Every off-season I look for new gear and gadgets that may find their way into my hunting arsenal for the upcoming season. I spend a lot of time, as most hunters do, researching my options for a specific piece of gear, pouring over the specs, price and its overall in-field performance. At the end of the day, I really just want a hunter’s opinion on how a particular piece of gear performed—not someone’s shipping complaints on Amazon. Since I seek this kind of information, I thought others might too, so I’ll begin doing gear reviews focused on in-field performance. The gear I review will have been purchased by me and used in the field. In the event I’m asked to review a product by a company or sponsor, I will disclose this information at the beginning of the review.
Rating: 4.5 Antlers
Weight: Approximately 20 pounds
Platform Size: 30″ long x 19½” wide
Seat Size: 16″ deep x 17¼” wide base, and 15″ wide x 10″ tall back
Attachment: Fully adjustable pivoting Sit & Climb bar
Construction: One-piece cast aluminum platform. 4″ packed profile
Weight Rating: 350 pounds
Comes With: Backpack straps, stabilizing straps, bungee cord, foam seat, and safety harness included. In-Cast Bow Holder accommodates most parallel limb compound bows
Fits trees 6″ – 19″ in diameter (longer traction belts available to fit trees up to 22” in diameter)
When I bought my stand, after minimal assembly, the first thing I noticed was how tightly it packs together and how slim it’s profile is on my back. Once the stand is on your back, the weight is evenly distributed and makes the added 20 pounds seem more than manageable. On its maiden voyage for a practice climb, the stand was dead quiet walking into the timber. Getting the stand on the tree was a cinch with the Lone Wolf’s simple locking cam system and traction belts. This simple/quiet setup was a breeze, even in the dark of early morning sits. The traction belts are made out of a type of hard rubber, which makes setting the stand extremely quiet. The belts are hard enough to withstand hunting abuse, but soft enough to eliminate set-up noise.
Once I began climbing I immediately noticed how the teeth of the seat and platform of the stand grip the tree. There’s no feeling of slippage on the ascent or descent, even as I climbed in a monsoon during opening weekend (not kidding). Climbing smooth bark trees is no problem and you could probably climb a telephone pole, but I wouldn’t recommend it. While climbing, the stand is extremely quiet. Really—this thing doesn’t make a sound!. The sit bar is a nice feature and will make the climb easier for anyone who might lack upper body strength. I’m in good physical shape and typically don’t use the sit bar on the ascent, but will at times use it as I’m descending. Using the sit bar to descend gives me an extra feeling of safety, particularly in wet conditions. Once at your final climbing height, you can push the sit bar under the seat and it’s out of the way. After tightening the tension straps connecting the platform to the top portion of the stand, you are locked into the tree. The stand is sturdy and I honestly feel safer in this climber than any hang on I’ve used. The platform provides plenty of room to stand/stretch and enjoy typical tree stand movement. The cast bow holder is a nice feature, but limits your platform space. I prefer to use my bow hanger to keep anything away from my feet.
The cons of this stand aren’t deal breakers in my opinion. The factory seat isn’t very comfortable and is in the way as you climb. The seat is supposed to fold neatly in front of you and out of the way while climbing, but it always seems to be in my way, scraping the tree, while ascending and descending. I figured this out prior to the season and swapped the factory seat for a Hazmore net seat. The Hazmore seat also fixes the second con which is the seat position/construction. The factory seat has the hunter sitting below the frame/traction belt tubes. This is like having armrests on either side of the stand. Some may like this, but for a bowhunter, it limits your ability to shoot from the seated position. The Hazmore seat uses the traction belt tubes/armrests portion of the frame as its base, placing the hunter on top of the frame versus sitting within the frame. The Hazmore seat is silent, more comfortable than the factory seat and provides better shooting positions. Get the Hazmore. It’s a $20 upgrade and after a few hours in the stand you’ll be glad you have it. The final con is the price, as the stand is a salty $429.
Once I made the seat swap, this stand fit me like a glove. The added comfort of the net seat allowed me to do all day sits. I did over 40 climbs with it this year in every type of weather, and am reluctant to use any other stands on our property. This stand gives me the mobility I want with top notch safety. It’s light, probably the quietest climber on the market, and is easy to manage on hikes to and from stand locations. After trying my stand, my 62 year old father-in-law bought one of his own. He prefers this stand to any of our hang ons. The stand is expensive, and you’d hope given the price tag it would have a decent seat; but most hunters will make their own modifications to their gear to fit their specific needs. And the seat is only a $20 fix. Overall, the stand is pricey, but you get what you pay for and in this case it’s a damn fine climber stand. I highly recommend theLone Wolf Sit & Climb Combo II to anyone considering a new climber purchase. I give it 4.5 out of 5 antlers