Screw-In tree steps are an easy way to bring along a means of climbing a tree to get into your treestand. They are generally a lighter alternative to climbing sticks, they take up less room in your pack or on your back and they are very quick to install or dismantle.
To top things off, they are generally a cheaper alternative than other methods of safely climbing a tree such as with a ladder or climbing sticks.
One of the big advantages for using tree steps is that they can be customized to the individual user. You can place the steps as far apart as you like so that they provide a comfortable climbing distance for your size.
These types of steps are very convenient in both their size and their application. They can also be quickly removed from the tree should you decide to change your hunting location.
It is important to note that it is not legal in some states to use screw-in steps on trees that are located on public land. You must check the state hunting regulations to confirm they can be used if you don’t hunt on private property. Your alternative is to use strap on tree steps.
We have put together a selection of screw-in tree steps from a variety of manufacturers with an assortment of designs and features. Take a look at each, compare them and read the reviews to get a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Our List of Screw-In Tree Steps
Make / Model
7 oz / step
Description of Screw-In Tree Steps
Now that we have had the opportunity to compare a selection of screw-in tree steps and get an idea about their basic individual characteristics we will take the opportunity to go into more detail.
Below is a more detailed review of each make and model including all of the different features and what makes them unique compared to their competitors. As you will see, there are many different options to choose from within each make/model.
Cranky Tree Steps
These are very solid tree steps made from aluminum. They are easy to carry, set on the tree and crank into place by using the supplied ratchet wrench.
Firstly, the entire kit is supplied with a belt holster which is ideal for hassle-free carrying into position.
The way to set the steps is to stick them into the tree where the sharp point will bite deeply. You then use the ratchet wrench to screw the spike solidly into the tree trunk until it has been completely screwed in. The bottom fork of the step contains another small spike to ensure the step does not move as you step on it or grasp it while climbing.
Once it’s in place the square edge with which each step is designed can be used as either an easy handhold or a wide boot surface. The ridged surface means you will find plenty of purchase that reduces the chances of slipping.
The entire kit weighs under 5 pounds, has a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs and, when the steps are properly positioned, provides a climbing height of around 16 feet.
Find out more about the company and the other products available by visiting the Cranky USA website.
Ameristep Step-Up Tree Step
This tree step is a very simple and straightforward concept that is designed to provide you with a low-cost, easy to implement method of climbing up to your treestand.
The base of the Step-Up tree step consists of a 2-inch self-tapping screw that allows you to attach it deeply onto any weight-bearing tree. It doesn’t require any tools to screw this into place.
The step area is 4 inches in width which is wide enough for any boot-clad foot. The stepping area is rippled to give the foot greater grip.
Each step costs $2.99 so, if you were to require 8 steps to reach your stand, this system would only set you back $23.92.
The maximum weight capacity of each step is 750 lbs.
Find out more about the company and the other products available by visiting the Ameristep website.
Cranford Ezy Climb Deluxe Tree Steps
The Ezy Step climbing systems from Cranford feature a basic L-shaped design that provides the hunter with a simple method of engaging good, secure steps to a tree quickly and silently.
The Deluxe model is constructed from heavy 11 gauge steel that has been hot-forged and is stainless steel riveted. It differs from other steps in the Ezy Step range by the inclusion of a security bubble at the end of the step area to ensure the foot does not slip off.
Each step measures 3.25 inches in height and the step area is 4 inches wide. It is attached to the tree by means of a 2-1/8” self-tapping screw. The steps each weigh 5.7 ounces.
The process of installing each step is very easy and involves simply pushing the entire assembly into the tree before screwing it into place until it is tightly held.
The steps can be bought as single steps, in packs of 50 or in packs of 100.
Find out more about the company and the other products available by visiting the Cranford website.
North Mountain Gear Monster XL Tree Steps
The tree steps produced by North Mountain follow the same simple design found in the Ameristep steps. They are available as packs of 5 steps and will provide you with a simple to deploy climbing system.
The steps are made from a single piece steel construction to ensure they are robust and will hold you solidly as you climb the tree.
The thread is extremely sharp and measures 3 inches in length so that it will bite deeply into the trunk of the tree. The tread has been given a knurled finish so that boots will not slip. The tread measures 5 inches wide which is ample room for any boot.
Installing the steps is a simple matter of pushing the sharpened thread into the tree and then screwing it into place until the entire thread is embedded. Removing them is just a matter of reversing the process.
The steps are rated to carry a weight of up to 300 lbs.
Find out more about the company and the other products available by visiting the North Mountain Gear website.
Bearclaw Tree Steps
These tree steps are made from 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum and are extremely solid and reliable.
Each step is foldable to save space when you’re carrying them. They are quickly unfolded for use and lock into their right-angled position.
To install them in the tree you simply screw in the anchoring bolts at the points where you want each step positioned. The Bear Claw is then slipped over the bolt head and into place with the smaller collar ensuring it is going nowhere.
The back of each step has a cleat that bites into the bark of the tree to prevent side to side movement.
Each step weighs 3.8 ounces and the bolts weigh a shade under 1 ounce each. The lag bolts are 12mm bolts which are also compatible with the old API steps.
The steps and lag bolts are sold separately with the steps costing $15.00 per step and each lag bolt setting you back $2.50. At $17.50 per step, they are the most expensive but in terms of strength and quality of design and construction they are the best.
Find out more about the steps including how to go about purchasing them by visiting the Bearclaw Tree Steps website.
Odin Tree Steps
The Odin Tree Steps are safe and secure and simple to install. They are built from quality materials to ensure they are sturdy when they are in place so you can rely on them to get you up to your treestand.
Installing the steps is a two-step process. The first step involves screwing in the mounting bracket which can be done with either a battery drill, a ratchet or a hand driver. Once the bracket is in place you simply click the step in place where it is hooked securely and cannot slip out.
When you want to remove the steps they can be released by unclicking them as you make your way back down the tree.
The steps themselves are made from a hardened polymer plastic. The treads are wide and ridged to ensure secure footing without slipping. And they are lightweight so it won’t add a lot of weight to your pack as you make your way to your treestand.
Each step is rated to carry a weight of 300 pounds.
Unfortunately, although they look like a great product, it appears to be quite difficult to get ahold of them. You can visit the Odin website, however the page to purchase them was not working at the time of writing this.
Do Screw In Steps Hurt Trees?
The damage that the screws used to attach screw-in steps to a tree will cause minor damage to the tree, after all, you’re boring holes through the bark and into the softer more vulnerable parts of the tree. However, trees are particularly hardy and will quickly recover from any short-term damage.
Similar to pruning the branches of the tree, the wound will soon begin to heal itself and harden over. The small holes that are created by the screws will barely be noticed as the tree continues to grow and repair itself.
Any time the bark of the tree is penetrated, however, opens the risk of introducing disease to the tree. The bark acts as a barrier to provide protection from harmful organisms, be they microbial or otherwise.
What you should always do, when you have finished using the steps is remove them as well as the screws. Leaving the screws in place will allow the tree to grow around them and this could become a hazard to others, particularly a logger who might hit one with their chainsaw years down the track.
What If My State Bans Screw-In Tree Steps?
Many states in the United States have made it illegal to use screw-in steps in trees on public land. This means it is necessary to use an alternative.
The answer, if you are determined to use tree steps, is to use strap-on tree steps. They work in much the same way as the screw-in version except they are attached with an adjustable strap that is fitted around the trunk of the tree.
These tree steps do not penetrate the bark of the tree, but they can “bite” in so they will not move or slip after they’ve been installed.
Climbing trees is a dangerous activity and many hunting-related deaths and injuries can be attributed to falls from trees.
Although all of the products discussed above are well-made and safe to use there is always a chance that they have not been properly installed or that the tree is diseased and soft. Should you slip or the steps somehow detach you need to have your safety line there to catch your fall.
No matter how high off the ground you climb, it is imperative that you are wearing your harness and that your hands are free so that you can properly grip the steps as you go.