Why Climbing Treestands are Dominating the Market
A lot of treestand hunting opportunities call for a stand that is not left in the tree. It could be that you are hunting on public property where a permanent stand is either not allowed or likely to be stolen.
Many stands that are designed to be left are either heavier or they require you to use climbing stakes to access the stand. If you are hunting an area that is hard to access, heavier stands or more accessories are not the best to pack in.
Pros & Cons
A climbing treestand is versatile, lightweight and easy to put up and take down for each hunt. Unlike a ladder treestand, it is limited to single person occupancy. However, many people get around this by putting additional stands in nearby trees.
It is also smaller and has a less stable feeling than a ladder stand or some hanging stands. A quality climbing stand is safe but it takes some familiarity because of the size and slight movements.
Some of the other downsides of the climbing treestand are associated with the fact that they are designed to be put up when you get to the tree.
In some situations, putting up the stand could be disruptive to the animals in the area when compared to sneaking up the ladder of an established stand. Many people also like the notion of giving animals time to acclimate to a stand in the area because its presence may initially throw them off.
How to Overcome the Downside
Despite its few downsides, the climbing stand is still the ideal solution in many scenarios.
- You still may want to visit the area beforehand and pick the tree you will place the stand in.
- You can cut away branches that would interfere with the installation or your view once you are situated in the stand.
Because they are easy to put up and take down, you can use them in multiple locations in a single day. Their lightweight construction also makes them reasonable to pack around to multiple spots.
Also make sure to read our article on How To Use A Climbing Tree Stand ( Complete Guide ).
Important Choosing Factors
If you are reading this article, you have probably already decided that a climbing treestand is the direction you want to go. Though you already narrowed your search down to the single category, there are still lots of brands and models to choose from.
Answer the following questions to help you decide:
- How do you access the treestand location?
If you plan to use a treestand in a location miles away from the nearest road and you must bring it in on your back, a lighter weight option is the best.
If your site is right off the road or you can reasonably get an ATV to area, you do not have to worry as much about weight.
- How much space do you want in your treestand?
In most cases, the tradeoff to a lightweight climbing stand is one with a smaller seat and platform. For some people, space is not something they are willing or able to sacrifice.
If you are a bigger hunter or you like having a little more room to move around, there are climbing treestands built to accommodate you.
- What kind of trees are you putting your treestand in?
Most climbing treestands accommodate trees 6” to 20” in diameter, but some have a wider range than others. If you know your area is full of bigger or smaller trees, this limitation could come into play.
Also, if the trees are very close together or have lots of limbs, some of the compact models that are shaped to squeeze into tight spots work best for you.
Many climbing treestands come with at least 300-pound weight capacities that will accommodate a lot of hunters. If you are on the heavier side or plan to pack lots of gear into the tree with you, make sure to find a stand that has an appropriate weight rating.
- How much do you want to spend?
If price is an essential factor to you, it makes prioritizing your needs in a treestand even more critical. There may be a stand that perfectly fits your needs but it may be out of your budget.
If you are trying to buy a more affordable stand, you may find one that is light or spacious but probably not both. The feature-loaded stands that offer the best of both worlds are going to cost you.
One significant advantage of buying a climbing stand is you can just purchase one to use in multiple locations instead of needing many.
- Do you hunt with a rifle or a bow?
Most treestands now are built to accommodate either hunting method because that keeps them open to any market. However, some of them come with features that are better suited for one or the other.
You might also consider whether you like shooting your compound bow or rifle from a seated position or you prefer a stand that allows for standing shots.
Some features to look for would be:
- an incorporated rest for a rifle
- a hook for a bow (although a rifle could be hung by a sling)
- ample room to draw a bow.
- Do you want a “sit and climb” stand or a “hand climbing” treestand?
This might be the trickiest question to answer if you do not have experience with one of the two styles but you will encounter both options on the market.
The choice between the two boils down to personal preference and you probably will not know which you want until you experience both. Demoing a friend’s stand is one good way to determine which you prefer.
As you answer these questions, you should end up with a pretty clear idea of what model treestand you need. Ultimately, weight and cost are the two variables that are likely to create the biggest differences between two stands when it comes to features.
Even if you have to make some compromises, going the direction that the answers point you in will lead you to a treestand you should be happy with.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How safe are the climbing tree stands?
Climbing stands look crazy for sure. You are up in a tree, standing on a small platform and trying to shoot an animal. As crazy as that sounds climbing stands are quite safe.
As long as you are smart enough to use a harness to tie yourself to the tree.
It’s a bit like a car, extremely reliable…unless you are foolish enough not to wear your seatbelt. Climbing stands are exceptionally well made and as long you follow the instructions and wear a safety harness you are extremely unlikely ever to hurt yourself.
2. Best way to carry a climbing tree stand?
This will be determined by your climbing stand. Some come with a sling system or even a backpack style strap system for easy carry. With many, you’ll need to strap it your back. Most hunters, your humble author included, straps theirs to a backpack.
A bungee cord and a little patience will go a long way. Some outdoor themed packs will come complete with enough tie down straps to make bungee cords unnecessary. Just remember, tighter is better. Tighter is less noise.
3. How high to put climbing tree stands?
The overall goal of a climbing stand is to place you out of the line of sight of a deer. Another consideration is your ability to see and shoot. In thinner locations, you should go higher, and in thick brush stay lower. The highest I would suggest is between 20 to 25 feet.
4. Where to place a climbing tree stand?
You want to locate an area that’s close to deer sign, offers a tree big and safe enough to use, and gives you a clear line of fire. It’s asking a lot, and having the right combination of these three is rarely common.
Safety should be your primary concern, so finding a large and safe enough tree is critical. After that, you want a location where you have a chance of seeing deer. Lastly, you need to consider firing lines. You can always make firing lines via a hand saw and some patience.
5. How to conceal it?
Camouflage is the name of the game. To conceal a climbing stand you want to leave as much vegetation in place as you can. Artificial means includes using net-based camo devices that wrap around your stand and break up the outline of the stand. Camouflage burlap is an affordable and effective option. You can also use fake shrubbery, include artificial Christmas tree branches if you are inventive enough.