From reading the title of this article, you may be thinking what are climbing tree stands and what do you do with them? If you are an expert hunter or an outdoorsman then you probably already know, but if you are new to the hunting scene then you should understand its functions. Simply put, a climbing tree stand is a kind of platform that you can attach to a tree. It comes with a chair that you can sit on. These platforms are very popular among bow hunters as it gives them a convenient place to rest while also providing a vantage point for them to hunt their next prey. Once you use a climbing tree stand, you won’t be able to go back to your conventional methods of bow hunting.
In this article, we will be primarily focusing on lightweight climbing tree stands. There are two types of treestands – hang-on tree stands and climbing tree stands. They can differ quite a lot depending on their weight class. But aside from weight, there are a few other aspects that you should keep a close eye on when getting a climbing tree stand. Such as:
- Weight Capacity: Before confirming your purchase, you should always ensure that your climbing tree stand has the appropriate weight capacity. So that it can hold you up along with your hunting equipment. Most climbing tree stands are capable of holding up a single person quite comfortably. But when you pack camping and hunting gear that adds extra weight, then it may be a cause for concern if you are exceeding the weight limit of your climbing tree stand. You may need additional
- Comfort: The next aspect that you should keep your eye on is how comfortable the climbing tree stand is. Without a comfortable seat, it would be very difficult to sit on a climbing tree stand for hours and hours as a lot of time and patience are required when hunting. You should also keep in mind that if your tree stand is of poor quality, then the level of comfort may deteriorate over time.
- Features: As mentioned before, the differences in climbing tree stands depend on their weight class. The lighter a climbing tree stand is, the fewer features it will have. So, for instance, if you want to get a tree stand with extra space or have a padded seat with a backrest, then that means your tree stand will be relatively much heavier. Therefore, you need to decide what features are the most important to you.
Our Top Picks for the Best Lightweight Climbing Treestands
Now that you know what to look out for when purchasing a climbing tree stand, let’s take a deep dive into our top recommendations.
1. Summit Mini Viper SD Climbing Tree Stand
- Weight: 18 lbs
- Load capacity: 300 lbs
- Platform size: 20’’ x 32’’
- Seat size: 19.75’’ x 22.5’’
Summit is arguably one of the most popular and well-renowned tree stand manufacturers in the industry. Why wouldn’t they be when they make some of the best quality products that you can get. Their SD lineup of tree stands is exceptionally well built and the Summit Mini Viper SD is no exception.
With a weight of only 18 lbs, it is the second lightest tree stand in their product lineup. Lightweight aluminum is used to construct this tree stand and it comes equipped with a close front seat bar for added protection. Summit has used its patented Sound Deadening Technology to ensure that the noise made from using your tree stand is almost non-existent. For comfort, it is equipped with a padded backrest and cushioned armrests. You can set this tree stand around a tree that is 8 to 20 inches in diameter. And finally, with a weight capacity of 300 lbs and a platform size of 20 x 32 square inches, this tree stand can adequately support people of all shapes and sizes.
The only criticism we have for the Summit Mini Viper SD Climbing Tree Stand is that the platform can feel a bit too small for some people. But if you can overlook that and focus on the number of crucial features you are getting, then the Summit Mini Viper SD Climbing Tree Stand is easily one of the best lightweight climbing treestands that are available in the market right now.
Very comfortable tree stand
Aluminum 4-Channel Platform Frame
Impressive weight capacity
Quickdraw cable retention system
DeadMetal Sound reduces noise
2. Summit Goliath SD Climbing Tree Stand
- Weight: 21 lbs
- Load capacity: 350 lbs
- Platform size: 21’’ x 38’’
- Seat size: 21.75’’ x 28.5’’
The Summit Goliath SD is the big brother to the Mini Viper SD. Both of them share many of the same features as each other. However, there are some key differences as well.
One of the differences is that the Goliath SD weighs 3 lbs more than the Mini Viper SD. Additionally, the Summit Goliath SD has a 350-pound weight limit compared to the Mini Viper SD’s 300-pound limit as well as having a bigger platform size, which gives you enough footing space. Other than that, they both have the same aluminum frame and comes with a closed front end for protection. It is also equipped with a comfortable backrest and padded armrests. The DeadMetal technology and SummitLokt technology make this tree stand very quiet and durable. And its mossy oak design makes it both stylish and invisible when hunting from the trees.
Other than being slightly bulkier than the Mini Viper SD, there isn’t much that can be criticized about the Summit Goliath SD Climbing Tree Stand. So, if you are looking for the most comfortable climbing tree stand with all the bells and whistles, then this is a reliable choice.
Provides ample space
Durable and noise-free
Can accommodate larger hunters
Impressive build quality
Can feel a bit bulky
3. XOP Ambush XL Climbing Tree Stand
- Weight: 20 lbs
- Load capacity: 350 lbs
- Platform size: 30″ x 19. 5″
- Seat size: 14″ x 12″
Most of the time the biggest issue with carrying a climbing tree stand is not only the weight. It can be hard to fit and carry them on your shoulders because of how bulky some of these tree stands are. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about that with the Xtreme Outdoor Products XOP Ambush XL Climbing Tree Stand.
The manufacturers decided to use cast aluminum construction for this tree stand. This makes it very strong and durable while still being relatively lightweight. The seat is foam padded for comfort and has a safety bar for protection. It weighs only 18 lbs with a maximum weight capacity of 350 lbs. The platform has a dimension of 30 x 19.5 square inches, which provides ample room for yourself and your hunting gear. And the best part of it all is that you can fold it down to a 4-inch thick profile.
Unfortunately, it is not the quietest climbing tree stand as it can cause some noise when you are using it. But for the value you are getting out of the Xtreme Outdoor Products XOP Ambush XL Climbing Tree Stand, it is one of the best lightweight climbing treestands that you can get right now.
Rock-solid build quality
Lightweight and compact
Easy to set up
Suitable for heavier people
Cam cause some noise
4. Lone Wolf Alpha II Hang On Treestand
- Weight: 14 lbs
- Load capacity: 350 lbs
- Platform size: 30″ x 19.5″
- Seat size: 20. 5″ x 25″
Although it is not a traditional climbing tree stand, the Lone Wolf Alpha II Hang On Treestand is one of the most lightweight tree stands that you can find.
Weighing in at only 14 lbs, carrying this Lone Wolf tree stand on your back is very easy thanks to the backpack-style strap system. Not only that but it is also very spacious with an extended platform size of 30 inches long and 19.5 inches wide. It can fit a tree with a diameter of 4 to 22 inches and has a 3D camo design. The seat has a large contoured foam pad to give you all-day comfort. And for protection, it has a 6-point fall arrest system. But the highlight of this tree stand is that it makes almost no sound. This is perfect for hunting animals with sharp hearing.
However, since it does not have a safety bar, you need to rely on a body harness to stop you from falling off the sides. But that is a minor issue as most tree climbers naturally have to wear a full-body safety harness anyway. Overall, if you are looking for a very lightweight and quiet tree stand, then the Lone Wolf Alpha II Hang On Treestand will not disappoint you.
Useful camo design
Does not have a safety bar
5. Rivers Edge Tear Tuff XL Lounger Tree Stand
- Weight: 26 lbs
- Load capacity: 300 lbs
- Platform size: 37.5″ x 24″
- Seat size: 20.5″ x 13″
By now it should be obvious that tree stands can cost quite a fortune. So, if you are looking for something that is a bit more affordable compared to the others, then you can consider getting the Rivers Edge Tear Tuff XL Lounger Tree Stand.
However, just because it is relatively cheaper doesn’t mean it does not have any good features. To start off, it has a massive platform with a size of 37.5 x 24 square inches. It features a flip-up seat and the arm rests are padded with foam. The noiseless strap attachment it comes with eliminates the noise from metal-on-metal contact. Furthermore, it has a 300 pound weight limit and is fairly simple to install.
The only drawback of the Rivers Edge Tear Tuff XL Lounger Tree Stand is that you will need to use climbing stands to get to the platform. This can add to the total cost of this tree stand. However, if you are looking for an affordable tree stand that is easy to set up and carry around, then you can consider getting the Rivers Edge Tear Tuff XL Lounger Tree Stand.
Easy to set up
Large foot platform size
Great weight capacity
Includes a noiseless strap attachment
Requires ladder stands
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How high should a tree stand be for bow hunting?
Typically, a climbing tree stand should be placed 10 to 20 feet above the ground. If it is below 10 feet, then there is a chance that your prey will either see you or get your scent. On the other hand, if it is above 20 meters then the accuracy of your shots will suffer.
Q. What kind of trees can you use a climbing tree stand on?
The perfect tree to place a climbing tree stand on needs to have a diameter of approximately 18 inches and rough bark. Oak trees and pine trees are really good options as they have excellent stability and are easy to climb on. Also, you should avoid trees with smooth surfaces as it can cause your tree stand to slip.
Q. What is the difference between a climbing tree stand and a hang-on tree stand?
The main difference between climbing tree stands and a hang-on tree stands is that in order to use a hang-on tree stand, you need to first climb up the tree. Hunters need to use tree steps or climbing sticks to get on top of the hang-on tree stand, whereas they don’t need to do that for climbing tree stands.
Q. Do climbing tree stands pose any safety concerns?
Practically speaking, as you are perched high above the ground, there will always be a risk of falling and injuring yourself. That is why it is highly recommended that you use a climbing safety harness to secure yourself to the tree when using a climbing tree stand.
Q. Do climbing tree stands damage trees?
Yes, climbing tree stands can damage a tree. But the damage done is very minor as the teeth of the tree stand only roughens up the outer surface of the tree bark. So, using tree stands is permitted by the tree climbing communities. But if you really care about trees and want to protect them at all costs, then perhaps using a climbing tree stand is not a good idea.
Overall, a climbing tree stand gives hunters a stable platform where they can rest and hunt prey from. However, as most tree stands can be quite heavy, it may be difficult to carry them around in the wilderness. That is why we have prepared this list highlighting some of the best lightweight climbing tree stands that you can go out and buy right now.
Robert Coleman, in one word is a multitasker. He enthusiastically works as an outdoor guide. He also has led large groups for backpacking at Bogota in Columbia. Hours of research and field experiences have helped him to stand as one of the best professional reviewers for anything related to outdoors. He improvises in using the right tool rather than packing tons of unnecessary things while outdoors.