Hunting tree stands – Buying guide, Reviews & Comparison
If you want to find the best hunting gear, but you don’t have time to go through the buying tips and reviews prepared by our research team, this short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know about the best hunting tree stand. After analyzing a lot of feedback coming from both amateur and professional hunters and target shooters, we have concluded that the Guide Gear Basic is the best as it’s easy to install and uninstall and features a user-friendly design. Given that it has been outfitted with padded armrests and a padded seat, this unit enables you to follow and aim your targets both comfortably and conveniently. In addition to all of this, it’s worth noting that this model is made of stainless steel which contributes to its overall durability. If the Guide Gear Basic is unavailable, you should consider the Summit Treestands Viper SD as it is a top-notch alternative if you’re searching for a climbing tree stand.
Our top choices – Find the best tree stand for your needs
Best ladder tree stand
A ladder tree stand derives its name from its innovative construction that attaches to trees combined with a platform at the very top. Ladder stands attach to various types of trees, so they are quite versatile in that respect. You won’t need to be too picky on the trees to hunt in. The platform can be large enough to accommodate more than a single person, such as a hunter and a child, a videographer or another hunter.
Getting up to the platform and climbing down are easy thanks to the provided ladder component.
With the easy climbing and easy joint use of a ladder tree stand, it can come with a distinct disadvantage: its bulk and weight. If you have to walk a long way to your hunting site, a ladder stand may not be the best option.
Ladder stands also tend to be extra noisy when being set up and climbed. Some models are equipped with a seat while others have none so you may have to purchase one separately. Ladder stands are usable for many types of trees Set up can require two to three people working together, so some hunters simply leave their ladder stands in place for extended periods of time.
Guide Gear Basic
Incorporating all you need for a successful hunt and none that you don’t, this ladder stand is streamlined with a padded seat and armrests for comfortable seating and reduced arm fatigue because the armrests provide a good perch for your weapon.
This model boasts a sturdy steel construction to ensure durability and safety even when used from a lofty post in the trees. The 12.5 by 17.25-inch platform offers just enough room to rest your feet on and provides easy climbing into the seat.
The three-section construction of the ladder enables easy setup, takedown and portability.Buy from Amazon.com for ($74.99)
Best climbing tree stand
A climbing tree stand comprises two primary parts: a seat and a footrest. This type of stand attaches to a tree from the ground and the hunter uses the stand itself to facilitate the ascent up the trunk of the tree.
Ascent is done by moving one part of the stand while keeping one’s weight on the other section of the stand. The climbing component serves as the fulcrum upon which you rest your weight while doing the climb.
Some of the most comfortable tree stands are of the climbing design, which also offers an easy set up as a distinct advantage. That being said, climbing tree stands can’t be accommodated on just any tree.
They can’t attach to trees with extremely large trunks or that have low and small branches, or that have crooked trunks that can’t support a tree stand and the hunter’s entire weight. Climbing tree stands are perfect for hunters who are physically fit to carry their own weight as they shimmy up a tree with the platform and climbing element.
Summit Treestands Viper SD
Designed to keep the hunter concealed while sitting comfortably up in a tree, the Summit Treestands Viper SD is a closed-front aluminum stand that ensures you are safe and secure while hunting at an elevated vantage point.
Equipped with the best camo for treestand hunting, this model comes with a realistic Mossy Oak design on the suspended foam-padded seat with backrest, which blends well with wooded surroundings to let you maintain that factor of stealth that is critical to hunting.
Capable of holding up to 300 pounds, this climbing tree stand has a broad 20-inch by 26.5-inch platform on which you can stand and sit easily and comfortably.
To ensure your safety, this model includes a full-body Fall Arrest Harness System (FAS) as well as all needed hardware for a stable setup.Buy from Amazon.com for ($264.98)
Best hang-on tree stand
A hang-on or lock-on tree stand is a versatile type of hunting gear that attaches to many types of trees. It can be used on trees with large trunks as well as those that have multiple limbs. A lock-on stand also operates noiselessly so it offers the best stand for up-close hunting of targets. This type secures tightly to a tree, which makes it extremely quiet.
In addition, it offers reduced shifting or moving while supporting a hunter’s full weight, making it ideal for hunting noise-sensitive deer. This type of tree stand is superbly lightweight, with products averaging at 20 pounds, which facilitates portability.
However, it must be noted that the less weight a lock-on or hang-on tree stand has, the more minimalist its design so you may have a comparatively small seat with little to no padding.
The platform may just be of enough size to accommodate your booted feet and not much else. Should you elect to just leave the hang-on stand in place through the hunting season, make sure it comes with a cushioned seat and a padded backrest.
Millennium Treestands M100U-SL
Designed to be 20 percent lighter than its predecessor, the Millennium Treestands M100U-SL provides easy transportability with its easy fold-flat design that makes it suitable for backpacking. This tree stand comes with a compact design that lets you fold the seat up against the tree so you can shoot while standing.
This tree stand comes with a patented exclusive contoured, tight sling seat called comfortMAX, which allows you to hunt in comfort all day.
This tree stand boasts an all-aluminum construction supplemented with a durable powder coat finish to ensure protection from corrosion for dependable performance through many hunting seasons.
It has a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds.Buy from Amazon.com for ($179.98)
Best tripod tree stand
A tripod tree stand enables you to have a high vantage point for observing your prey or surveying the terrain for targets even when there aren’t any trees around. This type of tree stand offers a portable and lightweight solution where the hunting site does not have that many trees, or the trees around the area do not have thick enough diameters.
Easy to erect anywhere, even in the middle of an expansive field, a tripod tree stand gives you an elevated yet stable perch in which to do animal observation and viewing. However, this type will leave the hunter fully exposed to the elements. You may want to check out models with some form of extra cover to prevent premature discovery by the hunted animal.
Good quality tripod tree stands allow you to take a full 360-degree view of your hunting environment, with a seat that allows comfortable surveying. Take note of the unit’s construction so you can be sure every component is solidly built, strong and durable to take your full weight even from a lofty position in the observation tower.
This 15-foot steel tripod tree stand offers dependable durability thanks to its strong construction. You can easily observe the target in the full-surround shooting rail that also lets you rest your weapon while taking note of the surrounding terrain from the elevated platform of the observation tower.
There’s always plenty of room to make standing shots thanks to the way the foot platform provides sufficient room to move around in.
Offering 360 degrees of rotation, the seat provides a full surveillance of the shooting field from a high reach. The cushioned seat is supplemented with a padded backrest for optimum comfort.
Going up the ladder is easy so you can be up in a towering height on the platform in little time.Buy from Amazon.com for ($269.78)
For crossbow hunting
Tree Stand Climber
Providing an elevated and open platform on which to do field surveys and target observation while hunting, the Tree Stand Climber provides a better vantage point compared to a ground blind or just hunting while on the ground.
Doubtlessly the best tree stand for crossbow hunting, this model uses a cable or chain to connect to a tree and attach to the desired height.
Sections of ladders or steps called climbing sticks are used to climb into the tree stand platform.
Enjoy optimal strength and durability thanks to the tough powder-coated finish and remarkable Steel Tough construction, both working together to resist the material-destructive effects of the elements.Buy from Amazon.com for ($145.98)
For bow hunting
River’s Edge RE636
The unique design also positions both hunters tight against the tree so they can have maximum concealment and have greater success in the activity.
The tree stand comes with exclusive Tear Tuff mesh seats that are comfortable, durable and silent so both hunters are assured of dependable performance even during a full day of hunting.
This ladder stand is tall enough at 19 feet 9 inches to help you avoid getting fatigued after climbing onto the platform and down from it after the hunt.Buy from Amazon.com for ($281.31)
What tree stand accessories do I need?
A tree stand provides a solid vantage point in which you can observe the surroundings for your target to show up. However, you can still make the most of every tree stand hunting experience by buying accessories for the stand separately. For climbing treestands, you can get climbing steps or climbing sticks to facilitate access to the platform of a fixed tree stand.
A harness should ideally be of the 6-point tether system so you simply don’t end up upside down when you lose your grip while climbing or descending. A skirt keeps your treestand platform hidden so you can really hunt while concealed. Seat pads and a protective roof make it possible for you to hunt all day in comfort. A pop-up umbrella for tree stand use offers a nice roof system that is also easy and quick to install, so you can bear the hot sun when waiting for 10 to 20 hours for that prized buck to show up.
A bow hanger and holder keeps your bow and other hunting essentials within reach while safely organized.
You want this item to be to your preferred angle and height so you won’t have to move too much to reach your weapon and the other items stored. With a single smooth movement, you can take your bow, draw an arrow and release with a precise aim because everything is easy to reach.
To secure your bow or rifle on the tree stand bench, you may want to invest in a tree pod or bench rest for your weapon. This can be fitted onto the platform of the tree stand to support the weapon’s entire weight.
Look for models with quiet arms outfitted with multiple bearings for stable and smooth movement when tracking a moving target. Other accessories worth investing in include a treestand lock, an extendable tree saw, utility straps, wall insulation, ghillie covers and more.
How to choose the best hunting tree stand
A tree stand facilitates easy ascending to a higher elevation to sight the target and preserve the element of stealth that is extra-critical in a sport or hobby like hunting. Because you are can observe the area inobtrusively from a high position in the trees, your prey cannot easily detect your presence so you can aim your weapon and wait for the perfect time to shoot your hunting bow or firearm. Now, what distinguishes a good quality tree stand from less stellar products in this category?
Choose a suitable tree stand for your needs
Ladder tree stands combine a basic tree stand, which is an elevated platform, and a ladder attached to it. The ladder makes ascent and descent simple and easy, enabling you to get into position quickly. That said, ladder tree stands carry plenty of weight and can be noisy to set up and climb.
The most widely used type of tree stand is the climbing type, which also boasts superior mobility as well as a variety of options. Comparatively lightweight, climbing tree stands come with a wide variety of features to ensure comfortable seating. Quiet and light, climbing tree stands are also easy to set up and are less expensive compared to other types.
Hang-on treestands, otherwise known as lock-on treestands, work by attaching a chain or strap to the tree trunk. They need to be used with some type of climbing aid or device to get into them. The climbing aid may be in the form of temporary rungs, climbing sticks or steps.
This type is typically extremely light and is a great option for hunters who’d rather not be burdened with too much equipment to carry. Hang-on treestands are provided with adequate seating features.
When there are no trees in the hunting site, a tripod tree stand makes a great option. Tripod treestands offer a lightweight and stable means to stay in an elevated perch anywhere you’re hunting. However, a tripod tree stand does leave you in a very open position even if it is at an elevation. You may want to look for models that come with some type of additional cover.
The box tree stand looks like a camping tent and can be fixed to a tree and left there for extended periods of time, or even from one hunting season to another. A lightweight cloth material is used in some models, which have the cover fabric stretched over the frame.
On the other hand, some box tree stands come with a hard shell made of either wood or plastic.
Make sure the tree stand provides more than enough features for safety in use
To climb and perch at an elevated post in a tree already poses plenty of risks and with one little miscalculation, can even prove to be fatal as well. Check into the track record of the manufacturer in its products to ensure you’re not buying something that could cause loss of life and limb. The construction should be of premium quality materials. There should be no squeaky and brittle components or weak points.
The tree stand platform should not be overly narrow and ideally should allow you to move around in relative safety. The supplied safety belt or harness should ideally be a three- or four-point type, which is often referred to as a Fall Arrest System (FAS).
Adjusting your weight completely, a FAS goes around the legs as well as the arms of the user and still enables free mobility along with a more secure and safer feel that translates to a consistently comfortable hunting experience.
Armrests and a safety harness go hand in hand to ensure safe use of a tree stand. The tree stand should be built to accommodate your full weight, so make sure to look into the unit’s maximum weight capacity. The climbing apparatus should be made of top quality materials and boast quality craftsmanship.
The tree stand should also offer comfort and convenience
The tree stand will invariably require carrying to the spot where you intend to set it up. Therefore, its weight will be a serious consideration as well. An extremely heavy or bulky model is not ideal but this should not signify compromised performance and stability for the user.
The unit should ensure easy climbing. Some models come with a variety of positioning options so you can achieve a stable perch even up in the most odd-looking trees. A flip-up seat design provides more room to aim your weapon while standing, with the seat up and out of the way
Some climbing models ensure comfortable all-day seating with a contoured foam seat pad. They even fold down to a very small package for easy carrying to and from the site.
Others come with a single-piece cast aluminum platform for strength and durability as well as optimum support both for bow and gun hunting. Check out models with a bow or rifle holder, stabilizing and bungee straps and a realistic camo design as well as a 6-point fall arrest system.
Some models come with hang-it-all belts and shelves that secure tightly to the stand or the tree itself to provide enough room in which to hang your other hunting essentials while providing easy access. With a branch bracket or cover system that attaches to the stand or the tree, you can strategically place branches and limbs around you and the stand when there’s no natural cover available to make up for that deficiency in concealment.
Is a tree stand safe?
Providing an elevated vantage point from which to observe the target while being concealed at an elevated height, a tree stand is one of the most popular pieces of equipment that today’s modern hunter just can’t do without. If you are to succeed in any hunting endeavor, you should definitely invest in a good quality hunting tree stand. For those serious about hunting, now is the time to put their money on a premium quality and well-crafted tree stand.
In its most fundamental, a tree stand is a simple platform mounted against a tree. It can come with or without a ladder depending on its type or design.
Some brands come with climbing sticks or steps that enable access to the tree stand platform. The tree stand may be built to allow the user to kneel, sit or stand in the unit, and again, this depends on the design of the unit.
To provide value for money, some hunting tree stands come with armrests and backrests, a seat and a variety of other accessories.
The good thing that competition in tree stands has created is the fact that many manufacturers try to outdo one another in the accessories component of their products. There are some brands that offer cushioned backrests and seats.
In keeping with their promise of a lightweight design in tree stands, some manufacturers elect to provide the simplest designs in their seats, such as mesh ones or barebones metal ones. Whatever the case, it is upon the hunter to decide which gets greater priority for them between comfort and uncomplicated functionality.
Some hunters who believe they have serious do-it-yourself skills choose to construct their own tree stands.
However, it is to be remembered that for a tree stand to truly deliver as it promises, it has to be both safe and well-constructed, in addition to offering a genuine vantage point for the avid hunter. In other words, you might be able to save a few dollars by creating your own tree stand, but how sure are you that what you have created will be safe even for you?
To bridge the gap between functionality and price, tree stand manufacturers have formed their own alliance called the Treestand Manufacturers Association or TMA. Those who become members of this organization are obliged to adhere to strict standards in creating their products. They have to ensure that what they offer to consumers are safe, easy to use and made of top quality materials for dependability in performance.
The burden of proof on strength and durability is both upon the manufacturer as much as the end user. While tree stand manufacturers profess that they subject their products to rigid testing and evaluation, the end user has to ensure that such claims are true by checking for inferior components and materials in tree stands.
There should be no creaky, noisy parts that will startle the target. Ideally, tree stands should boast lightweight yet strong diecast construction, with no sharp edges or corners that could cause injury.
Check out models that provide a Fall Arrest Harness System (FAS) that keeps you tethered safely to a tree while you climb into the tree stand, in the case of climbing units. Ladders and other elements in tripod and ladder stands should be strong. Ascertain the maximum weight capacity of the unit to ensure it’s suitable for your needs. Make sure you buy only from reputable online sellers and manufacturers.
Why should I use a tree stand?
Inarguably a popular piece of hunting equipment, a tree stand is basically a platform that attaches to a tree and either equipped or not with a set of steps or a ladder to gain access to. The tree stand should enable you to sit, kneel or stand in it, depending on its design of course. Some tree stand models are even equipped with armrests, cushions as well as a variety of accessories that ensure optimal functionality plus comfort.
Despite the variety of tree stands for sale on the market, some hunters still prefer to create their own. However, this can present certain risks as there are aspects of a properly constructed tree stand that can easily escape the attention of even the most earnest do-it-yourselfer/hunter. Furthermore, good quality tree stands undergo testing for safety by the manufacturers to ensure they get high ratings in reviews, and this is something that a homemade tree stand may not come with.
Commercial tree stands may not be perfect as they are, but they do need to be built in accordance with specific professional standards for such products, with the most top rated models being stellar in this respect. Safety is therefore an element that you can derive from a tree stand.
A tree stand provides a high ground to survey and observe the target at an elevation, keeping the hunter undetected to ensure the stealth factor that is critical for every hunt. It ensures that the target does not pick up on your scent that easily. You can move about in a tree stand with a large enough platform, albeit carefully, without the target getting alerted to your presence so you can take aim with precision and fire when ready.
This is unlike being on the ground where you can only aim at the animal once it comes into your field of vision or the range of your sighting device. In a tree stand, you have the advantage of height and longer sight as well as farther shooting to aid you in bagging that trophy catch.
A tree stand also enables you to shoot at a full 360 degrees from your vantage point or all the way around the tree because you see more and farther away as well. When shooting from the ground, you won’t be able to know the direction the target animal runs to but in a tree stand, you can tell in which direction it escapes to. The best hunting tree stands used to be designed for bow hunting but today, plenty of tree stands are available to suit a variety of hunting styles.
Painter’s seat or climbing tree stands are portable, comfortable, lightweight and very easy to set up and take down, giving the hunter a dependable piece of gear to use for every hunting season. Climbing treestands, on the other hand, provide a means to get up a tree so you virtually get two products in one. Climbing tree stands or painter’s seat type or ladder-type stands are perfect for those who don’t feel comfortable using belts or steps in climbing up and down a tree, while painter’s seat or lock-on types are great for hunters who need to travel a long way to the hunting site.
A climbing tree stand is a great choice for those who want to feel safe even if they fall asleep in a tree stand after spending 10 to 20 hours up in the trees, thanks to the included safety harness. Ladder stands and fixed stands are best for use in hunting areas with little to no hunting pressure or where there are relatively few hunters. For areas where there’s plenty of hunting pressure, climbing tree stands are suitable. Ladder stands are great when you are hunting with someone else or have a child or videographer in tow.
Most popular manufacturing brands
Guide Gear offers outdoor adventure seekers different lines of products perfect for any endeavor. This brand covers everything from insulated trapper hats to insulated hunting coveralls, silk crew tops for men and women, camo boxer briefs, folding fish/game cleaning table, hang-on treestands and tripod deer stands and more.
The brand seeks to provide products that speak of superior quality and craftsmanship without breaking the bank.
Every Guide Gear product is backed by dependable performance, matchless value and long-lasting quality for individuals who value their freedom to choose as much as they value their freedom to enjoy their outdoorsy lifestyle. This is the brand for budget-friendly gear that does not compromise on performance.
Providing a genuine option to the hunter for any hunting situation, Ameristep belongs to an elite group of leading manufacturers of top outdoor products that have enjoyed top-notch reputation through the years. Backed by over two decades in the hunting equipment industry, the brand produces quality treestands, accessories and ground blinds.
This manufacturer guarantees that every product that rolls out of its assembly line boasts great effort for superior craftsmanship. There’s always something new and exciting to watch for in every Ameristep product, as every item offers ease of use, superb durability and safety for the user. Every product also offers the features, comfort and advantages that hunters expect from their gear.
A well-established manufacturer of concealed hunting gear, Summit Treestands manufactures products for hunters developed by true-blue hunters. The brand produces adaptable tripod stands and versatile climbing stands, all built to exacting standards and ensured to last for many hunting seasons.
The company has been an innovator in the field, creating products that feature remarkable technology that advanced hunters seek in their gear.
Every product has undergone testing to ensure optimal performance and user safety. A proud member of the Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA), this brand is an undisputed leader in tree stand technology that includes Summit Lokt, which offers a more secure system through much lower stresses on the welds in their products, along with Dead Metal Sound Deadening, Quickdraw Cable Retention and Rapid Climb Stirrups.