Tree stand hunting is undoubtedly one of the most awesome styles to hunt deer. Being invisible in the wilderness is something we as humans seldom experience. Getting above the ground and disguising your tree stand and yourself is incredibly rewarding when the nature surrounding you resumes its normal behavior and you go unnoticed by the forest. There’s nothing more exciting than when a deer walks into your sightline after a day of waiting patiently.
Finding the right tree stand suited for where you hunt is worthwhile. There are a few different styles out there that assemble and erect differently — some portable, some more permanent. Some tree stands are built for long-term comfort while others are designed to go anywhere in the wilderness you do. Regardless of what your favorite style of tree stand is, make sure you’re practicing hunter safety and always wearing a harness and setting up on a safe, suitable tree.
We’ve put together a brief, top five list of some top quality, yet affordable tree stands for this hunting season. Consider what sort of stand will match your hunting grounds the best and gear up for this deer season with a reliable tree stand that you’ll own for years.
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1. Best Solo Ladder Tree Stand: Guide Gear 21 Foot Jumbo Ladder Tree StandPros:
- Shooting rail is great for taking aim with your rifle as well as for use as a hand rail and to secure gear to
- Quite affordable
- This stand is designed to be silent while you’re in it
- Rugged steel construction is built to last
- It’s a bit heavy and challenging to set up alone, but that speaks to this stand’s durability
- Complaints about the paint chipping off
- Does not povide a comfortable back rest
Here’s an excellent ladder stand for the solo hunter. This 21 foot ladder stand has a lot of height for woodlands where you might need to get particularly high up in the canopy.
The rugged steel construction and the hardware employed with the design is very durable and built to last season after season. This model has a 300 pound weight limit, pretty standard amongst tree stands. The platform is 24 by 25 inches for some decent space once you’re up there.
The shooting rail incorporated into the design is totally awesome — it not only gives you a place to fire your weapon from, but gives you another hand hold and a place to secure gear when you’re shifting around up on that platform. The flip-up footrest is a great added touch — it’s there when you need it and out of your way when you want to maximize the platform space.
All the washers are silent to ensure you don’t startle any game. The padding on the seat and arm rests are also designed to be silent, making for a pretty stealthy tree stand. It might seem like any old ladder and platform would do fine for use as a tree stand, but the exceptional hearing of deer allows them to hear you creaking and shifting on a unit not designed for low noise output.
Guide Gear has an awesome and surprisingly affordable unit here that is perfect for the solo hunter who wants to erect a highly effective and comfortable stand for the season.
2. Best Highly Portable Tree Stand: Summit Treestands Viper SD Climbing TreestandPros:
- Super lightweight (20 pounds) and portable with a back mounting carry system
- A climbing stand you can both sit and stand in
- Treated with sound dampening foam and hardware for a seriously silent stand
- Summit’s Quickdraw cable system is renowned amongst hunters for its simplicity and safety
- A few complaints about paint chipping from the footrest
- Learning to operate this stand will be a bit of a learning curve
- Must purchase the surround seat separtely
Here’s a highly portable tree stand for the off the beaten path deer hunter. Climbing tree stands are super convenient for hunting hard to reach places and for hunting one spot one day and another the next. This unit weighs a seriously impressive total of 20 pounds and has a weight capacity of 300 pounds. It’s about as lightweight as a tree stand can get and even conveniently mounts to your back for easy trekking to your favorite hunting spot or to somewhere new in the landscape.
Summit also makes a highly comparable but slightly more robust stand — the Goliath SD, that has a 350 pound weight limit and only weighs one pound extra than the Viper SD.
The full perimeter frame of this stand allow you to both sit down and stand up while hunting, so although this is a compact and portable unit it’s still a versatile platform and seat to hunt from. The front bar allows for easy climbing and also doubles as a gun rest. Summit has even filled certain parts of the platform with a custom engineered foam for reducing noise while shifting on the stand to maximize noise control — pretty cool!
The silent foam padded seat can be raised for bow hunting and lowered for gun hunting making this stand truly versatile for any style hunter. Summit also sells a “surround seat” for their climbing tree stands that provides even more comfort and some added protection from the elements if fighting the cold is a constant battle where you hunt. Even though this stand is meant to be portable and trekked with, you’ll find it to be very comfortable and will likely want to use it over other, more permanent tree stands.
The “Quickdraw” cable retention system might be what makes this climbing stand such a favorite amongst hunters. It’s renowned for being an exceptionally simple, fast and quiet cable system that doesn’t include any additional hardware. You simply size the cable to the tree diameter, insert it into retention bracket and the Quickdraw trigger will lock into place. To remove the stand you just pull the trigger — it’s a really neat system that is both effective and safe.
Summit also has equipped this stand with their ergonomically designed “Rapidclimb” climbing stirrups for keeping any size boot secured to the platform while climbing. The tough aluminum construction of this stand is built to last a lifetime, but Summit has none the less covered this product with a five year limited warranty.
As a portable climber, Summit has made a reliable and rugged product here that can accommodate for just about any deer hunting style. Roam the wilderness and hunt where you want to with the Viper SD.
3. Best Value Tripod Stand: Guide Gear 13′ Deluxe Tripod Deer StandPros:
- Awesome stand for hunting in open habitat or for having 360 degrees of hunting ability
- Quite affordable
- Comfortable seat and spacious platform
- Can be set up on uneven ground because of the adjustable legs
- Some heavy, bulky parts - set up is very simple and intuitive but reviews say it’s challenging physically to erect on your own
- Complaints about the hardware rusting
- Seat is not reviewed for being particularly comfortable but can be easily replaced
If you hunt deer in areas with sparse trees then it’s worth owning a tripod stand. A lot of hunters wisely choose to hunt from the tree line of agricultural land or woodland openings — but there’s absolutely opportunities to hunt from a stand out in the open. If you conceal your tripod stand in Guide Gear’s specially made hunting blind then you can really add to your stealth factor and not feel so exposed. With or without a blind, you’ll find there’s plenty of places that are great for setting up a stand like this.
Guide Gear has equipped this tripod stand with a silent, 360 degree swiveling seat — so don’t worry about anything coming up behind you. I think the ability to survey the landscape all the way around your stand rather than only in front of it gives you a huge advantage. It’s all about setting this stand up in the right spot — if you can be both out in the open and properly concealed then you’ve got countless shooting lanes for whatever comes your way.
The platform on this unit is 34 by 34 inches, so there’s some decent space to stretch out and stay comfortable with this one. The assembly is a piece of cake and very intuitive, but you might want the help of a friend because of the bulk and weight of some of the parts. Once you locate the ideal space to set up, you’ll find the perfect height to secure the six-position adjustable legs — uneven ground is not a problem for this stand. At full height, this stand really gets you above the ground for some great visibility.
Guide Gear has created an excellent stand here for a variety of hunting opportunities — hunt without trees or try a different style of woodland hunting with this versatile and dependable unit.