Get In Your Stand: Picking the Best Climbing Sticks

By Kevin Steffey | Hunting Gear

Best Climbing Sticks

If there’s one thing that most stand hunters can agree on, it’s the fact that climbing sticks are an awesome way to access your stand. Of course, as with any piece of gear there’s plenty of brand loyalists wager for your ear. Instead of relying on hearsay, let’s take a look at what makes a climbing stick stand out, and then we’ll show you five of the best climbing sticks on the market.

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

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What to Look For in a Climbing Stick

These seemingly simple pieces of gear come in a wide array of different prices and shapes, which can make it hard to settle on just one design. The truth is, there are plenty of inferior products on the market. For starters, you’ll want to look at the following:

How Are You Going to Use Your Tree Stand?

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Via: Amazon.com

Depending on where you’re hunting, you’ll have to plot out if you’re going to be hiking things out each time. Most people who hunt on public land, for instance, are going to be hiking their stand and sticks out each time they hit the trail.

Those on private land might end up leaving their stands up year round if the property owner is amenable to it. In that case, you may want to use some climbing sticks which are heavy duty and can withstand the weather in the area year round, to minimize your costs you may end up going with something which is more of a pain to bring out the first time since you’ll only have to do it once.

Envisioning your usage before trying to find the right ones for your setup is a good idea and can help you decide on the rest of the properties you may want to go with. For the most part, however, they definitely make a good alternative for those who don’t want to haul a ladder.

Weight Capacity

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The weight capacity is one of the principle concerns that you should be looking out for. Keep in mind that you’ll also be carrying your gear up, and depending on your style that can range from just a bow and a few arrows to a heavy pack.

Always leave some extra weight capacity on the end. While manufacturers are generally honest, at least with reputable brands, you don’t want to be pushing the limit on your climbing sticks at any point.

Material

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Via: Amazon.com

The material is another key consideration when you’re picking out your climbing sticks. They come in a wide variety of materials, and how you’re using your stand is definitely going to affect which material you decide is the ideal one for your set.

In general, you’re going to want to go with metal. Remember that more hunters are injured or killed each year getting to their stands than by anything else. A good set of climbing sticks needs to be sturdy for this reason.

Aluminum is ideal if you’re having to hike them out to use with a hang-on stand each time you go out, while steel is preferable due to its superior durability for long term set-ups.

You’ll also want to look at the finish on them, corrosion can weaken metal over time and you may want to lay down a coat of primer to keep them weatherproof. You can also camouflagethings a bit better if you wish when you go that route.

Number of Steps per Section

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Via: Amazon.com

Always go for an equal number of steps on each section of your sticks. It might not seem to be an important consideration, but if you’re attaching them to a tree with an irregular trunk you’re might end up in trouble without an even number of steps when you have to place the next step.

This will keep you climbing in a left/right configuration the entire time, and allows for a much easier climb.

Attachment Setup

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Via: Amazon.com

There’s a couple different types of attachment setups with which you can work on attaching your ladder to a tree. Most of the better ones will have a strap setup, which are usually intuitive to use.

There are two basic kinds of straps you’ll run into. Pull straps will allow you to pull them tight around the trunk. This setup is inherently a little bit less stable than a ratchet strap, but also goes up more quietly which might be something to look for when you’re working on a portable build.

Ratchets will make more noise but are generally much more secure. Opt for them in any case when you’re planning on making a semi-permanent attachment to a tree.

Either way, you need to be safe which means you’ll want to wear a harness while you’re going up in order to prevent injury.

How the sticks fit together is also crucial, especially if your stand is particularly high. Some sets can be built upon almost indefinitely, meaning you can gain more height by stacking more sticks. You’ll probably want to make sure that you can do this if you’re planning on being higher than most hunters.

Height

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Most climbing sticks will come in at 14’ or 20’. You’ll almost always want to opt for at least 20’ if you’re hunting with a bow, although those who use stands for rifle hunting may be able to get away with being a little bit lower due to the increased range of their weapons.

This is an important factor to keep in mind when you’re deciding which set-up will work best for your needs.

The Best Climbing Sticks Reviews On The Market

We’ve run through the gamut of the amazing amount of climbing sticks available. Take a look, one of them is sure to meet the needs of almost any hunter and we’ll break down the good and the bad for you.

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Summit Treestands The Vine Climbing Stick

41z8qdN7k9L Get In Your Stand: Picking the Best Climbing Sticks

Via: Amazon.com

This climbing stick set from Summit comes with a truly unique and innovative design. It’s designed to resemble vines, which helps it blend in with the natural flora of the area you’re hunting in.

They also feature some uniquely designed steps which will allow you to climb much more easily and safely than many of the other options on the market. They also feature a dual-post stability due to their design, which can allow some confidence for even the most anxious climber.

Of course, this comes at some cost: they’re a bit heavy and they’ll cost you more than some of the other options on this list. They’re also only rated for 260lbs, which is a bit less than many of the others which are available.

If you’re looking for a permanent, stable setup then the Vine might be exactly what you’re looking for, but most outdoorsmen will find it too cumbersome to set up for temporary hunts.


Pros

  • Unique, camouflaged design
  • Extra stable
  • Holds 260lbs
  • Easily attached
  • Designed with safety in mind

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive

Last update on 2017-05-24 PST - Details

Muddy Pro Sticks (4-Pack), Black

41z8qdN7k9L Get In Your Stand: Picking the Best Climbing Sticks

Via: Amazon.com

Muddy climbing sticks have acquired quite a reputation in the field, and their Pro Sticks are some of the best. They come with a lightweight construction, with each stick weighing around 2.5lbs and they’re made of aluminum which is sure to last.

The steps here are of a unique design, having protrusions on each side of the stick in order to allow you a stable platform to climb with.

The locking system is also quite novel, the rope cam mechanism allows you to quietly attach and remove the sticks since there’s no ratchets or buckles involved. It’s also quite safe due to the way the mechanism is constructed.

While attaching and removing them is relatively quiet, some users have reported that the steps themselves have a bit of creak. You can minimize this by moving slowly while climbing, but it’s definitely a concern for heavier people.

The only other concern with these climbing sticks is that the rope that comes with them is only about 20”, which means you’ll have to modify them if you’re in an area with a lot of large trees.


Pros

  • Super durable construction
  • Rope cam system
  • Lightweight
  • Modular to work on crooked trees
  • Double steps

Cons

  • Not suited for larger trees
  • Steps can creak

Last update on 2017-05-24 PST - Details

Lone Wolf 4 - Pc. Climbing Stick

41z8qdN7k9L Get In Your Stand: Picking the Best Climbing Sticks

Via: Amazon.com

Lone Wolf climbing sticks are a brand that are frequently recommended by those who know what they’re talking about. It’s easy to see why, these are lightweight and sturdy, with an easy attachment to the tree’s trunk.

The steps, while they come in odd numbers, are also reversible which allows them to be versatile while still keeping them lightweight and allowing you to pack them quite easily. They come with a ratcheting strap, which makes them a little bit noisy to set up but they’re surprisingly quiet on the climb.

The weight rating for these climbing sticks is 350lbs, making them suitable for pretty much anyone who’s planning on getting up into the trees. Even better, they’re specifically designed to be used with Lone Wolf’s impressive hang on stands, making getting in and out easy.

They’re some of the best around, but you’ll be paying a premium for the cost.


Pros

  • Can hold up to 350lbs
  • Specially made stands available
  • Reversible steps
  • Lightweight
  • Easy, secure setup

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Odd number of steps can still be disconcerting

Last update on 2017-05-24 PST - Details

Guide Gear 20' Climbing Sticks

41z8qdN7k9L Get In Your Stand: Picking the Best Climbing Sticks

Via: Amazon.com

These Guide Gear climbing sticks are actually pretty impressive, considering the low cost. If you’re in an area where the trees tend to be straight up and down you’re definitely in luck.

There are bound to be some drawbacks with any cheaper product, however, and this shows here. Fortunately you won’t be cut out in quality, instead you’ll have to deal with the fact that these sets are actually pretty heavy. There are five sections which come in at about 23lbs for the whole set.

They also need to be attached end-to-end, which means that moving around troublesome branches can range from difficult to impossible when you’re setting them up.

The basics are all there, however, and they’re definitely one of the best options around for those of us who can utilize them to their full extent.

For a dedicated setup on private land, however, they make an amazing and cheap alternative to the more expensive, if somewhat more versatile, options available.


Pros

  • 20’ in height
  • Durable construction
  • Angled steps for safety
  • 300lb weight capacity
  • Low price

Cons

  • Need to be attached end to end and contact the ground
  • Heavy

Last update on 2017-05-24 PST - Details

Ameristep Aluminum Rapid Rails

41z8qdN7k9L Get In Your Stand: Picking the Best Climbing Sticks

Via: Amazon.com

The Ameristep Rapid Rails climbing sticks have a unique design which makes them particularly useful if it’s hard to find a tree without outreaching limbs in your favorite stomping grounds. They also forgo having to count steps, incorporating a ladder design which makes them intuitive to place.

The main issue that many hunters might find with them is that it can be hard to get a good amount of height with only one set. Fortunately, the design comes in three packs and they’re made of aluminum which will allow you to carry a good amount of them.

They have a pretty impressive weight capacity as well, they’re rated for 300lbs.

They might be a bit of a pain to set up, however, as each section will have to be placed individually. It’s really not too bad if you have a partner, however.

Overall, for someone who can’t find straight trees in their hunting grounds and is planning on having to hike them in and out for each hunt they’re a solid choice. They’re definitely some of the best portable climbing sticks around.


Pros

  • Modular pieces
  • Lightweight and portable
  • 300lb Weight Capacity
  • Good for with irregular trunks
  • Ladder design

Cons

  • May need more than one set
  • Each piece needs to be set individually

Last update on 2017-05-24 PST - Details

Our Recommendation

For our money, there’s two different routes you might end up going with climbing sticks.

If you have an established, permanent location for a stand, then you definitely want to go with the Summit Treestands The Vine Climbing Stick. They’ll hold up for a long time, but they’re not something you want to hike out multiple times in a season. They’ve also got some impressive innovation on the safety front.

If you’re hiking your sticks out each time, then Ameristep Aluminum Rapid Rails are a great setup. The unique ladder design and quick strapping will allow you to place yourself wherever you might need to be and they’re light enough to not be much of a bother while hiking.

Conclusion

If you’re hunting from a tree stand, then knowing your way around these handy little devices is pretty much essential. Making sure you get the best climbing sticks possible isn’t as hard as you might have thought, however, and there’s certainly something out there for everyone.

Have your own favorite brand? Let us know below!

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About the Author

I am Kevin who is a founder of deerhuntingfield.com; Here at Deer Hunting Field, we want to teach and educate. Hunting is a passion which has existed in mankind since almost the beginning, and with the advent of the internet, we can now share information, tips, and more with each other faster than ever before. This is a crucial part of our philosophy.

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