The hunting season is finally here, and you’ve been eagerly anticipating the chance to bag a 7-pointer for months. However, it’s crucial to ask yourself if you have the appropriate equipment to bring down such a large animal. Sure, you might have invested in top-of-the-line shooting gear, but will that alone suffice?
It’s essential to position yourself correctly to make the most of your shooting skills and equipment. And what better position could there be than atop a tree concealed from the watchful eyes of your prey? The best hunting tree stands to ensure you remain out of a deer’s line of sight.
A high-quality tree stand is your secret weapon for hunting. There are several reasons why I prefer a tree stand over a ground blind, and these include the following:
- Greater visibility range: A tree stand offers an extended field of view.
- Reduced scent detection: Animals find it more challenging to detect your scent while you’re on a tree stand.
- Improved mobility: Moving around is easier on a tree stand compared to being on the ground.
- Enhanced shot effectiveness: Shots taken from a tree stand are more precise and minimize the risk of stray shots.
While a tree stand can indeed be your secret weapon, it’s important not to rush into purchasing the first one you come across. With numerous commercial tree stands available, I’ve researched and selected the top 10 stands for review in this article.
I handpicked these stands from a pool of 20 that I extensively researched, some of which I’ve used. Therefore, you can expect a blend of my own personal opinions and recommendations in the following reviews.
What Are The Advantages of Using a Tree Stand?
You probably are asking yourself whether you need a tree stand. Well, the benefits of using one make it an important accessory. Tree stands offer several advantages:
Concealment and Stealth:
One of the primary advantages of using a tree stand is its ability to keep you concealed from the line of sight of your prey, particularly deer. Animals such as deer have a keen sense of smell, excellent hearing, and acute eyesight, making them highly perceptive and cautious. By positioning yourself above their field of vision, you significantly reduce the chances of being detected. Treestands provide an optimal vantage point that helps mask your scent and muffle any sounds you may make, enhancing your overall stealth and minimizing the risk of spooking the game.
Enhanced Field of View:
A tree stand offers a superior vantage point, granting you an unparalleled view of your surroundings. By elevating yourself above ground level, you gain a broader perspective of the hunting area, allowing you to scan the terrain more effectively. This increased visibility enables you to spot approaching games earlier, identify their movement patterns, and analyze their behavior. With a better understanding of the environment, you can make informed decisions and strategize accordingly, improving your chances of a successful hunt.
Shooting Accuracy and Range:
When positioned in a tree stand, hunters often have a clearer shooting lane and an extended effective shooting range. Being elevated reduces the obstructions caused by vegetation, undergrowth, and uneven terrain that may hinder your shots from ground level. This unobstructed line of sight enables you to take accurate and ethical shots, minimizing the risk of injury to the animal and ensuring a cleaner kill. Moreover, the increased shooting range provided by a tree stand allows you to engage targets from a greater distance, increasing your overall hunting efficiency.
Safety and Personal Protection:
While the primary objective of a tree stand is to enhance hunting effectiveness, it also prioritizes safety. Modern tree stands are designed with safety features such as harnesses, safety rails, and sturdy construction materials to prevent accidents and falls. By using a tree stand, you minimize the risk of mishaps and injuries that could occur when hunting from ground level, especially in challenging terrains or dense foliage. Treestands provide a stable and secure platform, allowing you to focus on your hunting objectives without compromising your well-being.
Hunting Strategy and Flexibility:
Treestands offer hunters the flexibility to adapt their hunting strategy based on the specific game and landscape. With portable tree stands, you can easily relocate to different areas or change positions within the same hunting spot. This adaptability allows you to respond to changing conditions, increase your chances of success, and explore new hunting locations. Whether you prefer hunting in forests, open fields, or near water sources, a tree stand can be an invaluable tool for maximizing your hunting opportunities.
How to keep yourself safe with a harness?
Not every tree stand out there comes with a harness. So if you have one that lacks a safety harness, it is wise to buy the best tree stand harness separately. Also, you might consider buying one if you are unsure of the default one available with your tree stand.
Of more importance is to remember to inspect your harness. Before going on a hunt, always check your harness for tears. Also, do not be in a rush to climb up your tree stand, as this can lead to fatal mistakes.
How to set up and plan for the perfect tree stand hunt?
When setting up a tree stand for a hunt, be keen on your exit and entry routes. Where you position your tree stand should be easy to access. However, try and avoid heavily used trails and deer bedding areas. Use the terrain to your advantage and resist the urge to set up a tree just anywhere. Knowing where deer bedding areas are before going into the area will be a plus. Additionally, while the cover is important, too much cover is not good. If the tree you have set up has too much cover, your ability to aim and shoot at a target will be affected. So take great care when choosing the kind of tree to set up on.
Top 10 Best Hunting Tree Stands
I have broken down these reviews into three categories to make things easy for you.
Top 4 Best Climbing Treestands
In this first category, I will review my top 4 selected best climbing tree stands, which impressed me the best.
Summit Treestand 81120 Viper SD Climbing Treestand
- Foam-padded seat with backrest
- Mossy-oak infinity camo
- Fully-body fall arrest harness
- Closed-front aluminum frame
Let me start by saying that the Summit Treestand Viper SD is the real deal. When I was on the hunt for the best climbing treestands, this beauty kept popping up everywhere I looked. I was skeptical at first, wondering if it truly lived up to the hype. Well, let me share my firsthand experience with you.
First and foremost, the portability of this treestand is absolutely remarkable. Weighing in at a mere 20 pounds, transporting it from your home to your favorite hunting spot is an absolute breeze. And let me tell you, the lightweight factor doesn’t compromise its durability. The stand is constructed with high-quality aluminum, making it a robust companion for your hunting adventures.
Now, safety is a top priority for any serious hunter, and the Summit Treestand Viper SD understands that perfectly. Equipped with a four-point FAS harness, this stand ensures you’ll be safe and secure throughout your hunting sessions. Plus, it can handle weights of up to a whopping 300 pounds, so you can trust that it will hold steady even if you’re carrying some extra gear.
Okay, I have to admit that the paint job on this stand might not win any beauty contests, and the shoulder straps could use a bit of improvement. But let me tell you, these are minor quirks in an otherwise outstanding product. Setting up and tearing down the stand is an absolute breeze, and the best part is that it’s surprisingly quiet. No noisy clanging or frustrating struggles. Just a smooth and efficient process thanks to the DeadMetal sound-deadening technology.
Now, let’s talk about the real game-changer here-the Mossy Oak Infinity Camo. This stunning camouflage pattern not only blends seamlessly with the natural surroundings but also adds a touch of style to your hunting experience. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times this camo has saved me from being spotted by keen-eyed game.
So, after spending ample time with the Summit Treestand Viper SD, I can confidently say that it deserves every bit of praise it receives-and then some. It’s a game-changer in the treestand world, combining portability, safety, ease of use, and an exceptional camo design. If you’re serious about hunting and want a reliable companion that won’t let you down, look no further. The Summit Treestand Viper SD is the real deal, my friends.
Summit Treestands Titan SD Climbing Treestand
- Closed front aluminum frame
- Suspended foam padded seat
- Full body fall arrest harness
- 25-pound weight
When it comes to producing top-notch climbing treestands, Summit Treestands certainly knows what they’re doing. Another one of their impressive creations that caught my attention is the Titan SD. Now, if you’re familiar with the Elite SD, you’ll notice that the Titan SD is bigger and bulkier, living up to its name.
At first glance, there’s very little visual difference between the Titan SD and its smaller sibling, the Elite SD. They share a similar appearance and even boast many of the same features. Both treestands sport a closed front aluminum frame, providing a sturdy and reliable foundation for your hunting endeavors.
Additionally, both the Titan SD and the Elite SD offer a suspended foam padded seat with a comfortable backrest. The inclusion of a full-body fall arrest harness and a versatile climbing bar that doubles as a gun rest is yet another similarity they share.
Now, you might be wondering if it’s worth upgrading from the Elite to the Titan. Personally, I don’t believe there’s much sense in making the switch. The Elite SD already offers exceptional performance and functionality. However, for first-time buyers or those seeking a roomier experience, the Titan SD may be more appealing.
One significant advantage of the Titan SD is its increased weight capacity. It can handle up to an impressive 350 pounds, making it a great choice for individuals with a heavier build or those who require extra space for gear. While it may not be the most portable option from Summit Treestands, it certainly compensates with its generous weight capacity and ample working area.
To summarize, the Summit Treestands Titan SD is a fantastic treestand that caters to the needs of individuals who desire more space and have a heavier build. While the Elite SD remains an excellent choice in its own right, the Titan SD offers that extra room and weight capacity, making it an appealing option for those specific requirements.
Lone Wolf Hand Climber Combo II Climbing Treestand
- 17.5-pound weight
- 350-pound weight capacity
- Contoured foam seat
- Foldable into a five-inch package
Alright, folks, let’s dive into another thrilling treestand adventure with the Lone Wolf Hand Climber Combo II. As you know, Lone Wolf is a brand renowned for producing exceptional treestands, and I had the opportunity to put this particular model to the test. So, gather ’round and let me share my thoughts on the Hand Climber Combo II.
First things first, I have to be honest and say that this treestand could benefit from a few minor improvements. However, let me assure you, it’s far from being a bad treestand. In fact, it boasts a feature that sets it apart from the competition it’s incredibly lightweight. Weighing in at a mere 17.5 pounds, it easily ranks among the lightest treestands out there.
Now, you might be thinking, “Okay, it’s lightweight, but does it sacrifice weight capacity?” Absolutely not! This mighty treestand can handle weights of up to a whopping 350 pounds. Impressive, isn’t it? And here’s another surprise – the Hand Climber Combo II goes above and beyond by offering a 6-point harness instead of the typical 4-point. Talk about taking safety seriously!
Let’s talk about the design. It features an open front and, I must admit, lacks a backrest. Now, I know some of you, including myself, appreciate the comfort of a backrest, but hear me out. This open design, without a backrest, is a dream come true for bow hunters. Plus, it comes equipped with a convenient in-cast bow holder, making it even more suitable for those who prefer a bow in hand.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room – the need for improvements. I won’t sugarcoat it – the assembly process can be a bit challenging. It takes some time and effort to put together, so be prepared for a small hurdle there. Additionally, I found it slightly tricky to climb into, and if you’re not in the best shape, it might feel tiring. But fear not, my friends, for the rewards outweigh the challenges.
Despite its minor drawbacks, the Hand Climber Combo II truly excels in crucial areas. As I mentioned earlier, its lightweight nature makes it a breeze to carry around, ensuring hassle-free transportation to your hunting grounds. And here’s the kicker – it offers remarkable security that surpasses even some pricier treestands on the market.
So, there you have it – a treestand adventure with the Lone Wolf Hand Climber Combo II. It may have a few areas for improvement, but its lightweight portability, impressive weight capacity, and dedication to safety make it a solid contender in the world of treestands.
Summit Treestands Mini Viper SD
- Closed front aluminum frame
- Suspended foam padded seat with backrest
- Full Body Fall Arrest Harness
- 18-pound weight
- 300-pound weight capacity
The Viper line of tree stands from Summit Treestand has some of the best tree stands on the market. The smallest of all the Vipers is the aptly named Mini Viper SD. It has many of the features that the others on this line have.
So you can expect the same comfortable foam padded seat with backrest that has earned the Viper line massive popularity among hunters. Also, it features the same mossy camo as the others.
Where this tree stand deviates from its counterpart is in the weight. It weighs 18 pounds lighter than the Elite and Titan Vipers. However, it has the same 300-pound weight capacity as the Elite Viper.
Getting it to the tree step proved to be a very easy task, thanks to the Rapid climb stirrups. These are designed to fit any boot, which is a big plus. This tree stand is best suited to hunters with a small build.
Top Rated Best Ladder Treestands
Predominantly used by bow hunters, ladder tree stands are the best tree stands for bow hunting. With that being said, here are my top 3 best ladder stand for bow hunting.
Millennium Treestands L-110-SL Single Ladder Stand
- Foldable Tight Sling Seat
- Welded steel construction
- Double rail ladder
- Padded shooting rail
In terms of comfort and quality, not many ladder stands can match the Millennium Treestand. You get a comfortable foldable seat and a platform dimension of 20 inches by 32 inches. Meaning you will have a lot of room to move and position yourself properly.
The foldable seat folds back to reveal an adjustable shooting rail. While it will appeal to gun hunters, some bowhunters have found it to be an obstacle. All the same, the rail is a huge plus as it gives you flexibility and freedom. You can choose to either stand or sit.
Getting onto the tree stand is easy, thanks to the included dual rail ladder. With four ladder sections, it is one of the tallest. I loved the dual rail ladder as it gives you something to grip on as you climb.
The addition of a footrest is something else I loved. As it improves the stand’s comfort levels. It might not be the cheapest or most portable ladder tree stand out there, but the comfort it offers is worth it.
X-Stand Treestands The Duke Ladderstand The Duke 20′ Single-Person Ladderstand
- Weight capacity 300 pounds
- Steel frame
- Full body 4-point harness
- comfort flex mesh seat
Let me start by saying that I absolutely love the design of the Duke Ladderstand from X-stand Treestands. A weather defender coating protects it from bad weather, while a helix oval tubing gives it strength and sturdiness.
One of the features I loved about it was the seat with padded armrests. Measuring 22 inches by 16 inches, it is quite roomy. And that is not all; there is also the addition of an adjustable footrest. You can flip this footrest up or down or even remove it.
A padded gun rail adds to its list of awesome features. If you are a bow hunter, you will be pleased to know that it is removable. Thus, you can choose to use it or do away with it. For gun hunters, the rail is adjustable; you can flip it up or down as you see fit.
There is also a drink holder and dual accessory hooks for your bow. Which is also strong enough for holding rifles. The only thing I found to be a problem was the fact that it seemed a bit small for a big person.
Despite this minor drawback, when it comes to flexibility, it is the best ladder stand for bow hunting. The adjustable shooting rail ensures this. Also, you can aim at targets seated or standing.
Rivers Edge RE631 Relax Wide Ladder Stand
- TearTuff mesh seat with backrest
- Padded armrest and shooting rail
- Under seat crossbeams
- Weight capacity 300 pounds
The Rivers Edge Relax Wide ladder stand has a rather simplistic design. However, this is not a bad thing. At the top of the stand is an ergonomic seat with a backrest. Made from TearTuff mesh, it is very comfortable.
Padded armrests add to the seat’s comfort. Under the seat are crossbeams. These crossbeams were added to provide additional stability and sturdiness. I found the ladder stand to be very sturdy and could accommodate users weighing up to 300 pounds.
Like some of the other ladder tree stands on this list, it has a three-section ladder. Obviously, I prefer the four-section ladder of the Millennium Treestand. Nonetheless, the simplicity of this design gives it an edge over the more complex Millenium tree stand.
In terms of size, it is one of the widest out there. Measuring 30 inches by 20 inches, it offers quite sufficient room. The seat is also quite roomy, measuring 20 inches by 15.5 inches.
Some deer and elk hunting crossbow hunters may be put off by the shooting rail, but it is actually very well positioned. It does not go so up that you need to learn to aim at a target that is 15 to 20 yards away. This is a big plus, especially for crossbow hunters.
For gun hunters, the shooting rail is well-padded and makes aiming a little bit easier. Unless you are looking for something taller, this is a ladder tree stand I would recommend. With its well-positioned shooting rails, it is one of the best tree stands for bow hunting.
3 Best Hang-On Tree Stand
Hang-on tree stands are known for being affordable, versatile, portable and easy to use. So which are the best hang-on tree stands? Here are my top three picks.
Millennium Treestands M150 Monster Hang-On
- Aluminum frame
- Adjustable seat height
- Seat with backrest
- UV resistant coating
Hunters who are always on the move will love the Millennium Treestand M150 Monster Hang-On. There are many good things about this tree stand a few cons. To begin with, it comes with an adjustable seat height of between 17 inches and 20 inches.
As with most other hang-on stands, it is quite lightweight. It weighs 19.5 pounds, largely thanks to its all-aluminum construction. On top of this, it is foldable for easy transportation. And as with the other Millenium tree stands, it features a full body harness.
A special UV-resistant material covers the stand’s frame. According to the manufacturer, this material blocks scent and is moisture resistant. Needless to say, it is a very well-made tree stand.
The inclusion of a seat strap can make it difficult to draw a bow. However, apart from this, I don’t think it has any other cons worth noting. It has a weight capacity of 300 pounds, which is pretty impressive.
Lone Wolf Alpha Hang On II Treestand
- Self-leveling seat
- Aluminum construction
- 30″ x 19.5″ platform size
- 3-D camo design
Though a bit costlier than other hang-on tree stands, the Lone Wolf Alpha hang-on II tree stand is well worth its price tag. But why is it worth it? There are several reasons I believe it is worth every penny.
First and foremost, it is one of the lightest Tree Stands out there. Weighing only 14 pounds, you will have no problems transporting it. Fortunately, Lone Wolf does not compromise on quality to achieve such a lightweight tree stand.
Because despite its weight, it can hold weights of up to 350 pounds. Moreover, suited to trees with a diameter of 4 to 22 inches, it can be attached to oddly shaped trees. This gives it the kind of versatility that you would expect from the best hang-on tree stand for bowhunting.
Some hunters have complained of this stand having metal buckles that are too big. These buckles tend to bang against each other in a noisy way. One of the solutions that I have found for this is to cover the buckles in bike tubing.
Despite its minor drawbacks, it is a simplistic tree stand that truly excels. And while it costs a bit more than some of its competitors, it is well worth it.
Millennium Treestands M7 Microlite Hang-On Treestand
- 8.5-pound weight
- Foldable seat
- Powder coat finish
- Aluminum steel construction
One of the lightest tree stands I have ever encountered, the Millennium Treestand M7 Microlite is one-of-a-kind. Setting it up is a breeze because of its lightweight design. And as you might expect, you will have no trouble carrying it to your hunting grounds.
Do not let its lightweight construction fool you, though. It can hold up the same amount of weight as other bulkier tree stand. To be more specific, it has a weight capacity of 300 pounds. Its lightweight design is thanks to its aluminum steel construction.
Foldable gears make it easy to flatten. But what makes it one of my most favorite is the fact that it comes with two carrying straps. Essentially you can carry it on your back and walk to your preferred location.
None of the other tree stands on this list can be carried out in the same manner. And this is why it scores high in books. Also, the seat is foldable and can be folded back to give you more standing room.
Thanks to its design, it can be used by both rifle and bow hunters. It might not be the most comfortable tree stand on my list, but it is the most portable. And for this reason, it deserves a spot on the list of the best portable tree stands.
Things You Should Keep In Mind Before Buying Tree Stand
Knowing which is the best hang-on tree stand for bowhunting is good and all, but there is more to hunting with the aid of a tree stand. Ideally, your success will depend on two very important things. Number one: the quality of your tree stand, and number two, how well you are able to use it.
In this section, I will be going over some of the important aspects of owning and using a tree stand. These are the things you need to know before splashing money on a tree stand. As well as before you take your new tree stand on your next hunting trip.
When buying a tree stand, there are several things to consider. Here are some of the important things to consider.
Types of Tree stands
There are three main types of tree stands: ladder, climbing, and hang-on tree stands. You must keep in mind which type offers you different advantages and considerations.
Ladder tree stands
These types of tree stands feature a short ladder, which you use to climb onto the tree stand, hence the name. Ladder tree stands are fixed structures with a ladder attached, allowing you to easily climb up and down the tree.
These tree stands provide stability and are generally easier to set up and use. They are ideal for hunters who prefer a more permanent setup or for those who may have difficulty climbing. Ladder tree stands often offer a spacious platform, providing room for comfort and maneuverability during your hunting activities.
Climbing tree stands
Climbing tree stands feature a seat and an area for standing on. Unlike their ladder counterparts, they are not easy to climb into. However, they are more portable and are ideal for setting up in different locations.
They consist of two sections: a sitting platform and a climbing section. The climber section has gripping mechanisms that allow you to secure it to the tree trunk and climb up or down as needed. These tree stands are advantageous for hunters who prefer a flexible and mobile setup. They are lightweight, compact, and can be easily carried to different hunting locations. However, they require a suitable tree with a straight trunk for optimal usage.
Hang-on tree stands
With hang-on tree stands, you screw them onto your preferred tree. Thus they are more permanent than the other two. They are best suited in remote areas or private lands. Hang-on tree stands, also known as lock-on or fixed-position tree stands, consist of a seat platform attached to a tree using straps or chains.
They offer versatility in terms of tree selection, as they can be used on trees with various trunk shapes and sizes. Hang-on tree stands are relatively lightweight and portable, making them suitable for hunters who prefer to move between hunting spots. However, they require additional climbing equipment, such as climbing sticks or steps, to ascend the tree safely.
Safety should always be the top priority when selecting a tree stand. Look for models that are built with high-quality materials and meet industry safety standards. Features like a secure harness system, sturdy construction, and reliable attachment mechanisms are paramount. By prioritizing safety, you can minimize the risk of accidents and ensure a secure hunting environment.
Weight and Portability:
Carrying a heavy tree stand can quickly become burdensome, especially when you have other hunting gear to transport. Opting for a lightweight tree stand makes it easier to move around, particularly if you plan to change locations frequently. Additionally, consider the ease of loading the tree stand into your vehicle and setting it up on a tree. The best tree stands are portable and designed for hassle-free transportation.
Size/Space and Comfort:
The size of the tree stand plays a crucial role in your comfort during long hunting hours. Take into account your body type and the gear you intend to bring along. A tree stand with sufficient space and suitable dimensions will help minimize discomfort and fatigue. Look for adjustable seats and platforms to further enhance your comfort level while hunting.
While a tree stand should be lightweight, it should also have a sufficient weight capacity to support your body weight and gear. Ensure that the tree stand you choose can handle your weight without compromising stability or safety. Models with high weight capacities, such as those accommodating up to 350 pounds, are ideal for versatility and durability.
Durability and Weather Resistance:
Investing in a durable tree stand pays off in the long run. Look for stands made from robust materials such as steel or aluminum, which are resistant to rust, corrosion, and wear. A durable tree stand can withstand harsh weather conditions and provide reliable performance season after season.
Ease of Use:
Consider the ease of setup, adjustment, and operation when selecting a tree stand. Some models may have complex assembly processes or require additional tools, while others offer straightforward setup and intuitive features. Choose a tree stand that aligns with your preference for user-friendliness.
Set a budget for your tree stand purchase and seek options that strike a balance between quality, features, and affordability. While it is important to invest in a reliable and safe tree stand, finding a suitable option within your budget is essential.
A tree stand is a hunter’s secret weapon because of how poor a whitetail deer’s sight can be. Nonetheless, there is a lot that goes into selecting the best hunting tree stands. And just because you have found one that suits does not mean you will succeed. Knowing the best tree stand to buy is as important as knowing where to set it up. In conclusion, the top ten tree stands reviewed above are some of the best I have encountered.
About The Author:
Lake Streeter, A Gun enthusiast, and loves to hunt in the middle of the wood. Always check the latest hunting gears out in the market and try to share his honest opinion with the audience in Hunting Nook.