Best Tree Stand in 2021 – Reviews And Buying Guide

Are you looking for the best tree stand? You’ve come to the right place!

We have all of the top tree stands rated and reviewed so that you can decide which is the best tree stand for you.

We are a team made up of real hunters. We are outdoor writers, contributors, field testers and pro staff that put each of these tree stands through the rigors of multiple hunting seasons and then rate and review them based on our findings.

Below you will find our top picks for the best tree stand along with links to the best prices that you will find on the internet. 

Summit Viper Climbing Tree Stand
  • Summit Viper SD Climbing Tree Stand
  • Best Climbing Tree Stand
  • Weight - 20 lbs
  • Weight Capacity - 300 lbs
  • Platform (W x D) 20" X 36"
  • Seat (W x D) 18" X 12"


  • User rating: 5 of 5 stars
Millennium Monster Tree Stand
  • Millennium M150 Monster Hang On Tree Stand
  • Best Hang On Stand
  • Weight - 19.5 lbs
  • Weight Capacity - 300 lbs
  • Platform (W x D) 24" X 37"
  • Seat (W x D) 20" X 17"


  • User rating: 4.8 of 5 stars
X-Stand The Duke Tree Stand
  • X-Stand The Duke Ladder Tree Stand
  • Best Ladder Tree Stand
  • Weight - 79 lbs
  • Weight Capacity - 300 lbs
  • Platform (W x D) 18" X 26"
  • Seat (W x D) 22" X 16"


  • User rating: 4.8 of 5 stars

Keep in mind that the top tree stands are the most comfortable tree stands.

Comfort is the number one factor that keeps you in the tree!

We have listed the best tree stands in each category:

  • Best Climbing Tree Stands
  • Best Hang On Tree Stands
  • Best Ladder Tree Stands. 

If you need help deciding which type of stand is for you, visit the tree stand buying guide below.

Here at DeerHuntingGuide.net most of us are bowhunters and focus our bowhunting out of tree stands.

All of these tree stands are the great for bowhunting, but they are also the great for firearm hunting

Our Top Picks For Best Tree Stand

Let’s get on with the top tree stand reviews.

Best Tree Stand Reviews

Best Climbing Tree Stand

Summit Viper SD Climbing Tree Stand

The Summit Viper SD Climbing Tree stand is the best climbing tree stand for bowhunting and firearm hunting.

Summit-Lokt construction is super lightweight. Add in RapidClimb stirrups and QuickDraw cable retention system, and you have a state-of-the-art climbing tree stand.

The Viper SD features high-quality welded aluminum construction, an adjustable 12” x 18” x 2” seat and 12” x 20” x 2” backrest, cushioned armrests, and padded climbing seat bar and backpack straps.

The roomy platform frame measures 20 Inches wide by 36 inches deep. The climber frame is 22.5 inches wide by 37.5 inches deep.

Plenty of room for spending all day in a tree.

The foam seat is suspended from the climber portion with straps and is super comfortable and infinitely adjustable.

It is super lightweight at only 20 pounds, thanks to the aluminum construction.

All Summit Tree Stands meet or exceed TMA standards.

Maximum weight capacity is 300 pounds.

This is one of the most comfortable tree stands that we have ever used.

Features:

  • Summit-Lokt aluminum construction
  • QuickDraw cable retention system
  • Deadmetal noise dampening technology
  • Adjustable 12" x 18” x 2” seat with 12” x 20” x 2” backrest
  • Cushioned armrests
  • Padded climbing seat bar and backpack straps
  • Full-body harness included
  • RapidClimb stirrups

PROs

  • Extremely comfortable seat makes it easy to stay in the tree stand for long periods of time.
  • Padded backpack straps make it easy to transport through the woods.
  • Very solid in the tree. Does not move or make noise.
  • Wrap around bar makes a great rest for gun or crossbow.
  • Lasts for years and it is easy to get replacements parts direct from Summit. 

CONs

  • Some bowhunters don't like the wrap around bar. They say that it can get in the way of shooting if you are sitting down.

If we had to choose the one tree stand to hunt from, this would be it!

Unmatched for comfort and versatility. We Love Our Summit Viper!

Here is a video showing what Summit tree stands are all about.


Best Hang On Tree Stand

Millennium Monster Tree Stand

The Millennium M150 Monster is a hang on stand with an oversized platform and a very comfortable seat making it a great choice for all day sits whether bowhunting or gun hunting.

The huge platform measures 24 inches wide by 37 inches deep earning it the Monster name.

The comfortable sling mesh seat is also a monster at 20 inches wide by 17 inches deep.

The all aluminum construction manages to keep its weight to a comfortable 19.5 pounds. Not lightweight for a hang on tree stand, but it is a tradeoff for the size and comfort.

The aluminum is powder coated for a durable and quiet finish.

We love the ComfortMAX seat which is adjustable from 16 inches to 20 inches high, making it ideal for hunters big and small.

The tree stand itself is also adjustable so that you can level it in trees that are leaning as much as 15 degrees.

I have seen it posted online that the weight capacity is 350 pounds, but we have verified with Millennium that the correct weight capacity is 300 pounds.

A Millennium SafeLink is included with the M150 Tree Stand. SafeLink is a 35 foot safety rope with a prussic knot and carabiner that is used when climbing up or down any tree stand so that you are protected in case of a fall.

Millennium Safelink

Features:

  • Powder coated aluminum construction
  • Patented ComfortMAX contoured sling seat
  • Seat folds easily for stand up shooting
  • Folds flat and is easily backpacked to your hunting spot
  • Includes Backpack straps
  • Includes Full Body Harness
  • Includes a SafeLink safety rope
  • Meets or exceeds TMA standards

PROs

  • Huge platform gives you more room to maneuver
  • Very comfortable contoured sling seat
  • Seat is adjustable in height from 16 inches to 20 inches 
  • Footrest included for easy chair comfort
  • Tree does not have to be straight. Stand is adjustable for trees leaning up to 15 degrees
  • SafeLink Included

CONs

  • At 19.5 pounds it can be difficult for one person to set up.

Let's face it, when we are looking for the ultimate tree stand, the number one concern has to be comfort and the Millennium Monster is the "easy chair" of hang on tree stands.

This is definitely the most comfortable tree stand in the hang on category.

Comfort equals more time in the stand which could lead to you tagging the buck of a lifetime. 

Here is an awesome video about Millennium Tree Stands.


Best Ladder Tree Stand

X Stand The Duke Ladder Tree Stand

X-Stand is taking the tree stand market by storm with their Jaw Safety System.

It is a clamping jaw system at the top of the ladder stand that allows you to secure the stand to the tree before you climb up.

This makes setting up the X-Stand tree stand easy and safe.

You can see how the Jaw Safety System works in the video below.

The Duke ladder tree stand is 20 feet high to the top of the shooting rail when set up, which is a perfect height for bowhunting or gun hunting.

The platform measures 18 inches wide by 26 inches deep.

The Comfort-Flex seat is 22 inches wide by 16 inches deep and is a contoured mesh sling seat similar to the one found on Millennium tree stands.

Weight capacity is 300 pounds.

The duke weighs in at a whopping 79 pounds and will require more than one person to set up, unless you are using a Ladder Stand 2nd Man.

X-Stand is becoming the leader in tree stand construction and they are doing it by focusing on the details.

They have come a long way by making their stands as quiet as possible with innovations like the silent snap pin.

They have taken the pins that hold the sections together, which are notorious for rattling, and added a spring which holds the pin in place tightly so that it can't rattle.

They also use self lubricating nylon washers everywhere there is metal to metal contact in order to eliminate sound.

The padded shooting rail makes a great rest for gun or crossbow and flips up quickly and easily for bowhunting.

Features:

  • The Jaw Safety System
  • Traxtion Control Non Slip Grip
  • X-Force heavy-duty expanded metal utilized on the foot platform
  • Helix oval tubing for strength and to provide a comfortable grip
  • ComfortFlex seat design that contours to your body for extreme comfort
  • Stealth Silencers self lubricating washers
  • Silent Snap Pins stop noisy rattling
  • Adjustable padded shooting rail
  • Fold away foot rest
  • Padded arm rests
  • Full body safety harness included

PROs

  • Safe Set up with the Jaw Safety System
  • Very quiet due to the self lubricating nylon washers and the silent snap pins
  • Very comfortable mesh sling seat with high arch technology
  • Fold away footrest included for all day comfort
  • X-Force expanded metal adds strength, traction and silencing
  • Full body harness Included

CONs

  • Need more than one person to set up

When it comes to comfort, The Duke is at the top of the list for most comfortable tree stands.

When you look at the innovation and attention to detail on the X-Stand tree stand, it easy to see why we have included The Duke as our pick for best ladder tree stand.

Here's a great video that walks you through all of the features of The Duke ladder Stand.


Lightest Climbing Tree Stand That Is Still Really Comfortable

Summit Mini Viper SD

The Summit Viper Mini SD is the little brother of the Summit Viper that is reviewed above.

It has all of the great features of the Viper, but in a smaller package, which means lighter weight.

The Mini Viper SD weighs in at just 18 pounds and is perfect for packing in to those big buck hiding spots deep in the woods.

Even though it is smaller than the Viper SD, it still has a 300 pound weight capacity.

The one thing that the Mini Viper is not small on is comfort.

It is still one of the most comfortable tree stands available despite its smaller size.

Speaking of size, just how small is it?

The platform measures 20 inches wide by 32 inches deep, compared to the Viper SD which is 20 Inches wide by 36 inches deep.

The climber portion with the suspended foam seat measures 22.5 inches wide by 33.5 inches deep, compared to the Viper which is 22.5 inches wide by 37.5 inches deep.

The Summit Mini Viper is great for bowhunters that like to get back into the remote areas where bucks are undisturbed.

Here is a comparison chart showing the specifications of all Summit Climbing tree stands so that you can see the differences.

Summit Climbing Tree Stands Comparison Chart

Check out the video below for more information on the Summit Mini Viper SD.

Features:

  • SummitLokt Construction - All extruded aluminum pieces are locked together before welding.
  • Dead Metal Sound Deadening Technology - Joints and other critical places are filled with a patented expanding foam to ensure complete silence.
  • QuickDraw Cable Retention System - The fastest and simplest way to secure the stand to the tree.
  • RapidClimb Climbing Stirrups - Secure your feet to the stand with these adjustable stirrups.
  • 2 inch thick foam seat suspended from the climber for unparalleled comfort complete with foam backrest.
  • Bungee Style umbilical cord that connects the platform and the climber. 
  • Cushioned arm rests
  • Full body safety harness included with safety strap and SR5 strap.

PROs

  • Super Lightweight climbing tree stand that doesn't sacrifice comfort
  • Comfortable padded backpack straps for easy packing into remote areas
  • Very comfortable suspended foam seat with foam backrest and padded armrests for easy chair like comfort
  • Locks onto the tree solidly so you can hunt high with confidence
  • Will last for years and comes with Summit 5 year warranty.
  • Full body harness Included

CONs

  • Even though it has a 300 pound weight capacity, it is probably better for smaller hunters

As you can see, the Summit Mini Viper SD is a smaller climbing tree stand that is big on features.

We have searched all over and we can find some lighter climbing tree stands, but none that we can say are the most comfortable tree stands.

The Summit Mini Viper SD gets the Editor's Choice award for that.


Best 2 Person Tree Stand

X-Stand Jayhawk 2 Man Ladder Stand

There is nothing better than taking your children hunting and no better way to do that than with a 2 person tree stand.

We have used many 2 person tree stands over the years and the X-Stand Jayhawk surpasses them all for best 2 person tree stand.

X-Stand is the new kid on the block in the tree stand industry and they are doing an amazing job at taking the best tree stands to the next level.

These 2 man tree stands are built tough, safe and completely silent thanks to the innovations from X-Stand.

The Jayhawk is 20 feet high measured to the top of the shooting rail and has a weight capacity of 500 pounds,

The Jayhawk 2 man ladder stand is quite big with a platform that measures 42 inches wide by 34 inches deep.

The ComfortFlex mesh sling seat is 39 inches wide by 17 inches deep and has a very comfortable backrest.

The combination of the ComfortFlex seat and the large size makes The Jayhawk one of the most comfortable tree stands for 2 people.

As you would expect, the Jayhawk is quite heavy, weighing at at 122 pounds.

You will need at least 2 people and preferably 3 people to set up The Jayhawk.

However, the Jaw Safety System that X-Stand has developed makes setting this 2 man tree stand safer that other ladder stands of the same size.

You can see in the photo below how the Jaws on the X-Stand tree stands secure the ladder stand to the tree before you climb up and secure it with a ratchet strap.

Revolutionary!

X-Stand Jaw Safety System On Tree

Here's an awesome video that shows you all of the features of The X-Stand Jayhawk 2 person tree stand.

Features:

  • X-Force Grates - Special expanded metal used on the platform for traction, strength and noise reduction.
  • Helix Tubing - Specially designed 1 inch by 2 inch oval tubing which not only strengthens the build of the tree stand but is also very comfortable to grip.
  • ComfortFlex Seat System - Mesh sling contoured seat and backrest that is the hallmark of comfort on the X-Stand tree stands.
  • Weather Defender - Special powder coating designed to stand up to the elements and provide a non slip grip.
  • Silent Snap Pin - Innovative snap pin that utilizes a spring to keep pressure on it so that i cannot rattle when you are ascending or descending.
  • Stealth Silencers - Self lubricating nylon washers are used wherever there may be friction created by metal touching metal, making the tree stand virtually noise free.
  • Padded, flip up shooting rail and fold up foot rest for all day comfort.
  • Padded arm rests.

PROs

  • One of the most comfortable tree stands thanks to the ComfortFlex seating system
  • Super large platform has plenty of room for two people
  • The padded shooting rail is great as a rest, or it can be flipped up out of the way
  • Thanks to the attention to detail by X-Stands, it is incredibly quiet for a ladder stand.
  • 20 foot height is great for getting above the deer's line of sight.
  • Comes with 2 full body harnesses.

CONs

  • It is extremely heavy and multiple people are needed to stand this up onto the tree.

The X-Stand Jayhawk is our top pick for the ultimate 2 person tree stand and you can see why.

If you are taking your kids hunting, comfort is so important in order to keep them engaged.

It is a great tree stand for bowhunting and gun hunting.

The Jayhawk tops the list as the most comfortable 2 person tree stand.


Best Climbing Tree Stand For Big Guys

Summit Titan Climbing Tree Stand

The Summit Titan is our Editor's Choice for the best climbing tree stand for big guys for both bowhunting and gun hunting.

Although it isn't just for big guys.

If you are looking for the most comfortable tree stand for all day sits and you don't mind a slightly heavier tree stand, you have to look at the Summit Titan.

The Titan weighs in at 25 pounds and has a 350 pound weight limit.

It has a huge platform measuring 21 inches wide and 38.5 inches deep.

The climber frame measures 24.5 inches wide by 39.5 inches deep.

The super comfortable hanging seat has 2 inches of foam padding and measures 18 inches wide by 12 inches deep, complete with a padded foam backrest that is 12 inches wide bu 20 inches high.

Add in the padded armrests and you could set up a couple of these in your living room for watching tv!

Here's a video that shows some of the features of the Summit Titan.

The Titan has all of the great features that Summit offers on its climbing tree stands.

Lets's take a look at the features.

Features:

  • SummitLokt Structural Enhancement - Heavy Duty aluminum frame that locks together before being welded for extra strength and durability.
  • Dead Metal Sound Deadening Technology - Summit's proprietary system for eliminating unwanted noise by filling trouble spots with a patented expanding foam to ensure complete silence
  • QuickDraw Cable Retention System - No knobs, no nuts, nothing to fumble with in the dark. Just a simple trigger system that locks and unlocks the cable for ease of use.The fastest and simplest way to secure the stand to the tree.
  • RapidClimb Climbing Stirrups - You slip your feet into these stirrups and an attached bungee cord holds them firmly in place as you climb.
  • Umbilical Cord - Summit's Umbilical Cord is a bungee type cord that attaches to both pieces so that you can never lose one piece while climbing.
  • The suspended foam seat that Summit developed for its climbers is the most comfortable seat that we have found on a climbing tree stand.
  • Padded camo backpack straps for easy backpacking to and from your tree.
  • Padded arm rests.

PROs

  • Incredibly comfortable tree stand with plenty of room for big guys.
  • Very solid when secured in the tree so that big guys can hunt confidently
  • Easy to climb with Summits sit and climb method
  • Very quiet in the tree, even when big guys are standing and shifting their weight
  • Platform is huge with plenty of room for big guys to stretch out.
  • Comes with a full body harness and all necessary hardware.

CONs

  • It is heavy and weight could be an issue if you are trying to get to remote areas
  • It is more expensive than other climbing tree stands

If you are looking for the best climbing stand for big guys, your search has ended.

We have some very big guys on our pro staff and they all rave about the Summit Titan.


Best Lightweight Hang On Stand

Lone Wolf Assault II Hang On Tree Stand

The Lone Wolf Assault II is our pick for the best lightweight hang on tree stand.

There are lighter hang on tree stands out there, but they do not offer the comfort and versatility of the Lone Wolf Assault.

This tree stand weighs in at 11 pounds, but keep in mind that you will need tree steps or climbing sticks in order to access the stand.

The Assault platform measures 19 inches by 26 inches, big enough to move around on, but small enough to fit into less than ideal trees.

The seat measures 12 inches by 14 inches and is 21 inches high.

We'll be honest, the seats on the lightest hang on tree stands are not the most comfortable.

Our consensus here at deerhuntingguide.net is that it would be very difficult to spend all day in one of these tree stands.

We have some on our staff that have done it, including yours truly, and it was very difficult to do.

The Assault has a 300 pound weight limit, but you are not going to find many big guys using this tree stand.

Here's a video showing how to set up a Lone Wolf Hang On tree stand with climbing sticks.

Let's take a look at the features of the Lone Wolf Assault.

Features:

  • One Piece Cast Aluminum Platform
  • In Cast Bow Holder 
  • Distinctive 3D Camo Platform Design 
  • Contoured Foam Seat Folds Up For Extra Space
  • Slim Profile Pack
  • BackPack Straps For Getting Into Remote Places 
  • Includes a 6 Point Fall Arrest System

PROs

  • Best tree stand for getting into difficult trees
  • Great for mobile hunters due to light weight
  • Platform has very good traction compared to other tree stands
  • One of the quietest tree stands that we have tested
  • Easy to conceal in a tree
  • Comes with a 6 point fall arrest system

CONs

  • Seat is not comfortable for long sits. You will need an extra cushion.

The Lone Wolf Assault II is the go to hang on tree stand for that situation where you have a perfect place to intercept a buck, but there are only marginal trees to get into.

There are very few situations where you can't hang this stand and that is why it received our pick for the best lightweight hang on tree stand.


Lightest Climbing Tree Stand 

Lone Wolf Assault Hand Climber

Lone Wolf is known for innovation and making great tree stands and the Assault Hand Climber does not disappoint.

Weighing in at only 14.7 pounds thanks to Lone Wolf's one piece cast aluminum platform with patented 3D Camo design.

It features a 26 inch by 19.5 inch platform and fits trees from 6 inches to 19 inches in diameter.

There are some bowhunters on our staff that don't like the wraparound bar on most climbing tree stands and they chose this as best tree stand for bowhunting.

It is a super light climbing tree stand, but that comes at a cost and that cost is comfort.

You just can't compare the comfort of a climbing stand like the Summit Viper with this tree stand.

That being said, it has a lot of hunters that won't bow hunt from anything else.

Here's a great video showing how to climb with the Lone Wolf Assault Hand Climber Combo.

Let's take a look at the features of the Lone Wolf Assault Hand Climber Combo.

Features:

  • One Piece Cast Aluminum Platform
  • Uses 2 Traction Belts For Climbing
  • Distinctive 3D Camo Platform Design 
  • Slim Profile Pack
  • Contoured Foam Seat
  • BackPack Straps And Bungee Strap
  • Includes a 6 Point Fall Arrest System
  • Made In The USA

PROs

  • Great tree stand for bowhunters because of the open front
  • Great for mobile hunters due to light weight
  • Platform has very good traction compared to other tree stands
  • We really like the rubber traction belts for climbing
  • Very quiet for a climbing tree stand
  • Comes with a 6 point fall arrest system

CONs

  • Seat is not as comfortable as other climbing tree stands

We have guys that absolutely love the Lone Wolf Assault climbing tree stand and that is why we have included it here, but we need to be upfront and let you know that it is nowhere near as comfortable as our other picks for best climbing tree stand.

If you are looking for the lightest climbing tree stand on the market then the Lone Wolf Assault is for you.


Best Hang On Tree Stand For Innovation and Technology

XOP Air Raid Evolution Tree Stand

Here is the story behind XOP tree stands:

XOP stands for Extreme Outdoor Products and was started by the founder of Lone Wolf Tree Stands and his son.

They started XOP soon after the patent ran out on Lone Wolf Tree Stands.

They took the patented design of the Lone Wolf Tree Stand and improved upon it by making the I beam out of cast aluminum, adding a more comfortable seat and changing the color scheme.

They are less expensive than Lone Wolf, but they are not made in the USA.

Either way, we felt that they needed to be included in our best tree stand roundup.

The platform measures 21 inches by 31.5 inches and the thick cushioned seat measures 11 inches by 14 inches.

Weighing in at just 11.8 pounds thanks to the sound deadening cast aluminum construction and has a weight limit of 350 pounds.

Here's a video on the that will show you everything about the Air Raid Evolution.

Features:

  • Constructed From 100% Patented Sound Deadening Cast Aluminum
  • Quick Connect Bracket For XOP's Exclusive Offset Leveling Design
  • In cast accessory hooks for Binoculars and other hunting gear
  • Fast Strap Attachment Buttons
  • Heavy Duty UV Treated Straps For Longer Life
  • Integrates With XOP Climbing Sticks for Easy Mobile Hunting
  • Dual Action Seat Cushion That Works For Leaning And Sitting
  • Includes a 6 Point Fall Arrest System

PROs

  • Great tree stand for bowhunters because of the open front
  • Great for mobile hunters due to light weight
  • Platform has very good traction compared to other tree stands
  • We really like the rubber traction belts for climbing
  • Very quiet for a climbing tree stand
  • Comes with a 6 point fall arrest system

CONs

  • Seat is not as comfortable as other climbing tree stands

If you are in the market for the best hang on tree stand, you owe it to yourself to check out the XOP Air Raid Evolution.

We love the technology and improvements on the Lone Wolf design, but we are not crazy about the fact that they are made overseas.


Lightest Hang On Tree Stand

Millennium M7 Microlite

For all of you hunters out there that are looking for the lightest tree stand you can find, this is it.

Weighing in at just 8.5 pounds and has a 300 pound weight limit, although I can't imagine a 300 pound guy in this tree stand.

The platform measures a surprising 20.5 inches wide by 26 inches deep and the seat height is 20 inches.

The seat itself is Millennium's patented comfortMAX contoured, tight sling style seat. Comfortable for short periods, but you are not sitting dawn to dusk on that seat.

The M7 Microlite accepts Millennium's CamLock Receiver system, which is a cam lock that straps onto the tree and then the stand slides into it.

This is ideal for mobile hunters that have multiple sets. You can simply strap the cam lock onto multiple trees and then quickly and quietly move the M7 to the tree of your choice.

Here's a great video showing you the Millennium M7 Microlite and the CamLocK System.

Features:

  • Powder coated aluminum construction
  • Patented ComfortMAX contoured sling style seat
  • Seat folds easily for stand up shooting
  • Folds flat and is easily transported
  • Accepts the CamLock Receiver System
  • Includes Backpack straps
  • Includes Full Body Harness
  • Includes a SafeLink safety rope
  • Meets or exceeds TMA standards

PROs

  • Super lightweight for easy transport and easy hanging
  • Great for mobile hunters due to light weight
  • Platform is a good size for the weight
  • Accepts the CamLock Receiver System
  • Very quiet for such a light stand
  • Comes with a SafeLink safety rope
  • Comes with a 6 point fall arrest system

CONs

  • Seat is not as comfortable as as the M150

Some of our guys on staff are what we call run and gunners. These guys have multiple stand sets and adjust their hunts based on conditions.

The M7 Microlite is the perfect stand to have multiple CamLocks set up on your hunting property and just one tree stand that you can move from CanLock to CamLock.

If you are looking for the lightest hang on tree stand available today, then the Millennium M7 Microlite is for you.


Tree Stand Buying Guide

Tree stands are key to your success as a deer hunter. They allow you a much better view of your surroundings. 

They also keep you above a deer's line of sight, and help to keep your scent from reaching the deer. 

There are three basic types of tree stands. They are hang on tree stands, climbing tree stands, and ladder tree stands. 

Which one you choose will depend on your personal preferences as well as your specific hunting situation. 

Here's a great video explaining the different aspects of choosing a climbing tree stand or a hang on tree stand.

Below you will find a description of each type of tree stand and how to best use them.  

Climbing Tree Stands

Climbing tree stands consist of two pieces. The platform and the hand climber or seat section.

Your feet lock into the platform and you climb the tree by securing the upper portion and then pulling up the platform with your legs.

You then raise the upper section again and pull your feet up again. It is very simple to master with a little practice.

Climbers are very versatile. You can change your position in the tree in seconds and the height of the seat is infinitely adjustable.

These are my favorite tree stands, mainly because they are so comfortable. The more comfortable that you are. The longer you will stay in the tree.

The most comfortable tree stands are the best tree stands.

These are not the same climbing tree stands that your father used to hunt from.

Today's climbers are rock solid and safe. I hunt more than 200 hours a year out of my climbers and I have never had one slip.

Hang On Tree Stands

Hang on tree stands are semi permanent, meaning that they are left in the tree and accessed either from screw in steps or climbing sticks. 

They take a little more time to set up than say, a climber, but once they are in the tree, they are easy to get in and out of quietly and can be left in the tree all season. 

Hang on tree stands offer versatility as far as tree selection is concerned. The tree does not have to be perfectly straight and these stands can be attached to a wider range of tree sizes.

These stands come with either a strap or chain to attach them to the tree. I prefer to add at least one ratchet strap for a more solid connection to the tree.

Ladder Tree Stands

Ladder tree stands consist of both the ladder and the platform in one unit after assembly. 

They are heavy and usually require two people to set up. Again an extra ratchet strap is suggested for stability.

Ladder stands are preferred by some hunters because of the ease in which you can get in and out of them. 

They are also very comfortable, which means that you will stay longer. Increasing your odds of bagging that buck!

They look very intrusive when you first set them up, but I have found that if you set them up early in the spring and leave them there, the deer become accustomed to them and don’t even notice them.

I have three children and have found that a two man ladder stand is a great way to introduce young ones to youth deer hunting.

Frequently Asked Questions

How high should a tree stand be? 

A tree stand should usually be between 15 and 20 feet from the ground. Any lower than that and you begin to lose the advantages of hunting from a tree stand, such as keeping your scent above the deer and staying above the deer's line of sight. Any higher than that and you start to have issues with the downward angle.

What is the safest type of tree stand? 

The safest type of tree stand is believed to be the ladder tree stand because it is the easiest to climb, as well as the easiest to enter and exit the stand. However, all tree stands are safe as long as you are careful and follow a few simple rules which you can find in the Tree Stand Safety section below.

What tree stand is best for bowhunting? 

The best tree stand for bowhunting is the Summit Viper SD Climbing tree stand. Some bowhunters do not like the wrap around bar when bowhunting and they usually choose the Lone Wolf Assault. Any of the tree stands reviewed above are great for bowhunting.

What type of tree stand is the most comfortable?

The most comfortable tree stands are the climbing tree stands because they have very comfortable seats. There are some comfortable seats in ladder stands and a few in hang on tree stands, but generally the climbers are most comfortable. Also consider using one of our picks for best tree stand umbrella to keep you comfortable in bad weather.

Are there tree stand alternatives for hunting deer?

Yes, there are alternatives to tree stands when you are hunting deer.

Here are some of the more popular tree stand alternatives:

  • Ground Blinds - Ground blinds are a very effective alternative to tree stands and are a great solution for any hunter that is not comfortable in a tree. Ground blinds can be a simple enclosure made from branches and bows or they can be one of the manufactured blinds. Most blinds on the market are like camouflaged pop up tents that you can set up along game trails and wait inside for game to appear.
  • Box Tower Blinds - Box tower blinds are raised structures, usually on four legs with an enclosed blind on the top. These are very common in open fields in some areas. They can be very effective and they are a great way to stay out of the elements while deer hunting.
  • Tripod Stands - Tripod stands are similar to box blinds, but they are supported by three legs. They are used in the same situations as box blinds.
  • Still Hunting - Still hunting can be a great alternative to tree stands when deer hunting. Still hunting is moving at a very slow pace while keeping the wind in your favor and trying to spot the deer before they spot you.

Tree Stand Safety

Tree stand safety is one of the most important things that we, as deer hunters, need to understand. Every time I look at the deer hunting statistics regarding injuries, it amazes me to see that so many people are hurt every year from totally preventable falls from tree stands.

If you were to ask the average non-hunter, What do you think is the #1 cause of injury to hunters? I am sure that they would reply that it had something to do with firearms or dangerous weapons. 

So, we have to ask ourselves. Why is this not the case?

It seems to me that hunters may not understand just how dangerous hunting from a tree stand can be if a few simple rules are not followed.

Below is a list of those few simple rules. Please abide by them. Not just for yourself, but for the ones you love!

Tree Stand Safety Guidelines

  • ALWAYS wear the best hunting safety harness meeting TMA Standards even during ascent and descent. Be aware that single strap belts and chest harnesses are no longer the preferred Fall-Arrest devices and should not be used. Failure to use a FAS could result in serious injury or death. 
  • ALWAYS read and understand the manufacturer’s WARNINGS & INSTRUCTIONS before using the tree stand each season. Practice with the tree stand at ground level prior to using at elevated positions. Maintain the WARNINGS & INSTRUCTIONS for later review as needed. Never exceed the weight limit specified by the manufacturer. If you have any questions after reviewing the WARNINGS & INSTRUCTIONS, please contact the manufacturer.
  • ALWAYS inspect the tree stand and the Fall-Arrest System for signs of wear or damage before each use. Contact the manufacturer for replacement parts. Destroy all products that cannot be repaired by the manufacturer and/or exceed recommended expiration date, or if the manufacturer no longer exists. The FAS should be discarded and replaced after a fall has occurred.
  • ALWAYS practice in your Full Body Harness in the presence of a responsible adult, learning what it feels like to hang suspended in it at ground level.
  • ALWAYS attach your Full Body Harness in the manner and method described by the manufacturer. Failure to do so may result in suspension without the ability to recover into your tree stand. Be aware of the hazards associated with Full Body Harnesses and the fact that prolonged suspension in a harness may be fatal. Have in place a plan for rescue, including the use of cell phones or signal devices that may be easily reached and used while suspended. If rescue personnel cannot be notified, you must have a plan for recovery/escape. If you have to hang suspended for a period of time before help arrives, exercise your legs by pushing against the tree or doing any other form of continuous motion. Failure to recover in a timely manner could result in serious injury or death. If you do not have the ability to recover/escape, hunt from the ground.
  • ALWAYS hunt with a plan and if possible a buddy. Before you leave home, let others know your exact hunting location, when you plan to return and who is with you. This is extremely important, not just for tree stand safety, but for hunting safety in general!
  • ALWAYS carry emergency signal devices such as a cell phone, walkie-talkie, whistle, signal flare, PLD (personal locator device) and flashlight on your person at all times and within reach even while you are suspended in your FAS. Watch for changing weather conditions. In the event of an accident, remain calm and seek help immediately.
  • ALWAYS select the proper tree for use with your tree stand. Select a live straight tree that fits within the size limits recommended in your tree stands instructions. Do not climb or place a tree stand against a leaning tree.
  • ALWAYS use a haul line to pull up your gear and unloaded firearm or bow to your tree stand once you have reached your desired hunting height. Never climb with anything in your hands or on your back. Prior to descending, lower your equipment on the opposite side of the tree.
  • ALWAYS know your physical limitations. Don’t take chances. If you start thinking about how high you are, don’t go any higher.
  • NEVER use homemade or permanently elevated stands or make modifications to a purchased tree stand without the manufacturer's written permission. Only purchase and use tree stands and Fall-Arrest Systems meeting or exceeding TMA standards. For a detailed list of certified products, refer to the TMA web site for more information on tree stand safety.
  • NEVER hurry!! While climbing with a tree stand, make slow, even movements of no more than ten to twelve inches at a time. Make sure you have proper contact with the tree and/or tree stand every time you move. On ladder-type tree stands, maintain three points of contact with each step.

Tree Stand safety does not happen by chance. You must make a conscious effort to be safe in your tree. It only takes a few minutes to properly abide by the rules above. 

Those few minutes could save your life!

Final Thoughts

We have provided you with in depth tree stand reviews as well as our team's picks for the best climbing tree stand, best hang on tree stand, best ladder tree stand and many others so that you can make an educated decision about the best tree stand for you.

We hope that you have gotten some value out of our tree stand buying guide and our safety guidelines.

Remember that all tree stands are safe if you follow the guidelines above.

Happy hunting!  

About the author

John VanDerLaan

Hi folks! I'm John VanDerLaan and I have a deep passion for the outdoors, and deer hunting in particular. I am what you call a year round deer hunter. I am in the whitetail woods year round preparing for the next years season and I love to share the knowledge that I've gained over 40 years of chasing the wily whitetail! In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that I am an affiliate for products that I recommend. I will make a commission if you buy through my link. You will not pay more when buying through my link. In fact, oftentimes I have negotiated a lower price (or bonuses) for my readers than you will find anywhere else online. Also, when you buy through my link, it allows me to continue to provide you with tons of FREE valuable information through this website!

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