I hope you’re not afraid of heights. Getting up in the air is one of the best strategies for deer hunting. Not only are deer mostly unaware of what’s going on above them, but a place in the trees gives you a better view and a better shot.
If you want to take advantage of the sky, a ladder tree stand can be a great way to do it. More room and more stability make them top choices for stand users. Here we’ve picked out our five favorites. Each one has great features that really stood out to us. First read through our buying guide to learn which features might be important to your specific situation, and then check out our picks.
Our Top Ladder Stand Picks
- Summit Solo Pro– “The extra long platform makes this stand a top choice”
- Big Dog BDL-1050 17.5’ Stadium Series– “Its stadium seating design sets this stand apart”
- Muddy Huntsman Ladder– “This stand’s light weight earned it a spot on our list”
- Millennium L-110-SL Single Ladder– “Chosen for its comfort over long periods “
- Guide Gear 18’ Jumbo– “A great choice because of its price range”
What is a ladder tree stand?
When it comes to tree stands, ladder stands tend more toward stability than portability. They feature seats supported by platforms in strong, sturdy frames. Permanent ladders descend from the platforms that are easy to climb. You can fasten them securely to a tree and leave them up all season long.
Ladder vs climbing tree stands
While ladder stands have, of course, a ladder, climbing tree stands ascend and descend trees themselves. You can carry a climbing stand into the woods in the morning and then carry it out in the evening. With a ladder stand, on the other hand, you can assemble the stand before the season and leave it fastened to the tree for long periods of time.
Ladder stands are better for those who can leave their stands up. This probably means people hunting on private land–and people who have friends to help them assemble their stands. Climbing stands are then better for those who need to move their stands. That could mean hunters on public land or hunters who like to hunt different spots each time.
Ladder vs hang-on tree stands
Like ladder stands, you can leave a hang-on stand in a tree for extended periods of time. They’re still much lighter, though, and much more convenient to remove and carry home or to another tree. The main difference is that ladder stands are more secure and stable and, above all, easier to get into. Hang-on stands are smaller, and you have to use climbing sticks or some other device to get into them.
If you have a great spot on private land you’re excited to hunt, and you have time to assemble a tree stand before the season, take a look at ladder stands. If you think you might want to move your stand or need something a little simpler to put up, hang-on stands might be a better choice.
Can you assemble a ladder stand solo?
It’s not the easiest way, but it is possible to set up a ladder stand alone. You usually need at least one other person to hold the ladder in place while you lift the stand and fasten it to the tree. So if you want to do it yourself, you have to keep the ladder still some other way. A lot of hunters use rebar bent over the bottom rung of the ladder to hold it like another person wood.
How can you quiet a tree stand ladder?
The most important things you should do to quiet your tree stand ladder is make sure everything is nice and tight. The stand should be fastened securely to the tree, and all the nuts and bolts of the ladder should be tight.
If your stand is still noisy after tightening it up, there are plenty of cheap options to make it quieter. You can buy pipe insulator at any hardware store and wrap it around the legs and rungs. Another great option is the spray-on rubber sound deadener used on cars. You can buy it at an auto-parts store and use it on your stand. Of course, there’s always the ultra-cheap option: duct tape. You can even find it in camo.
How can you camouflage the ladder?
The easiest way to camouflage your tree stand’s ladder is just by painting it. Sometimes you can find special camo spray paint packs with various colors and instructions on how to paint your stand. If you want a really effective camo pattern, you can use plastic drawer liner. Place it over the part your painting and spray. The paint will only reach the stand through the holes. Then move the liner a little and use a different color.
You can use camo duct tape as well, which is also great because it makes the stand a little quieter. Whatever you do, do it early in the season–or before–to make sure the smell has time to air out.
What to look for when buying
Is it comfortable to spend a long time in?
Perhaps even more so than other stands, comfort is key in ladder stands. Ladder stands are meant for long periods of time and to be used repeatedly. They’re often larger, and this makes them more comfortable. Still, you need to make sure it’s the right size for you and that the seat and armrests aren’t to be painful.
Is assembly a one man job?
Like we mentioned, you can actually set up a ladder tree stand by yourself. It definitely isn’t easy, though, and with some stands, it might even be impossible. The weight and dimensions of the stand really come into play, as well as the height. A heavier, taller or wider will require more people to put it up, plain and simple.
Portability, not something you should focus on
Ladder stands aren’t meant to be moved around. For that reason, don’t get too hung up on how easy it is to move. That said, you are going to have to carry it into the woods at least one time, and you may need help. Don’t worry about portability necessarily, but make sure you’re going to be able to get it to the tree.
What safety features are included?
Depending on the laws where you live, tree stands normally come with safety harnesses. This is the most important safety feature, and you should definitely have your own if the stand for some reason doesn’t include one. Some stands also come with extra features like fall arrest systems which make the stands a lot safer. Also check the height of the armrests and the frame. The taller they are, the less likely you are to fall out.
Is it quiet?
Great hunters know that sound is one of the most important aspects of the hunt. A metallic clash of your tree stand when you’re climbing into it at 5 AM could ruin the whole day. When looking at ladder stands, be sure you find a quiet one. This is especially important for the ladder because you don’t want to making noise going up it.
Is it easy to take standing shots?
For the most part, ladder stands are great for standing shots. Usually they have wide platforms, but make sure the specific stand you buy has a platform big enough for your stance. With ladder stands, you also need to check that the frame and armrests won’t get in your way. Some stands have lower armrests that will give you more space for your shot.
How to hang a ladder stand
First, find a buddy to help you. Offer him pizza or beer or something. That usually works.
Next, find your tree. Ladder stands function well in a lot of trees, but they especially benefit from trees with a lot of cover that can camouflage the ladder.
Once you’ve found your tree, set up the ladder stand on the ground according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Tie a rope to a rung about three quarters of the way up and hand it to your buddy. He should hold the rope and stand at the bottom of the ladder where it’s positioned under the tree. While you push the stand up, he’ll pull it up with the rope making sure to keep his feet on the bottom of the ladder to keep it from sliding.
When you have the platform of the stand against the tree, fasten the ladder braces to the tree as designed by the manufacturer. Now you’re ready to climb to the top. Have your safety harness on and tell your buddy to hold the ladder to keep it from wobbling. At the top immediately tie your safety harness to the tree, then set to attaching the platform and frame to the tree by whatever straps or braces came with your stand.
Finally, you can go home, have some pizza and beer with your buddy and go to bed early to get up for the hunt.
Our Top Picks In Detail
Summit Solo Pro
Summit makes great tree stands of all types, and their Solo Pro ladder stand is no exception. A sturdy, well-crafted design makes it both durable and comfortable. It’s an excellent choice for anyone who wants to leave a stand up for season-round bowhunting.
The roomy platform of this stand really sets it apart. At 25” by 32”, there’s plenty of room for your stance, and you’ll be able to make an accurate shot. Even better, the seat flips up, giving you even more room to maneuver.
Speaking of the seat, Summit took care to make it comfortable. The seat and its backrest are extra thick, so you can spend plenty of time in it. The width of the seat is maximized for the width of the stand. It does have arm rests, but unfortunately, they’re not padded.
Summit added a new feature to their Solo Pro stand: a brown powder coat. This makes the stand great for leaving out for long periods of time. For one, the color does not stand out in the woods, so deer will easily get used to the ladder’s presence. Additionally, this extra coat adds weather resistance, so a whole season in one place isn’t going to wear the stand down. It even helps make the stand quieter.
Of course, the Summit Solo Pro comes with the necessary safety features like a full harness system and welded, functional hardware. Any bowhunter who plans to hunt alone and can leave their stand up for long periods of time–on private land, for example–should take a look at this stand.
- Comfortable seat
- Brown powder coat
- No armrest pads
Big Dog BDL-1050 17.5’ Stadium Series
Okay, this stand is just plain cool. Founded in 2005, Big Dog is a newer brand on the hunting scene, but they’re already building a reputation. Not just for quality stands, but their customer service has also come to set them apart.
With the BDL-1050 specifically, Big Dog created an innovative kind of stand that maximizes space for the hunter. The stadium seating design curves around the trunk of the tree giving you a better angle of attack. This is incredible for a bowhunter. The stand seats up to two people, but for a lone bowhunter, the curved platform allows you to get in whatever position you need. Even with two people, the platform size and shape is effective for optimum mobility. One downside is that the platform size is maximized by making the seat a little shallower. You won’t be able to slouch.
The stand comes with plenty of cushioning to keep you comfy. The seat, armrests and shooting rail are all padded. It’s adjustable too. The ladder support bar can be adjusted as well as the ratchet straps that secure the stand to the tree. It even comes with a camo blind.
Big Dog also made sure the BDL-1050 is safe. It’s well designed with two fall arrest systems. Plus, with all of these features, it still manages to find itself in an affordable price range.
- Stadium design
- Customer service
- Blind included
- Shallow seat
Muddy Huntsman Ladder
When it comes to the Muddy Huntsman Ladder Stand, the name says it all. This is a simple stand made for the nitty gritty hunter. It gets the job done.
For a ladder stand, the Muddy Huntsman Ladder Stand is pretty lightweight. It weighs in under 62 lbs. While ladder stands aren’t exactly designed to be moved around, you will have to carry your stand into the woods at least once. If you’re going to try to set it up alone, the lighter weight will really make things easier. Even if you have conscripted a buddy to help you, he’ll probably appreciate the convenience of this stand.
Now, the Muddy Huntsman Ladder Stand is on the smaller side. Apart from the innovative graphite construction, this is one of the reasons it’s so light. For a bowhunter, the small size can hinder the quality of your shot. The seat does flip up, though, so you can maximize the space there is.
For the simplicity of this stand’s design, it’s surprisingly comfortable. The seat is well shaped, and the stand comes with full padding on the seat, seatback and armrests. The platform also extends to the tree after setup, which adds some support.
Muddy Huntsman makes durable products for hunters that expect quality from their stands. Their ladder stand is no exception. A new bowhunter or someone looking for an easy solo setup might benefit from this stand’s simplistic design.
- Simple assembly
- Flip-up seat
Millennium L-110-SL Single
The Millennium L-110-SL Single Ladder Tree Stand is a basic one-man stand that really takes comfort to a whole new level. The stand includes full padding, and the sling seat is contoured to make all-day hunts easily doable. The armrests are adjustable, and it even has a foot rest.
Above all, this stand is durable and stable. It’s constructed of strong-welded steel and an adjustable tree brace so you can make sure the stand is fastened to the tree as securely as possible. The disadvantage of a such a strong design is its weight. The Millennium L-110-SL exceeds 90 lbs, which is a lot for a one-man stand. You shouldn’t expect to put this stand up alone.
Overall, this stand is on the smaller side. It’s compact and efficient for a single hunter. Still, despite the small size, Millennium managed to increase the platform a bit to 20” by 32”. It also has a flip-up seat, so you should be able to take an accurate shot.
Not only does the Millennium L-110-SL come with a safety line, the adjustable tree brace makes this stand less likely to fall. The stabilizing straps keep it firmly in place. If you’re planning all day hunts, comfort and safety are going to be your two most important factors. This might be the stand for you.
- Comfortable for long periods
- Flip-up seat
Guide Gear 18’ Jumbo
The Guide Gear Jumbo Ladder Stand has a lot of great features you wouldn’t expect from a ladder stand in this price range. It’s a less expensive option that puts you in a great position to get your trophy buck this season.
As the name suggests, Guide Gear increased the size of this stand, specifically the width. The platform is 25” wide which gives you more leg room and can help improve your standing stance with a bow. The seat, shooting rail and footrest all also flip up to give you a wide open shot. Plus, the armrests are a little lower which makes it easier for a bowhunter to take a seated shot.
This stand has a really secure design. It’s made from steel and has twin stabilizer bars as well as criss-crossed ratchet straps. It is, however, complicated to put together, so be ready to read the instructions. For the stability and steel hardware, the stand is surprisingly light, though, at 78 lbs.
Maybe the best thing about this stand is the price. For its size and strength, it would be hard to find something in a lower price range. A bowhunter just starting out and looking for a basic stand to learn on could really benefit from the Guide Gear Jumbo Ladder Stand.
- Price range
- Wide platform
- Flip-up seat
- Low armrests
- Complicated assembly