Hunting Safety: 5 Best Treestand Safety Harnesses Reviewed
It’s not something that most hunters think of all that often, but having the best treestand safety harness available to you is of vital importance to hunters who prefer stands for their excursions.
While there can be a lot of bravado and machoness about the sport, a sudden fall from a tree isn’t going to do you any favors. At best you’ll be limping home, at worst you’ll have managed to get yourself killed and then you won’t be able to enjoy hunting anymore at all.
Best Treestand Safety Harness
**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.
A Quick Word on Safety
We’re going to assume you’re responsible with your weapons and the rest of your hunting gear. Most would agree that aiming a bow or rifle around at random is a terrible idea, or that going into rough terrain alone isn’t generally the smartest thing to do.
Drop the bravado for a moment, get a good safety harness, and use it to the best of your ability. You’ll be glad you did if you make a slip.
Be safe, and happy hunting!
Deciding on a Harness
A harness is not the time to go cheap. While a cheap backpack or pair of boots can be a major inconvenience, cheap safety equipment can get you killed or seriously injured if you take a tumble.
Admittedly, some hunters choose to ignore the need for a harness and many have done so for years without incident, but that still doesn’t mean it’s a great idea. A lot of stuff can happen while you’re out in the woods, and safety is a critical issue for any hunter.
Before we show you some of the best ones around, let’s take a look at what truly makes a harness good.
Durability and Fit
While you’ll hopefully never need to use it to it’s fullest extent, falls can be quite sudden and it will put a lot more force on the harness than you’d expect. Several times your weight, in fact.
For this reason, it’s important to make sure that the harness you select both fits properly and is made of high-quality, tough materials in order to withstand the shock that might come with a sudden fall.
The fit is also important for this reason, it’s pretty much required that the harness fits right. Too loose and you might slip right out, after all, and too tight and you’ll be risking cuts and abrasions in the event that you slip off your stand. Better than hitting the ground, but it’ll still be unfortunate.
You’ll also want to think about the fact that you’re quite likely to be wearing this harness for an extended period during the day so it needs to be comfortable. No one likes to hunt while chafing, so make sure you get your measurements done properly.
In actuality, even if you plan to save money by ordering online, your best bet is to go into a store and try a couple on and compare them to your measurements in order to ensure a good fit. Wear your hunting clothes when you do so since your street clothes will likely fit differently.
Also, you’ll want to make sure that your weight is safely within range for the harness, almost all of them will be available in different sizes for differing weights and it’s really the main number you should be paying attention to.
Many hunters aren’t exactly experts on stitching, while there are exceptions, let’s face it: most of us aren’t tailors. When you’re buying something to keep you safe, however, you’ll need to pick up a couple of tricks to make sure that what you’re buying isn’t junk.
This means taking a look at the stitching on a harness. Make sure there’s no fraying and that its solid work. Tug on it a bit, remember that it’s meant to arrest your fall so if you can’t pull on it a bit without doing damage then it’s no good for you at all.
We’re only going to recommend full body harnesses here since they’re really the only ones which can absolutely ensure your safety. Other types are sometimes available but aren’t really worth a second glance.
Do not use a single strap or chest only harness. Not only do they have a higher instance of failure than a modern full body harness, they offer little in the way of improved comfort anyways and a fall is bound to hurt a lot more than while wearing a full body due to the way your weight will be distributed at the bottom of the fall.
Fortunately, many new harnesses come with some extra utility to make up for the little bit of extra bulk you’ll be carrying. These generally come in the form of pockets along your waist which can be great for keeping extra rounds at the ready.
As long as everything is in order as far as quality control, you’re good to go for the most part and free to pick based on the utility and fit of the harness itself rather than being forced to dig around for quality.
That’s where we’ll come in, showing you high-quality harnesses with some differing levels and types of utility usage to let you pick the one that most suits your hunting style.
While comfort might not seem like the most important thing when you’re considering safety, it actually is. If you’re not comfortable in your safety harness then you’re not going to wear it, and if you’re not wearing it then it can’t do its job.
Ease of Use
You also need to make sure that the safety harness you select is easy to use. If it’s too complicated then you might not bother with it, or worse, you could put it on wrong and it won’t do its job properly.
Of course, the price is always going to be a concern. You don’t want to spend too much on something like this and there are plenty of cheap options out there that will get the job done just fine for most hunters.
That being said, we would caution against going for the very cheapest model you can find. A fall is no laughing matter and if it comes down to it you’ll want to know that your harness won’t fail you.
A good rule of thumb is to find something that’s in the middle of the pack price-wise. It doesn’t need to be the most expensive one, but going for the cheapest option isn’t likely to end well.
Reviewing The Five Best Tree Stand Harness On The Market
Hunter Safety System makes some of the best harnesses available, their company’s emphasis is on keeping hunters safe after all. Even better, they’re quite affordable without being suspiciously cheap.
- Extremely Light- The harness comes in at only two and a half pounds, ensuring it won’t weigh you down and will allow you to move as quickly as you need to in order to make the killing shot on your prey.
- Quiet- You can wear this harness while moving through the woods without any fear of making any additional noise due to its light and almost minimalist design.
- Multiple Sizes- As long as you pick the correct size anyone up to three hundred pounds will be able to enjoy the safety of this one.
- Simple- No weave through designs or anything with this harness. The system itself is super simple and easy to use without getting tangled up or having to second-guess yourself.
- Over and Under- You can wear this harness over lightweight clothes, or under your heavier winter gear depending on the season and climate of your favorite stomping grounds.
- No Extras- It’s just a harness, no additional pockets or utility will be added to your outfit with this setup.
- Covers Pockets- If you’re used to using your hip pockets while hunting you might be a bit disconcerted when you find out they’ll be difficult to access while wearing the harness.
This full-harness is great for those who are bow hunting, especially those who don’t carry a lot of gear and just need something simple to keep them safe while they’re climbing and in the stand.
If you’re looking for something that’s still lightweight but has a little bit of added utility, unlike an ultralight harness, then the Treestalker might be just what you’re looking for.
- Vest with Pockets- You can easily fit some of your gear into the front pockets of the vest for easy access while you’re on the hunt.
- Won’t Get Tangled- The harness is sewn to the vest in such a way as to prevent it from getting tangled while it’s in your pack.
- Rubber Coated Buckles- The buckles for this harness are coated in rubber to help keep them quiet while you get ready before the ascent.
- Easy to Put On- Due to the way it’s sewn together, you won’t have much trouble fitting yourself into this harness in the early hours of the morning when you head out.
- Comfortable- The system is comfortable enough that you won’t mind wearing it for the duration of your hunt.
- Runs Small- Some users have complained that the size they bought seemed too small for them.
- Non-Zip Pockets- Unfortunately, the pockets are completely open which can be a pretty big disadvantage if you’re looking for something to keep your stuff secure.
The Treestalker makes a good lightweight system, and it serves its intended purpose, keeping you safe, quite well. Unfortunately, the pockets aren’t great and some might consider it a little bit bulky for the minimal added utility.
#3- Safety Vest, Gorilla Gear G-TAC Ghost Mossy Oak Break Up Infinity Camo Colored Hunter Safety Vest designed to hold 140 lb to 300 lb Hunters
For the rifle or shotgun hunter, the G-TAC vest from Gorilla Gear has a lot to offer for the relatively low price, especially if you’re generally hunting in warmer climates.
- Lightweight and Breathable- The vest attached to the harness is made of lightweight and breathable mesh which will keep the harness from warming you up too much.
- Shoulder Pads- The heavy shoulder pads will help to keep the recoil of your rifle off of your shoulder, as well as ensuring the straps underneath last longer.
- Big Pockets- The pockets might not zip up, but they’re definitely big enough to let you hold on to some extra gear while you’re in your stand.
- Easy to Put On- The design of this harness means that you’ll be able to easily put it on and won’t have to spend a lot of time worrying about it getting tangled.C
- Comfortable- While you might not want to be running the track with it, you’ll find that it’s quite easy to wear while you’re on the stand.
- Mesh Design- While breathable, the mesh has a tendency to snag on protrusions in bark and can rip pretty easily. This won’t affect the safety of the harness, but it can be irritating.
- Thigh Sections- The thigh straps are a bit elastic, and they seem to stretch out a bit over time. Just make sure you’ve got things nice and tight, but it can be a bit exasperating.
The G-TAC harness makes a fantastic accompaniment for the rifleman in warmer climates, but it might be a bit lacking for those who hunt in cold climates and archers may be best accompanied by a different setup.
Less of a harness and more of a complete overwear system for the hunt, the Elite Vest is a fantastic option for those willing to spend the money to acquire it.
- Tons of Pockets-There’s hand warmer pockets, deep well pockets, and a couple of accessory pockets contained within this vest to allow for an impressive array of storage. There’s also two zippered pockets for gear you can’t afford to lose.
- Insulated Vest- While it might not be ideal for warmer climates, the insulated vest can fit over your normal hunting clothing and keep you warm on those freezing mornings.
- Quiet- The materials in this harness aren’t rough, so you definitely won’t be able to blame it for spooking off deer during your climb. That’s all on you.
- Weather Resistant- While not completely waterproof, the material will add an extra layer of protection if you’re out in inclement weather.
- Fast to Put On- The harness itself is fast and easy to put on, as well as being comfortable enough you might not even decide you have to pack it out and can just wear it instead.
- Expensive- With all of the extras and the high quality, this harness does come at a pretty hefty cost compared to some of the others available.
- Might Be Too Warm- While it’s good for most areas, if you’re hunting in an area where things stay particularly warm this vest/harness combo probably isn’t the best option for you
The Hunter Safety System Elite Vest is one of the best products of it’s kind on the market. It’s almost a shame that they sell it as “just” a harness when you consider the added utility and high quality of the vest.
The UltraLite Flex Harness is pretty much exactly what it says. It’s a lightweight, highly flexible harness that’s perfect for all weather and comes in as an amazingly mobile harness at the cost of any additional utility.
- Super Light- The entire harness system is amazingly light, making it easy to wear for the hike in and out if you so choose, and you won’t really notice the additional weight in your pack if you choose not to wear it out.
- Individual Padding System- The hexagonal stitching on the straps isn’t just for show, each of the hexagons is individually padded to make for the ultimate in comfort.
- Amazingly Comfortable- Most hunters who’ve used this system will agree, it’s the most comfortable harness you’re likely to find anywhere.
- Shock Absorbing Tether- The jolt when you fall from a tree and get caught by the harness can be the worst part of the experience, the shock absorbing tether will help to lessen the initial impact.
- Deer Drag- You can easily attach your prey to this harness and drag out your prey if you finally land one too big to carry.
- No Added Utility- This is just a harness, maybe the best one possible, but you’re not going to get any extra pockets while wearing it.
- High Cost- For what you might save in medical bills it’s not too high, but as far as plain harnesses go this is definitely on the expensive side.
As far as harnesses go, the UltraLite Flex Harness is probably one of, if not the absolute best you’ll find but it lacks some of the pockets and other features many modern harnesses have
How To Wear A Hunting Safety Harness Properly
Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to learn how to properly wear and use your new hunting safety harness. While it might seem like a lot of work at first, once you get the hang of it it will be second nature.
The first thing you need to do is find the right size. As we mentioned before, it’s important to try on a few different models in order to find one that fits well since they can vary quite a bit from brand to brand.
Next, you need to put on the waist belt. Most models will have some kind of release mechanism, typically a buckle, in the front which you’ll need to open up. Once that’s done, thread the belt through the loops on your pants and then pull it tight until it’s snug against your waist.
From there, you’ll need to put on the shoulder straps. These will thread through the back of the harness and then clip into place in the front. Make sure they’re not too loose or too tight, you should be able to fit a couple of fingers between the strap and your body but no more than that.
Once everything is in place, give it a good tug to make sure that everything is secure. You don’t want any part of the harness moving around while you’re wearing it since that could lead to an accident.
And that’s it! You’re now properly wearing your hunting safety harness. Just remember to take it off when you’re done using it and store it in a safe place so that it will be ready for next time.
The Importance Of Using A Safety Harness While Hunting
Now that you know how to properly wear and use a hunting safety harness, let’s take a moment to talk about why they’re so important in the first place.
As we mentioned before, falls are one of the leading causes of injury and death among hunters. In fact, statistics show that around 20% of all hunting accidents are due to falls from tree stands.
And while it might not seem like it, falling from even a relatively short height can do a lot of damage. In fact, falling from just 10 feet up can result in serious injuries such as broken bones or even internal bleeding.
But by wearing a hunting safety harness, you can significantly reduce the risk of injuries if you should happen to fall. In fact, studies have shown that wearing a safety harness can reduce the risk of injuries from falls by as much as 85%.
So if you’re serious about staying safe while hunting, then we recommend investing in a good quality hunting safety harness. It could very well end up saving your life.
Safety Tips for Hunters
In addition to wearing a safety harness, there are a few other things you can do to stay safe while hunting. Here are just a few safety tips to keep in mind:
- Always let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to be back. This is especially important if you’re going to be hunting alone.
- Be sure to wear bright colors so that other hunters can see you. Orange is the best color to wear since it stands out well in most environments.
- Never hunt under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Not only is it illegal in most states, but it significantly increases your risk of having an accident.
- Pay attention to your surroundings and be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you see something that doesn’t look right, be sure to investigate it further.
- Be sure to stay hydrated and take breaks often. Hunting can be taxing on your body, so it’s important to take care of yourself.
- And finally, always follow the basic rules of firearm safety. This includes keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, being aware of your target and what’s beyond it, and keeping your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
By following these safety tips, you can help to ensure that your hunting trips are enjoyable and safe for everyone involved.
For our money, the UltraLite Flex Harness and the Elite Vest are probably two of the best treestand safety harnesses on the market and are both well worth the higher cost. At the end of the day if you choose between those two you’ll just need to figure out whether you think the extra bulk of the Elite Vest is worth it for some extra storage space. You can’t go wrong with either of them, however.
Did you like our recommendations? Have a favorite harness we didn’t include? Let us know in the comments below. If you want to learn about best hunting boots you can click here