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Which Climbing Tree Stand?

Old 01-08-2012, 04:48 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Location: Central VT/Big Horn WY
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Question Which Climbing Tree Stand?

I am looking to purchase a climbing tree stand. Considering the Summit Goliath or the Lone Wolf Sit & Climb. The LW looks like it packs easy and is quiet, but I don't like having to step over the bar once up at the height I want to hunt.

Any thoughts or suggestions? Looking for a light, quiet, easy climbing stand.
Thanks . . . Rob
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Old 01-08-2012, 05:06 PM
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Summit viper ss is what I use and I love it. No complaints.
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Old 01-08-2012, 05:24 PM
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I got the Summit Backpacker,,folds up to 4 inches.love it
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Old 01-08-2012, 07:03 PM
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Do yourself a favor and get an ol man. I have 4. They are great! U do have to step back over them when u get up but once you do that three or four times it's no problem at all! Very much worth the money and it's been a while since I had to buy one but I'm pretty sure they are cheaper than any of the others u mentioned
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Old 01-09-2012, 01:23 AM
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my vote goes to summit as well!
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Old 01-09-2012, 01:49 AM
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Summit 180 great stand.
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Old 01-09-2012, 05:34 AM
Typical Buck
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If you're open to another option I'll recommend Timbertall. I've hunted mine since 2003 or so. My main requirement was light weight & maneuverablity; I wanted to be able to roam easily and not really think about "do I carry it out or leave it in?"-constructed of aluminum it fits the bill. I've actually shot a deer with it on my back. Next was comfort and for me, it is. The adjustability while climbing, however, turned out to be an unexpected benefit but is what I appreciate the most.
I've tried a few others as well, but for me the timbertall is it.
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:57 AM
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I think you need to find a way to test several out (and do so wearing the heaviest clothes you will be wearing). I wanted to buy the Equalizer tree stand for this season, but it is expensive. I ended up purchasing the Summit Viper SD because it was in stock at a new Dickís Sporting Goods and I ended up getting a massive, MASSIVE deal on it with a combination of the grand opening sale, coupons and rewards cash (well over $120 off the cheapest price you will find). Given Summitís reputation and the price, I couldnít turn it down and I donít regret it. With that said, I donít think itís the best stand on the market for me, but it works.

Here are some thoughts and rhetorical questions based on my experience (first year) with this (or any climbing) stand (pardon the ensuing book!):

Consider comfort vs light weight and packability (there will probably be a trade-off). From what Iíve read, stands like the Lone Wolf pack better and are lighter, but they are not as comfortable as something like a Summit Viper (BTWÖmy Viper packs up fineÖdoes not rattle when I walk but I secure it my own way and not by the book). So, will you be sitting in a stand (possibly all day) until a deer you want to shoot comes along, or just for a few hours at a time? I pulled a couple of all-day sits in my Viper and even with having a bad back, I was pretty comfortable. During the all-day sits, I would choose to stand for about an hour at a time 2-3 times to change things up a bit, and was comfortable doing that as well (back against the tree, legs locked at a 45-degree angle).

Front bar and side barsÖare they for you? I am not a huge guy, but bigger than average (6í1Ē, 220 lbs). When wearing anything that resembles a heavy layer, things get very tight in the Viper SD (but with a single layer thereís no problem). Would the Titan or Goliath make a big difference? I dunnoÖthatís why you need to test them out, IMO. And is the extra room worth the trade-off in price and weight? A few pounds can make a big difference! But anyway, when wearing layers, I am definitely a little squished between the seat frame, and it would be difficult to move quickly if need be, especially without making noise from clothing rubbing against the frame. You can mitigate the lack of room by adjusting the seat height to its highest level (so your arms/shoulders sit above the frame), but you lose a bit of seat comfort that way. Having the front bar in front of you is convenient to lay your gun over (and to use as a rest if you need it) so youíre not holding your gun the whole time, but they make gun holding accessories so Iím not sure itís needed (plus itís a pain to pee over). Overall, I think I would prefer something like the Open Shot with NO front or side bars; more room and freedom to do what Iím there to doÖhunt!! The trade-off is that the side bars are what make the comfortable seat of the Viper possible, and I donít know that Iíd be able to do an all-day sit in an Open Shot. So perhaps the wider Titan/Goliath (not sure of the difference between the two) is where itís at.

Even if hunting only 40-degree weather (not all that cold), sitting dead still for any considerable amount of time gets me cold. Even though the Viper SD weighs only 20 pounds, hiking into a hunting spot (unless really close from parking area) wearing semi-heavy clothing will get me sweating (a bad thing if you want to stay warm later). I found a way to "wear" my heavy outer layers on my stand while hiking in that distributed the extra weight evenly. What I found is that you cannot put everything you need in a pack, attach the pack to the stand and then hike in. A heavy pack pulls on the stand awkwardly and the standís shoulder straps will dig into your shoulders, sometimes cutting off circulation. I say that to say that if you need heavier clothes, make sure you have a way to get them in the woods comfortably with you. If you buy a lighter stand, perhaps attaching a pack directly to the stand will work OK.

My general thoughts on climbing stands after a season of use is that they are a royal PITA, but they have their purpose (especially for public land hunters like me). I personally would rather still hunt than sit in one place for hours (no need for heavy clothes!), but my bad lower back doesnít allow for that. So, sitting in a tree stand gives me a comfortable way to sit still (comfort is terrible on the groundÖlow back screams at me), a way to see further out than I could from the ground, and allows me to get away with a bit more movement than I could sitting on the ground). I will tell you that once I go through the hoopla of getting settled in a tree, that I am unlikely to get down even if I end up not liking what Iím seeing while up there or the wind direction changes, etc.

Hereís the PITA process:
  • Suit up with underlayers, first layer of clothing and safety harness (easier to wear in than pack in)
  • Secure heavy layers to stand
  • Put on fanny pack with all needed hunting and tree stand accessories (including snacks)
  • Strap on binoculars (obviously optional), put treestand on back, grab gun and hike into stand site
  • Take off treestand, binoculars, fanny pack, safety harness, remove heavy clothing from treestand
  • Unpack treestand by removing utility strap, sliding the seat back through the frame (donít make any noise, LOL!), unmating upper and lower parts from each other, and folding the seat back up and securing it with the supplied bungee
  • Attach both upper and lower parts of stand to tree as per directions (again, no noise!)
  • Tie rope to attach upper and lower parts (in case lower part slips, which I canít see happening)
  • Tie one end of tow line to upper portion of stand and secure gun/bow and anything else you donít want to carry while climbing to the other end (I have a carabiner tied to the other end to quckly attach/detach these items) and ensure tow line will remain free of entanglements during climb
  • Put on outer layers (if I am super worried about overheating during climb, I only put on bibs and tow up my upper garments)
  • Put on safety harness (can be kept on under layers if preferred but I think itís uncomfortable and opens up the neck of your clothing too much)
  • Put on whatever you didnít attach to tow line (binos, fanny pack, water, etc)
  • Climb into stand and position self for climb
  • Attach safety harness to tree
  • Climb up to desired height (having to reposition safety harness to tree as you go and making NO NOISE) and work treestand teeth well into the bark once there
  • Secure top portion of stand around tree with utility strap (hope you didnít leave it on the ground!)
  • Unfold seat and secure to tree
  • Test seat height and distance of top/bottom portions to ensure comfort
  • Screw in accessory holders to tree (for holding water, fanny pack, gun/bow, whatever)
  • Tow up your gun/bow and whatever else is attached to your tow line and prep them appropriately
  • Finally, youíre ready (and that wasnít as detailed as it could be)

The biggest tip I can offer is to never, EVER go into a place youíve never been before (like if scouting based on satellite or topographic maps) and set up in the DARK. You may find a tree suitable for climbing in an area you MAY think is good, but you never can tell for sure until the sun comes up. The last time I did that, it ended up that I set up WAY too close to the thickets I spotted via satellite, AND the thickets happened to be up on a hill. So when the sun came up, my tree stand was at eye level with the thickets. You think any deer came out to feed?

I donít mean to discourage you from getting a climbing stand. I am just trying to share my experience with you. If it sounds negative, itís not. I am just saying that climbing treestands are a hassle, but they are very appropriate in the right place at the right time. Namely, they are appropriate for specific areas you have scouted well where the wind is in your favor. There is nothing wrong with hunting a new area, but IMO, itís a better fit to still hunt new areas than to go in blind with a treestand. Even during the day, if you donít know exactly where you are going, you are much less apt to be light on your feet (and thus quiet) with an extra 20+ pounds on you back. If you think you can still hunt until you find the right ambush spot with a heavy pack on, you may want to think again.

Good luck!
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Old 01-09-2012, 01:54 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Location: Central VT/Big Horn WY
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Thanks for all the replies everyone!

7.62, that is a very indept post you wrote, thank you. I have been using climbers for years. I have an old API Grand Slam. Looking for a lighter, quieter stand. I can relate to everything that you have posted. The main purpose of my climber is to hunt a couple of farms in Illinois. These are all day sits as bucks can come by anytime during the day. It is usually a bad idea to still hunt these properties as you can easily blow deer off the farm onto the neighbors properies. Best to sit quietly in a good location from dawn to dusk.

I am considering the Goliath because it has 2" more width than the Viper and is only $20 more.
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Old 01-09-2012, 02:07 PM
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I uset to be a ol man guy untill I got a summit viper. I highly recomened summit. It grips the tree so much better and is alot safer not mention much more comfortable
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