JUMP TO: Our Top Pick | Best Value | Lightest Sticks | Budget Sticks | Another Great Option | Features to Consider | Aiders

With so many options available today, it can be tough to decide which climbing sticks best meet your saddle hunting needs. We’ve tried to make the process easier by doing our own research and breaking down some of the most popular sticks on the market, covering the specs and best features of each, then comparing those features with the price tag to help you make a decision you’ll be happy with for seasons to come.

Climbing sticks typically fall into one of two categories: mass produced and available at a relatively inexpensive price, or custom sticks with additional features and a significantly higher price tag.

Our top choice is one that falls somewhere in the middle, offering a lot of great high-end features at a moderate price point.

Our Top Pick
Latitude Carbon SS Climbing Sticks

Product image of the Latitude Carbon SS climbing sticks.


Length: 18 inches
Weight: 19 ounces per stick
Weight rating: 275 pounds
Step Configuration: Non-folding double steps
Sold in packs of 3, 4, 6, 8 or 12.

What We Like:

  • Strong one-piece carbon fiber design
  • No metal parts to make noise
  • Super lightweight at just 19 ounces each
  • Fast, quiet Amsteel attachment method
  • Made in the USA with 5 year warranty

Latitude is known for great quality saddles, but this year all the attention has been focused on their new one-piece carbon climbing sticks. And it’s easy to see why. They hit a home run with their Carbon SS sticks.

Using technology from the automotive and aerospace industries, Latitude created a solid, lightweight stick that rivals anything on the market. The one-piece, metal free design will help you stay quiet during setup and tear down, and the Amsteel attachment method allows you to quickly mount the sticks to the tree.

While my Tethrd One sticks have served me well, my next set will be from Latitude!

Overall Best Value
XOP Ultra Series Climbing Sticks

Image of two stacked XOP Ultra fixed-step climbing sticks


Length: 18 inches
Weight: 2.2 pounds per stick
Weight rating: 350 pounds
Step Configuration: Non-folding double steps
Sold in four packs

What We Like:

  • Easily stackable with two options – on top of each other or side-by-side.
  • Reasonably priced for the included features
  • You get four sticks

XOP offers a wide variety of climbing sticks including a pivoting step, two-step stick; a fixed step, two step stick; and a pivoting step, three-step stick. For the purpose of this buying guide, we’re going to look at the XOP Ultra Series fixed double-step sticks.

The XOP climbing sticks feature a unique slide-lock technology that allows you to neatly stack them on top of each other or flush side-to-side for low profile transport. The arch step design offers increased traction on crooked trees, and the pivoting XL standoff brackets ensure a solid mount. XOP’s sticks are crafted from powder-coated 6061 aluminum.

Lightest Climbing Sticks
Tethrd One Sticks

Image of three stacked Tethrd ONE climbing sticks


Length: 18.5 inches
Weight: 15.9 ounces including the attachment rope
Weight Limit: 300 lbs
Step Configuation: Dual steps
Sold in a pack of three

What We Like:

  • Lightest sticks on the market that I’m aware of
  • Steps point away from the tree like the Skeletors
  • Dynaloc Tab and Dynalight rope attachment method
  • Glow tabs on each step help you see them in the dark
  • StickLoc pin system

As I mentioned above, Tethrd One sticks are what I use, and my only complaint since I’ve owned them is that a few of my StickLoc pins that hold the sticks together during transport broke. It was a common issue with when they were first released, but has since been resolved with new pins.

Tethrd One climbing sticks are super lightweight at 15.9 ounces each. That’s thanks to the titanium tubes and 6061 aluminum machined steps. I would recommend putting some Stealth Strips on the hollow tubes because they can be pretty noisy if you accidentally hit them together during setup.

Best Budget Sticks
Hawk Helium

Image of Hawk Helium 20 climbing stick on a tree

20-inch Hawk Helium Sticks

Length: 20 inches
Weight: 2.5 pounds each
Weight Rating: 300 pounds
Step Configuration: Two sets of double folding steps
Sold in a pack of four

30-inch Hawk Helium Sticks

Length: 30 inches
Weight: 2.9 pounds each
Weight Rating: 300 pounds
Step Configuration: Three sets of double folding steps
Sold in a pack of three

NOTE: Both the 20-inch and 30-inch Hawk Helium sticks have occasionally selling out on Amazon. If you can’t find them there, I recommend checking them out at Black Ovis which I’ve also linked below.

Hawk is owned by a major outdoor conglomerate that also features brands like Ameristep, Big Game Treestands, Flextone, Hunters Specialties, Muddy, TruGlo, Wildgame Innovations and many more. With that kind of buying power, they’re able to produce low cost products like the Hawk Helium climbing sticks. They’ve even recently came out with their own saddle hunting gear.

Hawk tends to get a bad rap from a lot of saddle hunters who feel the cheaper gear is inferior to some of the higher end brands. And while I have no doubt there are better climbing sticks on the market, the Hawks are hard to beat for the saddle hunter on a budget.

Hawk offers both a short 20-inch two-step climbing stick as well as a longer 30-inch three-step stick. Both sticks offer dual folding steps, a silent use Versa Button attachment method and 10-inch wide steps for plenty of boot room. I’ve listed the feature of each individually below.

Another Great Option
Tethrd Skeletors

Image of Tethrd Skeletors climbing sticks


Length: 20 inches
Weight: 2 pounds including the attachment rope
Weight Limit: 300 lbs
Step Configuration: Dual steps
Sold in a pack of four

What We Like:

  • Steps that point away from the tree giving more foot room
  • Dynaloc Tab and Dynalight rope attachment method that is extremely quick and quiet
  • StickLoc pin system to firmly hold the sticks together during transport

This is one of two Tethrd climbing sticks on our list for saddle hunters. The Tethrd Ones discussed above are what I currently use, and I truly believe they are the best sticks on the market. I’m not aware of any other climbing sticks in existence that weigh less than one pound each. However, they are also pretty pricey at over $300 for a pack of three.

Realizing that the Tethrd Ones are out of the price range of many saddle hunters, Tethrd went back to the drawing board and came back with their new Tethrd Skeletors. The Skeletors share a lot of the same features as the Tethrd One sticks, but at a much lower price point.

In fact, not only are they cheaper, but you get four of them as opposed to three. So why would anyone choose the Tethrd Ones over the Skeletors? Simple. Each Skeletor stick weighs twice as much as their Tethrd One counterpart. Saving weight comes at a premium when it comes to saddle hunting gear, especially climbing sticks.

Features to Consider

When you think about climbing sticks for saddle hunting, it may seem they’re all basically alike, making it tempting to base your decision on price alone. However, if you do your research, you’ll quickly realize there are actually some major differences among the various options.

Here are the key features we recommend investigating when comparing climbing sticks for saddle hunting that should ultimately help you make your final decision.

Closeup of the Tethrd One climbing sticks.
The Tethrd One climbing sticks are the lightest on the market at just under one pound each.


Probably the biggest factor when purchasing gear for saddle hunting is weight. The whole purpose of saddle hunting is to be lightweight and mobile, so you don’t want to be weighed down by a heavy set of climbing sticks.

Just keep in mind that light weight typically comes with a higher price tag as you saw in the products outlined above.

A lot of today’s climbing sticks for saddle hunting are made of aluminum, but a few go above an beyond with expensive materials like carbon fiber or titanium. Ultimately you’ll have to decide whether the lower stick weights justify the higher price tag.

Just make sure when you compare weights that you’re comparing apples to apples. Some manufactures list the weight of just the bare stick, while others include the attachment strap/rope. We’ve tried to identify which weight we’ve listed for each of the featured climbing sticks so you can make an educated decision.


Not only does the length of your climbing sticks impact the overall weight, they also can impact the packability of the sticks as well. Longer sticks strapped horizontally to your pack can be a nightmare hanging on every sapling and vine you pass by, so keep that in mind when deciding what length climbing sticks you ultimately choose.

Climbing stick length also impacts how how you can climb with those sticks, and ultimately how high you can hang your hunting platform. Obviously, longer sticks with three sets of steps will allow you to climb higher than the same number of shorter sticks with just two sets of steps each.

If the weights are fairly similar, I would much rather carry four shorter sticks than three longer ones just because of the shorter sticks are easier to pack, but that’s just my personal preference.

My recommendation would be to try both, if possible, and see which one best suits your needs before you drop your hard-earned money on your own set.

The author climbing a tree using climbing sticks and a lineman's rope.

Weight Limit

This is not going to be an issue for most saddle hunters, but it’s something to keep in mind. Most all of the climbing sticks discussed above have the same 300-pound weight rating with the exception of the XOP sticks which have a 350-pound rating. My guess would be all these figures are pretty conservative, but I wouldn’t recommend exceeding them regardless.

Step Configuration and Spacing

The final feature to consider when choosing the best climbing sticks for saddle hunting is the step configuration and spacing. While having single steps may shave a few pounds of overall weight, it may create issues when climbing or descending the tree.

I prefer dual step models where I’m not limited in which foot I move up or down at any given time. It’s also nice to be able to rest both feet at the same level when hanging your platform or adjusting your lineman’s rope. In my mind, there’s less chance of missing a step as you climb up or down the tree in the dark, too.

For those reasons, I mainly featured double step models in this article, although several of the manufacturers offer single-step models if that’s what you prefer.

Don’t Forget Your Aiders

You may find that even with the three or four climbing sticks you end up with, you still can’t get as high in a tree as you’d like in some situations. While you could certainly buy an extra step or two to remedy the problem, there’s a cheaper and lighter solution: aiders.

Aiders are made of rope, nylon strap, or cable and attach to your climbing steps to give you one or more extra steps.

Shop for Aiders on Amazon

Some saddle hunters just add an aider to their first climbing stick to help them start a little higher off the ground than they would otherwise, and others add them to every stick. I do the latter. I have a one-step aider on each of my three Tethrd One sticks. That’s the equivalent of an extra one and a half climbing sticks at a fraction of the weight.

The one downside to aiders is that because of the materials they are made from, they move around easily and can sometimes be difficult to get your foot into. It took me several hunts to get comfortable using them and figuring out the best way to make sure I can get my boot in them every time. That’s why some hunters just use on the first stick.

Give Us Your Feedback

If you have experience with these or any other climbing sticks, we would love to hear about it in the comments section below.

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