Editor choice

The Best and Lightest Climbing Tree Stands for Hunting

Climbing tree stands have been getting more and more famous with mobile hunters as handy replacements for elaborate climbing sticks and ladders. They’re utterly simple, too. Hunters can ascend on trees by locking the seat’s teeth into the trees and raising the platform with their legs.

It might not sound like the safest option, but it’s actually perfectly secure if used in the right way.

In this article, we’ll introduce our top recommendations for the lightest climber tree that stands currently on the market. We’ll also take a look at other stand types, such as the hang-on and ladder, to allow you to choose the best option.

Here’s a summary table of the Best Ultralight Climbing Treestands for Hunting in 2020:

Best For... Climbing Treestands Brand

Best Overall: Editor's Choice

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Summit Treestands Goliath SD

The Lightest to Hang-On

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Lone Wolf Alpha II Hang-On Treestand

Most Comfortable

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Summit Treestands 180 Max SD Climbing Treestand

Best for Bowhunting

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Summit Treestands Viper SD

Best for Big Guys

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Summit Treestands Titan SD

Best in Design

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Millennium Treestands Monster Hang-on Treestand

 

The 6 Best Ultralight Climbing Tree Stands for Hunting

How much does every climbing tree stand weigh? How comfortable does it feel? And are there any downsides that might affect your hunting? These are some of the questions that I’ll answer in each of the following reviews.

Editors Choice

Editor’s Choice: Summit Treestands Goliath SD

Without a doubt, Summit is one of the best brands producing all sorts of tree stands. They’ve been satisfying hundreds of hunters with a wide selection of stands since 1981. As you’ll see later on, we’ve chosen most of our picks from their wide arsenal.

For our top pick, we couldn’t find anything better than the Goliath SD. It successfully balances all the attributes necessary for a successful hunting experience.

Our most favorite feature about the Goliath is its sturdy construction. Its aluminum construction is able to withstand up to 350 lbs. That opens the full potential for hunters who like to use a bunch of different, heavy hunting gear. And with a weight of 21 lbs, it won’t burden your shoulders on lengthy hunting adventures.

Over the side frames, Summit placed zippered pads that can be taken off if you want to keep the seat minimal. The close-frame is also padded to facilitate climbing up trees.

The seat itself didn’t receive any major negative comments from the customers. However, some complained that the instructions manual might be a bit complicated to follow.

Specs:

  • Weight: 21 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 350 lbs
  • Supported tree diameter: 8″ – 20″
  • Platform size: 20” by 36”
  • Seat frame size: 21.75” by 26.5”

PROS:

  • Superior stability with the aluminum construction
  • Lightweight with a generous weight capacity
  • Superior comfort with the zippered pads

CONS:

  • Pretty unclear instructions

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Lightest

The Lightest to Hang-On: Lone Wolf Alpha II Hang-On Treestand

If you care about lightness more than anything, a tree climber might not be the best option. In that case, we always recommend opting for a minimal hang-on. In this category, the Alpha II from Lone Wolf deservingly comes on top of the list.

The sturdy cast-aluminum build of this stand brings the weight down to an amazing 14 lbs. You might find some manufacturers going even lower, but they’ll certainly compromise safety, comfort, or both.

The most distinctive feature that we like in the Alpha II is how it can adapt to crooked trees. The angle of the platform can be easily adjusted by moving its cables through the different indentations on the post. The seat also moves on a free hinging joint to give you the best and most accurate vantage point.

To make things even better, Lone Wolf equipped this seat with offset brackets. When you move these brackets to the left or right, they’ll compensate for any inclination that tree might have. In other words, you’ll sit straight regardless of how angled the tree is.

In terms of drawbacks, there’s not much to consider. In fact, the Alpha II is able to maintain a 4.9/5 rating on Amazon as of this moment! However, some customers wished the seat was made a little bigger and more comfortable. Then again, this might differ considerably between hunters.

Specs:

  • Weight: 14 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 350 lbs
  • Supported tree diameter: 4″ – 22″
  • Platform size: 19.5″ by 30”
  • Seat size: 14″ by 12″, height 21”

PROS:

  • Self-leveling seat and platform
  • The offset brackets compensate for left and right tree inclinations
  • Robust cast-aluminum construction

CONS:

  • The seat could’ve been bigger and more comfortable

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Most Comfortable

Most Comfortable: Summit Treestands 180 Max SD Climbing Treestand

Trying to balance between comfort and portability isn’t an easy job. However, Summit Treestands managed to do a pretty good job with their Summit 180 Max stand.

Taking a quick look at the 180 Max should tell you how comfortable it’d feel. Its seat is generously designed to hug you in a way similar to a cocoon. With its high back and extending sides, it should keep you warm during cold hunting nights.

The extra seat space surely puts some additional pounds on your shoulder. At 26 lbs, it falls a bit far from the lightweight category. Nevertheless, it’s still lighter than most of the other comfortable stands thanks to its robust aluminum construction.

In terms of sturdiness, all the stands from Summit excel, especially the 180 Max. Before welding the stand’s joints, Summit locks them in place by using their special technologies. As a result, the final weld will bear the least amount of stress in action.

Furthermore, the aluminum tubing of the 180 Max contains custom-engineered expanding foam. This works on reducing the metal-to-metal colliding noise, which directly enhances your hunting quality.

Specs:

  • Weight: 26 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 350 lbs
  • Supported tree diameter: 8” – 20”
  • Platform size: 21” by 38”
  • Seat frame size: 21.75” by 32”

PROS:

  • Superior comfort
  • Extra warmth during winter hunting
  • Sturdy welding technology

CONS:

  • Can be a bit heavy for some people

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Best For Bowhunting

Best for Bowhunting: Summit Treestands Viper SD

Old school hunters who prefer a bow over a sniper might need special requirements in their tree stand. If chosen wrong, it’ll prevent them from aligning their aim and giving enough power. In this matter, we recommend giving the Viper SD a try.

With a platform that measures 20” by 36”, you’ll have a large space to stand up and aim well at your target. The closed-front design will prevent you from stepping outside the platform. This way, you won’t be distracted by constantly checking your stance.

The seat of the Viper features a comfortable, yet minimal padding. It certainly won’t be that comfortable after a long period. However, the small seat size gives more freedom to turn around while standing on the platform. This is crucial for bowhunters who’re hunting super agile prey.

If you want to step up your game, we’d recommend pairing this stand with the Universal Bow Holder from Summit. When mounted on the Viper, this holder will place your bow in the best position for a fast grip with minimal noise. As a plus, this holder fits most of Summit’s stands as well as some of the commercially famous ones from other brands.

Specs:

  • Weight: 20 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Supported tree diameter: 8” – 20”
  • Platform size: 20” by 36”
  • Seat frame size: 19.75” by 26.5”

PROS:

  • Suitable for free standing and turning to perfect your shot
  • Accepts the Universal Bow Holder from Summit
  • Lightweight

CONS:

  • The seat isn’t comfortable enough

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Best For Big Guys

Best for Big Guys: Summit Treestands Titan SD

As its name implies, the Titan SD is Summit’s marvel dedicated for hunters with big physique. It’s also the optimal stand for hunters who like packing bigger and more elaborate gear.

Just like the other stands from Summit, the Titan is made of high-quality aluminum. However, it’s fabricated with a bigger width to accommodate up to 350 lbs. But as you might imagine, this comes at the cost of heavier construction with limited portability. Then again, this shouldn’t be a major issue for the fierce hunters whom this stand is intended for.

With a seat that measures 21.75” by 28.5”, comfort is definitely guaranteed. However, it might limit the usable area of the platform to some extent. And since the Titan is equipped with a closed-front design, you might not have the best experience while standing.

As a result, we don’t recommend the Titan for bowhunters. It might impair your precision and stand if used likewise.

Specs:

  • Weight: 25 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 350 lbs
  • Supported tree diameter: 8” – 20”
  • Platform size: 21” by 38”
  • Seat frame size: 21.75” by 28.5”

PROS:

  • Super sturdy construction
  • Suitable for packing heavy hunting gear
  • Proofed against metal-to-metal noise

CONS:

  • The wide seat can be limiting for some hunters, especially bowhunters.

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Best In Design

Best in Design: Millennium Treestands Monster Hang-on Treestand

Most of the hunters can’t decide between climber and hang-on stands. The latter is usually lighter with easier and faster mounting, but it lacks the superior comfort offered by a classic climber. If this sounds familiar, the M150 Monster brings the best of both worlds.

In terms of comfort, the Monster is equipped with a state-of-the-art seat mesh seat. Millennium even shows off by calling it “comfortMAX”. Unlike the usual hang-on seats, this one gives full back support, which is essential for lengthy hunting sessions.

Furthermore, you’ll get to take some pressure off your back by resting your arms over the side straps. This is way better than frame rest if you want to save space for your hunting gear.

Since the seat is made of mesh, it can be folded up to get out of your way. In other words, you’ll get to make use of the whole platform to stand up and turn around and fine-tune your aim.

Speaking about the platform, Millennium offers one of the largest options on the market with measurements of 24” by 37”.

Lucky for you, the extra width on the platform doesn’t ramp up the seat’s weight too much. At 19.5 lbs, it’s a bit heavier than most hang-on seats, yet its unique perks are definitely worth it.

Specs:

  • Weight: 19.5 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 300
  • Supported tree diameter: N/A
  • Platform size: 24” by 37”
  • Seat frame size: 20” by 17”

PROS:

  • Comfortable seat with a high backrest
  • Side straps for resting your arms
  • Wide platform

CONS:

  • A bit expensive when compared to other hang-ons

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Things to Consider Before buying a Climbing Tree Stand

The Best and Lightest Climbing Tree Stands for Hunting

Tree stand are among the most versatile hunting equipment. Brands have been competing to produce the best stand for every single need.

As the products vary, you have more and more ways to perfect your hunt. Beginners, however, might be overwhelmed by the endless amount of products and features. If this sounds familiar, this section should help you. We’ll go through the basic selection criteria with which you can get a stand that truly serves your potential.

Types of Tree Stands

Before we get to the technical aspects, you have to decide on the basic design of the tree stand.

Climber Stands

Climber stands are undoubtedly the most commonly used tree stands. They typically have their seat assembly separated from their platform assembly. Some models might join them by straps for extra convenience.

As the name implies, you can climb a tree by using its parts. You don’t need any additional straps, steps, or ladders. In fact, this is the main reason behind its fame. It can be quickly set up in case your prey is coming toward you.

On the downside, their construction can’t adapt to unusual trees. If the tree is crooked to any side, the seat will assume the same uncomfortable inclination.

Hang-On Stands

Hang-on straps are the preferred option for hunters who like to leave the stand in the same location for more than a day. You can get in and out of them without changing their position by a single inch.

Unlike a climber, a hang-on stand has the seat and platform connected with a thick pole. Thanks to this simple approach, this type can be the lightest stand you can ever have.

Usually, both the seat and the platform can pivot by simple adjustments to ropes and locks. This way, they can compensate for any weirdly angled trees.

The main drawback of this design is its difficult, tricky setup. You’ll need to keep locking and unlocking straps and steps until you get the stand in position.

Ladder Stand

Ladder stands are by far the most elaborate types of tree stands. They consist of a multi-piece ladder assembly with a platform and seat sitting atop.

Setting a ladder stand can be exhausting, yet it’s the simplest. Once you connect the ladder pieces, you simply lift it up against the tree. Then, it’s usually fixed by the means of simple straps.

The Best and Lightest Climbing Tree Stands for Hunting

Thanks to the bigger and wider anchorage, some brands fabricate these stands with enough room for two hunters. But as you can tell, such stands will be a nightmare to carry on your shoulder.

And surely, a ladder stand offers the least stealth of the three. That’s why we always recommend it for rifle hunters who don’t need their prey to get super close for an accurate shot.

Consider the Weight

Mobile hunters care about their gear weight more than anything. It would be absurd if your stand is heavy to the point that it exhausts you before even reaching your hunting position.

As stated earlier, weight is directly related to the design. Hang-on stands lie well into the lightweight extreme since they depend on light straps for support. Our top pick in this category is the Lone

Wolf Alpha II that weighs about 14 lbs.

The climber stands come next with an average of 20-25 lbs. They can be carried on your back by their shoulder strap, but you’ll be somewhat limited in your traveling distance.

Ladder stands are surely the heaviest and least portable. Some models might even reach 100 lbs. In that case, you’ll probably need a vehicle to carry the stand somewhere near to the hunting location. You might also need an assistant to help in setting it up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where to put a tree stand?

Most hunters agree that tree stands should be positioned at least 20 feet off the ground. Going lower might blow your cover by either direct vision or scent. Bowhunters might want to go even higher, maybe to 25 feet. This way, their shot will become faster and more powerful.

Choosing the tree itself depends on many factors like the routine of the prey, hunting regulation, the presence of other hunters, etc.

The Best and Lightest Climbing Tree Stands for Hunting

What is the minimum tree diameter for a stand?

Generally speaking, trees shouldn’t be thinner than 8 inches to ensure your safety.

Thick trees aren’t always preferred, though. As you saw in the reviews section, all stands have a maximum width. If you chose a wider tree, the stand won’t grip properly

How do you get down from a climbing tree stand?

If you know your way up, going down would be exactly the opposite. The goal is to disengage a part by lifting it up, then re-engage it again in a lower position. Next, you should lower the other part. Keep alternating until you safely reach the ground.

Do climbing tree stands damage trees?

Not necessarily. The mere climbing can’t hurt a tree as long as it’s thick enough. However, some climber stands might force you to cut branches that might block your climbing.

The Verdict

The market is full of many great models of tree stands that can take your hunting to a whole new level. If you want lightest climber tree stand that provides comfort, you should consider the Summit Treestands Goliath. It can support up to 350 lbs, which should suit the majority of hunters.

If you want to go absolutely light, then you might want to try the Lone Wolf Alpha II. Thanks to its hand-on design, it only weighs 14 lbs.

Whatever you choose, remember to follow the basic safety precautions to ensure your safety. Wishing you the an enjoyable, fruitful hunt!

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