There has been a fast and significant improvement in the technology surrounding tree stands over the years. From the days of the permanent stands consisting of an enclosed platform reached by climbing a ladder to the more modern climbing tree stands and lightest weight hang-on stands the hunter can now raise himself up into a dominant vantage point in a tree.
For those who have bought a hang-on tree stand, there is one more hurdle to jump. You’ve got to get the stand up into position and you then have to climb up and down when you take your place to hunt. To do this, one of your options is to use a set of tree stand climbing sticks for hunting.
Tree stand climbing sticks can be attached to the trunk of your chosen tree and will enable you to climb the tree with relative ease while carrying your equipment and a pack. They should be lightweight but sturdy enough to ensure they will hold your weight and will remain solidly in place.
The available options are quite extensive and, like just about every other piece of equipment, will need your careful consideration as you weigh up the pros and cons of each one.
Featured below is a comparison table that presents a selection of some of the most popular climbing sticks available on the market today. We have provided a few basic specifications about each one as well as the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Further down the page is a more extensive review of each product along with any features that might help make a particular climbing stick stand out from the others.
Comparison List of Tree Stand Climbing Sticks
Make / Model
32" x 4
32" x 3
32" x 3
34" x 4
32" x 3
4 x 3.25"
Descriptions of Tree Stand Climbing Sticks
Now that we have had a chance to take a brief side-by-side look at a range of climbing sticks we will take a more detailed look at each model. Below is a short review of each one along with product specifications and listed features plus any noted strengths and weaknesses.
Read through the details of each of the climbing sticks reviews below to get a better understanding of what it is that differentiates each product as well as which one might best meet your needs.
Lone Wolf 4 Piece Climbing Sticks
These climbing sticks are a set of 4 sticks, each of which is 32" in height. They can be used together to reach a height that should get you up to 20 feet up the tree. Each stick consists of 3 steps that are 15 inches apart, a distance that should provide you with a comfortable climb.
The sticks can be attached to the trunk of any tree with a diameter of between 4 and 22 inches.They are attached using the Versa-Button strap that will hold each stick securely in place. The sticks have the capacity to carry a maximum weight of up to 350 pounds.
These climbing sticks are designed to fit snugly together when they are not in use so it is quite easy to carry them without too much trouble. They are designed to be used in conjunction with the Lone Wolf hang-on tree stand models, the Assault and the Alpha.
Hawk Traction SS Climbing Sticks
As the name suggests, these treestand sticks provide your feet with a maximum of grip through the raised teeth that feature on each step. These teeth grip solidly to the boots so that your footing is assured as you ascend or descend.
The sticks are supplied in packs of 3. Each stick measures 32 inches in length and when they are attached to the tree trunk you have the capability of climbing to heights reaching 20 feet from the ground.
The width of the treads are 11.25 inches wide for plenty of foot room and the oval tubing gives you a solid handhold as you climb. Each stick weighs only 4.6 lbs and they can be stacked together to make them easier to carry.
When safety and functionality are a priority these slip-resistant steps are an ideal way to climb up to your stand.
Muddy Aerolite Climbing Sticks
The Aerolite climbing sticks are available as a pack of 3 sticks, each section is 32 inches in height. When they are put together, assuming you leave an 18 inch gap between each stick, you will have climbing steps that measures 12.5 feet in height.
The 3 sticks are aluminum climbing sticks and can be attached to the tree using the attached Silent Cam buckle strap. The weight of each stick is 3 pounds to give you a total weight of 9 pounds which makes them the lightest climbing sticks we have examined. The design has been engineered so that it can be packed neatly to fit with the shape of the Muddy fixed position stands.
The Aerolite can be used on trees with a trunk diameter that is at least 9 inches in diameter and they have a maximum weight rating of 350 pounds.
Xtreme Outdoor Products Climbing Sticks
The climbing sticks from XOP are very well designed with the comfort of the hunter in mind. They come in a pack of 4 sticks, each of which measures 34 inches in length. It is possible to position them so that you can reach heights of over 20 feet.
These sticks have been designed with a slight curve to the steps to increase the grip for your feet. The steps are stored flat to the heat treated steel stick and cane be simply swung out and locked into place when the stick has been hung on the tree.
Another feature that has been improved for the latest version of these sticks is the distance from the bracket to the tree which has been increased by an inch. This makes climbing even easier than before.
The sticks come with quick adjust straps to attach them to the tree and the weight rating is 350 pounds. They have also been designed so they can be locked together when it comes time to carry them from place to place.
Muddy The Outfitter Climbing Sticks
The Outfitter climbing sticks are steel construction sections that are 32 inches long and are available singly or in packs of 3. When they are put together as part of the 3-pack they provide a total height of 12.5 feet.
These sticks will work equally well on straight and crooked tree trunks and feature wide steps to make it easier for ascending and descending. The sticks come with 1-1” cam buckle straps to attach to the tree and this fastening system is designed to operate silently.
Each section has a price of $24.99, so the pack of 3 is available for under $75.00 but it is also possible to expand the pack to 4 sticks if you need extra height and you’ll still be paying less than $100.
These sticks are rated to carry up to 300 pounds and they will attach to any tree with a diameter greater than 9 inches.
Millennium M210 Stick Climber
Millennium has produced a range of good quality hang-on treestands so it stands to reason that the sticks made to be used with them are of similar quality.
The M210 consists of five sections that are light weight and are easy to connect. They are easy to carry which ensures they are suitably portable and are designed most specifically to be used with the company’s M100 Lock-On treestand.
These are relatively lightweight tree climbing sticks considering they provide you with 20 feet of good solid steps. Speaking of the steps, they feature an anti-slip coating for added safety. They are made from steel and have been given a powder coated finish. The top step is a dual step as an added security measure.
Further safety features include a “V” Foot ground stabilizer to ensure the sticks are securely in place at the base, cam buckles and straps that will ensure the sticks are held in place and won’t move. If you need to climb higher than the supplied 20 foot length allows, you can purchase additional 4-foot sections separately.
Big Game The Quick Stick Climbing Sticks
The Quick-Stick climbing system has been constructed from welded steel and are particularly sturdy. The design is a fully extended ladder when it has been put in place and, unlike others it assembles into a single length with the bottom in contact with the ground at all times.
This climbing system consists of 5 individual sticks and each section weighs 4 pounds. When you place the sticks up on the tree you will create an alternating step pattern that features steps that measure 10.5 inches wide.
When the sections have been put together the Quick-Stick gives you a climbing system that will extend to 20 feet in length. The sticks are secured to the tree using five one-inch Cam-Buckle straps.
This system has a weight rating of 300 pounds.
Cranford EZY Climbing Deluxe Tree Step
The EZY steps from Cranford are a slightly different concept when it comes to scaling a tree to reach your treestand. These steps are individual steel rungs that can be screwed directly into the trunk of the tree where they provide solid and reliable footing.
The Deluxe Tree Step is a one-piece step made from solid heavy 11 gauge steel with solid stainless steel rivets and the screw end measures 2-1/8” inches in length. The step features a security bubble at its end for more secure footing.
The big selling point of these steps is that they use a self-tapping screw that means it is easy to screw them into the tree when installing them and just as easy to screw them out again when finished. It means they can be put in place in silence so you’re not alerting every animal in the area of your arrival.
The dimensions of the step are quoted as: upright height: 3-1/4 inches, step area length: 4 inches, screw length: 2-1/8 inches, weight: 5.7 ounces.
Hurricane Safety Systems Gravity Forward Climbing Sticks
These climbing sticks are designed so that they don’t actually attach flush with the tree trunk. As the Gravity Forward name suggests, the system is set up at a precise angle to the tree to make it easier to climb up and down to your tree stand.
The entire design has been put together to make ascending and descending as easy as possible. The distance between the treads has been reduced to 11 inches and the width of the treads has been increased to 12 inches.
This is a four stick system with the bottom set firmly on the ground. The 4 brackets are different lengths that automatically give you the correct angle at which it is installed. When it has been put in place it gives you a 20 foot long ladder.
The steps are C-channelled to provide additional grip for the feet so that you are less inclined to make a misstep.
By attaching the climbing stick at an angle your center of gravity is moved forward which makes climbing easier. It also makes it more comfortable when hanging your tree stand.
Where some people might have a problem with this climbing system is the weight which is quite hefty at 35 pounds. But one thing is for sure, it is solid and it makes climbing and descending a far easier task.
Rivers Edge Grip Stick
The Grip Stick is available as a single climbing stick but they can be used in a set by buying multiple sections. These sections can be used completely independently of the others so, if you need to climb to a height of 20 feet, you would buy 4 Grip Sticks, fewer if you didn’t need as much height.
The steps are designed as double steps at every level measuring 11 inches in width. They have a Tractionite permanent non-slip coating to ensure your footing is secure.
Each section of the Grip Stick is secured to the tree with the use of a silent RamHorn attachment system which allows the straps to hook quickly, efficiently, securely and without noise. It is compatible for use on trees with trunk diameters between 8 and 20 inches and has a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs.
Guide Gear 20' Climbing Sticks
The Guide Gear climbing sticks are available as packs that are either 20 feet or 25 feet in length. In this case we are looking at the 20 foot length version which consists of five 4-foot sections.
These climbing sticks are constructed from steel and, compared to other products, are quite heavy. They are, however, very durable and sturdy and when they have been placed on the tree will provide a solid climbing frame.
The sticks are designed to be anchored at the bottom by placing the lowest one on the ground. The other sticks then sit on top of the next and are attached to the tree using the supplied nylon belt.
These climbing sticks are clearly way cheaper than any other brand and many customers have suggested that they believe they have received a good product for their money. Those who have scored it lower have done so complaining that the quality of materials is not up to the expected standard.
It is designed to be able to carry up to 300 lbs.
X-Stand The 25' Stick
This is a climbing stick constructed of steel that comes in 5 sections and provides you with a climbing height of 20 feet. There is an extra 5 feet to a top handle that has been added to allow you to hold on as you step down into your tree stand.
The steps themselves are quite wide, measuring 15 inches across and they have been angled so they face away from the tree for more room for your feet. They are also serrated edged which will avoid a build-up of mud and debris and will also provide greater grip as you climb.
The step spacing is a comfortable 14 inches between each and it sits far enough away from the tree to comfortably allow your boots access with plenty of space. The maximum weight capacity for the entire package is 300 pounds.
Muddy The Ascender Climbing Sticks
The Ascender is a climbing system that comprises of 5 sections and enables you to climb to a height of 20 feet when you leave an 18 inch gap between each section. It is made from steel tubing and each section is attached to the tree trunk using the supplied cam-buckle strap.
Compared to other climbing sticks on the market today, this is one of the heavy options with each section weighing 6.6 lbs. That gives you an overall weight of 33 lbs for the entire pack, a weight that could be quite significant if you were to be carrying it, along with your hang-on stand into position over rough or sloping terrain.
The heavier weight means, though, that it is a solid stand. It has angled steps for better grip by the feet. They measure 11 inches in width and sit out from the tree by 8 inches to provide you with a comfortable climbing option that is pretty straightforward to set up and use.
The Ascender has a maximum weight rating of 300 pounds and it can be attached to trees with trunks that are at least 9 inches in diameter.
A set of climbing sticks is a low environmental impact option for climbing into tree stands
Reasons For Using Climbing Sticks
Low Environmental Impact
One of the nice features of a set of climbing sticks is that they are low impact to the environment. For some people this is a very important consideration and makes a good reason for using them over other climbing systems. The fact that the sticks are attached to the trees using straps means that the trees won't be damaged and they can quickly be removed after use without leaving behind any evidence that they had been there.
Easy to Carry
Quite frankly, your alternative to this type of climbing system is a ladder and, let’s face it, you’re not lugging a ladder through dense undergrowth or up and down hills before you get to your treestand.
The technology used to make climbing sticks continues to improve and this means they are getting lighter and have innovative storage features built in. This makes it even easier to carry them into position as part of your hunting pack. The ability to create a lightweight climbing system is a big asset to your hunting arsenal.
The use of climbing sticks is a safe option that provides the hunter with an easy to install method using equipment that has few or no moving parts. This means there is less chance that it can fail.
As the technology has improved we have seen more innovative ways to ensure the footing is solid and the grip is secure. We have also seen significant advancements in attaching the sticks to trees.
Because there are almost no moving parts with the majority of climbing sticks, the process of installing them usually comes down to correctly hooking the accompanying nylon straps and then drawing it tightly around the tree.
It is possible to practice with these sticks at low altitude to confirm that you have set them up correctly and this should give you the confidence to put them in place higher up the tree.
Not all tree stand climbing sticks are made the same. Light or heavy, long or short, cheap or expensive. There are a many factors to consider before you buy one.
What Should You Consider When Buying Tree Stand Climbing Sticks?
There are a few basic considerations that may make a difference as to which climbing sticks you buy. While they generally perform the same task (i.e. get you up a tree to your hang-on treestand) they each have their subtle differences.
Weight is always a significant consideration to a hunter who is already loaded down with a lot of gear. Chuck a set of climbing sticks into the mix and the weight grows considerably. A good set of climbing sticks might weigh around 10 pounds which is pretty good and if they can be packaged up to be compatible with your tree stand then you will barely notice that they are there.
Climbing height capability
The majority of hunters would like to get around 20 feet high when they sit in their tree stand so the climbing sticks you buy should have the capability to reach that. Depending on how far apart you place each section, most 3-piece sets will get you 20 feet up.
No matter how light the sticks are and no matter how high they will get you, you want to feel safe as you climb and this comes down to how sturdy the sticks are as well as how securely they are attached to the tree.
The convenience of carrying climbing sticks into place comes down to more than simply how light they might be. They need to be bundled into a small enough package that they can be stowed on your pack without having to worry that they will a) get in the way while you walk, or b) randomly slip out because they can’t properly be secured together. If this is an important feature you're after you should specifically be looking for packable climbing sticks such as the Xtreme Outdoor Products Climbing Sticks.
This is always going to be a factor in any purchase and with climbing sticks you have to weigh up the same trade-off of buying an inexpensive model that may not be quite as sturdy or a solid set that costs a little bit more.
With climbing apparatus we are dealing with safety equipment and, as far as I’m concerned, I’d be prepared to pay a little bit more if it meant that it would give me a more reliable and solid way of climbing a tree.
It is more likely that the more expensive climbing sticks will provide you with more years of use and, in the long run, could actually give you better value for money.
Which One To Buy? - It May Be A Question of Light vs Heavy
For some people the choice of which climbing aids to buy might come down to the amount of weight they are willing to carry. We can quickly see that the lightest options available are the Lone Wolf and the Muddy Aerolite Climbing Sticks. It is also hardly surprising that they sit at the top of the comparison list as the highest rated options.
The Case for Light Sticks
It’s a simple case and it’s one that hunters make over and over again from their bow to their optics to their daypack and the clothes that they wear. Every ounce saved is a saving in energy for the hunter and this has an impact on their shooting performance.
If a hunter can rely on a light set of climbing sticks they will then be able to expect to hunt for longer and shoot more accurately.
That being said, some hunters believe the long wait in their tree stand may offset the expenditure of energy that comes with carrying heavier equipment and that leads us to…
The Case for Heavy Sticks
There is most definitely a place for the heavier sticks as well. Some people prefer the factors such as a sense of security while climbing and comfort over the burden of carrying them.
When you take a look at the features of the Hurricane Safety Systems Gravity Forward Climbing System you can see that there are a lot of reasons for buying it just to be able to enjoy the comfortable climbing experience.
Heavy duty climbing sticks will give you a solid base to use, they will be durable and, consequently, long-lasting and they will also give you a greater sense of stability. This is very important for maintaining your confidence as you use them.
Using Your Climbing Sticks Safely
For the most part, the process of setting up and using climbing sticks and other types of climbing systems is a fairly straightforward process. However, it involves dealing with heights and moving yourself off the ground and this immediately raises safety concerns.
It is vitally important that you read all safety warnings and instructions that are supplied with your climbing sticks.
When you attach your climbing sticks to the tree you will need to ensure all straps are properly secured and there is no excess movement or chance of slipping. Movement will create an unstable climbing system and can also cause the straps to wear unnecessarily quickly.
We have also provided a detailed guide explaining how to use tree stand climbing sticks.
Are Lightweight Climbing Sticks Safe?
The tendency with a lot of hunting products is to make them as lightweight as possible in the knowledge that there will be a lot of trekking over tough terrain to be done. Not only will the hunter have to carry the tree stand into position but the climbing sticks will also have to be hauled in too.
Given that tree stand safety is a massive consideration there must be some thought to ensuring that the equipment you use is as safe as possible. No doubt, there will be concerns surrounding the lightest climbing sticks available and whether they are up to the task of holding your bodyweight effectively.
With the development of lightweight materials and their use in the construction of climbing equipment, there should be no concerns over them based on their weight.
As an example, the Muddy Aerolite Climbing Stick is one of the lightest available and it is made from aluminium with the attachment strap secured by a robust buckle.
As long as the sticks have been installed correctly as per the mounting instructions and you are wearing your TMA Approved safety harness there should be no trepidation in using them, no matter how light or heavy they are.
The quick and easy way of climbing a tree to hang and then get into your hang-on or permanent tree stand is by using climbing sticks. They are safe to use when properly installed and they are convenient to transport into place.
Many people have enjoyed the convenience and reliability of each of the models that are examined above and have found that they will continue to perform year after year.