8 Best Climbing Sticks 2023 [Lone Wolf, Hawk, XOP & More]

Hunter scouting before the season with a set of hunting sticks strung to the outside of his backpack
Best Climbing Sticks of 2023 from Lone Wolf, Hawk & More

Why don’t you go climb up a tree, pal? If you’re a mobile hunter who picks off deer, elk, and other big game from a saddle, you’re going to need a quality set of tree sticks to help you safely scale to your throne.

Or maybe you’re a bow and hunter who chills in stands all day and also needs a quick and easy way to race up a tree to set up their hang-on. Of course, depending on your hunting style, some sticks will work better than others.

That’s why we’ve boiled down all the vital information into this definitive guide to the best climbing sticks money can buy in 2023. We pored over single and double step sticks, lightweight sticks, mini sticks, and more from some of the most respected names in the game, like Lone Wolf, XOP, and Hawk (to name a few).

From lightweight aluminum to sturdy steel, we’ve done our best to recommend a wide range of sticks across multiple budget points. Pay close attention, too, since most climbing sticks have different features and are installed in their own unique way.

If you’re a beginner, have no fear because we’ll break this all down for you into digestible pieces.

And if you’re a seasoned pro, stick around because we just might unearth some new sticks to help you climb 20 to 25 feet with ease, especially if you use an aider.

Now, let’s ascend on up to 2023’s best climbing sticks.

Table of Contents

Best Climbing Sticks of 2023

Best Overall Tree Sticks
Lone Wolf Climbing Sticks

Aluminum tree scaling tool for hunting deer and elk in tree stands and saddles

Our best climbing sticks of 2023 come from one of the most recognized names in mobile hunting: Lone Wolf. These bad boys are lightweight at 2.5 pounds apiece, feature a 300-pound weight capacity, and nest together for compact packability and easy transport.

We love how sturdy and capable they are; made of high-grade aluminum, these sticks feature a pivoting V-bracket to help you get up and down even crooked and challenging trees.

At 32 inches in length per stick, four of these should help you reach heights of 20 feet or more — depending on your size and whether or not you use an aider. Plus, Lone Wolf’s clever Versa button makes attaching them to a tree a breeze.

These sticks utilize a single, reversible step system, which helps to keep weight down. But, for bowhunters who want to keep two feet planted, it could provide some challenges while hanging their tree stand or saddle. If you’re comfortable with a single step, though, these are excellent climbing sticks.

Some hunters note that they can bang together a bit when walking through thick brush. This can be remedied with hockey tape or stealth strips, however, which will help eliminate noise as you scutter about the forest.

Ultimately, these sticks are regarded OGs in the mobile hunting industry, and due to their performance and value, they’re the best on the market.

Best Value Aluminum Four Pack
Hawk Helium

Aluminum portable mini ladder attached to a tree

These aircraft-grade aluminum Hawk Heliums make great sticks for beginners. At a very lightweight 1.8 pounds per stick, mobile hunters of all stripes should have zero issues toting these sticks through the woods.

Thanks to their double-step platform, wary hunters will have more stability when hanging their tree stand or saddle. In short, they’re lightweight, compact, and make for an extremely packable tree climbing solution.

Despite their stature, they’re still capable of holding 300 pounds of dude or dudette hunter as they climb up a tree. And, thanks to their handy Versa buttons, attaching them should be a walk in the park.

The suction cup system that holds these together during transport has drawn the ire of reviewers around the web. Hawk remedied this problem by updating with new suction cups, but it’s hard to know which version you’ll receive when ordering. With any luck, you’ll get the updated version.

All in all, due to their low weight, packability, and use of the Versa button, we think these are among the best climbing sticks for the money in 2023.

Zamberlan Sawtooth boot


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Best Value Aluminum Three Pack
Hawk Helium

Lightweight aluminum climbing stick for use when hunting in saddles and tree stands

If you want longer tree climbers for hanging your stand or saddle, these aluminum sticks from Hawk reach a bit further than the ones included in their four-pack above. Since these three sticks are a bit heftier, they weigh about 1.5 pounds more than the entire 4-pack.

Considering each section is 10 inches longer than our previous recommendation, hunters can expect to reach heights over 20 feet when using an aider. I’d expect comparable heights with the four-pack, but these will likely get you a skosh higher.

Like the above-listed Heliums, you’re getting sticks that compact together nicely, hang silently with the use of the Versa button, and provide excellent footing on the way up to the saddle or tree stand.

Your decision between the two comes down to whether you want a three or a four-pack. Shorter sticks are typically better for more crooked and challenging trees, whereas these will work best when you have more of a straight shot.

If you’re searching for a budget-friendly set of sticks for tree stands, saddles, and mobile hunting, these are some of the best you’ll find for the money.

Double Steps for Tree Stand Hunters
API Outdoors Hunt’n Sticks

Black aluminum tree scaling tool strapped against a dark brown trunk

Let’s say you want a longer stick than the Hawk Heliums but don’t want to use a single step like the Lone Wolfs. For you, the API Outdoors double step Hunt’n Sticks could be the ticket.

With angled and grooved steps for safe tree scaling, these sticks will help keep you secure and comfortable while hanging your stand or saddle.

These are a bit heavier than both of our previous recommendations, but they’re still only 3 pounds apiece. Plus, they’re stackable, use a quiet cam buckle strap system for easy installation, and are easy on the wallet.

These aren’t ultra-modern sticks with cutouts that decrease weight, nor do they come with a built-in aider, but with a bit of modification, these could make tree stand or saddle hunters very satisfied.

When you consider the price, you can get your hands on a trusted set of sticks without having to cough up all of your hard-earned dough.


Lightweight Single-Steppers
XOP 3-Step

XOF 3-Step lightweight gear for backcountry hunting

If you’re looking for some sticks that give the Lone Wolfs a run for their money, XOP’s 3-Steps fit the bill. At 34 inches aluminum, they’re a touch longer than the Lone Wolfs but weigh a bit more at 3.2 pounds apiece.

Like the Lone Wolfs, they utilize a single-step system, so if you like to keep both feet at the same level, these might be for you. Thanks to their patented Arch Step technology that digs into your boot, you’ll have very secure footing as you climb.

They also come with a deeper stand-off bracket to help give your feet more room between the step itself and the tree. With a 350-pound weight limit, these are rated to hold 50 pounds more than the Lone Wolfs.

Their Lock Tight stacking system technology ensures these will stay quiet and easy to travel with and doesn’t require straps to keep them secure. In all, if you want a quiet, far-reaching, and stable tree climbing system, the XOP 3-Steps check off all the boxes.


Best Heavy-Duty Fixed Steps
Rivers Edge RE718 Grip Stick

Heavy duty black steel portable mini ladder strapped around the light brown trunk of a tree

Next up is a sturdy, budget-friendly climbing stick from River’s Edge. At 32 inches and four pounds a stick, this isn’t the lightest or most compact option on the market. That said, its two-footed step is highly secure, and its price tag is hard to argue with.

River’s Edge coated the RE718’s steps with a non-slip finish, which should help keep your boots on solid footing. It’s worth noting that the steps aren’t grooved, though, so they won’t dig into your boot like the XOPs above. However, the steps on these are slightly angled, so we think that you should feel pretty secure in the tree with these sticks.

These also come with a noiseless strap to help hang these climbers stealthily, while their V-bracket keeps your stick anchored to the tree securely. They nest together for easy carrying through the woods, making them climbing sticks for tree stand hunters.

If you’re a beginner looking to get into one-stick climbing, these could be a great way to get your feet wet. Considering they’re for sale as singles, ultra-mobile saddle hunters could get away with buying one piece first to start and learning the ropes of one sticking.

Ultralight Aluminum Sticks
Primal Treestands Snap Stix

Ultralight Primal Treestands Snap Stix strapped to a dark brown trunk

Diving back into the more lightweight options, these Primal Treestands Snap Stix are designed for archery hunters who love to hunt elk, deer, and other big game from a saddle or a stand. Equipped with double steps and weighing in at only 2.6 pounds apiece, these sturdy aluminum sticks are pretty enticing.

Their beefy and durable double steps are angled and grooved to help keep your feet in place while you scale your tree. These also pack together quite well and will help keep you mobile and quiet as you dip and dodge through the forest, searching for your next freezer filler.

Like most sticks on this list, these can hold up to 300 pounds, meaning bigger bowhunters shouldn’t have much issue finding safe footing on the way up to their saddle or stand.

Some hunters complain that these sticks can rattle around a bit when they walk through the forest, so we think future versions would benefit from some noise-reduction measures.

Sturdy Budget Tree Steps
Hawk Ranger Traction

Budget mini climbing ladder for accessing tree stands and hunting saddles

Maybe counting ounces isn’t the biggest concern for you. Perhaps you’re a big strong guy or gal who wants sticks made of steel and all the durability that comes with them. Let us introduce you to the Hawk Ranger Traction Climbing Sticks.

At 4.6 pounds each, these are heavy compared to most options on this list. But if you’re not covering long distances and bouncing around the woods, these could work perfectly when used with a semi-permanent hang-on tree stand.

They will hold up to 300 pounds, sport angled and grooved steps, and have strap hooks for easy installation. They’re affordable, durable as heck, and come in a three-pack.

If you’re simply looking to get up into a tree and don’t have to worry about covering long distances, these tree sticks might represent the best value on this list.

Modifying Your Climbing Sticks

Climbing sticks are highly modifiable, meaning each mobile hunter will most likely have a unique stick setup than the next. Let’s talk about three of the most common modifications hunters make to their climbing sticks.

Adding an Aider

An aider is a piece of additional rope or braided metal that hunters add to their sticks to climb higher on a tree. Think of it as an extra step that allows you to hang the sticks higher.

If you decide to use an aider, be very careful!

Hunters who get their feet swung out from under them and fall often do so by misusing aiders. We recommend this lightweight and packable aider.

Noise Reduction

Because climbing sticks are made of metal, they tend to bang around if they’re not secured tightly to one another. We recommend applying stealth tapes to your sticks in spots where the metal clanks together.

Some use specifically designed camo tape, while others use hockey tape.

Attachment Systems

Many sticks come with a built-in tree attachment system already in place. But that doesn’t change the fact that many hunters want to create their own system using climbing rope or a different attachment system like a cam cleat. These are just a few examples of attachment systems that will help keep you safe.

We don’t take any responsibility for how you mod your sticks. We just wanted to show you a few of the widely-used products in the mobile hunting community. Please be as safe as possible when you’re out there climbing trees!

Factors We Considered When Analyzing Climbing Sticks

When searching for your next set of climbing sticks, a lot goes into your decision, so keep some essential factors in mind. Here are the four most important considerations we took into account when analyzing 2023’s best climbing sticks.

Weight Limit

Depending on your hunting style, the weight of the stick might be your most important consideration. If you’re an ultra-mobile saddle hunter who flies around the woods at breakneck speeds, you need lightweight aluminum sticks.

If you plan on using them to set a semi-permanent hang-on tree stand and don’t plan on moving around much, we don’t think weight should factor into your decision much at all.


You can’t be out here scaring off the deer and elk as your sticks clang together and echo through the woods. That’s why noise mitigation was a significant consideration when analyzing climbing sticks for hunting. If the sticks you buy end up being loud, quiet them down with some stealth tape.

Better yet, find some that stack together with zero wiggle room, so you don’t scare off your prey.


Most of the sticks on this list are made of lightweight aluminum, but we also included a steel set.

Aluminum is popular for those looking to keep their pack weight down, but steel is fine if you don’t mind the extra weight and bulk. Like us, most tree stand and saddle hunters prefer aluminum sticks to keep weight down.

Number of Steps

Some hunters feel comfortable using a single step to get up to their saddle or hang-on tree stand, but many need more than one step to feel safe and secure. Those who want to feel steady on their feet should seek out sticks that sport double steps to help them feel as safe and secure as possible.

Final Thoughts: Best Climbing Sticks for Hunting

Set of XOF climbing sticks laid across the forest floor
Climbings sticks, when used safely, will get you into the trees quickly and quietly

There you have it, the best climbing sticks for 2023. No matter your type of hunting — whether you’re an expert saddle hunter or trying a tree stand for the first time — we think you’ll find a suitable product on this list.

Some of the best tree sticks out there have single steps, while others sport easier-to-navigate double steps. Which you choose depends on your skill level, hunting style, and personal preference.

If you cover long miles in the field, seek out lightweight aluminum sticks to keep your pack weight down. If weight isn’t a concern, don’t stress too much about counting ounces. Hell, get some affordable steel sticks if you so choose.

Bowhunters searching for big game like deer and elk could benefit from an elevated hunting position, depending on their scenario. Now, whether that’s 12, 20, or even 25 feet depends on how high you’re willing to go. Add-ons like aiders, noise-reducing tape, or stealth tape could get you high up in the tree safely while keeping quiet.

Either way, the sticks on this list from Lone Wolf, XOP, Hawk, and other trusted names will help tree scaling hunters get what they’re after: delicious wild meat straight from the forest.

And even if you don’t buy the lightest or most high-end stick out there, one of these brands can help you get your butt in the tree all the same.

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Last Updated on January 18, 2024

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