Last Minute Gifts: Leatherman Multitool Must-Haves
December 8, 2023 •iSportsman Staff
Tree stands provide hunters excellent visibility while keeping them out of their prey’s sight and minimizing scent detection. No matter which way you slice it, if you’re going to be hunting in the forest, then you should at least consider trying one out. However, it’s important to know what to look for in a tree stand before you go out and buy one willy-nilly. We’ve compiled some basic tips to be aware of when shopping for tree stands as well as a few recommendations to help get you started on your search.
The first thing to think about when researching tree stands is where you’ll be hunting. The type of terrain you find yourself in will determine what kind of tree stands you’re able to use, as certain tree stands are better on specific types of trees. Additionally, how far you’ll be hunting in the wilderness will matter greatly in determining the weight of the tree stand — after all, you don’t want to haul around a large stand all over the backcountry.
The next thing to consider is what type of tree stand you want. Traditional tree stands include climbing stands, which are used to climb the tree while setting up the seat, ladder stands, which provide a ladder leading up to the seat, and hang-on stands, which is set up in a fixed position on the tree for hunters to climb up to on their own. Each has their pros and cons, but generally they go like this: climbing stands tend to be very mobile and easy to set up, but tend to be more expensive and in the middle weight range; ladder stands can be placed practically anywhere and tend to be very comfortable, but are very bulky and difficult to initially set up; and hang-on stands are usually the lightest and cheapest, but somewhat difficult to set up and not highly mobile once on the tree.
Among the numerous trees stand options available, the Hawk Helium Pro, Summit Dual Axis, and Summit Viper SD stand out. Each stand brings unique features to the table, catering to different hunting preferences and styles.
The Hawk Helium Pro is a lightweight hang-on tree stand that caters to hunters who value convenience. Weighing in at just 12 pounds, this stand is designed for hunters who like to move around. Don’t think its featherweight construction compromises on durability though, as it’s made from high-grade aluminum. Combined with the heavy-duty platform cables this makes the Hawk Helium Pro highly durable. It’s also very spacious and comfortable, with an adjustable platform providing ample room for hunting.
One of the standout features of the Helium Pro is its silent attach system, ensuring that setup is virtually noiseless. That means you won’t alert the whole forest to your presence just because you want to set up your tree stand. It’s great for bowhunters or those who prefer a stripped-down setup.
For hunters who prioritize versatility, the Summit Dual Axis is a top contender. This tree stand offers the ability to adjust the seat and platform independently, allowing it to fit many different tree angles and shapes. This is particularly advantageous in densely wooded terrain, where it’s normally difficult to find a good spot for a stand.
The Dual Axis also minimizes sound, enhancing stealth and making it ideal for all hunters. The stand’s larger platform offers ample space to move around, and the contoured mesh seat is comfortable for extended periods of time. While it weighs 16 pounds (4 pounds more than the Hawk Helium Pro) it is also sturdier and provides greater comfort. This stand is great if you’re okay with a little extra weight in exchange for some improved features.
The Summit Viper SD is a great choice for climbing tree stands due to its reliability and comfort. While it’s the heaviest of our three recommendations at 20 pounds, the stand’s solid construction and high-quality materials make it a durable option that can withstand the rigors of hunting season after season. On top of that, it is also incredibly comfortable thanks to the stand’s suspended foam-padded seat and cushioned backrest and armrests.
The Viper SD’s standout feature is its adjustable, full-perimeter frame, which provides ample space to maneuver and shoot from different angles. Plus, being a climbing tree stand, it is more flexible than hang-on stands and allows for you to set up and climb in one fell swoop. Overall, its construction strikes a good balance between weight and durability, making it suitable for both rifle and bowhunters.
The final choice depends on terrain, hunting style, and personal preference. Whether you prioritize lightweight mobility, adaptability, or proven reliability, one of these tree stands is sure to enhance your hunting experience and increase your chances of a successful hunt.