The forest is yours when you add the best climbing tree stand for crossbow hunting to your arsenal. Unlike ladder stands, you have the option to stay mobile with a climber. Plus, there’s no need to worry about stand theft. Because you never know when an opportunistic forest dweller might like what he sees. When choosing a climber stand for crossbow hunting, it’s a little easier than for compound bow hunting.
The advantage of using a crossbow is the ability to rest your crossbow on the front bar. Compound bowhunters don’t have that luxury. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about other elements restricting your movements which allows you to opt for the most comfortable climbers. In this guide, we share our top-rated climbers for crossbow hunting. And our only words of caution are that you might find some of these stands so comfortable that staying awake can be a challenge.
How to Choose a Climbing Tree Stand for Crossbow Hunting
First, we want to share a short checklist of considerations to keep in mind while browsing our top picks:
- Materials – Typically, old-school climbers are made of steel, and these models are more affordable. We tossed in a steel stand for good measure, though, we prefer to stick with aluminum. Aluminum stands are not only lighter, but they also last longer than steel stands.
- Weight Restrictions – For big guys, it’s best not to fiddle around too much with the recommended weight restriction. After all, we want you to hunt safely. Also, tall hunters will find that stands built for big guys are more suitable for them.
- Silent Operation – The last thing you want is a creaky stand that quarry hears from a mile away. By choosing quality brands with well-thought-out designs, armrest padding, and higher quality materials, you get as close to silent as possible.
- Comfort – Last but not certainly not least is comfort. Since you’ll be parked in your stand for hours at a time, comfort plays a key role in making your final decision. In this guide, you’ll find nothing but comfort because we don’t skip that feature.
Moving right along to the reviews…
Best Climbing Tree Stands for Crossbow Hunting Reviewed
We did our absolute best to provide you with all the information you need to make your final decision as easy as pie. Also, for good measure, we tossed in all the most important pros & cons to consider for each stand.
#1) Summit Viper SD
Summit’s Viper SD climber has yet to be dethroned as the best all-around climber on the market. If you hunt with a rifle and crossbow, it doesn’t get any better than this blend of function and comfort. First, the combination of Summit’s QuickDraw cable system and RapidClimb stirrups make this stand one of the easier climbers to use for all skill levels.
With the QuikDraw system, once you connect the stand to a tree (8 to 20″ diameter), you simply slide the cable lug to the back of the bracket until it automatically clicks into place. Folks, it doesn’t really get any easier than this. Next, the RapidClimb stirrups are compatible with any boot and will keep you secured to the platform during your ascent.
As for comfort, Summit’s full backrest is one of the most comfortable on the market. Also, you won’t feel any metal poking through the seat which is another huge plus. A couple of final specs to consider are the 300lb weight limit, and the stand itself weighs just 20 lbs. Finally, one of the most important design aspects is Summit’s DeadMetal Sound Deadening Technology to minimize metal-to-metal contact with the use of expanding foam.
- Sound-dampening tech for stealthy operation
- Padded front bar to rest your crossbow
- Includes a full-body safety harness
- Lightweight at 20 lbs
- Supports up to 300 lbs
- 5-year warranty
- Quick & easy to use for all skill levels
- Footrest sold separately
- Does not fold completely flat
- Summit includes its cheapest harness
#2) Summit 180 MAX SD
This list wouldn’t be complete without the most comfortable climber on the market. Whether you’re a big & tall guy who needs the extra room or you just prefer the highest level of comfort, the 180 MAX SD is the top of the mountain. Unlike backrests featured on most stands, the 180 Max takes comfort to the next level by featuring a full wrap-around backrest. Plus, the reason Summit calls it the 180 is it gives you enough room to spin around and face the tree.
So, if you want a stand to do both compound bow and crossbow hunting, this is the one. Because with this stand, you don’t have to worry about size restrictions or obstructions. Speaking of size, the 180 MAX SD has the highest maximum weight capacity in the Summit lineup at 350lbs. Although, the tradeoff for all these goodies is the higher weight of the stand.
Weighing in at 26lbs, the 180 MAX is a good bit heavier than the Viper SD. Beyond weight, one of our favorite features on this stand is the fully-padded armrest that helps to eliminate noise due to accidental contact altogether. Comparatively, you might find that you need to add padding to the Viper SD. Lastly, the 180 has a slightly larger platform than the Viper SD.
- The most comfortable climbing tree stand for crossbow hunting
- A good choice for bowhunters who use compound bows and crossbows
- More padding on the armrest to eliminate noise
- A larger usable platform area
- Max weight capacity of 350lbs
- Our top pick for big & tall hunters
- The same 5-year Summit warranty
- Heavier than other models at 26lbs
- On the pricey side
- You might or might not find the pockets to be useful
#3) Hawk Treestands Warbird Climber Bone Collector
Our favorite alternative to Summit’s Viper SD is Hawk’s Warbird. First, the biggest advantage of choosing this model is the lay-flat folding design. With the lay-flat design, the Hawk stand is easier to carry on your back and slide away for storage. On the other hand, the biggest disadvantage is that it’s not quite as comfy as a Summit stand.
Beyond those two points, Hawk went the extra mile on this stand to ensure stealth operation. By this, we mean there are no weak weld points, and the platform webbing is quieter than stands with hollow aluminum tubing. Next, you’ll find that Hawk stands climb trees just as well as Summit with Hawk’s auto-latch cable system.
Essentially, the auto-latch system is Hawke’s version of Summit’s QuikDraw system. Several specs to consider are the 300lb weight limit, 22.5lb stand weight, and the platform measures 21″ x 34″. Comparatively, the Warbird weighs a couple more lbs than the Viper SD, and the platforms are roughly the same size. Also, Hawke does provide a 1-year warranty, which isn’t on par with Summit, yet.
- Hawk’s lay-flat tech for easier & quieter transportation
- The platform is large and matches the Viper SD size
- No hollow tubing on the platform to worry about
- One of the quietest climbers available
- Supports up to 300 lbs
- Climbs trees just as well as a Summit stand
- 1-year warranty compared to Summit’s 5-year
- Not quite as comfy as a Summit
- A bit heavier than the Viper SD
#4) OL’MAN TREESTANDS Alumalite CTS Climbing Tree Stand
After Summit and Hawk, stands Ol’Man Treestands, now by Millennium. Basically, Millennium took the classic Ol’Man Treestand climber and made it even better by swapping out the steel for aluminum. This switch alone brought the overall weight of the stand down to 21lbs, which falls between Summit’s SD and Hawk’s Warbird. Also, this stand matches both stands’ max weight capacity at 300lbs.
The main reason we put this stand after Summit and Hawk is comfort. It’s important to consider that this stand is not built for comfort like a Summit stand. Consequently, you might actually like that if you tend to fall asleep too easily in a Summit stand. Plus, on this stand, you don’t have to worry about a backrest restricting your movements or obstructing your view when you turn toward the tree.
Next, the platform on this stand is smaller than the Warbird and Viper SD at 18″ x 32″. While that is a fairly generous size that won’t make you feel like you’re standing on a postage stamp, it’s not as roomy as our preceding picks. Finally, one standout feature on this stand that you might prefer is the higher front bar position for resting your crossbow more comfortably.
- Nifty oval aluminum tubing design
- Lightweight at 21 lbs
- No obstructions to worry about when you face toward the tree
- The higher front bar position for resting your bow or rifle
- Easy operation
- Not as comfy as Summit or Hawk, no backrest
- Smaller platform than our previous picks
- Wide-set folks might feel a bit cramped
- 1-year warranty is shorter than Summit
#5) XOP Ambush Sit and Climb Treestand
Our final pick is by XOP. Firstly, this model is the lightest in our guide at 18lbs, and it’s one of the slimmest when folded. Similar to Hawk’s Warbird, the Ambush folds down to just 4″, and while that is impressive, it’s still not as flat as Hawk’s Warbird. Secondly, this stand is seriously heavy-duty for being so lightweight considering it’s rated to hold up to 350lbs. And don’t worry, it meets ASTM Standards for treestand safety, and it’s TMA certified.
Next, we really like the platform on this stand because it’s roomy at 19.5″ x 30″, and it skips the hollow tubing in favor of solid webbing. Beyond those specs, this stand brings some unique tech to the table including its “Arch” design that provides 5″ of extra clearance to easily navigate past cut limbs and other obstacles.
Finally, you might prefer the seat design featured on the Sit and Climb more than other models. It falls somewhere between the comfort offered by Summit and Hawk. Also, it’s available in both Standard and XL sizes, so be sure to check out which size suits you best when you choose this stand.
- Quiet operation
- Very light at just 18 lbs
- Folds nearly flat, down to just 4″
- The standard size holds up to 350 lbs
- Easy to navigate over obstacles during your ascent
- There’s a bit of a learning curve to avoid slipping
- 1-year warranty
- You might not be a fan of the seat
The best climbing tree stand for crossbow hunting is a Summit stand followed closely by Hawk. First-time stand owners and beginner bowhunters will find that Summit stands are the easiest to use. Longtime climbers and veteran stand hunters will find that Hawk stands are right on par with Summit. The ability to lay the Warbird flat and the innovative platform design are two of the Warbird’s greatest selling points.
Now, if comfort is what you’re after first and foremost, then stick with Summit’s 180 MAX SD or the Goliath model. Additionally, both of those models are the best on the market for big & tall hunters. Finally, if you prefer a stand without a backrest, Ol’Man’s climber is our top pick in that category. All in all, those are the points to consider when choosing your next stand.