What are Tree Stands?
Tree stands are essentially tree-stands meaning that there will be sort of a stand which will be mounted onto a tree in order for you to stand on it. This is a great hunting aid which will be helpful for your hunting no matter what weapon used, bows or guns.
Using one of these you will be put in an elevated position where you will be put out of sight from the game that you are targeting. This structure has been used for many years by hunters in order to be undetected therefore something that is ensured to be a tool that is extremely helpful in hitting your targets.
Getting one that is right for you is dependent on certain factors, you will have to consider the type of weapon used and also the type of trees in the location of your choice.
This is therefore a decision which will require a lot of information to ensure the right tree stand is chosen. We have doctored several guidelines which will help in you determining what’s best!
The 4 Types
1. Lock-On Tree Stands
These are a one-piece unit which essentially consists of a platform and a seat attached to it.
These will be attached to the trees using either chains or with adjustable straps which will secure the tree stand firmly and be able to withstand weight and force altogether. This type of tree stand will be able to be positioned in most species of trees including the ones which have crooked tree trunks and even ones with many branches.
Getting into or out of this kind of tree stands are safe and most importantly is really quite which ensures that the target does not sense your presence.
Because they can be secured so well to trees you can leave it there even during off-season times with a cover on it so you can return back to it when the season begins! Unfortunately, with lock-on stands you will have to get your own steps or climbing sticks to secure it to the tree.
2. Climbing Tree Stands
This is a two-piece unit which has a separate seat assembly and platform assembly which may come off as being a little inconvenient for some but has knacks of its own too obviously!
Climbing tree stands allow you to maximize the portability aspect, as you will be able to take it off really easily as it is to put it on.
As to how it works, you will need to have your feet snared onto the platform then to climb the tree by opening one of the pieces and moving it higher as you go. You will have to repeat that till the point that you are at your desired height.
The “teeth” on it will claw onto the tree and act as a support ensuring a stable mount. Once you are at the desired height you will then have to anchor the stand with a safety strap and you have completed the process.
The positive side of this tree stand is that the location of your hunting spot will not be known to others, as it isn’t easy finding a spot that has the most potential while at the same time other hunters may steal your spot at their own will.
3. Ladder Stands
This type of tree stands are probably the most priciest ones you can find in comparison to the rest but has clear reasons to why it is so. This stand has a multi-piece ladder assembly with the platform and seat being stationary. The entire device will be secured solely with belts or straps.
This stand will not have any other stepping spots so you may feel a little unsteady while climbing up to it but as the name already suggests you will have a ladder that will help you get up there. It then makes this stand extremely exclusive and easy to use, it becomes an extremely comfortable device to use.
With the presence of the ladder now, you will have extra weight to bear with you when you go out hunting. You might need a few people helping you through the process too as it is not a one man job. Overall the tree stand is extremely comfortable to use and helps people who generally have trouble with climbing etc.
Unfortunately, the ladder, since is erect from the ground itself makes the tree stand detectable by the game. Some of the ladder tree stands come with exceptional luxury that you will find nowhere else such as ones with cushioned seats and also large spaces.
4. Tripod and Tower Stands
The name here may be running off a little in terms of what this article is about but tripods and towers both perform the same purposes tree stands do.
These don’t require an actual tree to be setup, tripod tower stands are basically a platform that is supported by three legs on the bottom just like a camera tripod! The advantage of using one of these is that you will be able to have a full 360 degree angle view which you will not be able to access with a tree stand.
The setup of one of these is pretty standard, you would just have to stabilize the feet to the ground and have the platform installed on the top of it, it may take a few people to set up but the usage of one of these is definitely long term.
To ensure that you do not automatically deter the animals due to its presence you will have to set it up and leave it for some time without any human contact so the animals can adapt to it thinking it’s just a new part of the geography.
You will have space to fit two people up in the platform while also having the ability to add accessories such as a blind to make the presence of the hunters less visible.
The 4 Key Considerations
1. Platform Size
It is important to consider the platform size which you may not know of its importance and significance in your hunting performance, as a smaller sized tree stand means that you will have lesser weight to transport around.
This is a large consideration to keep in mind as portability of your tree stand is important for hunters especially during hunting season where you are looking for the best spot to setup. For permanent stands, it’s also better to have smaller platforms as you would want a truly good spot ensured for the entire year.
With smaller platforms you will be able to fit the stand in tighter places on trees with branches and twigs, smaller is better here.
It is likewise for people who do bow hunting on the other hand as you would be required to have a good posture and stance while shooting therefore bigger is better in this case.
With a bigger space available to you, you will also be able to place your additional accessories or spare equipment. It therefore comes down to the type of equipment that you are using in deciding the platform size you need.
2. Hunter’s Age and Body Size
This aspect is often times not taken into account whatsoever but it matters! As when you are a more younger hunter and are beginning to explore the world of hunting, having a larger platform may come out as being actually useful as you can have a more experienced hunter next to you guiding you through the process of shooting from higher ground etc.
With older more experienced hunters, smaller stands will do the job, as long as there is a small space to stand in mature hunters will be more than happy to hunt already so it depends on your age and experience. Also considering older hunters that find trouble climbing up to a stand, ladder stands would be more suitable and accessible for them.
In terms of body size, larger hunters would need a stand that is very much more stronger and solid before they get up there as it is of great importance to ensure safety is above all else. They would be more comfortable with stronger and heavier stands than people who are smaller in body size as a stand that is light and less stronger won’t be affecting their stability as it will for bigger hunters.
3. Geographical Suitability
If the place you are hunting in is somewhat like the one in the southern pine forest then almost any type of tree stand would be suitable. If you prefer hunting somewhere alike to what you see in the Texas brush country then a tripod stand would be more suited for that use.
It therefore depends on the place in which you plan to hunt in. Take into consideration the tree sizes in the places you are interested in too as some stands would require rough surfaces to be able to mount itself to.
This is a very debatable topic among the hunters in the community which means that there is no actual height that everyone follows, it is therefore up to you on what height is best.
Be reminded however that with greater heights come greater range for hunting which then again depends on the range your gun or bow can shoot. You should take into consideration the aspects like the terrain and tree type before actually determining the height which will best suit your hunting style and the optimum.
Usually if you are not afraid of heights and can handle high and narrow areas then 18 to 20 feet should not be a problem.
10 Best Tree Stands
1. Summit Viper SD Tree Stand
Summit has produced many tree stands in the past but this comes off as being the best and most popular one that you could possibly find. If you are into a portable tree stand then you’re in the right place but be aware that this is more than just that, it is also an extremely roomy and lightweight unit that will ensure that you have an easy setup and an enjoyable shooting experience.
You should note that the tree stand comes with a 5-channel platform frame which will make your standing more comfortable and also adequate enough to move around in.
It also comes with the legendary DeadMetal Sound Deadening technology which would help in keeping the sound low while you are out shooting and moving around in your platform, itwill not make much sounds due to the ability of it to dampen the noises that you may make while moving around, maximum sound absorption.
This tree stand really does serve you in terms of both the usage and handling in many aspects like it being extremely light, 20 pounds!
2. Summit Mini Viper SD Tree Stand
This tree stand comes off as being really complete with so many other features which you would usually have to purchase separately like a seat pad on the seat! Most distinctly, this tree stand has an extremely light weight, coming off as being only a total of 18 pounds, the lightest in our list
Bringing this tree stand around with you should not be a problem at all especially in places that are tight and small in the woods due to its extremely small size which will be able to be carried by one person comfortably. Although it comes with a relatively small size it has a good amount of moving space, adequate enough for you to take your stance before a shot of course!
And note also the fact that this tree stand comes with a Four-Point FAS (harness) with a safety strap and attached SRS straps too.
3. Millenium Tree Stands M150
When it comes to hang-on tree stands, this one really does stand out for several reasons, it firstly only weighs a total of 19 pounds which is relatively good. The tree stand is this light due to the aluminum material used for the tree stand.
The tree stand although made out of aluminum shouldn’t turn you off as being fragile and weak, its total setup will be able to accommodate a weight of up to 300 pound meaning that two relatively mid-weight people can stand on it or one person with all the additional heavy equipment.
When first seen you would notice that the seat is a little small but in fact is enough for a full-grown man/woman to sit in, it has a soft fabric leaning and sitting space which is pretty comfortable and also durable.
Due to that also is what makes the tree stand much lighter than the others you may find out there.
4. Muddy MLS2300 17′ Ladder Tree Stand
Ladder stands are naturally made just to be really comfortable and be super functional in every way, this tree stand does just that and can take two people instead! This will allow for maximum fun and quality time when buddies get together to hunt. With a comfortable padded sitting area with a bar surrounding the space you will feel both secure and comfortable while out hunting.
When speaking about its height, this tree stand has the ability to extend up to 17 or more feet above ground which is high enough to be unspotted especially when far from the target itself.
Due to it being a device being able to accommodate two people, the weight of the tree stand increases too, with a total weight of 75 pounds this is a strong and steady stand which can hold up to 500 pounds! Bringing this out with your buddy won’t be a problem at all, as long as you divide the weight amongst yourselves.
5. BIG GAME Hunter HD 1.5 Ladder
The ladder tree stand game has been brought a little higher with this baby right here, having an overall heavy, solid and comfortable body and sitting space that will truly make your experience out in the woods much fun and comfortable.
But being about 61 pounds, it would only take one man to get it fully set up. With that is also good news- you will be able to fit up to 2 people up there, though there may not be space the stand is capable of it.
In terms of comfort, the stand comes with padded seats, they are cushioned with a comfort-flex material, making the waiting process less tiring.
Along with that is the padded shooting rail that surrounds the sitting area, and a seat at 23″ wide x 18″ deep seat and a 23″ wide x 18″ deep backrest which will ensure a comfortable sitting condition. The stand also comes with a platform which is pretty large too, with a 23.5″ wide x 29″ deep platform.
6. XOP-XTREME OUTDOOR Tree Stand
This tree stand is one which really does perform well, being a hang-on, with an aluminum body that is both strong while being an expensive material too, more quality! Setting one of these up is not that difficult of a task as it is both small and light, it would definitely take longer than usual for your first few attempts but once you get a hang of it you would probably only need 10 minutes to get it up to the height you want.
The stand’s platform is pretty large, you can be confident while standing on it as it has a 27″ x 19″ size made out of cast aluminum.
That will ensure both stability and confidence while standing which only makes shooting the target an easier task. Especially for those of you shooting with a bow because you will need more space to take a stance. It also boasts a 350-pound weight rating so those on the heavier side don’t have to worry about your safety.
This tree stand also comes with a TMA approved 6-point Fall arrest System which is essentially a necessity for any tree stand for everyone.
7. Ol Man Steel Tree Climber
Maybe this would be the one for those of you running on a pretty low budget as this tree stand, being relatively cheaper than the rest so far, this tree stand stands out most for being a relatively light weighted and rugged piece of equipment.
It is rather small too in contrast to the rest but may be a benefit which you may not have seen yet in terms of set up and transportation. The seat of this tree stand is made out of mesh which is reported to be actually really comfortable to sit on while also being very airy for your bottoms!
Besides that is the design itself that is complex and able to withstand a considerable amount of weight, 300 pounds to be exact! This will accommodate any sized hunter out there plus additional equipment that you would usually want with you like your rangefinder etc.
8. Summit Goliath SD Tree Stand
The name may be a little misrepresentative of what the tree stand is like in terms of size but in terms of its power and durability, yes!
This tree stand has a great ability to dampen the sound that one may usually create when on a tree stand, as it is quite common that it happens when standing on it this one by Summit does not do so, this will help tremendously in keeping the target from spotting you due to noise.
The stand was designed with a RapidClimb Stirrup which would make it suitable for any type of boot that you may be using which is a good touch in my opinion.
The seat is fully furnished with great comfort all round, with paddings on the arm rest and the backrest.
9. BIG GAME Guardian XLT 2-Person Ladder
With your first look at this tree stand you would be able to tell that it is solid and definitely strong enough to support you AND your buddy, being a ladder stand it would be perfect for hunters that are on the older spectrum of the ages. This tree stand stands at a height of 18 feet which is the biggest feature it offers.
The tree stand will also be able to accommodate your needs in terms of weight and comfortability as it has a really large platform size. With the 38″W x 12″D Flex-Tek bench seat and 36-1/2″W x 12-1/2″D foot platform, this tree stand really does pack a punch to all the other tree stands out there. You can move around the tree stand and maximize the shooting view available to you.
The stand will however need some time to be set up by at least 2-3 men if you want it up immediately. It is still an overall great tree stand that you should consider purchasing given that it has great agility, strength and comfortability.
10. Guide Gear Deluxe Hang-On Tree Stand
If there is one word to explain this tree stand that would be simplicity, many hunters look for comfortability when purchasing a tree stand but if you are not them, this is for you!
When looking at it itself you can tell that is has very little to do with comfortability and all to do with functionality.
It has the essential platform and seat which is all that you actually need for hunting up there. Many people in fact prefer this tree stand compared to the other fancy ones but it all comes down to preference, right?
This tree stand also comes with a pretty handsome price to it, an investment worth taking I would say if you are young and ambitions to hunt with the essentials.
It is also really easy to set up due to lesser parts involved opposed to the rest therefore probably only taking you 5-8 minutes to get it fully set up and ready for a hunt.
Tree stands are overall a great help for hunters either using bows or guns, they serve the purpose of keeping you out of sight from the game that is below. They all perform the same functions but is only suited to a few, it is an individual decision when it comes to tree stands due to its subjectivity.
You should take into account all the guidelines that has been mentioned above and consider each in turn with what makes your hunting experience the easiest and the most effective.
The weight and overall size of the tree stand should also be taken into consideration as it would also affect your hunting experience in terms of transportation and handling too.
All that has been mentioned so far about all these different tree stands are completely honest and is recommended to you and your friends to purchase before the hunting season begins.
Using either the hang-on tree stand or the ladder tree stand is all up to your own preference, they all have their own differences that define them for what they can do for you. Choosing one isn’t an easy decision to make and is definitely one that takes time and also patience, do read on our guide and understand what it is that you want/need to ensure that you don’t regret getting something you don’t need.
A second opinion is always important before making a decision therefore we are here for you! A note that you can take home from this article so far should at the least be that you should always ensure that you set your tree stand firmly before getting on it any time of the day as it is of utmost importance that your safety is the priority.
You should also check on Best Trail Cameras for Hunting 2023, one of our best articles on trail cameras and what you should consider before buying one.
Hope we helped in making your decision today!
Till next time.