Summit Treestands best climbing tree stand

The 6 Best Hunting Tree Stands Reviewed for 2017 & 2018

If you’ve ever hunted with a tree stand you know the added element of excitement, and the skill required. There are a lot of factors to consider when you choose from the hunting tree stands available, depending on your weight and type of hunting.

Here, we will look at 3 categories of tree stands and pick our 6 top-rated hunt stands. Then we’ll talk about the factors that go into this purchase decision in our buyer’s guide entitled, How to Choose the Best Tree Stand For You.

And for more of Outside Pursuits’ hunting gear reviews see: Best Hunting Binoculars, Best Hunting Backpacks, Best Hunting Boots and Best Hunting GPS.

Best Climbing Tree Stands

  1. Summit Treestands Viper SD Climbing Treestand
  2. Lone Wolf Hand Climber Combo II Climbing Tree Stand

Best Hang On Treestands

  1. Lone Wolf Assault II Hang On Treestand
  2. Millennium Treestands M150 Monster Hang-On Tree Stand

Best 2 Man Ladder Stand

  1. Guide Gear 2-Person 17.5′ Double-Rail Ladder Tree Stand
  2. X-Stand The Jayhawk Ladder Stand

Best Tree Stand

 Best Climbing Tree StandBest Hang On Tree StandBest 2 Man Ladder Stand
Summit Treestands Viper SD Climbing Treestand
Lone Wolf Assault II Hang On Treestand
Guide Gear 2-Person 17.5' Double-Rail Ladder Tree Stand
editors choice
Product Weight (lbs)
20 lbs11 lbs89 lbs
Capacity (lbs)300 lbs350 lbs500 lbs
Special FeaturesAll-aluminum climber combo. Great all around simple operation. Ultra-light aluminum construction. Simple, clean and compactGood weight:capacity ratio, roomy, transports in (3) five foot sections.
Customer Ratings4.7 / 5.0 Stars4.7 / 5.0 Stars4.4 / 5.0 Stars

 Hunting Tree Stand Reviews

Best Climbing Tree Stands

#1 Summit Treestands Viper SD Climbing Treestand

Summit really has a great lineup of climbing tree stand products. Viper SD just happens to be the most popular size and capacity. You may also want to take a look at their larger units with more standing room and weight capacity.

For overall construction, weight and strength this is the best lineup of climbing-type treestands that are available. Also see the Summit tree stand accessories that are available.

Features of the Summit Treestands Viper SD Climbing Treestand:

  • All-aluminum climbing stand
  • Foam seat w/ backrest (camo-covered)
  • Weight: 20 lbs.
  • Capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Seat size: 18 inches wide x 12 inches deep
  • Platform size: 20 inches wide x 26.5 inches deep
  • Includes: Safety Harness System
  • Includes: All hardware

#2 Lone Wolf Hand Climber Combo II Climbing Tree Stand

When considering these climbing stands the weight of the unit is a big factor. The Lone Wolf is the lightest we’ve seen, but because of a smart folding design it maintains a high level of strength and capacity.

Not an inexpensive product, but a very high-quality unit that will last you forever.  For portability and the freedom to hunt where you want this is a close 2nd runner up to the Summit product.

Features of the Lone Wolf Hand Climber Combo II Climbing Tree Stand:

  • Folds down to a 5″ packed profile
  • Weight: 17.5 lbs
  • Platform: 30 inch x 19 ½ inch one-piece cast aluminium
  • 3-D camo platform
  • Contoured foam seat pad
  • Bow holder
  • Backpack straps
  • (1) Bungee strap included
  • Fits trees 6″ – 19″ in diameter;
  • 350-lb. weight rating
  • Includes: 6-point Fall Safety System

Best Hang On Treestands

#1 Lone Wolf Assault II Hang On Treestand

We think this is the best hang on tree stand because of the light weight, and relative strength and capacity. The use of aluminium, which is a more expensive material to start with, has yielded the best performed in the hang on treestands category.

In this video the Lone Wolf Hang-On hanger stand is used with climbing sticks to make a single trip up the tree before mounting the lock on tree stand.

This unit is easy to pack and quick to deploy.

Features of the Lone Wolf Assault II Hang On Treestand:

  • Lightweight – weighs only 11 pounds
  • 26 x 19 1/2″ one-piece cast aluminum platform
  • 3-D camo platform design
  • Bow holder will hold parallel limb bows
  • Accepts E-Z Hang tree stand accessories
  • Includes backpack straps
  • Attaches to trees 4″-22″ in diameter
  • 14 x 12″ seat
  • 21″ height
  • 350-pound weight rating
  • Includes: TMA-approved 6-point safety system.

#2 Millennium Treestands M150 Monster Hang-On Tree Stand

Among hang on treestands the Millennium M150 may be the most common in use. Originally manufactured as “deer stands”, they were also called “hanger stands” in their early incarnations.

Today Millennium is a respected maker with a lot of experience under their belt. We like this unit just fine, and the only drawback against competitors is the extra weight factor.

Features of the Millennium Treestands M150 Monster Hang-On Tree Stand:

  • ComfortMax Seat: Poly sling construction provides hours of comfort and durable, non-stretch fabric.
  • All Steel Construction: Welded steel construction; flat-fold design makes it easy to transport and set up.
  • CamLock Reciever: Exclusive, patented camLock Receiver to lock the stand into position in seconds
  • Folding Seat: Gives more room for a standing shot
  • Backpack Straps built-in
  • Durable powder coat finish
  • Platform: W 24″ D 37″
  • Seat Size: W 20″ D 17″
  • Weight: 19.5 lbs.
  • Capacity: 300lbs

Best 2 Man Ladder Stand

#1 Guide Gear 2-Person 17.5′ Double-Rail Ladder Tree Stand

Ladder stands add another level of comfort and space for hunters. A two man ladder stand can extend up to 18 or more feet above ground and and accommodate two hunters. But along with this convenience comes a price – a two man tree stand can weigh over a hundred pounds and require more than 2 men to hoist.

For this rather large buying factor we chose the Guide Gear branded 2 man tree stand unit that weighs just 89 lbs. as our top pick.

Features of the Gear Guide 2-Person 17.5’ Double-Rail Ladder Tree Stand:

  • 17 ½ feet above ground platform
  • 40” x 26” platform
  • Double rail design
  • Steel tube construction
  • 3 5-foot sections
  • Fall arrest system included
  • Capacity: 500 lbs.
  • Weight: 89 lbs.

#2 X-Stand The Jayhawk Ladder Stand

In the 2 person tree stand category The Jayhawk might be the Mercedes Benz of ladder tree stands. It’s big, heavy and comfortable.

Standing 20 feet tall at the railing and weighing 122 lbs. it can be a real monster to haul, assemble and hoist. Some reviewers have reported that 3-4 men are required to stand this ladder tree stand up.

We included here for its many features and quality.

Features of the X-Stand Jayhawk Ladder Stand:

  • Constructed of Helix oval tubing
  • Weight Capacity: 500 lbs
  • Weight: 122 lbs.
  • Construction: Powder-coated Steel
  • Safety Harness: Two 4-pt. full-body harness
  • Stand Height: 20′ to Shooting Rail
  • Platform Size: 42″ Wide x 34″ Deep
  • Seat Size: 39″ Wide x 17″ Deep
  • Seat Cushion: Comfort-Flex
  • Backrest: 39″Wide x 19″ Tall
  • Flip-up padded seats
  • Padded armrests
  • Padded shooting rail
  • Folding Footrest
  • Nylon washers to quiet metal-on-metal contact

How to Choose the Best Hunting Stand

Introduction

There are several different types of stand available on the market, from twin hunter stands, through ladder stands and climbing stands.  Sometimes these are called hunt stands and they help the hunter by sitting high within a tree, offering good visibility of the surrounding areas.  Thereby, the hunter can see his or her game as they approach and pass by.  A good stand is a key part of the success in finding your deer, boar, elk and so on.

Types of Hunt Stand

Hunt stands come in a variety of types.

  • Ladder Tree Stands

hunting ladder stand

These are an inventive structure that attaches to the tree and is topped by a stand.  These constructions are versatile, so not a lot of time has to be spent choosing a tree to use.  Often, they come with a big enough platform to hold a second person comfortably.

  • Climbing Tree Stands

climbing tree stand

These stands have a seat and a foot rest.  The stand attaches to the tree from the ground, and the hunter uses the stand to ascend the tree trunk.  One part of the stand is moved while the hunter keeps their weight on the other section.

  • Hang On Tree Stands

hang on hunting tree stand

Sometimes called lock on tree stands, these attach to various types of trees.  Often, a climbing facility will need to be purchased separately.

  • Tripod Tree Stands

tripod deer stand

These are great when there are few trees around.  They can be erected pretty much anywhere, and the best give a full 360 degree view.

Purchase Considerations

  • Ladder Tree Stands

Ease of use is a big plus with this kind of device, as getting up and down is straight forward.  Ladder tree stands are towards the cheaper end of the market, and a solid construction can be purchased for well under $100.

  • Climbing Tree Stands

These stands tend to be towards the upper end of the purchase market, and expect to pay in excess of $300 for some varieties.  But, as always, you get what you pay for.

  • Hang On Tree Stands

Expect to pay between $100 and $200 for a stand such as this, plus extras.  However, at the cheaper end of the market, the seats can be basic and if a long session is planned it is worth spending the extra on a comfortable model.  The stand is specially good for deer, since it is quiet to fit and use.

  • Tripod Tree Stands

Expect to pay around the $200 mark for one of these.  There is definitely a slightly less secure to a free standing tripod, and it is important to check the construction quality of your piece.

Weight Capacity

  • Ladder Tree Stands

With many of these sturdy devices designed to accommodate two people, weight is not usually an issue, although there can be a trade off between lighter, portable devices and heavier, stronger ones.

  • Climbing Tree Stands

With the hunter’s weight being one of the locking devices to ensure the safety of the device, there is often a hearty weight capacity.  Good varieties can hold up to 300 pounds

  • Hang On Tree Stands

These securely attach to trees, allowing more weight to be supported.  However, often the seats and platforms are small, so a bulkier person might struggle to be accommodated comfortably.

  • Tripod Tree Stands

It’s important to feel secure with a tripod stand, which means that a heavier capacity can lead the user to feel more vulnerable.

Size

  • Ladder Tree Stands

Size can be an issue when transporting these devices, since they can often be bulky.  However, many hunters will simply set up their stand and then leave them in place saving time and effort.

  • Climbing Tree Stands

These devices often present plenty of space for standing and sitting, but because no climbing device is attached (other than harnasses) they are easy to transport.

  • Hang On Tree Stands

As we saw above, hang on stands tend to be small.  This means that they are great for transporting through woods, but can lack comfort if used for long periods.

  • Tripod Tree Stands

A tripod stand might typically stand at 15 feet above the ground.  That is a lot of steel and aluminium to move around, although since it is most likely to be used in a mostly empty area, that negates the difficulty of moving it around to some extent.  Even more than with a tree stand, a head for heights is necessary since the stand is likely to sit in the open.

Reliability and Strength

  • Ladder Tree Stands

These do what they say they can do, and their simplicity makes them a sturdy option for the buyer.

  • Climbing Tree Stands

A clear trunk is needed for access to the tree and the device itself does the climbing, rather than being fitted into position.  Having said that, where a good tree can be found, this kind of stand is often one of the most comfortable varieties.

  • Hang On Tree Stands

Many come with lifetime guarantees.  Say no more.

  • Tripod Tree Stands

A sturdy model is very important.  Be prepared to pay a little extra for your own security and safety.

Weight of Device

  • Ladder Tree Stands

This can be an issue when it comes to transportation, since the very solidity of the design that offers ease of access can mean the device is heavy to move around, often it is a more than one man job.

  • Climbing Tree Stands

By contrast, a climbing tree stand is very much a one man job to transport.  Designs are sturdy enough to be safe, but easily transportable.

  • Hang On Tree Stands

These are really lightweight, and can weigh as little as 11 pounds, which makes them really easy to transport.

  • Tripod Tree Stands

Because they are free standing models, the weight of tripod stands is a little more than others.  However, as with their size, they are not going to be moved in dense undergrowth and between hanging branches.

Tree Stand Brands

  • Ladder Tree Stands

Something like the Guide Gear Basic offers a well priced introduction to this kind of tool.  Guide Gear also has an extra large model for more platform space, although the seating is basic, and there is nowhere to support a rifle.

  • Climbing Tree Stands

Several brands are available on the market.  One of the best is the Summit 180 Max SD, which comes with a reversible seat allowing the rifle to be rested against the trunk.  It offers a big, comfortable seat but is lightweight to move around.

  • Hang On Tree Stands

The Millennium M100U-SL is super light and folds flat, making it easy to get into place.  It attaches securely to its tree, and has a comfortable seat which folds back to allow stand up shots.

  • Tripod Tree Stands

The Amerstep15 foot tripod is a good model.  It is well built and comes with accessories such as a roof kit, although these cost extra.

Conclusion

There are other stands, such as specialised ones for bow hunting, on the market, but here we have seen a good cross section of types.  As with anything, the hunter needs to decide on what they want and where the device is going to be used.  A climbing stand, for example, is very flexible but needs a good degree of physical fitness to erect, whereas a ladder stand allows ease of access but can be tricky to get into position.

Look at the top picks herein and also read user reviews to determine which hunt stand best suits you, and meets your particular hunting needs.

Thanks for reading. If you have any comments or suggestions for products that aren’t included in this review just use this email contact form.

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About El Tigre

Richard M. aka El Tigre is an avid adventure traveler with extensive trekking experience throughout Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. In 1998 he weathered category 5 Hurricane Mitch on the northern coast of Honduras. He has mountain-biked, hiked and 4x4 toured extensively in Central America, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Mexico. In the summer of 2004 he lived among the Kuna Indians of the San Blas islands in Panama. Today, he manages a real estate investments company based in San Jose, Costa Rica and organizes adventure travel excursions to Costa Rica. He is a motorcycle enthusiast and enjoys sport touring and dual-sport riding. Richard lives in Arizona.

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