I've used climbing treestands for years and generally consider them the safest and most comfortable stand style available. Despite that, I often find myself hunting from ladder or hang-on stands to avoid the time and effort involved in carrying a climber afield.
However, I have a feeling I'll be spending a lot more time in a climber this fall, thanks to the Ol' Man Aluminum Pro Series. The Aluminum Pro weighs just 22 pounds (that's 10 pounds less than the Ol' Man Original) and packs as small as any comparable climber I've seen because of the folding arms on the foot platform and seat sections. Those same folding arms also ensure a snug fit on the tree all the way up and down, because they allow the quiet, rubber encased connection cables to hug the trunk even as it narrows at higher elevations.
In addition to providing a secure fit, the swiveling arms reduce problems with leveling as you climb. The foot platform measures 18 inches wide by 32 inches deep, while the upper section features a 21-inch wide, sling-style Comfort Tech seat and spreader arms for added maneuverability. A "Grand" model with a 24-inch wide seat also is available.
In testing, I found the Ol' Man Aluminum Pro packed comfortably on my back, installed easily on the tree and allowed me to climb with little noise. Despite its minimalist design, the sling seat is surprisingly comfortable and has no bulky parts that could interfere with an archery shot. The stand has a 300-pound weight limit and features an Autumn Green finish and Mossy Oak Break-Up cover for the climbing seat.
Contact: Ol' Man Treestands, 311 E. Jennings St., Tallahassee, FL 32301; 888-656-2606; www.olmanoutdoors.com