How to Choose the Right Type of Treestand

The differences in treestands and how to choose the best one for you.

When it comes to treestands, you have a lot of options. When choosing one, you want to take into account what you are hunting, when you are hunting and how much weight you are planning to carry. There are four main types of stands: climbing, ladder, hang-on and tri-pod. So, let’s break them all down so you’re prepared for hunting season.


As the name implies, you actually use this stand to climb up a tree. Some of the biggest advantages with climbing stands are that they are lightweight and relatively compact. They are made to be carried, often built with backpack straps. This gives you the option to move if your first spot isn’t ideal, if conditions change or if you want to scope out a new area. You and your stand are very mobile. Climbing treestands also allow you to adjust the height and even the side of the tree you use. If you are hunting in an area that you’ll have to remove your stand and take it back with you, a climbing stand is the way to go.

One of the downsides to a climber is that if you go up and down the tree to pick something up you’ve dropped or need to use the bathroom, the stand must come with you. Although they are designed to be as quiet as possible, there will still be some noise made as you go up and down the tree. You also have to be picky about the tree you choose as they must be relatively straight with few branches in your way; at the very least you will need to be able to cut down small branches to use your climber properly.


A ladder stand provides more stability and is easier to get in and out of than a climber. They attach to the tree and to the ground, which generally leaves hunters feeling more secure. They allow more flexibility should you want to climb up or down without being heard and detected. Sometimes, ladder stands can hold more weight than a climber. They are ideal for hunters who are able to leave them in spots for long durations of time.

The disadvantages with the ladder stand are: that they are not made to be carried for long distances, are not portable, and often weigh much more than climbing stands. Because they depend on the tree for stability, the tree needs to be straight and not have a lot of branches at the bottom. Most ladder stands are only about 20 feet off the ground, which also limits your ability to climb higher.



Unlike other treestands, the hang-on can be used with a variety of trees, so they will work in trees with multiple branches without a problem. Hang-on stands are lightweight and made to be easily carried to your spot. The basic, most lightweight options normally have a seat that is only large enough for your feet. Standing for the majority of an all-day hunt using this model can get uncomfortable, so you may have to go up a level. The larger hang-on styles may be a bit heavier, but provide a larger platform with padded seat and backrest so your day on the hunt can be longer and more comfortable. Hang-on stands are also much quieter than other options, keeping you from being detected by prey.

The disadvantage of these is that they tend to be a bit more difficult to set up. You will have to buy climbing sticks, a ladder or screw-in steps in order to get onto the stand. They are typically minimalistic in design and there usually isn’t a rail, so if you have a fear of heights or are not comfortable maneuvering around in a tight space, this might not be the stand for you.


Tri-pods, elevated towers or platform stands, are ideal for areas where there are not a lot of trees or many viable options to secure a treestand. These stands are meant to be a semi-permanent fixture and can be quite comfortable and secure. The downside is that they must be put up and put together prior to the hunt, which takes time and can be cumbersome. If you have your own land to hunt on and you want to make the investment, these can be a good option.