Tree Stand Buyers Guide
In tree stand manufacturer's never-ending quest to provide hunters with a more effective and efficient means to outwit their quarry, they continue to push the envelope. This year they have come out with some exciting new designs, as well as some drastic improvements in technology to make tree stands safer, lighter, stronger, easier to use and more comfortable. What follows are some of their latest offerings, including some innovative designs.
Big Game's 16' Twosome ladder provides extreme security for those who enjoy hunting with a partner. The spacious foot platform and padded bench seat provide comfort and ample room for two adults and all their gear. Welded steel construction, three ratchet strap attachments and adjustable intermediate stabilizer bar ensure safety and stability.
Cabela's new Whitetail Extreme boasts an exclusive Ellipsis X-Trusion steel frame for lightweight strength. It locks in place with a quick-clip coupler system and rubber-coated lynch pins. The oversized platform sits against, or very close to the tree, and the seat folds up and out of the way for standing. The stand also features a telescoping stabilizer bar with ratchet strap, and stabilizer straps and a ratchet strap at the seat level for added safety.
Cabela's Trophy Lite Magnum Ladder features an oversized platform and a thick-padded, flip-up bench seat with backrest. The steel ladder is constructed of the same X-Trusion square tubing, and features a quick-clip locking system for a solid fit. The aluminum top ensures steady support with reduced weight. It also includes a removable shooting rail for multi-season hunting.
As their name implies, Innovative Treestand Systems, Inc. has come up with some innovative designs in their new product line. A good example is the Kwik Ladder. Using a patented hinge, it folds down quickly, easily and quietly from a 16'-4" ladder to a single, compact unit of 24" x 101⁄2" x 52". The spacious platform and seat offer ample room for bowhunters.
Gorilla Kong Lounge
For 2003, Brutus has introduced their new VantagePoint Series, all of which have a patent-pending Collar-Mount Three-Point System. The platform on the Brutus LD features non-slip decking and vinyl-coated safety chain platform levelers with a built-in footrest. The padded swivel Twist 'n Shoot seat offers an adjustable height.
Gorilla has upgraded their line of ladder stands this year with several new models. For the archer, the Outfitter features a three-section welded-steel ladder with an Anti-Sink Tamping Bar on the bottom. On top, is a non-slip, expanded steel mesh platform and a padded, flip-up seat. Both seat and ladder attach to the tree with ratchet straps, and nylon bushings and washers quiet all non-welded contact points. The Deluxe Outfitter offers the same features, plus a Y-style bow holder.
Rivers Edge also has two new ladders. For extra height, the 20' Supreme features a five-section welded steel ladder and expanded platform with padded seat, back and arm rests. It also features a swing-away padded shooting rail for the two-season hunter. The Big Foot two-man ladder features a roomy platform and removable padded bench seat and backrest.
Hunter's View has three new ladders this year. The 16' Puma offers a steel-mesh platform and seat. The 16' Black Bear features a padded seat cushion and backrest, and removable, padded shooting rail. The 16' Lynx has a roomier mesh platform, a removable seat cushion and backrest and removable shooting rail. Four-foot ladder extensions are also available for all three.
Ameristep's new Grizzly line also includes three ladders. Their 15' Ladder Stand offers a steel mesh platform and padded safety rail. The 16' Ladder Stand has a similar platform, a padded ComfortMax seat and backrest, padded arms and shooting rail and telescoping stabilizer bar. The 12' Two-Man Ladder Stand has a removable ComfortMax seat and a hinged shooting rail.
For 2003, API will be available only through Cabela's and Bass Pro shops. API's newest model, the Packmaster, bridges the gap between ladders and hang-ons. It's a mobile ladder; fixed-position platform and telescoping ladder all in one. The telescoping ladder extends to a seat height of 17 feet in as little as five minutes. In three minutes it can be folded down into a compact package that can easily be carried like a backpack.
Professional Hunting Products Kodiak
FIXED POSITION STANDS
API has revamped their entire line of stands this year, adding a number of new features like stronger, lighter, aluminum alloys and a new sure-footing platform to existing models. They've also added three fixed position stands (FPS's). The GM300 Master features a padded, detachable oversized seat while the GL300 Ultra-Lite offers a foldout sling seat. Both models feature the Sure-Grip platform and locking cam-over buckle attachment. API has also entered the steel tree stand market with their new GC300 Competition. It has an expanded steel platform with a built-in footrest, and a foldout sling seat.
All the Grizzly stands from Ameristep are new, including four in this category--two steel stands and two aluminum. All four feature a removable ComfortMax seat with a zippered gear pouch and nylon washers at all fastening points. The Hang-On Tree Stand and Big-Man Hang-On are steel. The Aluminum Hang-On and Aluminum Big-Man are made from Aircraft-grade aluminum and feature fully welded construction, a dull powder-coated finish and a footrest. Hunter's View has added a bunch of new FPSs to their line this year. The Bobcat has a steel mesh platform and features both chain and stabilizing strap attachment. It is available with a camo padded seat cushion, swivel seat option, or with a triangular-shaped seat; the latter version is called the Mountain Cat. The aluminum version, called the Bobcat Lite, attaches with two ratchet straps and cinch straps.
The steel Panther and Jungle Cat attach with ratchet and cinch straps and have mesh platforms with built-in footrests. The Panther has a rectangular padded seat while the Jungle Cat's is triangular. Both are available in aluminum Lite versions. Gorilla is offering three new Fixed Position Stands in their steel Kong Series. All have an expanded mesh platform. The Chain-on Kong and Chain-on King Kong have EVA foam seats, while the new King Kong Lounger features a flip-up, three-cushion AirRide foam seat
, padded backrest and padded armrests. All three use ratchet-strap attachments.
Brutus has also incorporated their full line of Fixed Position Stands into their new Vantage Point Series, which features the Collar-Mount Three-Point System and adjustable-height seats. Rather than cables, they also use vinyl-coated support chains between the platform and mounting bracket. The Collar-Mount system is a particularly nice feature for the hang-on user as it allows you to hang multiple collars at various locations, utilizing just one platform. It also has a quick-release rope and pulley system to hoist the stand up for attachment. Finally, Brutus stands have two independent leveling systems, one for the seat and one for the platform, to adjust for tree angle.
The Baby Brutus, aluminum Brutus LW and steel LS, LX and DLX models include a fold-up, padded, Twist 'n Shoot swivel seat. The Baby Brutus has a two-point accessory mounting system while the others offer seven accessory mounting points. The LXC offers the additional comfort of a fold-up padded seat and the DLX comes with Cover System artificial limb camouflage.
North Starr has super-sized one of their more popular models to create the Steel Starr Magnum. It features a steel mesh platform, a Big Easy fold-up seat with ergonomically designed closed cell foam cushion, and ratchet-strap attachment.
Rivers Edge now offers a removable two-inch thick foam-padded camouflage seat with its Lite Foot, Lite Foot XL, Big Foot XL and Big Foot models.
The Leveler 1, from Innovative Treestand Systems does what its name implies, and more. It has three adjustment positions you can set the base at for leveling, so you can level your stand on almost any tree. The seat is mounted on telescoping tubes so you can adjust seat height from 21 to 28 inches, for comfortable sitting or standing.
After a brief absence, Loggy Bayou is back, and better than ever. They've updated some of their older models, and introduced several new ones for this year. The Bracket Widemaster Lite and Bracket Widemaster Steel hang on a metal bracket that attaches to the tree with a ratchet strap. Additional brackets allow the hunter to utilize multiple locations with a single stand. Both have padded fold-up seats and footrests, and spacious platforms. The Baby Gator and Big Gator are brand new this year. Both offer steel-mesh platforms and dual ratchet strap attachment. The Big Gator also has a fold-up footrest and removable, padded, camo seat and backrest.
Summit, one of the industry leaders, has introduced three new hang-ons for 2003. The Headhunter Mini, Headhunter Max and Headhunter Lite are all designed to utilize a quick, simple and quiet attachment system. Each has a rugged "U" hook on the back of the stand bracket. You just attach the nylon web strap to a tree and pass the hook through a loop in the strap. It's that simple. All have padded seats and the Max and Lite versions also include a zippered gear pouch.
Braun-Woodke improved their unique, bottom-entry EasyWay tree stand for 2003 in several ways. First, they made it lighter and made the seat and back removable. Then, they made the windbreak camo skirt easier to attach and improved the lower attachment strap. Finally, they developed a sectional EasyWay Ladder for safe climbing of almost any tree at any angle.
Non-Typical Treestands offers two versions of hang-ons, loaded with innovations. Both the Outfitter and Patriot Hunter feature an accessory port system for plug-in attachments, padded flip-up swivel seats and multi-directional placement and leveling for crooked or angled trees. They also have a double hook Hanging Speed Strap system that allows attachment on either side.
API Grand Slam Super-Mag Supreme
Topgun Treestands lists three aluminum hang-ons in their 2003 new product line--the Topgun Lite, Topgun II Lite and Topgun Ultra Lite. The first two feature adjustable seat height with four seating options and a tree-leveling system. All have a rugged mesh platform and padded cushion seat. The really unique feature is an axle kit that lets you quickly and easily convert stands into a game carrier capable of hauling up to 400 pounds.
The Vulture, from Advanced Outdoor Designs, has a patented rotational design that allows you to move silently around the tree riding on two oil-impregnated nylon bushings offering a safe and comfortable 360-degree shooting range. It is constructed of lightweight aluminum tubing and features a removable high-back seat with waterproof camo cover and folding back. The seat assembly can be separated from the vertical bracket for simple mounting and transporting.
This year Summit added a new series of Backpacker stands with two models. Both the Bullet and Broadhead Backpackers fold flat for easy transportation, without sacrificing strength, comfort or stability. Both use the same snakeable cable system as all Summit climbers, which requires no pins, knobs, nuts or bolts to fumble with. They also feature padded armrests, suspended seats and backrests. The Broadhead has an open-front while the Bullet features a padded crossbar.
Ol' Man's vision keeps getting better. The new Multi-Vision includes a Vision Bar that converts into a backrest, gun rest or footrest. The Grand Multi-Vision offers a 350-pound capacity for the big and tall hunter. For their Multi-Vision Ti and Air Elite Ti, they've shifted to titanium and carbon. These models are as strong as steel and won't rust, but with half the weight. The Multi-Vision Ti is titanium, while the Air Elite uses a carbon platform.
Meanwhile, down at Rivers Edge you'll find the new Tiger Claw strap climber. The platform attaches with stable "Tiger Claw" engagement blades and a patent-pending sure-grip strap for incredible adhesion. The climber, with padded seat, backrest, armrests and crossbar attaches with a rugged ratchet strap.
Hunter's View has a new lightweight steel climber called the Prairie Falcon that features a suspended nylon strap seat and adjustable cable attachment system. Two new aluminum climbers from Loggy Bayou are the Swamp Climber and Swamp Climber Lite. Both have a suspended cloth seat with padded backrest. The Swamp Climber has a crossbar while the Lite does not. Meanwhile, Amacker Outdoors is reintroducing the Adjuster Magnum. It features a self-adjusting leveler system, a comfortable padded sling seat and a front bar that adjusts out for more legroom.
Innovative Treetand's Recluse alu
minum climber folds down flat into a portable 21-pound package. It features an adjustable bark biter strap, which eliminates noise and weight and has a comfortable padded seat and backrest. It also features a unique, octagonal platform for more room on the sides.
Ameristep's new Grizzly's Climber Tree Stand features heavy-duty, fully welded steel construction with nylon washers at all fastening points; a removable, padded ComfortMax seat and backrest; and padded arm rests and crossbar.
The Legend Baby Brute Lite by Timbertall weighs a mere 12 pounds and takes only seconds to set up and take down. It features all welded aluminum construction, a sling seat and padded backrest for all day hunting comfort, and a self-leveling system, designed to level the stand and climber while in use.
As with their hang-ons, API has made improvements to all of their Grand Slam climbing stands to create the Grand Slam Extreme series. These feature stronger, lighter alloys that allow higher capacity weight limits, a new Sure-Grip foot platform design, more durable power gripping chain covers and Quick Attach seating. Specifically designed for the archer, the open-front Extreme Bowhunter has a higher capacity and more padding than its predecessor does. The Extreme features a padded seat back rest and crossbar, while the Star Extreme features a convertible rail that can be positioned up as shooting rail, or down as a foot rest. Finally, the Magnum Extreme offers a strong, spacious and comfortable option for larger hunters.
The Legend is a lightweight, aluminum conversion of the old Grand Slam that features a new cable-climbing system and roomier seat. The Legacy features the same roomier seating and cable system of the Legend with an anti-corrosion-coated steel climber and mesh platform.
Last but not least, Lone Wolf has improved their popular Alpha Combo Hand Climber by adding a thicker foam seat for added comfort and straps that allow you to lock the seat to the one-piece cast aluminum platform for added stability. It also folds down to a three-inch profile for portability and features a cam-action traction belt for rugged attachment.
It used to be if you wanted a tree stand you grabbed an armload of 2 x 4s and some ten-penny nails and built one. Most landowners wouldn't stand for that nowadays, and it's prohibited on most, if not all, public lands. However, the TreeSlinger offers a neat alternative for the budget-conscious handyman. It's a platform bracket system that allows you to hang your own wooden platform on injection-molded plastic brackets that are large enough to accommodate a 2" x 6" board. The system is easily adaptable for use with a two-, three- or four-tree platform. Nylon ratchet straps allow for a strong, secure attachment that won't damage trees. For this year TreeSlinger has also added smaller 2 x 4 brackets so you can add a safety rail if desired.
If you really want to go lightweight and portable, Trophyline's Tree Saddle is now available in a camouflage version. Rather than a metallic stand you carry into the woods, the Tree Saddle is an integrated seat and safety harness you wear in and out. It features a comfortable neoprene seat and neoprene pouches for gear storage. The integrated harness and climbing belt are constructed of military-spec nylon webbing rated to 9,600 pounds, and it weighs less than five pounds.
TREE STANDS: WHO MAKES THEM
Advanced Outdoor Designs (Vulture)
Amacker Outdoors, L.L.C.
Div. of Outland Sports, Inc.
Big Game Hunting Accessories
Braun-Woodke Products, L.L.C
Buckfinder Hunting Products
(out of business)
Consolidated Treestands/Loggy Bayou
Gorilla Tree Stands
Hunter's View Ltd.
Innovative Treestand System, Inc.
Lone Wolf, Inc.
Non-Typical Outdoors, LLC
North Starr Treestands
Ol' Man Tree Stands
Professional Hunting Products
Summit Specialties, Inc.
Wildlife Innovations, Inc.