Tree Stand Buddy
No big box stores here! That’s right, Tree Stand Buddy (www.treestandbuddy.com) sells only to independent dealers. This allows the dealers to have the best pricing without having to compete with the big box outlets. Tree Stand Buddy believes in supporting dealers and giving them the best opportunity to reach and sell to the consumer. Nice! The unit is a quick-attach bracket system that allows the user to hang a treestand quickly and safely, all while having the option to hang extra tree brackets and quickly move to a new locale based on current hunting conditions. Hanging multiple brackets around your hunting grounds allows you the ability to make quick, necessary moves and get on the game.
Summit Viper Steel
Summit (800-353-0634; www.summitstands.com) has been known for quality and dependability for years, and if there is a climber that best represents that it’s the new Viper Steel (left; $200). Delivering solid-steel constriction, the Viper weighs just 29 pounds, and, like all Summit climbers, it features the effective and foolproof QuickDraw Cable Retention System, popular Rapid Climb Stirrups and a DeadMetal process that eliminates the unwanted noise so many climbers seem to make. The new brown powder-coat finish not only adds concealment, but protects the stand from the elements as well, and with more cushion in the seat those all-day sits won’t seem so long.
Hawk Kickback Series
The new Kickback LVL ($160) and Helium Kickback LVL (right; $220) from Hawk (810-626-3026; www.hawkhunting.com) feature four levels of platform adjustment and a comfortable seat that will keep you in the woods longer. Both stands utilize Hawk’s Cruzr Tree Hanging Bracket, which is designed for easy and safe stand hanging and removal and gives you the ability to have one stand for multiple brackets. The stands also feature generous grip-mesh platform and Teflon washers that eliminate noisy metal-on-metal contact. Both have a 300-pound carrying capacity. The steel-constructed Kickback weighs 27 pounds, while the aluminum-constructed Helium Kickback weighs 19.5 pounds with a slightly larger platform.
Ol’ Man Treestands Alumalite CTS
Another lightweight climber that offers the ability to easily backpack to your tree is the Alumalite CTS (left; $280) from Ol’ Man (601-932-5832; www.olmanoutdoors.com). Offering all the features that set Ol’ Man apart for years, the Alumalite CTS weighs just 21 pounds and is constructed from ultralight, super-strong oval aluminum tubing with a powder-coat finish and an improved cable system for quick and easy setup. The patented ComforTech seat net can put you to sleep if you’re not careful, and the pivoting spreader arms fold flat so they won’t get in the way when you draw your bow.
Millennium Treestands M360 Revolution
With the quiet ComfortMAX Seat, the M360 Revolution (right; $300) from Millennium (601-932-5832; www.millenniumstands.com) features a chair that rotates a full 360 degrees, making awkward, behind-the-tree shots easy. Other features include a 40-inch-diameter platform, a Silenthunt design that eliminates metal-on-metal contact, and the Interlock Leveling System with built-in leveling bubble that allows both the platform and seat to level independently, even on trees that aren’t straight. New for this year is the M368 Blind that provides added concealment.
Lone Wolf Alpha II
The industry benchmark in hang-on stand design is the Alpha II (left; $250) from Lone Wolf (309-691-9653; www.lonewolfhuntingproducts.com). Featuring the generous 19.5×30-inch one-piece cast-aluminum platform that has come to symbolize Lone Wolf, the Alpha II also features a self-leveling system that allows the seat and platform to level individually to accommodate the tree’s angle, while the in-cast bow holder on the platform securely holds most parallel-limb bows in front of the hunter to minimize movement. The included backpack straps make for easy carrying of the 14-pound Alpha, and the high-density foam seat provides all-day comfort.
Big Game Treestands Captain Series
The new Captain Series (right) from Big Game (844-745-7723; www.biggametreestands.com) features solid-steel construction with a 300-pound carrying capacity, as well as Big Game’s extremely comfortable FlexTek seat. The Captain weighs just 15 pounds, offers a 20×27-inch platform and is ideal for packing deeper into the woods, while the XL model is 3 pounds heavier and features a larger 24×30-inch platform with a footrest. The 20-pound Captain XC is the Cadillac of the bunch with padded handrails and backrest, a larger seat and a footrest.
X-Stand Treestands Mini X-1
Whether you want to climb the hills to hunt a well-used wallow for elk or push deep into your favorite chunk of public dirt for whitetails, it’s hard to beat the lightweight benefits of the Mini X-1 (left; $180) climber from X-Stand (540-877-2769; www.x-stand.com). Constructed from lightweight aluminum, the Mini X-1 weighs just over 11 pounds and features a non-slip 17×29-inch platform, a comfortable 3-inch padded seat and X-Stand’s patented Flex Arms that ensure the cables stay tight while hunting but flex out while climbing to provide cable clearance.
Rivers Edge Lockdown Bow Pro
The first stand I ever owned was a Rivers Edge (715-822-2415; www.huntriversedge.com), and the company is still producing high-quality stands I enjoy. The new Lockdown Bow Pro ($200) is another gem that features the unique Lockdown system, which allows the stand to be securely attached to the tree before climbing. With a 20-foot height to keep you hidden, the new Lockdown features a 20.5×30.3-inch platform with a 300-pound capacity, flip-up Teartuff Mesh seat and a sleek profile that sets tight to the tree to help hunters stay better concealed.
Sniper Treestands the Everest
The new Everest (left; $170) ladder stand from Sniper (952-955-9263; www.snipertreestands.com) truly lives up to its name. Standing 20 feet to the flip-up shooting rail, the Everest, with its all-steel construction, features an expanded 19×25-inch metal shooting platform with an additional footrest, a generous 20×16-inch mesh flip-up seat with backrest and a silent washer system that eliminates metal-on-metal contact. Add to this the sturdy double-rail ladder system, and you have the complete package.
Aero Hunter Kestrel Tree Saddle
Introduced last season, the Kestrel Tree Saddle ($225; photos below) from Aero Hunter (866-223-3371; www.aerohunter.us) is designed to allow hunters to position themselves for the best shot opportunity. From one tie-in point, the hunter leans away from the tree, allowing them to move up or down and side to side for a full range of motion around the tree. The sling seat is contoured to fit the shape of the hunter’s back, and the belt, sling and leg straps adjust independently to provide long hours of comfort in the woods. Lastly, because it is ultralight at just 6 pounds and extremely packable, the Kestrel Tree Saddle offers plenty of flexibility.