Contributors to this thread:
For years I've used tree steps to get up and down from my stands, but am considering climbing sticks as a better, safer and easier alternative. I have a number of stands but, even with taking out the bottom 4 steps and locking them to a tree, theft is a problem. So, to stay portable and avoid theft, I'd like to get a setup that I can carry. For that purpose I am using a Millenium M100 stand and am looking for sticks to carry with it. I think they should be faster and easier to use than treesteps - particularly on frozen trees. Any recommendations?
Lone Wolf. I can get about 23' to my platform with 4 sticks.
I've only ever tried Lone Wolf, but I am very happy with them. I set up and take down each hunt, and am so happy to use climbing sticks instead of steps. Just not a big fan of steps.
I love my Lone Wolf steps. I've been tempted to try Hawk Helium steps, as they get good reviews, but I've never pulled the trigger on any.
I've used Lone Wolf, Leverage, & Muddy Aerolite...I have no problem with any of these 3. The Lone Wolf sticks are more expensive and the Muddy & Leverage sticks are double rung (I like this feature).
Another vote of Lone Wolf
The ones I have now looked at are around 30" long. Many come as a 3 pack. How many do you use and how high do you get? By my math (feel free to correct me!), with 15" space from the ground to the first, and 15" between each, you would only get around 11-12 feet up. I usually like to be a little higher with my stands. Do you use 3 or 4?
I usually space mine greater than 15". But not always. 3 Lone Wolf sticks is plenty for some cover types, like closer to field edges or trees with good cover. 4 is plenty for most other situations where I hunt. I've never needed more than 4, but I'm also picky with the trees I use. I'd much rather hunt 12 to 14 feet up than 20+.
My Hawk Heliums are only about 8 hunts deep, so I can't attest to their longevity, but I really like them.
Muddy Aerolites look nice too. They have a rope system that a lot of people are really fond of. Muddy also makes a smaller two-step version if that is your cup of tea.
Those are the two I looked at, and having researched a lot, the ones I would recommend.
Lone Wolf's get a lot of love, but I just hate the idea of the single-step design. It kind of boggles my mind they never came out with a double step like Heliums or Aerolites. It has to be any day now, those guys have to be just killing them in market share.
A lot of people that do buy ones with straps end up doing a "rope mod". Just something for you to look into. I haven't switched mine but I plan to at some point.
I use 3 sticks, with webbing aiders on the bottom 2. The aiders do require a bit more athleticism, but it's something I would look into. Lots of other posts and youtube vids on them. That gets me to 18 feet, I could probably do 20 if I really stretched it out. 3 sticks, I would say you are going to max out around 12 feet without the aiders. I've practiced and I am comfortable with the "one stick method"...a little more outside the box, that can get you as high as you want to go, but I really don't see needing to use it ever. 18 feet is plenty.
For carrying them, I see a lot of people stack them, which I never saw as logical because it throws your center of gravity way back and catches brush. I individually bungee mine to my stand flat. There's a cool product called Stick Talons that employs a similar concept.
Another Lone Wolf/XOP user. They are essentially the same stick. I use them with the same make hang on stands. They are made to stack or mesh with those stands, but will probably attach to others with minimal issues I would think. I usually use 4 sticks on most of my setups. Have used more than that on occasion, but if running and gunning my setup is 4. Even if I’m not that high, I find it easier as well as safer to get even or above your stand and step down onto the platform.
Some guys fill the tubing with foam to make them quieter. Sounds like a very good idea but I keep forgetting to do it! I also paint the top of my steps (where you place your foot) white. It makes it a lot easier to see where they are at when getting down at dark thirty.
Smart t-roy I'll have to paint top of my steps as well.
I use 3 steps. I place the first one prob an honest minimum 25" off the ground. Then I'll do the rest with about a 20" gap. That gets me about 13 feet to the top of the steps. I usually place my stand another foot or more above that. I've definitely screwed that up a number of times where you're doing the whole "laying on the platform trying to craw on ordeal" lol. This gets me to prime height in my neck of the woods. If I go higher I'm into the canopy and shooting lanes are drastically cut down. Because I hang new every hunt I don't want to be into the canopy and unable to shoot. I used to carry 4 sticks then realized I don't need it.
Is step 'depth' (distance from the tree) an issue to consider? With larger boots I would be concerned about only getting my toes on, and I do have big feet (13's). Also, in the same vein, any considerations with step width?
I have the Lone Wolf and they are good but I wish they were double rung.
You might want to consider rope on steps instead.Cranford's are probably the best.They're lighter less bulk and IMO safer since your feet are on two separate steps should the rope or strap fail.
I use the same set up as elk yinzer. 4 lone wolf sticks, all with tubular webbing aiders attached and all with the rope modification. 4 sticks with the aiders will get you as high as you want to go, well over 20 feet i'd imagine. I love the rope mod...it's not only lighter, but I think faster, easier, and quieter.
Just make sure you use the proper knots for the webbing and right size rope.
I have both LW and muddy with the rope. I much prefer my muddy sticks due to they are shorter and use the rope system.
I use three sticks and a loop of rope hanging from the bottom of each. I can get 21 foot with this system. I'm in really good shape and part monkey with lots of practice. I only hang and hunt so everything goes up with me and down with me. I'm actually pretty dang good at it as well. Climbed down Sunday morning with a 2 year old buck bedded 12 yards from me. He never heard me until I was back on the ground packing stuff up. Once he saw me he was real surprised.
An honest 20' with only 3 sticks? Are you guys 7' tall?
Do you use a climbing rope with a harness?
Crawling up on the stand platform is a recipe for a fall, sooner or later. Much better to step down onto the platform. I use 4 sticks and get 16-18' if I push it. But I don't like crawling onto the platform.
I am 18 feet up right now at this moment with 3 sticks. 2 step aider on bottom stick puts me 8'. I have a one step aider on second stick. A third aider would get me 20 but I don't need to go that high. I step up about 6 inches, easier to hang the stand that way, but I am hooked in 100% of the time and double tethered for the transition. Also climbed today with a bedded semi alert doe 51 yards away. She is still there. I used to be a summit climber guy but this method is quickly taking preference.
I have the Muddy sticks with a sling for the bottom step..... lots of scenarios I can't imagine having only one step.
But then, i don't have the cat like reflexes I once had- grin- its more of a drag my azz up the tree.
I like the looks of that XOP stick. I may have to grab some of those. Are they shiny?
That's my only problem with the Lone wolf sticks. They are shiny. I've covered mine up with tape.
Being in Canada, I have found the selection here to be really poor. Can't find Hawk, XOP, Muddy, etc. I did find Muddy Stagger steps at Cabelas. Can't find these on the Muddy website - any experience with these?
I foam-filled my Lone Wolf sticks, and also taped them. Quiet as a church mouse now....
Herd what foam did you use?? Like an expanding window insulating spray????
I use 4 LW sticks also. It is a stretch for me to get to 20' with 4 steps. LW sticks are 32" long. So if you put 24" between sticks and put the stand around level with the top step like you should for safety, that is just over 18'. If you can put 28" between sticks you can get to 20'. 28" is stretching it for me, but I'm fine hunting in that 16-18 foot high range. Four LW sticks will weigh 10 pounds. So if you are hiking in a ways, and especially up bigger hills it is quite a bit of weight. My LW Alpha stand weighs 14 pounds + Sticks = 24 pounds. Add the weight of my bow and fanny and heavy clothes and I'm carrying a lot of weight. Maybe 35-40 extra pounds. I'm a sweating mess when I top some of the hills I hunt in Iowa. I'm seriously thinking the LW Hand Climber might be the best option for me. But I like the versatility of the Alpha and sticks.
I meant my fanny pack, not my "fanny". LOL. Also wanted to say that I hang and hunt every hunt. It takes me about 12 minutes +/-, to get up the tree. It probably takes a couple minutes less to get down with everything.
I used Great Stuff foam. Pop off an end cap and spray, just don't use too much. It really expands.
12yards..... sounds like you should look into finding a used treesaddle or get one of the Aero hunter kestrels! You could lighten your load by 10-15lbs probably...
Saddle type hunting is so versatile I'm not sure why anyone who is in moderate shape wouldn't be doing it. At 27yrs old and in very good shape many of my friends who are also in good shape wont even look at this style of hunting.... maybe because it requires effort?
With a good set of sticks and my saddle I feel so stealthy and unstoppable! One afternoon hunt last year I was 3 sticks up with 1 more left to go while climbing, and had a buck come in and bed down at 20 yards facing me. I was able to set my last stick, climb up on top, set my tree ropes, and pull my bow up without him noticing my movement or hearing me. Try that with a climber!
I'm 54 and in good shape but I don't know anything about that method of hunting. Is there any stand involved?
Saddle reaper - climbers have their downsides but stealth is not one of them. Anyone who says it is has never seen me climb a tree with proper technique. I wouldn't mind trying a saddle, they seem kinda cool, but the investment just to try one out is too much. They are definitely a niche thing, it's not like treestands are misery. I've never had a deer get away I feel would have been dead from a saddle.
I guess that I'm the different one here as I like the Chippewa Wedge Loc sticks. Have been using them for about 10 years now. Much better that the LW that I used for the prior 8 years. Still have the LW but have not used them for 10 years. I make the straps and leave them in the tree. Much safer than trying to throw a strap around a tree like the LW.
I have been considering the Wild Edge Steppladder. Seem easy to use and only 8 lbs. Thinking this and a light Hang on Stand to replace my climber since so many trees are out of the question with a typical climber.
Wild Edge Steppladder
hmmm....This style might be a good option. Any thoughts/drawbacks to this idea?
Also, still hoping for feedback on the Muddy Stagger Steps I mentioned. Thanks.
Anyone have a picture of your step aider or strap
I use Rapid Rails and liked them, has anyone else have any comments about them?
ARROWONEPY I don't have a pic, but all I have is a loop of rope with some paracord threaded in for a stirrup. You tube will have videos on how to. Works awesome.
Cheesehead Mike's Link
I also use rapid rails for quick setups. I like them I modified the attachment. I use nylon ropes
Cheesehead Mike's Link
Here's the link to the YouTube video on making the webbing extensions.
He said to order 9 feet of webbing and that was way too long for me. I don't know how he put his foot in the loop and be able to get his other foot up to the first step. He must be a lot more acrobatic than me. I ended up making mine a lot shorter and probably closer to 7 feet of webbing per extension.
One modification I did was to slide a piece of 7/16" rubber fuel line hose into the webbing to make the stirrup. It works really well.
Here's a crappy picture of one of my LW sticks with camo tape on it, the rope conversion and the tubular webbing extension.
If anybody has a source for rope that is green or camo, anything other than blue, please let me know.
I like the REI rope, personally.
I am going away from the individual sticks to just one long ladder style Stick.
Menards home improvement store had these 25 foot for 49.00
With so many recent threads of tree stand failure threads I thought it would be much safer using a single stick that is supported from the earth.
If you are planning to be mobile, a single ladder will be incredibly heavy, awkward, and a general PITA!!
KellyHarris, Menards will have them on sale cheaper. I think I seen the 25" stick ladder recently for $29 or $39.
I was in there the other night and saw them.
I just asked Michele and she told me she checked the receipt and I did pay 39.00 each
The photo shows 20 ft but I got the 25 feet.
They are a bit heavy but when I set up my stand I can get the 4 wheeler somewhat close so weight is not an issue
Thanks arbe25. I bought my rope from REI and it has more blue in it than what is shown in their ad.
For the rope conversion I used lifelines from menards when they went on sale. 30’ for around $22. They are usually black or green.
Mike that's funny. Because when I bought it it was a whole lot more yellow/orange than the ad.
sportsman guide base 25' sticks that go on sale for 38.99.....
Rit dye works well to color your ropes.
I use the LW for when being portable but I also just bought a set of the Chippewa stiks and they are very nice. If I am setting multiple stands like out of state I use a lot of the 3 piece sets from sportsmans guide for 27 bucks. I have 10 sets of those at least, I do not really worry if they get stolen and in the last 10 years going out to the mid west to hunt I have never had a set taken. For your purpose the LW or Chippewa would be the way to go. Shawn
I have a single stick. It's hard to use it the tree is not perfectly straight. Or widens significantly at the base. For straight trees they are fine
Thanks for the tips guys. arbe25, I like the color of your ropes way better than mine...
Cheesehead Mike's Link
For you guys that have switched out your straps for rope, how are you hooking the loose end of the rope? Half hitch?
Rock, watch the video at my link...
Just received my EOP sticks from Eders.com. They extend further from the tree, have a step that is about 1/3 longer than my LW's, and they stack and lock into each other. The middle step has an elongated end that fits into a slot on the stick below it and by turning the step upright locks it in. I will let you know after trying them how they work. Also they are in Mossy Oak camo so no need for tape.
Was not aware people were using the strap step. Not sure I would try it, but I can see where it would be great for younger, more agile guys than myself:)
As the season progresses and I wear bigger boots, I think the increased stand away distance and longer steps will be appreciated.