When your hunting ground doesn’t have a vantage point, you need to create one with a climbing stick. But given the host of differently priced climbing stick styles available for various needs, it can be tricky to choose the right option. Keep in mind while reading this article, I had you saddle hunters out there in mind. But these sticks will work well for anyone needs to get up a tree in the most efficient and safest way possible.
Here are the top 6 climbing sticks for various needs:
- Lone wolf 4-pack climbing sticks
- Muddy pro sticks
- Hawk hunting helium 20″ climbing sticks
- Guide gear 20′ climbing sticks
- Hawk treestands ranger traction 3pk climbing sticks
- XOP short climbing sticks
Read on for an insightful discussion as I explore each of these sticks in greater detail.
Best Premium Climbing Sticks
The Lone Wolf 4-Pack climbing and the Muddy Pro are hands down the best climbing sticks in the premium price range. Both provide excellent stability, are designed with safety and user-friendliness in mind, and are portable. They also come with a quality build for durability.
But while most saddle hunters agree that the Lone Wolf 4-Pack and the Muddy Pro are the best options for high-end shoppers, opinions clash when it comes to the Lone Wolf vs. Muddy Pro debate.
To help you decide, let’s review each type of climbing stick separately before we delve into the Lone Wolf vs. Muddy Pro climbing sticks debate.
One of the primary selling points of these climbing sticks is the brand name. Lone Wolf is an established brand with over a two-decade reputation for producing high-quality tree stands, climbing sticks, and other saddle hunting accessories.
However, there’s more to a Lone Wolf 4-Pack climbing stick than just a reputable brand name.
Each comes in an ingenious design that allows the stick to nest together almost effortlessly and mounts directly onto the ALPHA Hang On treestand or the Assault treestand.
V-brackets are also included to allow the climbing sticks to conform to various tree natural contours.This is one of the main reasons why Lone Wolfs can fit snugly and provide undoubted stability on a variety of tree sizes – any tree with a diameter between 4″ (10.16 cm) and 22″ (55.88 cm) to be precise.
It’s also great that Lone Wolfs can accommodate up to 350 pounds (158.75 kg), 50 pounds (22.67 kg) more than many other similar products.
And despite the extra weight allowance, they’re still portable thanks to a lightweight (2.5 pounds/about 1.13 kg per stick) yet durable aluminum construction.
Lastly, the steps are reversible to let hunters adjust their position quickly. They’re also spaced 15″ (38.1 cm) apart for comfortable climbing.
- Lightweight design for portability
- Sturdy, quality construction for durability
- Extension straps are provided
- Adjusts to each tree’s natural contour thanks to the V-brackets
- Reversible steps for climbing convenience
- Not the quietest option
- Has single steps
One of the distinguishing traits of Muddy Pro climbing sticks is that they come with a rope cam system that quickly and quietly attaches to trees of all shapes – straight or crooked.
This system also makes installation straightforward; you only need to wrap the rope around the tree you’re looking to climb, singe it, pull the stick down to secure it, and then tie a firm knot.
But while the rope cam system can attach to trees of all shapes, your tree trunk needs to be at least 9″ (22.86 cm) to use these climbing sticks.
Muddy Pro sticks are also lightweight, weighing 2.5 lbs (about 1.13 kg) per section. This has a lot to do with the aluminum construction, which is lightweight and strong, and durable.
Beginners will especially appreciate the included instruction manual. Sure, other climbing sticks come with it, but the Muddy Pro’s is more articulate. The larger steps also help make this climbing stick beginner-friendly by providing extra stepping space.
It’s also worth mentioning that these sticks come with bark-gripping teeth for extra grip. Elsewhere, the double rungs add to climbing convenience.
- Big steps add to safety
- A lightweight, durable aluminum construction
- Beginner-friendly instructional manual
- Easy setup rope connection system
- The rope might be too short for larger trees
Muddy vs. Lone Wolf
The primary argument for the Muddy is the rope cam system; the Lone wolf can’t beat that. It’s way quieter and faster to set up than the Lone Wolf’s system.
Many people also appreciate that Muddys have two steps on each stick, unlike the Lone Wolf’s three. The rationale is that two steps make for better stability because the steps are close to the anchor point (AKA, where the straps connect to the stick).
Others appreciate having stepped on both sides because it eliminates the need to play the left/right/left game. Some also don’t like pivoting cleats.
On the other hand, proponents of the Lone Wolf argue that it provides better height. You need an additional muddy stick to achieve the same height as you would with a lone wolf. There’s also the fact that the Muddy’s cam system adds unnecessary weight to the package.
Which One Should You Choose?
The Muddy is an ideal choice if you don’t like to modify stuff on your climbing stick; you’ll likely have to do that with a Lone Wolf. On the other hand, Lone Wolfs can fit in a broader selection of tree trunks.
The minimum tree trunk diameter stands at 4″ (10.16 cm) for the Lone Wolf, whereas Muddy’s only fit on trees with at least 9″ (22.86 cm) of tree trunk diameter.
With that said, both climbing sticks are great: it all comes down to needs and personal preferences.
Best Climbing Stick for Portability
Portability in climbing sticks is determined by two factors; compactness and weight. It’s a particularly critical consideration if you often change positions when hunting or have to cover a significant distance to reach your hunting ground.
Let’s take a look at the best climbing sticks for portability.
Heliums are some of the most portable climbing sticks on the market. Thanks to the aluminum construction, they weigh a measly 2.5 Pounds (1.13 kg). To put this into perspective, climbing sticks can weigh as much as 4.6 lbs (2.08 kg) per section.
Despite being lightweight, Heliums are reasonably priced. This is particularly great considering that most affordable climbing sticks tend to be heavy.
To add to the Heliums’ portability, they’re foldable. This helps reduce the space they take up during transportation, which comes in handy when you have other gear to take along with you to your hunting ground.
Elsewhere, the boot-gripping steps come with raised ends to prevent potentially dangerous slips. To add to the Heliums’ stability, each stick comes with teeth that dig into the tree bark to ensure that the stick doesn’t slip off the tree.
Lastly, these sticks are fairly silent to pack and set up thanks to the included Silent Use Versa Button and the rubber-coated attachment hardware.
Having a silent climbing stick can make a huge difference in your hunting success because the seemingly little noise produced when installing one can scare away prey.
On the flip side, Heliums aren’t the most durable climbing sticks, which is somewhat understandable given the budget-friendly price. The stacking cups and snaps are particularly prone to breakage, so be ready to replace these every few seasons.
With the cost of these sticks, that’s a downside to seriously consider.
- Quiet setup
- Super lightweight, thanks to the aluminum construction
- Boot-gripping steps prevent slips
- Foldable for easy transportation
- Tree-biting teeth for added stability
- Not very durable
Best Climbing Stick for Durability
Choosing a durable climbing stick is particularly important for saddle hunters who leave their tree stands in place throughout the year.
Even if you don’t do that, a durable option is a great way to get value for your money.
To choose a durable option, you need to prioritize two things: resistance to breakage and the ability to withstand weather elements.
Let’s review an option that ticks both boxes.
The Guide Gear 20′ (6.09 m) climbing sticks come with a powder-coated welded steel construction. The steel construction delivers optimum strength, helping prevent breakage.
Meanwhile, the powder coating protects the steel from weather elements.
Combine these two construction elements, and you’ve got a climbing stick that ticks the two durability checkboxes we’ve identified above.
But while Guide Gear 20′ (6.09 m) climbing sticks are mostly known for their durability, they’re also designed with safety in mind. The cam buckle straps ensure secure attachment, while the four-foot braces add stability.
The steps are also angled slightly upward to prevent your feet from slipping off.
It also helps with safety that these climbing sticks conform to most tree shapes, including ones that aren’t straight. Last on the list of positives, these sticks are silent, unlike some of the other options reviewed in this post.
The main downside to Guide Gear 20′ (6.09 m) sticks is the weight. Generally, steel isn’t the best construction material when you want to keep things light, and that applies to these climbing sticks, too.
The five sections weigh 23.13 lbs (10.49 kg), which translates to 4.6 lbs (2.08 kg) per section. That means if you choose Guide Gear sticks over the lightweight Heliums reviewed, you’ll be carrying around an extra 6.13 pounds (2.78 kg).
Additionally, the straps might be a little lacking in length when you’re up against wide tree trunks. However, you can quickly address this by using a rope to extend the length.
- Works with most tree shapes
- Angled steps prevent slippage
- It’s on the heavier side of things, which doesn’t help with portability.
- The straps may be too short for exceptionally wide tree trunks.
Best Budget Climbing Stick
More often than not, shopping on a tight budget means accepting a bit of compromise in product quality, performance, or durability. Sometimes, it’s all three!
But when it comes to climbing sticks, you don’t want too much compromise in quality and performance because it’s your safety at stake. The key is to ensure that your budget purchase delivers and compromises on the right merits.
If you have to take a hit, let it be in areas like portability, noise level, achievable height, and perhaps durability. You don’t want to compromise on things like stability, sturdiness, traction, and any other factor that determines your safety.
The Hawk Treestands Ranger Traction climbing sticks are arguably the best budget purchase you can make – this pack of three sections costs less than you might think.
Sure, that might not be the lowest price you can pay for a set of climbing sticks.
However, it’s certainly great value for money for a budget buyer, given the great mix of safety and performance features.
For safe climbing, the dual-row tree steps are angled to give you additional foot clearance. This increases the contact between your boots and the steps for added stability when climbing.
The dual traction steps also help with stability. They come with raised ends to increase traction and reduce slippage, resulting in a more stable climbing experience.
The sticks are also sturdy and durable, thanks to the heavy-duty steel construction without moving parts. Durability is further boosted by the textured powder coating finish, which protects against UV damage for longer service life.
And unlike many other sticks on the lower end of the price range, Hawk’s Ranger Traction climbing sticks aren’t too noisy. Thanks to the silent-use attachment hooks, you can set up and pack reasonably silently.
It’s also worth noting that Hawk Treestands Ranger Traction climbing sticks don’t compromise on achievable height. This three-section pack can get you as high as 18 ft. (5.48 m), which is pretty impressive given that many similar products will only get you up to 16 ft (4.87 m).
What’s more, you can pair these up with an aider and boost your achievable height by up to 6 ft. (1.82 m).
Like many other steel climbing sticks, Hawk Treestands Ranger Traction climbing sticks are on the heavier side of things. Each section clocks in at 4.6 lbs (2.08 kg).
As such, these might not be the best climbing sticks to carry around for extended periods.
However, they might make perfect permanent installations since steel can bear the brunt of abuse associated with being outdoors for extended periods, not to mention that the powder coating adds an extra layer of protection.
- Sturdy, durable, heavy-duty steel construction
- Decent achievable height
- Safe and stable for the price
- Heavy, which compromises portability
- Could be stealthier
Best Climbing Stick for Heavier/Taller Climbers
When you’re heavier than the average person, you need a sturdy climbing stick with an accommodating weight rating. Ideally, the weight rating should be higher than 300 lbs (136.07 kg).
If you’re taller than the average person, too, you’ll want your climbing stick’s design to provide plenty of space for your body and feet.
Let’s review a climbing stick that meets these criteria.
XOP Short climbing sticks may be shorter than the regular size XOP Climbing stick, but they’re sturdy with plenty of space in their design for tall bodies.
The 350-pound (158.75 kg) maximum weight rating means it can handle a broader range of body weights, unlike many other sticks that can only handle climbers weighing up to 300 lbs (136.07 kg).
Meanwhile, the shorter and stockier design adds comfort and security, making climbing an easier and more comfortable experience for plus-sized individuals.
While on the subject of climbing ease and comfort features, let’s talk about the arch step technology. This patented technology allows the steps to conform to your boots, making climbing easier and safer for individuals with larger feet.
The heat-treated steel fast strap buttons make hanging virtually effortless, while the deeper-than-usual stand-off bracket adds more clearance between the tree and your boot for extra stability.
XOP Short Climbing sticks are also easy to carry. The sticks are easily stackable, as they attach nimbly to the various hang-on to form a portable package.
Plus, each section weighs only 2 lbs (0.90 kg), so it won’t take a toll on your body to carry these sticks across the woods.
The downside to this sturdy, accommodating product is the height. Being shorter than most sets means you’ll likely need an additional stick for taller trees.
- Comfortable and easy to use for hunters of various sizes
- Strong and sturdy
- Lightweight and portable
- The shorter design calls for extra sticks when climbing taller trees
Hopefully I have provided some insights into finding the best climbing sticks to match your needs. Personally, if you are still unsure I’d go with the Guide Gear brand and you can’t go wrong. They go overboard on durability and safety and those are the most important features for activities like saddle hunting, bar none.
Thanks for reading!
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