Top 9 Best Climbing Sticks (2023)

lightweight climbing sticks for hunting

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While screw in tree steps offer an affordable method for climbing, the lightweight, sleek designs of today’s best climbing sticks, along with their simplicity, make them the ideal choice for the hunter who is trying to hike in and get up the tree as quickly and quietly as possible. Whether you’re hunting an easy-to-access field edge or an active scrape a mile back in the timber.

Best Climbing Sticks - Top Picks

(Full List Below)

Best Overall


Best Budget

  • StickLoc pin system for easy stacking
  • DynaLite rope and tab attachment
  • Lightweight, efficient connecting
  • Single step weight: 2lbs
  • Step-to-step height: 18″
  • Weight capacity: 300lbs

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  • Metal-free design
  • Lightweight, 19oz total per stick
  • Compact, 18 inches total length
  • 17″ step-to-step
  • Single-piece design for stability
  • No moving parts
  • 275 lb weight rating

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  • Construction: Aluminum
  • Length Per Stick: 20 inches
  • Fastener Type: Rope Cam System
  • Weight Per Stick: 2.5 pounds
  • Maximum Capacity: 300 pounds
  • Minimum Tree Diameter: 9 inches

   Read more

Best Climbing Sticks - Full List

  • StickLoc pin system for easy stacking
  • DynaLite rope and tab attachment
  • Lightweight, efficient connecting
  • Single step weight: 2lbs
  • Step-to-step height: 18″
  • Weight capacity: 300lbs

The Tethrd Skeletor 4-pack are some of the most lightweight, best climbing sticks on the market.

They were designed for efficiency, ease of use,  and portability. Each step features Tethrd’s DynaLite rope and tab attachment method, foregoing heavy buckles and mechanical parts for simplicity.

With an 18″ step-to-step height, each step has a weight limit of 300lbs and a total weight of 2lbs.

The steps stack neatly for transport using the StickLoc pin system and have a packed length of 24″ and deployed length of 20″.

The total length for a stacked 4-pack is 27″. The dual step design folds away from the tree, providing more room for the your feet during the climb.

If you’re looking for the best lightweight climbing sticks, look no further than the Skeletors.

  • Metal-free design
  • Lightweight, 19oz total per stick
  • Compact, 18 inches total length
  • 17″ step-to-step
  • Single-piece design for stability
  • No moving parts
  • 275 lb weight rating

The Carbon SS Climbing Sticks are a game-changer for mobile hunters. They’re designed with Carbon Speed Series Technology from the aerospace and automobile industry, enhancing durability without extra weight.

These sticks weigh only 19oz each and are completely metal-free, ensuring a quiet approach and ascent to hunting height. With a length of 18 inches and step-to-step distance of 17 inches, they’re super compact for packing in and out.

The single-piece design eliminates moving parts, providing additional speed and noise reduction. Each stick can support up to 275 lbs. A patent-pending amsteel attachment method allows for streamlined stackability, making them even more efficient.

They’re one of the best lightweight climbing sticks made by the company that has staked their claim in the saddle hunting world.

  • Made in the USA
  • Pivoting V-Bracket for Tree Contour Adaptation
  • Single Tube Design, Fixed Double Steps
  • 17″ Long, 15″ Between Steps
  • Single Stick: 1.8 lbs
  • Fits 4″-22″ Tree Diameters
  • Supports Up to 300 lbs

The Double Step Mini Climbing Sticks are made in the US. They’re designed to be silent and efficient for the mobile hunter.

They come in a 4-pack and are 17″ long with a 15″ distance between the fixed double steps.

They’re designed with a single tube and a pivoting V-bracket to adjust and align with the natural contour of a variety of trees, accommodating diameters from 4″ to 22″.

The Minis, weighing 1.8 lbs each, have a total weight of 7.2 lbs, making them some of the lightest sticks you’ll find, and they can safely support up to 300 lbs. The provided cinch belt makes for quick and simple attachment to the tree.

If you’re looking for smaller, lightweight climbing sticks for getting in and up the tree quickly and quietly, the Trophyline Double Step Minis are an awesome option.

  • Construction: Aluminum
  • Length Per Stick: 20 inches
  • Fastener Type: Rope Cam System
  • Weight Per Stick: 2.5 pounds
  • Maximum Capacity: 300 pounds
  • Minimum Tree Diameter: 9 inches

If you’re looking for something with a small footprint, another great option is the Muddy Pro Stick.

At 20 inches per stick and constructed of Aluminum, it’s easy to see why many prefer these lightweight climbing sticks over their competitors, especially at their price point.

Another major benefit to the Muddy stick is its rope cam system, which secures the stick to a tree by way of cinching a rope in the cam without the use of a buckle. Buckles, which have the tendency to clank into the stick before being tightened require a little more caution when used.

At 2.5 lbs. per stick, with a capacity of 300 lbs., their one of the best climbing sticks for saddle hunting.

  • Construction: Aircraft Grade Aluminum
  • Silent Lock Technology – Steps quietly snap together  with suction cup design 
  • Length Per Stick: 20-Inches 
  • Maximum Capacity: 300 pounds

The Hawk Helium sticks comes in at a length of 20 inches per stick. They are slightly shorter than the Lone Wolf sticks, but a little heavier.

That .4 pounds isn’t that much if you’ve got a 300 yard walk from your truck, but it can make a big difference when hiking them in on your back for 2 or 3 miles of hilly terrain.

These sticks utilize a versa button and buckle strap for tree attachment like the Lone Wolf sticks, but use a silent suction cup design for stacking the steps for transport.

They’re the best climbing sticks offered by Hawk for those wanting to stay mobile.

  • All-extruded aluminum, reduces weight
  • Non-slip design
  • Sticks nest together, include Tight-Pack Bungees
  • Silent-use tree attachment
  • Tree Digger Teeth
  • Single stick weighs 2.8 lbs

The Hawk Helium Aluminum climbing sticks are built from all-extruded aluminum with weight-reducing cutouts. Each 30-inch stick weighs just 2.8 pounds. They’re not the lightest climbing sticks, but for their height-to-weight ratio is excellent.

The step design features boot-gripping grooves with raised ends for non-slip performance, and the steps fold up for packing.

These sticks nest together tight, secured by included Tight-Pack Bungee Cords. The Silent-Use Tree Attachment Hooks make for quick, noise-free securing to the tree.

Their Tree Digger Teeth offer rock-solid stability by biting into the tree bark. The best climbing sticks are lightweight, pack in and out well, and stay tightly secured to the tree. These sticks from Hawk hit all three.

  • Slide-lock for low profile
  • Fast strap button for efficient hanging
  • Arched step design for increased traction
  • Strap guide design for organized packing
  • Weight Per Stick: 2.2 pounds
  • Maximum Capacity: 350 pounds
  • 18″ per stick

The brains that brought us the original Lone Wolf Climbing sticks moved on to designing products for XOP, including the Ultra Double Step, which are the best lightweight climbing sticks.

These aluminum sticks pack easily and carry light, at just 2.2 pounds per stick. Climbing is made easy with just 15″ from step to step.

Their heat-treated fast strap button makes hanging quick and easy, so you’re up the tree in no time. These sticks carry a low profile, thanks to their slide-lock technology, which makes it easy to sneak through the timber without snagging them on every branch you pass.

If you’re looking for the best climbing sticks, the Ultra should definitely be considered.

  • XOP tree stand integration
  • Lightweight aluminum construction
  • Lock tight stacking system
  • Weight: 3.2 pounds/stick
  • 34″ per stick
  • Holding weight: 350 lbs/stick

Another great option from XOP is their Bottomland Climbing Sticks. These sticks serve a different purpose than their Ultra Double Step counterpart.

Yes, they pack easily with their lock tight stacking system, which doesn’t require straps. And yes, they’re lightweight, at just 3.2 pounds per stick. However, they’re nearly twice as long as the Ultra Double Step, measuring 32″ per stick.

These sticks are still easily transportable, but they’re made for the hunter who wants to get as high as possible, while still packing in lightly. These sticks will mount to your XOP stand quiver, making packing in and out much easier.

XOP makes quality products, which is why they take up two spots on the Best Climbing Sticks list.

  • Stamped steel construction
  • 31″ per stick
  • Fold-out steps
  • Fastener Type: buckle strap
  • Weight: ~5 lbs/stick
  • Holding Weight: 300 lbs/stick

These Rhino tree stands are the best climbing sticks for those not as concerned about overall weight as overall price.

They’re constructed of stamp steel, versus most others, which are constructed of aluminum. That’s why they’re twice as heavy as the others on this list.

But with the added weight comes a decrease in price. They still have a capacity of 300 lbs., and they also include three fold-out steps on each stick, which is necessary on a stick that’s 31″ tall. 

And this is a set of 4, which means you should easily be able to get 18 feet up the tree, and much higher with the use of aiders.

It’s a great option, especially for those on a budget.

Best Climbing Sticks For Saddle Hunting

The best climbing sticks for saddle hunting need to be lightweight, silent, and quick to put up the tree.

At 19 oz. a pop, the Latitude Carbon SS sticks fit the bill. They lock together into a tight package that can be easily packed or carried in, and their quiet strap system, metal-free design, and lack of moving parts make them quick and easy to get up the tree.

And having double steps makes it easier, quicker, and more comfortable standing on one stick while you put up your next.

How To Use Climbing Sticks

Don’t worry if you’re wondering how to use climbing sticks. They’re very simple and easy to use.

It takes a little getting used to, but with a little practice, it won’t be long before you’re zipping up the tree.

Depending on whether your climbing sticks have a versa button or a cam cleat system, the process for cinching the strap might be a little different, but the gist is this:

Step up to the tree and tether yourself to it via your saddle’s lineman’s belt or safety harness of some kind, place the bottom of the climbing stick around the height of your knee, place the loop of one end of your strap around the versa button, run the strap around the tree, and wrap the other end’s loop around the versa button as well. Then, pull the strap tightly until the strap is cinched around the tree. 

Then, you’ll either tie a rope to your next stick or you’ll use a carabiner and a short piece of rope to allow it to hang from your belt as you climb.

Then, climb the stick as you work your lineman’s belt or safety harness up the tree. Once you get to the top step, you’ll simply lean away from the tree while your lineman’s belt or harness is keeping you no further than 18″ from the tree, and you’ll repeat same process with the next stick. 

Keep repeating the process until you’ve gotten up to climbing height. Then, you’ll either set up a platform for saddle hunting or you’ll pull up a fixed stand that you had tied a rope to for installation.

Remember, when choosing the best climbing sticks for your purposes, you may choose differently depending on if you’re saddle hunting or hunting from a hang-on stand.

The best climbing sticks for saddle hunting may not be the same as those used for permanent stands. Some of lighter than others, some are taller than others, some come with 3, and some come with 4. So, choose based on your application.

What are climbing sticks?

For those who aren’t quite sure what a climbing stick is, it is simply a thin length of metal – often a tube and roughly 20-30 inches in length – with 2-3 steps attached to it.

The height of each stick, number of steps and distance between each step varies by manufacturer and model. Each stick attaches to the tree by way of a rope-and-cam system or strap and strap button. You simply secure the first stick, with the first step being around knee-height, then climb it and secure the second stick in the same way.

You simply continue to climb until you reach your desired height or run out of sticks. Sticks usually come in packs of 3 or 4. To achieve a desired hunting height while packing in less sticks, many hunters use a climbing stick aider. 

Climbing sticks are perfect for getting up to hunting height for a saddle, but are also great for hanging climbing stands and installing ladder stands.

What is a climbing stick aider?

Think of a climbing stick aider as just being an extra step or two that hangs off the bottom of one of your climbing sticks. Add an aider to 3 or 4 of your sticks and you can see how your hunting height can drastically change.

Commercially-made aiders are available, although many hunters simply make their own out of heavy duty fabrics. A simple search of diy climbing stick aiders will get you on your way if you’re interested in making your own.

Just be aware that making your own climbing stick aider, like everything else involved with climbing, elevates the risk involved.

Benefits of using climbing sticks

The main reasons hunters love using climbing sticks for hunting is the speed at which you can climb using them, their versatility and their weight. Once you begin using climbing sticks, you’ll gain a tremendous amount of speed at getting up the tree.

Place the stick, strap it, climb. Place the stick, strap it, climb. Place the stick, strap it, climb. You get the picture. Today’s climbing sticks are about as versatile as it gets.

Skinny, crooked, limbed up tree? No problem. And a set of lightweight climbing sticks, all stacking together for easy portability, doesn’t weigh very much, so they can be easily packed in for miles if need be.

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