What are the Best Climbing Sticks? Check out My Favorites!
What do you normally use to access your hang-on tree stand? Some hunters use screw-in tree steps while some prefer ladders. I personally like using climbing sticks because I find them easier to install and safer to use.
If you’re planning to buy a set of climbing sticks for your next hunting trip, then this article may help. I will share the advantages of using climbing sticks and the things you need to consider before buying them.
Then I will tell you what I think are the best climbing sticks that you can choose from.
**Below, you find more detailed reviews but you can also click links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.
Pros of Using Climbing Sticks
There have been a lot of debates going on about the pros and cons of using climbing sticks as opposed to using screw-in tree steps. While all sides of the argument have a point, climbing sticks have a number of advantages that hunters should consider when making their choice:
1. Easy to Install
I find that climbing sticks are a lot easier to install than tree steps, especially if you don’t relish the idea of hanging from a harness for long periods of time.
To set up your climbing sticks, you don’t really need any additional tools, as long as you have all the parts in place. Here’s a simple demonstration on how to install climbing sticks, just to give you an idea of how easy it is.
2. Safer to Use
Climbing sticks are generally safer to use than screw-in tree steps. Once you’ve locked them onto the tree, they should be strong and sturdy enough to carry your weight as you make your way up to your hang-on tree stand.
Because the tree steps are screwed in, it’s quite easy for them to puncture your legs and other body parts if they are set up incorrectly or if you accidentally slip or fall from your tree stand.
3. Stealthy and Silent
It is usually easier to camouflage climbing sticks once they’re set up on a tree. Some brands even allow you to take out the first two steps so that nobody can see them. This is important because other hunters may be enticed to use them to get up on your stand or steal your sticks outright.
Climbing sticks also tend to be quieter during transport, so you don’t alert other hunters and your game of your location. And as long as they’re set up correctly, good-quality climbing sticks will remain silent, even during unfavorable weather conditions.
When you install climbing sticks, you normally just tie the rope or strap around the tree trunk, push the step a little to lock it, and that’s it. I think this is more eco-friendly than tree steps, which require you to tear into the tree just so you can screw it in place.
Things to Consider When Buying Climbing Sticks
Many climbing sticks are made of durable steel with a powdered coat finish, and these usually last for a very long time. However, these models tend to be slightly expensive so not everyone may be able to afford them.
If you’re more budget conscious, you can look for models made of aluminum instead. They may not be as heavy-duty as steel brands, but they are usually cheaper and more lightweight.
2. Ease of Setup
Look for climbing sticks that are easy to install. Before you buy a model, you may want to read through the instruction manual first to check if you are able to follow its instructions.
If possible, get climbing sticks with ratchet straps because they provide additional safety during installation. You can also use compression straps because they are easier to use, but I still prefer ratchet straps because they tend to be more solid.
3. Noise Level
The slightest noise can make or break your hunting game. Look for climbing sticks that make as little noise as possible or none at all. It also pays to read the instruction manual more closely. Sometimes, it’s not really the product that’s causing the noise but the incorrect way you set it up.
Durable steel climbing sticks are often more expensive but they tend to be better in quality. There are also inexpensive brands that are relatively good but don’t expect them to last as long as the more expensive brands.
When making a decision based on price, I usually consider if the investment I will make on this product is worth the money I’m paying. If it is, then I don’t really mind shelling out extra cash if the product is more convenient to use and will last a longer time.
The Best Climbing Sticks
If you think that all cheap climbing sticks are flimsy, then think again. The Guide Gear 20” Climbing Sticks are one of the most inexpensive brands out there, but they still offer value for your money.
These climbing sticks are easy to assemble—you just need to line up the joints and holes and connect them with each other. I like that the joints are flexible so you can make slight changes in case the tree isn’t straight.
My biggest concern about this model is that it is a bit hard to transport from one place to another. The bars make it hard to stack the pieces together, so you may need to make several trips if you don’t have a cart or trolley.
Also, while Guide Gear’s product is strong and sturdy, there’s a chance that the climbing sticks may get rusted. I suggest coating them with a layer of paint just to be sure. It will be additional work, but it shouldn’t be a big problem for the amount of savings you just made.
- Easy to assemble and set up on a tree
- Strong and sturdy
- Flexible joints that can adjust to a tree’s contour
- One of the cheapest brands in the market
- Not very portable
- Possibility of rusting if not taken care of properly
- Steps may not alternate properly if assembled incorrectly
The Lone Wolf 4-piece Climbing Sticks may not be the cheapest brand in the market, but I think the additional dollars you shell out is money well spent.
This model is one of my favorite climbing sticks because it is so light and portable. It is also very quiet, which is good because you don’t want to alert other hunters and your game where you’re set up, right?
While it may be light in terms of weight, this Lone Wolf product is still very strong and sturdy. You won’t have to worry about falling off while you’re up in the tree, as long as you’ve set up the sticks properly.
I also like the idea of reversible steps, so it’s very convenient to adjust the position of the steps if you need to. The V-brackets also pivot as needed so they match the tree’s natural contour, no matter how straight or rugged it is.
- Light and easy to carry around
- Easy to install and take down
- Strong and sturdy
- With convenient reversible steps
- Pivoting V-brackets match a tree’s natural contour
- Can fit trees of 4 to 22-inch diameters
- Connecting points can still be widened
- Design can be improved so that feet will be positioned side by side
- Single steps only
Millennium Treestands are usually known for their good quality and beautifully designed products. The M210 20” Stick Climber is a beauty to look at, with its strong steel construction that is finished with a powder coating.
This model can fit around trees of up to 7 feet in diameter because of its long cam buckle straps. It is also pretty sturdy and can carry weights of up to 300 pounds.
I’ve noticed, however, that this Millennium Treestand product tends to squeak and makes a grating noise especially during windy days. This may be problematic because it will disclose your location not only to your game but to other hunters as well.
While the anti-nubs on the steps make climbing the steps more secure, the straps have no hooks so there’s a chance you might fall out during installation if you position yourself the wrong way.
- Made of durable strong steel with a powder coated finish
- Fitted with 7-foot cam buckles straps to accommodate a variety of tree diameters
- Steps come with anti-slip nubs for additional safety
- Can carry weights of up to 300 pounds
- Can get a bit noisy and squeaky, especially on windy days
- Steps may be a little harder to install than other brands
- Straps without hooks may be a safety issue
I find that the Muddy Pro Sticks are very easy to set up, as long as you read the instruction manual properly. I love the rope cam system because it makes installation quick and easy - you just need to wrap the rope around the tree, singe it, pull the stick to lock it down, and tie a secure knot. And voila, you’re done!
I want to emphasize on reading the instruction manual properly because this model tends to create noise when it is not installed correctly. Make sure the bark biting mechanism is separated from the tube stock body because this is what makes the grating noise. Otherwise, I think it is just as silent as other tree sticks.
I like the solid aluminum used in the Muddy Pro Sticks because it makes the sticks a bit lightweight. The sticks are also easy to climb because of the double rung system. Price range is also relatively higher than other brands.
- Easy to set up and comes with easy-to-follow instruction manual
- Features a rope cam system for easier installation
- Made from solid and durable aluminum
- Double rung system for easier climbing experience
- May squeak if not set up properly
- More expensive than other brands
I think that the Summit Treestands Bucksteps is a mixture of good characteristics and those that can use some improvements. First off, I find that this model has a good, firm grip on trees, even those that are a bit hard to climb. It comes with straps with reinforced webbing so it attaches quickly on trees. The steps are quite big and easy to put your feet on, too.
However, it can get a bit loud during transport and installation. It is also not the easiest climbing sticks to set up because the pieces are a bit bulky. I also find that some sections chip easily when not taken care of properly.
The price is in the middle range of many climbing sticks, so you won’t feel like you’ve wasted money on a set.
- Made of durable aluminum
- Comes with straps with reinforced webbing
- Has a firm grip on trees
- Slip-proof steps make it easier and safer to climb up
- Can carry weights of up to 260 pounds
- Price is in the middle range of climbing sticks
- Can be a bit loud during setup
- Bulky and may be a little hard to transport
- Pain may chip easily
If you prefer a climbing stick set that you can adjust depending on your height requirement, then you might want to check out the Big Dog 20” Double-step Climbing Sticks.
Because the set doesn’t have a top piece, it is easy to install or take out an additional step or two, depending on your needs. My only concern about this setup is that it may be a bit dangerous because you may end up hurting yourself if you accidentally fall off your stand.
This safety issue aside, this Big Dog model is relatively cheap but can still carry heavy weights. I also like the idea of angled double steps, so it’s a bit easier to climb. The sticks are made of steel so you can feel secure about their durability.
Note, though, that this set does not come with ratchet straps so you may want to invest on one first before you start installing it.
- Adjustable height
- Made of durable steel
- Angled double steps for quicker and easier climbing
- Tree braces are extended for safer climbing
- Cheaper than some brands
- Lack of top piece may be a safety hazard
- Does not come with its own ratchet straps
- Heavier than other models
- A little harder to set up
My favorite climbing sticks are the Lone Wolf 4-piece Climbing Sticks because they are so light and easy to set up. While it may be more expensive than other steel-constructed models like the Millennium Treestands M210 and Big Dog 20” Double-Step Climbing Stick, I find that its design is more durable and its reversible steps are easier to use.
If you’re on a tight budget, you may also want to consider the Guide Gear 20” Climbing Sticks. I find that it is easy to set up and can easily adapt to the contour of the tree. And with its very cheap price tag, you won’t have to worry about purchasing more than one set.