Calender Icon Last updated: July 11, 2020
Tree stands are a very common occurrence in the hunting world, and for good reason! With certain types of game it can be very difficult to get a good shot on the ground, not to mention the issues of scent as well as the simple but important topic of suffering. Read on to learn more about tree stands and what they have to offer hunters of all experience levels out in the field.

Here's the Best Tree Stands for Hunting, Backed by 25+ Hours of Research

sticker 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8)
Summit Treestands 81120 Viper SD Climbing Treestand
Summit Treestands 81120 Viper
Why is it better?
  • Perfect combination of comfort and light weight
  • Dead Metal Sound Deadening Technology
  • Critical sections of tubing are foam-filled for sound reduction
17
RESEARCHED SOURCES
1.1K
REVIEWS CONSIDERED
25
HOURS RESEARCHING
14
PRODUCTS EVALUATED

Rank
Picture
Name
Score
Buy
#1
Summit Treestands 81120 Viper SD Climbing Treestand

BEST OVERALL

Summit Treestands 81120 Viper read review
Editor's Pick 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8)
#2
Lone Wolf ALPHA Hang On II Treestand

Lone Wolf ALPHA read review
4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6)
#3
Millennium Treestands M15

Millennium Treestands M15 read review
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5)
#4
Summit Treestands Steel Ladder Stand

Summit Treestands Steel Ladder read review
4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3)
#5
Guide Gear Deluxe Hunting Hang-On Tree Stand

Guide Gear Deluxe read review
4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2)
In Depth Reviews
  • Summit Treestands 81120 Viper SD Climbing Treestand Summit Treestands 81120 Viper
  • Lone Wolf ALPHA Hang On II Treestand Lone Wolf ALPHA
  • Millennium Treestands M150 Monster
  • Summit Treestands Steel Ladder Stand Summit Treestands Steel Ladder
  • Guide Gear Deluxe Hunting Hang-On Tree Stand Guide Gear Deluxe Hunting
Table of contents
  • Buying Advice
  • In Conclusion

Best Overall: Summit Treestands 81120 Viper SD Climbing Treestand

Pros:
  • Perfect combination of comfort and light weight
  • Dead Metal Sound Deadening Technology
  • Critical sections of tubing are foam-filled for sound reduction
  • Adjustable seat height
  • Ideal for bows or guns
Cons:
  • Terrible assembly manual

When Summit Treestands designed the 81120 Viper SD Climbing Treestand, they had one thing in mind: camouflage.

The seat stands out among tree stands, thanks to its mossy oak breakup infinity camo, ideal for hunters operating in temperate forests.

The design is striking, with camouflage on both the seat body as well as the handrails and parts of the frame. The stand blends into surrounding woodland, providing the perfect accessory for stealthy operations.

Summit Treestands has also invested considerable effort into reducing the intrinsic noise levels generated by their tree stands.

Its DeadMetal Sound Deadening Technology reduces the noise made by aluminum tubing as the user moves around. The technology relies on a special kind of expanding foam pumped into the cavities inside, helping to maintain stealthiness and not alert prey.

While treestands are a great idea in principle, allowing you to get high above prey, there are practical safety issues to consider, not least the risk of a hunter falling out of the stand.

Summit Treestands, however, have developed a solution which they claim can prevent falls: the fall arrest harness system.

The way the system works is relatively straightforward – hunters strap themselves into the chair with the help of a harness, preventing accidental slips. The feature is especially useful in wet weather when falls are more likely.

Finally, Summit Treestands wanted the 81120 Viper SD Climbing Treestand to be easy to install.

The proprietary QuickDraw cable retention system allows users to fasten the stand to a tree without the use of nuts, bolts or any other tools. The QuickDraw trigger instantly locks the tree stand into place.

FEATURED SPECS

  • Material: Aluminium
  • Weight: 20 lbs
  • Seat: Foam-padded seat

EXTRA FEATURES

  • RapidClimb stirrups
  • QuickDraw cables
  • Cushioned armrests

Lone Wolf ALPHA Hang On II Treestand

Pros:
  • Comfortable padded seat
  • 14 pounds weight
  • 3D camo platform design
  • Backpack straps
  • Cast aluminum platform
Cons:
  • No accessories hook

The Lone Wolf ALPHA Hang On II Treestand was built around two principles: lightweight and deadly silence.

You can see just by looking at the ALPHA Hang On II that lightweight is a priority.

Hunters sit on a stool, rather than a seat, and the stand is made of patterned metal, cut in a way to minimize the weight penalty.

The total weight of the product is an impressively low 14 pounds, making it an ideal choice for hikers trekking from one location to another.

As for silence, the Lone Wolf ALPHA Hang On II Treestand incorporates a range of technology to reduce stand noise. For one, the seat uses foam padding. And the platform is made from a single, one-piece cast aluminum, avoiding the intrinsic noise properties of standard aluminum tubing.

When it comes to camouflage, Lone Wolf has been smart. Although there is some regular camo on the seat upholstery, the stealthiness of this tree stand comes mainly from the broken, organic effect of the platform metal.

It’s been cleverly molded to look right at home in the forest setting, something that other tree stands in this review do not do.

As for versatility, the ALPHA Hang On II Treestand will fit on trees with diameters ranging from four to twenty-two inches in diameter. What’s more, special adjustability of the straps and offset brackets allow the user to fix this tree stand to not-so-perfect trees to get the perfect vantage point.

Overall, it’s clear that Lone Wolf has an understanding of their target market.

This tree stand is designed for people who want to go on long hunting trips in the wilderness. It offers both extreme quietness and uncompromising lightweight.

FEATURED SPECS

  • Material: Aluminium
  • Weight: 14 lbs
  • Seat: Contoured foam pad

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Self-leveling system
  • Fits tree from 4″ – 22″ diameter
  • E-Z hang hook for no-hassle mounting

Millennium Treestands M150 Monster Hang-On

Pros:
  • Adjustable seat height
  • Tree-angle adjustment
  • Strong and stabile
  • Roomy platform– 37″ x 24″
  • Durable powder coat finish
Cons:
  • Lousy quality

Millennium Treestands M150 Monster Hang-On looks a lot more simplistic than it is.

No, it doesn’t feature some of the sophisticated camouflage or metalworking of other models, but it does offer plenty of functionality, especially for taller hunters and those who want to use a bow.

The seat on Millennium’s treestand, unlike some, is not fixed. You can adjust the height from 16 to 20 inches, depending on your height and comfort requirements.

What’s more, the seat features a full back rest, making it better than stool options for long days in the forest.

There’s also plenty of accommodation for bow hunters. The extra-wide platform at the base helps improve stance with both recurve and compound bows, improving shot accuracy and rate.

Like the other manufacturers in this review, Millennium Treestands has taken pains to ensure that their product can be installed on a range of trees, both regular and irregular. The treestand features a system of adjustments which allow for “level sit” even when the tree is 15 degrees from vertical.

With that said, the size of the seat may be an issue for some hunters.

The seat sits some distance from the tree behind, meaning that it can be difficult to use the tree to assist when standing up.

At a relatively premium price point, you’d expect a high-quality tree stand. And the M150 Monster Hang-on tree stand delivers with an impressive weight capacity of 300lbs and high-quality construction.

FEATURED SPECS

  • Material: Aluminium
  • Weight: 33.4 lbs
  • Seat: Nylon Seat

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Product meets or exceeds industry standards recognized by TMA
  • Full body harness (meets or exceeds industry standards recognized by TMA)
  • Exclusive, patented comfortMAX contoured

Summit Treestands Steel Ladder Stand

Pros:
  • Solid stand
  • Easy to assemble
  • Roomy
  • Mounting hardware is included
  • Weight capacity is good
Cons:
  • The seat cushion could be improved

The Summit Treestands Steel Ladder Stand is strikingly different in design to 81120 Viper SD.

The company has gone back to basics with this particular product, offering what looks like something you’d find in the Cold War era.

Of course, as a ladder tree stand, the Steel Ladder works differently to tree stands. Rather than strapping the stand to a tree, you carry it to the tree and prop it up next to it: no straps, no screws, and no fiddling around with installation.

The Steel Ladder has a simple design.

The metal tubing comprising the stand is treated with a special coating that provides both weather protection and camouflage. And the wide seat and thick cushion provide additional comfort for long days in the forest.

Just like the 81120 Viper SD, the Steel Ladder features Summit Treestand’s fall arrest harness system, helpful if you’re sitting high up in the canopy.

Thanks to its steel construction, however, this isn’t a stand you’ll be able to lug long distances. Weighing in at more than 83.6 pounds, you may need a companion to help carry it to your chosen location.

The good news is that Summit Treestands have made good use of all that weight, putting in much-needed features, such as the 18-inch gun rest mounted just in front of the seat. The gun rest is detachable, making the ladder stand suitable for bow users as well.

FEATURED SPECS

  • Material: Steel
  • Weight: 83.6 lbs
  • Seat: Bench seat cushion design

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Very secure
  • Comes with a lot accessories
  • Silent snap pin and silencers in gear

Guide Gear Deluxe Hunting Hang-On Tree Stand

Pros:
  • The stand has a large padded seat
  • There’s a spacious and stable foot platform
  • Durable steel construction
  • Durable padded
  • Big platform
Cons:
  • Overweight

The Guide Gear Deluxe Hunting Hang-On Tree Stand is a no-nonsense treestand with a range of features the company believes makes it the best tree stand for hunting.

Designed to fit high up in the trees, the Guide Gear Deluxe Hunting Hang-On Tree Stand offer hunters a number of stealth and safety advantages over hunting on the ground.

First, when hunters are high up in trees, their shots are directed downwards toward the forest floor, preventing them from flying off horizontally where they could potentially injure people and damage property.

Second, the company says that most prey animals are highly attuned to detecting threats in the horizontal but not vertical direction. Being high up, therefore, provides an inherent advantage, allowing hunters to get closer to prey before firing a shot.

Guide Gear’s Deluxe Hunting Hang-on tree stand is heavier than most of the other portable tree stands in this review, weighing in at a hefty 33 pounds.

As such, the stand is carryable, but only just. The good news is that the weight adds to the platform’s strength and durability, allowing for hunters up to 300lbs, including kit.

The steel construction is suitable for years of use (and abuse), making it a good choice for hunters who want to be in the forest long-term.

When Guide Gear was developing the Hunting Hang-On tree stand, it’s clear that they wanted versatility to be a part of the offering.

One of the problems that hunters sometimes have is the seat getting in the way. Manufacturers either have the option of making the platform larger (which increases the weight) or being innovative with the seat design.

The Guide Gear Deluxe Hunting Hang-On Tree Stand decided on the latter and developed a fold-up seat, making it ideal for those wanting to get out of the chair for a better shot angle.

The fold-up seat negates the need for a more substantial stand – something that would have been impractical on an already heavy model.

What about comfort? Guide Gear have done well here too. The suspension-style seat is heavily padded, making it comfortable to sit in all day long.

The extended platform provides additional space for stretching your legs, and the padded armrests help to keep the forearms and elbows comfortable when aiming.

The Guide Gear Deluxe is arguably the best tree stand for people who want versatility but don’t care too much about weight. The stand is camouflaged and provides ample support, even for larger hunters. The stand is also durable, making it an ideal choice for those wanting to commit to hunting for years to come.

Which tree stand will you choose?

FEATURED SPECS

  • Material: Steel
  • Weight: 33 lbs
  • Seat: Suspension-style padded seat

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Comfortable armrest
  • The stand is quiet when you move
  • Affordably priced

Buying Advice

Big TreestandA tree stand is a flat platform that is attached to a tree, sometimes including a seat, where hunters can setup while hunting to spot prey from above.

Sitting up here can last for hours as they wait for the in-season prey to appear, but then hopefully have the clear shot needed.

Tree stands are often built on private property, and in some places they are also referred to by the name of the most common hunting season they’re used for.

For example, in many parts of the Midwest these won’t be referred to as tree stands but will be called deer stands. However, they are the same thing.

FEATURES OF A GOOD TREE STAND

When it comes to figuring out what is a tree stand, you’ll find that these platforms are pretty easy to figure out, but to build one from scratch you will want someone with some degree of handyman experience.

These platforms are not only attached to trees, but they can be completely open, partially open, or in some rare cases even closed in when protection from the weather is more paramount than a clear line of sight.

The best overall setup will depend on the tree, your budget, your location, and the average weather during the hunting season.

There is a lot to bear in mind when building or using one of these, but there’s no doubt it is a major part of the hunting process.

Here is a video demonstrating a Tree Stand:

In Conclusion

The question “What is a tree stand?” might be common if you’re new to hunting, but it won’t take long for you to get with the program.

These are extremely common for deer and other big game and the more you use them, the more you will become comfortable with the setup and understand why it is such a good setup for hunting.

While most common with deer sometimes they are used for other larger game.

Do a little bit of research, take some advice from experienced hunters, and even experience some time in their tree stands during season and you’ll quickly understand why these are such an important part of the recreational sport of hunting.