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A good hunter who has a top-quality climbing stand that he loves to use and knows how to use well is likely one of the most versatile deer hunters you’ll ever meet. He can go places stationary hunters can’t, and that means seeing bucks other hunters won’t. While most climbing stands work in the same manner, they’re not all created equal. To make a good selection, consider three important factors—weight and size of the stand, strength of the materials used in making the stand and ease of carry.

Top Pick

This aluminum model weighs 20 pounds and will hold up to 300 pounds. Amazon

Heavy climbing stands defeat the purpose for which they were built—portability. No hunter, regardless of how hard-core, wants to strap a 40-pound stand to his back, trek two miles back into the wilderness, then try to shinny up a tree with it. Aluminum stands are typically lightest and work best for those who prefer a lighter load. Steel stands are heavier, but some are still light enough that you won’t want to count steel out for weight considerations alone. Aside from weight, choosing a stand size is mainly a matter of comfort. Wider stands with more padding are more comfortable for the average hunter. Depending on how far you plan to carry your stand, you might want to opt for more comfort at the expense of adding a little more weight.

Great Value

This item includes a foam-padded seat with a backrest as well as a four-point safety harness. Summit Treestands

If you are a heavier hunter, play it smart and don’t buy a stand with a weight limit close to your actual weight. Remember, when up in a tree you’ll have binoculars, gun or bow, pack and other equipment, substantially raising your total weight. Safety note: When used properly, climbing stands can be very safe pieces of hunting equipment. However, hunters should always wear a quality safety harness anytime they are hunting from any elevated platform, and while they are climbing or descending.

Also Consider

At only 21 pounds, this seat packs down to a slim 4-inch profile. Lone Wolf Treestands

Climbing stands were made for transporting, so don’t get a big, clunky one that is impossible to take to your backwoods honey hole. Many climbing stands can be packed down to make a very compact pack to shoulder and carry, while others, even when packed, are bulky enough to hang on every other tree you walk past in the woods. A stand with a comfortable pair of backpack straps will also make life more enjoyable. Because of discomfort, straps that cut into your shoulders with every step are going to make you less likely to travel to the spots you needed a climbing stand for in the first place!