Ape-up with the Best Climbing Tree Stand in 2021

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Let’s say this season you go hunting just two days a month. You get to the woods at five o’clock. You like a warm meal, so you only stay out until noon. That adds up to 70 hours in your tree stand, just about three whole days. And you’re probably going to go hunting a lot more than that.

Your tree stand isn’t a purchase to take lightly. You’ll be spending a lot of time in it. Hunters have come to love climbing stands for their convenience and versatility. This article will help you consider the qualities of climbing tree stands that make them good for hunting. Then take a look at our favorites.

The Best Climbing Tree Stand – Our Picks

Note: Our individual reviews are below, but you can also click any of the links above to check current prices on Amazon and other retailers

Climbing Tree Stand Reviews

Summit Treestands Viper SD

Summit Treestands has held a reputation for quality in the hunting world for years. The Viper SD is their flagship model, a great purchase for someone just learning to use climbing tree stands.

The Viper SD was one of the first climbing tree stands to take advantage of aluminum assembly. While still being strong enough to hold 300 lbs, this tree stand weighs only 20 lbs itself. The downside of the lightweight can be the small size, and larger hunters might find that they feel a little cramped.

Summit added an additional innovation to this tree stand as well. Sound deadening technology keeps the aluminum assembly from clanging together while you’re climbing the tree. Getting in position quietly is essential.

The Viper SD has a closed front. This limits your movement, but it adds security and stability. This is especially important for the bowhunter because you have to make much more exaggerated movements to use your weapon. The stand also comes with a full-body safety harness to ensure maximum safety.

This tree stand is covered with camouflaged foam that’s comfortable for long periods of time. You can also easily replace the foam which gives the stand more versatility.

The Viper SD has been Summit Treestands best-selling stand for 17 years for a reason. It’s a basic tree stand that fulfills a wide range of hunting needs. For the general hobbyist bowhunter, it’s a versatile stand that provides quality and safety for a great price. It’s for all these reasons that this one tops our best climbing tree stand list.

What we liked:

  • Lightweight
  • Strong
  • Quiet
  • Comfortable
  • Safe

What we didn’t:

  • Small

Lone Wolf Wide Sit & Stand Combo II

Lone wolf sit and stand combo II
Lone wolf sit and stand combo II

The Wide Sit & Stand Combo II by Lone Wolf is a quality climbing tree stand made specifically with bowhunters in mind. Maybe the most impressive thing about this stand is the bow holder. It’s designed to hold most bows and really makes an all-day hunt that much more enjoyable.

Plus, the Sit & Stand is big. The platform is 30” by 19.5”, and the entire tree stand widens out away from the tree. This isn’t just important because it’s comfortable. It gives the bowhunter an advantage because he can have a higher range of motion with his weapon.

Despite its large size, the Sit & Stand is relatively light at 21 lbs. Even better, it folds down to a four-inch profile when packed. This makes the tree stand easier to carry, and it makes it a lot stealthier because it’s less likely to catch on every sapling and bush you pass on your way to your tree. The downside to this highly collapsible design is that it can be a little complicated to pack and unpack.

The climbing mechanisms on this stand are also innovative. They work really well, but like the packing design, this can be complicated for a hunter used to other tree stands. It also loses a point for its coloring, which is camo on the back of the seat but monocolor everywhere else. In reality, this probably doesn’t make much difference to the deer eye, but it might make you feel like you stick out.

Still, the Sit & Stand makes its way quickly and quietly up a tree, and when you get to the top, it’s comfy. The two-paneled foam seat contours to your posture, and the wide, open design of the tree stand gives you plenty of room. And of course, it has all the necessary safety features including a strong harness.

What we liked:

  • Wide design
  • Bow holder
  • Light
  • Highly collapsible
  • Convenient
  • Safe

What we didn’t:

  • Complicated to work
  • Monocolor

Summit Goliath

Hunters that are a little larger that find other climbing tree stands to be too small or too uncomfortable will be impressed with the Summit Goliath. With a weight capacity of 350-pounds, you can sit comfortably for hours knowing your tree stand is strong and sturdy.

For added comfort, the seat is foam padded as is the backrest. Some climbing tree stands do not have a backrest, but if you are a larger individual, the backrest does wonders for support and comfort. 

The foam padded seat measures at 18” x 12” while the platform measures 30.75” x 21”. For additional safety precautions, the Summit Goliath comes with a full-body harness and fall arrest system with all the necessary hardware.

If you are at all concerned about noise, you do not have to be if you go with the Summit Goliath. Summit has designed a way to fill critical parts of your tree stand with expanding foam to silence any metal to metal contact noise. You will be free to move around in your tree stand without creating any unwanted noise.

What we liked:

  • Expanding foam inserts inside of the metal tubing.
  • Has a weight capacity of 350-pounds for larger hunters.
  • Comes with a full-body harness and fall arrest system.
  • Seat is foam padded for added comfort and measures at 18” x 12”.
  • Platform is large enough for standing shots and some mobility measuring at 30.75” x 21”.
  • Comfortable design.

What we didn’t:

  • Could be made quieter
The complete Southern Sportsman Nation review of the Summit Goliat

API Outdoors Crusader

If you are looking for a climbing tree stand that can be moved between a few different trees where you already have installed climbing sticks, then the API Outdoors Crusader is perfect. 

API outdoors crusader
API outdoors crusader

This climbing tree stand is constructed from ultra-light and ultra-strong aluminum. The streamlined design has created a tree stand that weighs a mere 22-pounds. You can easily move this tree stand from one location to another through the day as you see fit. 

All platforms contain traction ridges and reinforced closed triangular extrusions for additional strength and silence. Also included with this purchase are the full-body safety harness with climbing belt, a suspension relief strap, an accessory bag, backpack straps, and a safety DVD. 

Some of the important dimensions for this climbing tree stand are as follows: Seat: 17” x 11”, backrest: 11” x 17”, platform: 20” x 26”. 

What we liked:

  • Constructed from durable and ultra-strong aluminum to keep weight down.
  • All platforms contain traction ridges and non-slip surfaces.
  • Generously padded seat, backrest, and armrests.
  • Lightweight at only 22-pounds. 
  • Includes full-body harness and climbing belt.
  • Safety DVD included to be reviewed before tree stand use.
  • Supports up to 300-pounds.

What we didn’t:

  • A little more expensive than other similar models.
A quick review of the API Outdoors Crusader Climbing Tree Stand

Summit OpenShot SD

Do you have a hunting spot in the morning and then a different one for late afternoon/evening? With the Summit OpenShot SD, you can easily travel between your multiple hunting locations throughout the day with ease. 

Simply have climbing sticks installed in all your potential hunting locations, and travel between them as you desire with this remarkably portable and lightweight climbing tree stand. This entire structure only weighs 15-pounds. Also, good for if your hunting spot is located deep into the forest where you have to hike a considerable distance to get there,

The Summit OpenShot SD contains a foam seat pad, a 4-point safety harness, rapid climb stirrups, pads, hardware, ropes, and installation straps. The front of the tree stand is entirely open with nothing to obstruct your view. This climbing tree stand also is covered by a 5-year warranty.

What we liked:

  • Portable design makes this stand easy to transport through the woods.
  • Lightweight and compact. Weighs only 15-pounds.
  • Includes a 4-point safety harness, rapid climb stirrups, pads, hardware, ropes, and installation straps. 
  • Covered by a 5-year warranty.

What we didn’t:

  • A little more expensive than other climbing tree stands.

Ol’Man Multi Vision Climbing

Any hunter looking for a climbing tree stand that will be sure to last them many hunting seasons, should look no further than this Ol’Man Multi Vision climbing tree stand. 

Constructed entirely from steel, this tree stand is durable, waterproof, and can take a beating. If you are rough with your gear, then you should consider this climbing tree stand. The platform measures at 32” x 18” giving you ample room for standing shots. The seat is a 21-inch cargo net style seat.

This climbing tree stand is also incredibly quiet. You can feel free to move around without worry you will be making unwanted noises from metal on metal contact. Also, choose how you want to configure your tree tree stand. There are optional footrests, shooting rails, and a straight bar for you to customize how your stand looks and feels. 

This Ol’Man product is 100% made in the USA. 

What we liked:

  • 100% steel construction with an option of a lighter weight aluminum pro-option.
  • Large platform for standing shots and mobility when occupied. Measures at 32” x 18”.
  • 21-inch cargo net seat for simplicity.
  • Water and weatherproof. 
  • The entire tree stand only weighs 29-pounds.

What we didn’t:

  • Does not come with a full-body harness.
An overview and complete review of the Ol’Man Multi Vision climbing

Summit Treestands Titan SD

This is another climbing tree stand model in Summit’s SD line that combines quality and innovation to make a tree stand that’s been favored by hunters for years. Like the Viper SD, the Titan SD makes use of a strong aluminum assembly that is lightweight yet durable.

The Titan SD’s defining feature is its increased size over the Viper SD. This tree stand can hold up to 350 lbs. It’s wider and deeper as well. The seat is 18” x 12”, and the platform is 21” x 30.75”. The added size makes the Titan SD ideal for larger hunters who haven’t been able to fit properly in smaller tree stands. It can also benefit the hunter who needs to little bit more room for whatever reason, be it extra gear or a cleaner shot. The bigger frame does add a little bit of weight to the tree stand making it 25 lbs total. This is definitely something to consider if you are carrying a lot and weight is becoming an issue.

It’s quiet and stable as well. The closed front adds security, and the QuickDraw cable retention system keeps the treee stand sturdy during climbing and while resting on the tree. Summit takes safety seriously, so they’ve locked the joints as well as welding them. Anyone worried about safety can appreciate the precautions taken with this tree stand’s design.

The Titan SD is a great option for anyone concerned with both comfort and safety on their hunt. Bowhunters can especially benefit from the wider frame and increased space for movement in the stand.

What we liked:

  • Large size
  • Safe
  • Durable
  • Stable
  • Comfortable

What we didn’t:

  • Weight

Guide Gear Extreme Deluxe

The Guide Gear Extreme Deluxe Hunting Climber is easily one of the most durable tree stands on the market. Made of resilient steel, this tree stand is sure to last you season after season, hunt after hunt. At the same time, it might also be one of the least expensive stands on the market. The price range is great for anyone, but especially a new hunter who’s trying different kinds of tree stands to find what works best for him or her.

You’re asking what the catch is. Well, it’s heavy. All that steel adds up. Altogether, it weighs around 33 lbs. That can be a hassle to haul into the woods on your back, but the benefit is knowing it’s not going to break on you.

This tree stand is easy to set up and easy to use, even for a beginner. The nylon straps make it a quiet climb, so you won’t scare any deer off in the early morning dark, even if you’re clumsy. The tree stand comes with all the necessary safety features including a fully functional and stable harness.

For its price the Guide Gear Extreme Deluxe Hunting climbing tree stand is also quite comfortable. The seat and seatback are made of one-inch foam, and the seat bars also have foam wraps so you don’t have to rest any skin on the tough steel frame. All that foam comes in a versatile camo pattern as well. Again, this is great for the beginning bowhunter who might not yet be used to sitting in a tree stand for a long period of time.

What we liked:

  • Durable
  • Low price range
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to use

What we didn’t:

  • Heavy

What is a climbing tree stand?

Climbing tree stand

Climbing tree stands are great because you can put them up in a tree and take them down easily. Many hunters use public land where you can’t leave a tree stand, so something they can carry with them is essential.

No, a climbing tree stand isn’t an elevator. You’re actually the one doing the climbing. The stand displaces your weight so you create pressure and friction against the side of the tree, and this holds you in place. It’s made of two parts: the upper seat and the lower platform. You use these to make your way up the tree like an inchworm, but we’ll get into that later.

Climbing vs ladder tree stands

Unlike climbing tree stands, ladder tree stands reach from their spot up the tree down to the ground with a ladder you can use to climb into and out of the stand. This means they’re easier to get into, of course, but they’re harder to move around. The main benefit of a climber is its maneuverability. You can collapse it and carry it to a new spot whenever you want. If you’ve got a great spot you want to use time after time, though, a ladder stand might be more convenient.

Climbing vs hang-on tree stands

A hang-on tree stand works similar to a climbing tree stand. It uses displaced weight to press the stand against the tree. Hang-ons are designed to be fastened to a tree and left there, though. Again, the benefit then of the climber is its maneuverability. If you like to hunt from several different trees throughout the season, then a climber is your best bet. However, if you have the option of leaving a stand up somewhere, a hang-on stand might be more convenient because you don’t have to carry it out of the woods each time.

Are climbing tree stands safe?

Safety is a big concern with tree stands. Anytime you’re going high up into a tree, you’re taking a risk. Luckily, it’s easy to minimize that risk with the safety precautions included with modern tree stands.

It’s important to always wear a safety harness. This will keep you from falling if you slip out of the stand or on the off chance that it malfunctions. Climbing tree stands also utilize stirrups that connect your bottom feet to the platform while you’re climbing. Use these properly. More than anything, make sure you read the instructions and climb correctly. There is a right way to do it. More on that later.

What to look for

Is it easy to take standing shots?

Something to consider when picking your stand is how well you’ll be able to shoot from it. If you’re using a compound, recurve or longbow, you need enough space for your stance when shooting. Some stands are extra wide or widen out in the front to give you a little more room. Others have seats that flip up. The platform should be stable, and you should be able to position the stand so nothing is in the way of your arm when you draw the bowstring.

Is it comfortable to spend a long time in?

I’ve always thought the word “stand” a little misleading. You really spend most of your time sitting in it, after all. Dedicated hunters might spend a full day in their stand, so the comfort of the seat isn’t something to shrug off. Most tree stands employ some kind of foam or cushion seat, but they’re not all created equal.

Is it easy to lug around?

The biggest advantage of a climbing tree stand is that you can pack it up, sling it on your back and take it home. Then your next hunt, you can take it somewhere else. Of course, this means the lighter weight and more easily collapsible it is, the better. A heavy, bulky stand is a pain.

How safe is it?

Safety is no small concern when it comes to climbing tree stands. Make sure whatever stand you decide on has all the necessary safety features, including a harness and stirrups. If not, be sure to get your own harness. Many manufacturers go beyond that and design extra safety measures for their stands like cable systems. Take these into consideration.

Is it quiet?

Climbing tree stands are almost always made of metal, and that metal can make a lot of noise banging against itself and the tree while you’re climbing. That noise can then alert the deer to your presence, and you’ll never even see one. Different brands use different innovative techniques to minimize the sounds their stands make. Try to find one as quiet as possible.

How to use a climbing tree stand

First, you have to find a good tree. Normally this means one that doesn’t have any branches between you and the height you want to hunt from. At least, not any too large to cut off with the clippers or saw you’ve brought. Also make sure the tree isn’t too wet and slippery for your stand and that the metal teeth of the stand can adequately pierce the bark of the tree.

Once you’ve found your tree, attach the stand to it. Each piece should loop tightly around the tree so that the stand’s own weight puts enough pressure on the tree to keep it place. Next, attach your gear to the stand. Tie a line from the stand to your bow. Put on your safety harness.

Now you’re ready to get in the stand. Enter in between the seat and the platform. You’ll be squatting. Come up through the seat till you can sit in it. Fasten your feet in the stirrups of the platform and attach your safety harness to the tree.

Finally, make your way up the tree like an inchworm. Release the pressure on the platform and lift it up beneath you. Hook it back into the tree, then release the pressure from the seat. Stand up. This will raise the seat up with you. Hook the seat back into the tree and repeat. Be sure to move your safety harness up with you as you move.

When your stand is where you want it, pull your gear up into the stand with you. Find the position that’s comfortable for you and practice getting up to shoot as smoothly and quietly as possible. All that’s left is to wait for your deer.

1 thought on “Ape-up with the Best Climbing Tree Stand in 2021”

  1. I own a TREE LOUNGE climbing tree stand…an original…..made of aluminum w/archery platform and gun holder. It’s the most comfortable and safest tree stand I ever owned..and I have had a few other brands…I would recommend it to anyone.

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