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The Difference Between Climbing, Hang-on, and Ladder Tree Stands

Deer hunting sometimes requires that you be in an elevated position. You can get this position if you have a tree stand. There are three types of tree stands, including climbing, hang-on, and ladder tree stand. Each of these stands has a unique design making them function differently. So, which one should you choose?

You should know the differences between these stands so you can make an informed decision when purchasing. Before we look at the difference between climbing, hang-on, and ladder tree stands, let’s look at the factors to consider when buying a tree stand. These factors include:

A tree stand should be large enough to allow you to stand or sit without straining. Similarly, it should be small enough, so it’s not seen easily by the animal. This means you have to balance the two factors when picking the right tree stand size for your hunting.


It is tough to achieve a good shot if you aren’t comfortable. A well-padded seat is great if you intend to stay on the tree longer. The tree stand should also have other accessories like straps for added comfort.


The weight is crucial when buying a tree stand, especially if you are not always hunting from the same position. If you have to move from place to place, then you’ll need a lighter tree stand. However, consider your weight. A very light tree stand may not support the weight of plus-size hunters.


Stand height is mainly applicable to ladder tree stands. A good ladder tree stand should be tall enough to take you beyond the animal’s line of sight. A tall ladder stand will also put you in a vintage position to shoot well.

The Difference Between Climbing, Hang-on, and Ladder Tree Stands

There are many advantages of hunting from an elevated treestand. Let’s now look at the tree stands one by one.

1.Climbing Tree Stands

XOP Ambush Climbing Tree Stand

A climbing tree stand is a 2-piece unit consisting of a platform and seat assemblies. The greatest advantage of a climbing tee stand is that it can help you climb a tree and provide you with a seat for stability. This means you won’t have to worry about ladders or steps.

When using a climbing tree stand, the first step is to attach the pieces to the tree. You can then hook your feet to the platform. Your torso should be inside the stand, in the upper section.

To climb the tree, unlock one on the lower pieces and move it higher up. Repeat this process alternating the pieces until you attain the elevation you desire. Each piece of the stand has special blades or chains that help grab the tree’s bark as you climb.

With climbing tree stands, you won’t need screw-in steps, making it easy to move the stand from one place to another. So, if you are a mobile bowhunter, climbing stands are the best option for you. You can move it quickly as you move to a new game location.

Another advantage of a climbing stand is that, since you’ll remove them as you climb down, they can’t be vandalized or stolen. It will also not show the deer or other deer hunters your location.

The only disadvantage of climbing stands is that they are heavier and bigger than other models. Their weight range from 7 to 16 kg (15 to 35 lbs), which is a concern if you have to move it to a far place. Climbing stands may also require you to prune some branches off the tree to allow the stand’s arms to move. Climbing stands also cost more than hang-on and ladder stand.

2.Hang-on Tree Stands

Guide Gear Deluxe Hang-On Tree Stand

A hang-on stand consists only of one unit. It is a fixed-position stand that’s simpler than the climbing stand, though it also has a seat and a platform.

With this stand, you’ll use straps or chains to attach the stand to the tree. The stand has a T-shaped screw and buckles to provide additional support.

Hang-on tree stands weigh a lot lighter than climbing stands, weighing between 4.5 to 16 kg (10 to 35 lbs). This makes them easier to move from one place to another. The main reason why many bowhunters like hang-on stands is that it’ll a lot quieter and quicker to get out or in once they are fixed in place. If you want to keep hunting from the same position, then a hang-on stand is your number one option.

The downside of these stands is that it’s difficult to hand them. They require some effort to install and to remove the steps when you decide to move. Another issue is, since they are fixed stands, they are prone to vandalism and theft.

3.Ladder Tree Stands

BIG GAME Hunter HD 1.5 Treestand

Just as the name implies, a ladder stand has a multi-piece ladder assembly. The platform and the seat on the ladder's top are supposed to be secured to the tree using straps or belts.

The advantage of a ladder stand is that you can use it on virtually all trees. It doesn’t require any screw-in step because it’s a ladder. Some high-end ladder stands can serve as aerial loveseats because they offer space for 2 people and padded benches.

However, these deluxe ladders are cumbersome, weighing as high as 45+ kg (100+ lbs). This means one person cannot carry or erect the ladder. It requires two or more people to do so, and you’ll also need a vehicle to transport it.

They are more visible to deer than other tree stands because of their bulkiness, making them unsuitable for bowhunters who want the animals to come very close before shooting. They are more suitable for rifle hunters who can shoot even when the animal is far away. In terms of cost, they are in the same range as climbing stands.

Final Words

As you can see, each of the tree stands has its advantages and disadvantages. The choice of a stand depends on an individual's taste and hunting position. If you are a hardcore hunter, nothing stops you from having a variety of tree stands so you can enjoy the advantages they have in different situations.

Matt Bartlett

Outside is always better .I'm an avid Traveler, Cyclist, Paddler,Hiker, Outdoor Adventurer, Sports Lover & Wannabe Runner. I write about adventures and share them on my website and for other outdoor publications. . Wannabe Runner Love being outdoors.I enjoy sharing outdoor experiences with others.

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