the weight capacity, the better because the stand is durably built to handle more pressure.

3. Construction Materials

Of course, these units are built using metal but the most common ones are steel and aluminum. Steel is cheaper than aluminum and this results in an affordable stand. However, it is heavier and therefore, you will have to carry more weight on your back.

Though expensive, we recommend lightweight aluminum-built units, especially if you are heading deep off the beaten paths or up a hill. With that in mind, Summit’s Mini Viper SD stands out because it weighs only 18 lbs.

4. Design

There are many design factors to consider. First is the open and closed-front design, which is described above.

Second, some stands have wider seat frames and platforms, which make it easier to fit wide-bodied hunters. There is also the aspect of color, in which camo finishes are better for stealth.

Another important stealth feature is a quiet design. This is a must-have feature because it minimizes metal-to-metal noises so that the bucks don’t hear you.

Manufacturers like Summit Treestands have an innovative Deadening technology that places expanding foam to critical parts of the frame.

5. Safety Features

While most climbing tree stands come with safety harnesses, a three, four, or six-point FAS (Fall Arrest System) is better because it distributes your weight around the arms and legs in case you slip.

Additionally, with these multiple attachment points, such a system enables you to move more freely. For this, be sure to check out Lone Wolf’s 45574, which has a 6-point FAS.

How to Setup a Climbing Tree Stand

How to Setup a Climbing Tree Stand

Photo: Ol'Man

1. Mount the Two Pieces

Once you have identified the right tree, unpack the upper (seat) and lower (platform) sections by undoing their bungee cord. Mount them to the tree using the retention cables. The seat frame should be mounted above the platform. Next, ensure all the parts (such as the seat) are tied to the frame.

2. Secure the Two Pieces

Tie these two pieces together using the included stabilizer straps. This is meant to ensure that the platform does not fall to the ground should it slip from your feet. If your stand does not have these, you will have to buy them separately.

3. Secure your Feet

Climb on the platform and secure your feet to it. Some stands require you to put your feet under a metal bar while others come with stirrups, which make the process very easy. This step is important because it enables you to pull up the lower piece as you climb.

4. Secure yourself to the Tree

As a safety precaution, always tether yourself to the tree. This is done by using a full-body harness plus a safety tether.

5. Begin Ascending

While standing on the platform, raise the top section to your waist level and tether to the highest position that you can reach.

Sit on the front bar of the upper section then pull the lower section using your feet. Repeat this sit & climb process until you get to your desired height. After this, take your gun/bow and begin hunting!

FAQs

1. Is It Safe to Use A Climbing Tree Stand?

Yes, it is. Even though it may look small and be tied around the tree using thin cables, a climbing tree stand can hold you comfortably so long as you don’t exceed the weight limit.

However, you need to apply all the safety measures to protect yourself in case of an accident. For instance, you should always have the safety harness on.

2. What Trees Are Compatible with A Climbing Tree Stand?

Hardwoods like oak and maple are the best. You should avoid trees that produce a lot of sap (like pine) because this will cause the stand to be very sticky. Also, avoid trees with a smooth or loose bark; the stand will not grip the surface firmly.

3. How High Should I Put A Climbing Tree Stand?

The highest should be around 20 – 25 ft. That said, this should be determined by your ability to see and fire accurately. If the cover below is too thick, place the stand lower than 20 ft. so that you get a clear line of sight. Otherwise, you can go up to 25 ft.

4. Can A Climbing Tree Stand Be Used for More Than Hunting?

Since they are used to climb trees, you can use them for other purposes on trees such as to access the branches for pruning.

Conclusion

As you can see, the 81120 Viper SD leads the pack because it combines 4 key features, which are comfort, stealth, strength, and lightweight construction. It also has a QuickDraw cable retention system for easy setup and stirrups for securing your feet.

However, Summit’s 180 Max SD gives you the best shooting angles because it has a rotating and height-adjustable surround seat. It also has a large platform for extra legroom so that you can stay up there comfortably for hours.

If you want to head to the hills though, you should carry a lightweight unit and, in this case, we recommend Summit’s Mini Viper SD as the best climbing tree stand. It won’t be a burden because it weighs only 18 lbs.

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