Contributors to this thread:
Best safety harness any why
Well after years of being stubborn I have finally decided it is time to buy a safety harness for treestand hunting.
I have always used just a basic game tracker belt harness, but after 15 years of use it is shot. So I need to buy a new harness.
I want something that allows me to move freely in tree, I have seen so many hunters on TV and friends of mine miss shot chances because the harness was in the way or would not allow them to move the way they needed to. This was main reason I used the belt.
So any suggestions welcome and appreciated.
Pat did a feature on testing several of the more popular harnesses, and I think the Summit came in first - search the features.
I have an SOP and like it. I think the vest style may be slightly easier to put on, but too heavy for hot weather for me. The SOP does not tangle up too bad like the cheap ones that come with the tree stands.
Personally I use the Hunter Safety System. I like it because it is comfortable, easy to slip on and off, and gives me peace of mind. They also have some neat features like a range finder pocket. The downside is the leg buckles, which are metal (like a seatbelt buckle) can be noisy if your release touches them or something. The ones that come with many of the stands in my opinion are not as user friendly or comfortable. Anyways, hope that helps.
Thanks, just looked at the features test and that helps some.
I would still like to hear from as many fellow hunters as possible to get a overall view of everyones ideas.
My preference is the HSS vest and mainly due beause of the ease of use and comfort.
I've worn a vest for several years now and never gave much thought to what I wore or how I wore it. I took a Treestand Safety Course, and later took the Treestand Safety Instructor course and can say I think much differntly now about FIT, DURATION OR SERVICE LIFE of the vest, and connecting to the tree.
Whether you buy a vest/harness by SOP, HSS, or the Controlled Descent models that Woody's mentioned are adjusting the vest correctly - meaning it must be snug, to the point of almost being tight, especially in the crotch areafor obvious reasons.
Connecting to the tree is equally critical - make sure your tether is set so that there's 'little' noticable slack in it when you're sitting. Those guys on TV tend to keep the tether loose and lower than their shoulders, which can result in muffed shots due to the tether draping over the shoulder or arm. You want to be able to move side to side and lean forward a bit but not too much.
I think the TMA mandated all vests/harnesses include a DVD showing how to wear the vest and attach to the tree, along with a Suspension Relief Device - the purpose of that is to help prevent suspension trauma (which can fatal) and facilitate self-rescue.
Self rescue is pretty easy if you don't panic - simply rotate yourself to face the stand's platform and slowly climb back on. The Suspension Relief Device will help buy you some time if you employ the techniques shown on the DVD.
The 'shelf life' on the vests and harnesses was always something I never thought about but after thinking about it and the fact we're wearing them day in and day out in all types of weather it makes sense to replace them every few years.
Sorry to have been so long winded.
The one you like, that fits and you'll wear. Because if you wear it it'll save your ass.
Seat O the Pants!!
If you wear it properly, it will NEVER be in the way when shooting. I can turn all the way around to my right (right-handed) and shoot.
I really like the Muddy Harness it's light weight and doesn't take a lot of room to pack it in.
My summit climber came with a basic harness, this is the only one I have ever used. Is there any major advantage to buying a different one or is my current harness sufficient?
I use one of the ones that came with a Summit Climber. I like it cause it's the lightest I've come across and easy to put on and take off.
I bought a HSS Pro and couldn't deal with the weight..too heavy duty for me. Gave it to a friend for a Xmas present. Had a Summit SOP with the pouch in the back and it was too heavy also. Am thinking seriously about a Muddy Waters. This Summit harness I"ve been using is getting pretty old and the ones that came with other Summit Climbers I've bought aren't the same.
I like the SOP because I can wear it under my jacket so that its never in the way.
SOP Fastback. Comfortable, safe, and easy to wear under outer layers.
I think the Muddy has the built in bino holder that I have been trying to figure out how to make for my SOP. Very nice feature.
Sold my HSS for a Muddy and I am super happy with it. Light, comfortable, hold binos and is very well made.
Pat Lefemine's Link
loggy bayou transformer , very comfortable easy to get on doesn't get all tangled
SOP Fastback for me. And I have tested them all. It is lightweight, easy to put on, and gives me total flexibility in the tree to move 360 degrees. It was designed by Keith Jones who has been designing safety harnesses for hunters while we were all still tying ropes around our waist.
During my last test I tested the Muddy and that was the only one I recommended against after doing a fall test. The leg straps were super thin and dig into your legs - very uncomfortable if you fall. If they have, or do fix that then it will be a very good harness.
I had issues with the HSS vest in a previous test but they fixed it now. It is the easiest to put on hands down but it is a bit bulky for my tastes but many people like the versatility of having the vest over their clothing.
I did test the CDS but not the controlled descent model. I did like the vest, it was comfortable for both the fall and normal wear. They also sent me the Controlled descent vest as well but I did not included it as part of the test. I found it difficult to repackage after I pulled out the line and never tried it again. But that is a small matter since who cares how hard it is to repackage if it just saved your ass in a fall. It was heavy though and a bit bulky in the back since it needed to contain all that fall rope. So if you don't like bulk you will probably not like this system.
They all have their strengths and weaknesses. Whatever you choose make sure you wear it. All of them stopped my fall and they will all stop yours as well.
Good luck, be safe - Pat
Anybody else have an opinion on the CDSII? Sure sounds like the way to go.
HSS has a new ultra light harness system that looks good. Anyone get one yet?
I use a climbing harness, for hunting I added a top harness that came with a stand, throw in a couple carabiners that I have plastic dip to "quiet" them. I just throw a couple butterfly in a rope to adjust to fit any tree situation. Find it very adaptable, comfortable, quiet, and lightweight. And can use it to aid getting into trees and setting stands safely.
Thanks for all the input guys, any harness will be a struggle for me, remember I have used a linesman belt for twenty years, so it is hard to give up the mobility.
But, I think you really have to have some sort of harness while in the tree.
I've been using a SOP for a few years now and it doesn't impede mobility at all. If anything it increases it by giving you the confidence you won't end up on the ground while twisting or leaning to make a shot. I broke my back several years ago in a non-hunting related fall where I should have been wearing a harness and have been paying the price in chronic pain ever since. Compared with the sleepless nights and all the other problems my injury has given me, wearing that harness is as essential as bringing along my bow. One fall without it and life as you know it can change drastically. I know injuries weren't a part of the question but I hate seeing fellow hunters go through what I've gone through.
I'm looking at the HSS Ultra Lite
I'll ask again, what's wrong with the harness that summit climbers come with? Why would I need to buy a different one? What's the major advantage to a different one?
Can the HSS vests be worn under your other jackets, vests, coats, etc or do they have to be worn over?
Another question I have is that I wear my harness under my outer layer with my collar zipped up all the way I am wondering if the collar will choke me if tension is applied to the harness in the event of a fall, I don't want to risk testing it out.
Muddy harness...really like mine
Grizzly, I doubt it would choke you. When you fall the harness will move up about 8-10" and Should pull your collar open. But it's an interesting question I never thought about. I'll see what Keith Jones says at Summit.
One more vote for Muddy, I am more then happy with mine.
Grizzlyadams, The harness that came with my summit is pretty much the same as the Seat of the Pants (SOP) harness. The sop just came with an attached "fanny pack" to fit the straps and ropes into neatly and efficiently. It also keeps the straps organized and untangled. It allows you to put it on more quickly.
Honestly the best harness is the one you'll use EVERY TIME you climb a tree.I have used SOP for 8 years and have never felt safer climbing trees.
I wouldn't envision a choking hazard coming from a properly worn HSS, or for that matter, any of today's vests.
The key is that you wear them properly and have the tree-strap correctly positioned so there is ONLY MINIMAL SLACK in the tether when you're sitting in the stand.
If you position the tree strap so that it's below your shoulders, or so there's enough slack for you to bend over to tie your boots, or rest under your arm (like some of the TV crowd seems to wear them) you may be in trouble.
As 4406V said - the best harness is the one you'll use EVERY TIME you climb a tree.
I'm the son of Dr. norman wood and was wanting to introduce myself. Feel free to ask me anything about my fathers new safety harness..
Pat, The new model (Rescue One CDS II) safety harness is now much lighter and less bulkier than the original rescue one, also, it comes with a dvd explaining how to repack the harness. Once you've done it once and understand how the harness works its very easy to repack. The Rescue One CDS II can also be worn under outer wear as long as one can reach his or her right shoulder strap to lower themselves down to ground post fall.
Also, I would like to invite everyone on this forum to read a very well written article by my father at http://mountaineer-sports.com/suspensiontrauma.php It is in regards to suspension trauma and how people get killed every year in standard full body harnesses(example, HSS.) I think people dont realize that once you fall out of a tree with you hunter safety system, that your tether has no increased up to two feet because of the break away sections in the tether.. This extra gain in tether length can and does mean the difference between life and death in many instances. I'm a 22 year old weight lifter and, It Is Extremely If not almost IMpossible to pull yourself back up onto your treestand if you fall down below it, I can do pull ups all day!
Have you tested the new Trophyline harness yet?
It is the one that has the nice feature that allows you to basically set in a sling after a fall. Just loosen the straps a bit and set right in the sling. Little to no suspension trauma.
We run those tests every couple of years. We just did it last year so it will be at least 2011 before we do it again. There are some really nice innovation happening all the time in the harness market so we won't wait too long.
Just got my HSS Ultra Light harness. Obviously haven't hunted with it yet but it seems to be a well made harness/vest. The harness could easily fit under your outer wear. It's called Ultra Light but it's a very substantial vest. The tether has no "break away" sections in it so there would not be any give to it in the event of a fall. The vest comes with a nice climbing strap too. Also includes the suspension trauma relief strap that attaches with a caribineer to the back of it. All in all a pretty well thought out harness. I've used the SOP and HSS regular vests for years and this will replace them in my arsenal of gear. And the price was only $95. I'll try and remember to give another report after a few weeks of using it.
I already bought one.....I was just hoping you would do a test fall in it and tell me how it feels. :)
I am sure it will be fine. HSS definately made an effort to address the crotch pinch issue in their original design so I'm sure this new one will be ok. I'm giving the boys a rest this year!
My line of work requires me to use and test fall protection daily. I have heard alot of comments about wearing harnesses under your clothing. Every manufacturer I have ever delt with will tell you NEVER wear clothing of any kind over your harness. Their is just too may things that can go wrong. So whatever you choose I would wear it as your outer layer. Good luck.
Game tracker made a harness that had straps that went around the thighs instead of in the crotch. Way more comfotable to hang in than the ones with the crotch straps. A lot of people have started using the leg suspension system to take weight off the thighs in a fall. Somebody once suggested to carry a second length of line with a loop- if you fall, put it around the trunk and slip your foot in the loop. then stand up. It takes you weight off your thighs. If you set it up well, then you can use it as a step to either climb back into your stand or to reach your tree connection point- then you can loosen that, lower it, let it take your weight again as you move the extra line down. Keep this up until you have climbed down the tree. You can also carry a screw in tree step (put sugical tubing over the point) I keep the extra line in a surplus IFAK pouch attached to the front of my safety harness belt where I can always get to it. A small first aid kit sits with it. My cell phone lives in a compass case on the shoulder of my harness, and a whistle around my neck.
If things go right I'm gonna try a rock climbing harness this year. Seeing pictures of people hanging from a HSS or the like reminds me of people hanging from the gallows.