With unpredictable hunting pressure and thieves ready to steal hang-ons, a lot of hunters opt for more portable options when heading onto public land. Climbers have long been a top choice, but tree saddles have been gaining ground over the past few years. Which is better?

Weight

Tree saddles win the weight category easily. They typically only weigh a pound or two, and even when accounting for all accessories, you’re looking at less than 10 pounds to pack in.

While there are a few pricey options out there that weigh a bit less, the average climber tips the scales around 20 pounds. If you’ve got a 10-minute walk from the truck, that’s not so bad. But hiking miles up mountains? That will get you sweated for sure.

Price

If you’re starting from scratch and buying new, you can typically purchase a quality climber and safety harness for a couple hundred bucks less than you’ll spend on a top-of-the-line saddle, platform, tether, lineman’s belt, climbing sticks, etc. It all depends on what brand you choose and your overall setup, but a climber is usually the more affordable option.

Ease of Use

Getting confident with your tree saddle setup and all its moving parts may take some time, but seasoned saddle hunters swear by the versatile system. Tree saddles are relatively quiet and allow you more flexibility in tree selection and shot angle.

Although they can sometimes be a little noisy, climbers are pretty simple to use, as long as you select the right tree and conditions are right. 

Comfort

Tree saddle loyalists claim they’re comfortable, but it’s hard to beat an actual seat and the option to fully stand — especially when you’re hunting all day long.

So tree saddle or climber? It really depends on your budget, individual hunting situation, and personal preference. If you’re walking just a short distance to your spot for full-day sits? A climber probably makes more sense. If you log lots of miles moving away from other hunters and need more versatility? A tree saddle might be right for you.

Choose what makes you most comfortable. And if you’ve got a setup you love, don’t change it just because the latest influencer says you should.