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Big guys aren’t meant to fly. At least I assumed that was the reason that my dad and uncles never used tree stands. I spent hours upon hours in my younger days sitting in a blind and hoping something walked by. Since the trees on our property limited our visibility to less than 50 yards, you can bet that success didn’t happen often.
It wasn’t until I hunted with some family friends that my eyes were opened to the possibility of a climbing tree stand for big guys. I no longer had to be stuck in a blind with a bunch of guys who all ate beanie weenies the night before. However, as I got older (and bigger) I grew much more interested in both the comfort and weight capacity of my tree stand.
I personally believe that no one in their right mind would want to sit in a tree stand with a capacity of fewer than 300 pounds. On top of my own weight (280lbs or so for reference), I always have a gun, camera, food, drinks (and some more drinks) with me which quickly add up in weight. Because of this, I decided to hunt down the best climbing tree stand for big guys. While there really aren’t a ton of options, here are the three best I rounded up:
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What I was looking for in a big man climbing tree stand:
- Comfort. If I’m going to be sitting in a stand for hours on end, it’s got to be comfortable. Now, I don’t need a big man’s recliner strapped to the tree, but if I feel like I’m sitting on a branch, my money wasn’t well spent. Being a big guy I need a wide padded seat, spacious arm rests, and a wide platform. Other comforts such as bags and drink holders are just perks.
- Capacity. As I mentioned above, 300 pounds was the absolute low water mark for me when I was looking for climbing tree stands for big guys. To give a bit of a cushion, I chose stands with a 350 pound capacity when I could find and test them.
- Easy Climbing. To be effective, a big man climbing tree stand needs to climb quickly, easy, and quietly. This is a huge selling point for me because I believe that since it’s a climbing tree stand, how well it climbs is a good indicator of the overall quality of the design and manufacturing.
- Packability. I don’t carry my stands far, but they still need to be small enough to pack easily on my back. This doesn’t mean just weight either. The smaller a stand packs the closer it will sit to your body which means it will carry more naturally and feel lighter, no matter the weight.
- Price. Since I don’t make a living from hunting, price is a concern. However, if I plan to spend 10 days or more in my stand a year for 5+ years before getting a new stand, I’m willing to pay up a bit for a superior product. The only reason I cut out a product on price alone is if I felt that the features didn’t justify the price and there was something of the same quality for cheaper.
That’s it! When it comes down to it, a climbing tree stand is not a complex piece of equipment. It has to do one thing and one thing well. The best climbing tree stand for big guys, then, is the one that is the simplest while meeting all the criteria above. Let’s get on with my opinions of each of the big man climbing tree stands from the chart above:
The Best Climbing Tree Stand for Big Guys
When it comes to my favorite big man tree stand, the biggest stand won in the end. Summit is well known for making big stands and The Summit SD is the biggest and heftiest of the bunch.
In addition to climbing well and having a king-sized seat, here are a few of my other favorite features it has to offer:
- Patented “dead metal” makes this one of the quitest big man climbers on the market. Summit uses a proprietary expanding foam which keeps weight low and minimizes any squeaks or groans.
- 350 pound capacity means that, if you can fit on the extra wide seat, this will hold you!
- Comes complete with full-body fall-arrest hardness and all necessary hardware
The only drawback to this fine climber is that it is the heaviest of the bunch. However, since the weight is all within 5 pounds of each other, this isn’t really a deal-breaker.
So, if you’re ready to get up high in the best climbing tree stand for big guys, get this one!
Alternate Option for the Best Big Man Climbing Tree Stand
If the Titan appeals but you think it provides just slightly too much real estate and you don’t fancy the idea of lugging its 25 pounds around, we have another option! Summit’s Goliath is a big man’s hunting climber that is nearly identical to the Titan, just slightly smaller.
If you choose to go with the Goliath over the Titan you’ll save 3 pounds when carrying your climber. However, this does come at a cost. You’ll lose 1 Inch of wide and 2 inches of length off of the platform as well as 2 inches off of the seat width.
All things considered, this is an excellent climbing stand and, if our number one choice didn’t exist, this would be it! However, for anything needing some weight savings and not in need of quite as much stand, this may be the best option available!
The Lightest Climbing Tree Stand with a 350lb Capacity
Our third and final climbing tree stand for big guys is a bit different than the first two. In a good way? Well, it depends on what you’re after!
The Lone Wolf is the lightest climbing tree stand I could find that can still support up to 350 pounds. However, its weight isn’t all it has going for it:
- It folds up super flat. If you’re used to hiking for great distances want to carry your stand, you want the most portable and easy-to-carry option possible. Not only is this the lightness a huge draw, but this climber fold up 4″ thinner than most other options on the market making is easy to carry.
- It climbs well. Because of it’s light weight and innovative design, this climber makes it possible for even the biggest guys to scurry up tress.
- Great customer support. If you want to buy from a company that cares about you and back their products, this is the one!
The only drawback to this design is the armrests. If you’re a big guy who carries most of your weight in your middle section you may find it a bit challenging to fit into the seat. If, however, you do fit, the seat is comfortably ergonomic and will keep you in place for however many hours you want to sit there!
So if have the most packable climbing tree stand on the market appeals to you (and you’re a big fellow) don’t miss this one!
Using a climbing tree stand as a big guy is hard enough, don’t make it harder and less comfortable by buying a crappy version. Any of the three above will suit your needs well (provided you’re under 350 pounds) but, if you’re undecided, just get the Summit Titan, you won’t regret it!
5 Tips for Big Guys Hunting From a Climbing Tree Stand
- Wear a harness. There is no excuse not to wear a safety harness. No matter how experienced you are or how careful, crap happens and remember, big guys can’t fly.
- Be ready for the long haul. Tree stand hunting is as fun as it is relaxing. However, if you’ve been there for a couple of hours, boredom sets in. I always bring snacks (quiet ones) or something quiet to do to keep myself occupied. If you can just sit there and count leaves, more power to you!
- Know your angles. When you’re angled above an animal, the kill zone shrinks. The higher you are, the smaller it gets. Make sure you’ve practiced shooting from the angle you’ll be hunting at. If you’re using a box, a rangefinder that calculates the true distanced based on the angle can be a vital piece of equipment.
- Stay ready. As important as it is to have something to do, don’t lose your edge. Far too many big guys in climbing tree stands have let their guard down because of a package of cookies just when a buck walked by.
- Have fun! Last but not least, enjoy your time in the woods. It’s a rare privelage that very few people have to hunt and spend time in the unsoiled outdoors. Treasure it.
I hope you’ve learned a bit about the best climbing tree stands for big guys and how to use them effectively. They do have a bit of a learning curve but a tree stand is a favorite way to hunt of almost everybody who has tried one. So don’t wait, scroll back up, choose your favorite, and pick it up today! Happy hunting!