10 Best

Climbing Tree Stands

of December 2023

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A Guide to Selecting a Climbing Tree Stand

Yehudah Posnick

Hunting season for different regions in the United States will vary, but it usually goes from September to December. Each state will have regulations as to hunting hours, the types of deer that you’re allowed to hunt, and which weapons are permitted. Although hunting deer may seem heartless, when done according to the regulations, it actually helps thin out the competition for food among deer, and gives the surviving deer a better chance of breeding and replenishing their numbers in the spring. But, to properly conceal yourself while hunting, it’s advised to use a tree stand, that lets you meld into the surrounding foliage. And a climbing tree stand is one of the most secure options available.

The elevation of a tree stand will give you a better view of the surroundings, and help you sight deer more easily. But, at the same time, it’s very important to exercise caution when getting into and out of a climbing tree stand. Forest rangers say that many people sustain injuries getting in and out of these stands, by falling from a height. We’ll see a number of different constructions of the best climbing tree stands, as well as their safety features, to ensure that you don’t suffer any mishaps. Many also have special cushioning and footrests, so that you’ll feel comfortable while waiting for a deer to come into view. And some are lightweight enough that you can carry them around on your back!

We’ll go through some of the options in the Best Reviews Guide list of climbing tree stands. You’ll be impressed by how solid and stable they can be, and how much they’ll enhance your hunting experience!


What varieties of tree stands are there?

Tree stands allow a hunter to observe wildlife from a higher vantage point. There are four main types:

  • Climbing tree stands consist of two parts: a standing platform, upon which you rest your legs, and a sitting platform where you sit. It’s referred to as a “climbing platform”, because you inch your way up, ascending along the tree trunk in four steps:

    1. First, sit on the sitting platform.

    2. Raise the standing platform.

    3. Now, stand on the standing platform.

    4. Raise the sitting platform.

  • Ladder tree stands, which you secure against a tree and ascend using the ladder’s rungs. An example is the Summit Treestands One-Person Ladder Tree Stand. It lifts you to a height of 17 feet off the ground!

Summit Treestands One-Person Ladder Tree Stand

  • Hanging (or hang-on) tree stands: These consist of a seat and footrest that you position at the desired height in the tree. There are ladder rungs that you tie to the tree, in order to get to the desired height. You then attach your hanging tree stand onto the tree trunk. An example is the Millenium Treestands Ultralite Tree Stand.

Millenium Treestands Ultralite Tree Stand

  • Box tree stand: This is an elevated, box-shaped enclosure. You may see them advertised as “deer blinds”. It will have several windows and enough room for 3 people, so that you can see from all directions. An example is the Guide Gear Hunting Tower Stand.

Guide Gear Hunting Tower Stand

Types of Climbing Tree Stands

  • Open-front: There are open-front climbing tree stands, where the sitting platform consists of a simple cushion, with no bar in front to keep you from falling. But this model is more lightweight and portable and may offer bow hunters more visibility and mobility. An example is the Summit Treestands OpenShot SD Climbing Treestand.

Summit Treestands OpenShot SD Climbing Treestand

  • Closed front: A closed-front climbing tree stand will have a metal restraint in front of your seat. It certainly allows you to sit more securely in the tree stand. An example is the Summit Treestands Goliath SD Climbing Treestand. The parts are covered with Mossy Oak camouflage so that the tree stand will blend in with the surroundings.

Summit Treestands Goliath SD Climbing Treestand

  • Reversible climbing tree stands: Some climbing tree stands are also reversible, meaning that you have the choice of sitting with your back to the tree, or with your face towards the tree. (Even though you don’t have the same amount of back support when you’re facing the tree, you may be less conspicuous to deer or other wildlife this way.) An example is the Summit Treestands 180 Max SD Climbing Treestand.

Summit Treestands 180 Max SD Climbing Treestand

Using the Summit Treestands 180 Max SD Treestand facing the tree (left) and with your back to the tree

What reviewers say

We went over some customers’ impressions of the tree climbing stand that they bought:

  • Prefer tree stand that collapses: Customers said that they liked the Summit Treestands Viper Steel Climbing Treestand because it can fold up and be worn on your back while hiking. It’s no problem hiking for a mile until you find a good spot to set up your tree stand. You may want to add your own shoulder straps, for more comfort.

  • Sound-deafening technology: A deer has very acute hearing, especially for sounds that are “unnatural”. Since one of the main purposes of these climbing tree stands is stealth, many of them are equipped with sound-deafening (= SD) technology, employing foam padding so that the metal parts of the tree stand won’t clash or bang against each other. Some tree stands make noise when you take your feet out of the buckles, or when you sit down or stand up. Consult users’ reviews to see which products are better at being soundproof.

Important Features

Here are some features that are worth looking for when selecting a tree-climbing stand:

  • Comfort: You may have to sit for hours waiting for an interesting target. Select a tree stand with a padded seat and backrest, to ensure your comfort.

  • Wear a full-body harness: There is a risk of injury if the standing platform somehow gets loose from its attachment to the tree. This can happen even if you shift your weight incorrectly, such as by standing on your toes when moving the sitting platform. To ensure your safety, wear a full-body harness as well, which allows you to tie yourself to the tree when ascending and descending. This is especially important if you select an open-front tree stand. Some brands sell a harness together with the treestand, such as the Summit Treestands Goliath SD Climbing Treestand. You can also buy a harness separately, such as the Lancergears Hunting Safety Harness. Some customers said that the harness that comes with the treestand is inferior quality and that they preferred buying a better-constructed harness.

Lancergears Hunting Safety Harness

  • Weight limit: Be careful not to exceed the tree stand’s weight limit. It can usually vary from between 300 to 350 pounds. But note that the weight limit includes your weight including clothing and any gear that you take with you.

Final Verdict

We quickly summarized some of the features of tree stands in general, and of climbing tree stands in particular. You want a model that will be sturdy to support your weight but at the same time light enough so that you can carry it along until you find an appropriate spot to hunt. Also, make sure that the climbing tree stand that you select has the necessary safety features, and takes measures to be less noticeable to animals. Using the best gear will greatly increase your chances of a successful hunt!

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