One of the most important decisions you’ll make as a saddle hunter is picking the best hunting saddle for your specific needs. This decision will not only affect your wallet, but it will also play a major role in how comfortable you stay in the tree. And that comfort can be the difference between leaving the woods early or sticking it out to kill the buck of your dreams.
Fortunately, there are lots of great saddles available in 2023. The goal of this article is to help you narrow down those options by providing a detailed look at what we feel are the five best hunting saddles on the market, each with its own set of features, pros and cons, and who it’s best suited for.
Our Top Hunting Saddle Options
What we like:
- Simple, single-panel design for ease of use
- Metal free design to reduce weight and noise
- Vertical Support Skeleton for better weight distribution
- Weighs just 20oz.
- Made in the U.S.A.!
If you’re a hunter who prefers a simple, lightweight, fool-proof design, then the Latitude Classic 2 is the perfect option. I love the rope belt that eliminates the need for any metal, so there are no worries about making any unnecessary noise while walking in or setting up.
The metal-free design also keeps the Classic 2 extremely light at just 20 ounces!
Another great feature on the Classic 2 is what Latitude calls its Vertical Support Skeleton (or VSS for short) that gives the saddle extra support and helps distribute your weight evenly across the saddle.
I was also really glad to see Latitude increase the size of the Classic 2 over the original Classic for a better, more comfortable fit for those long sits.
Additional features include an Amsteel bridge with 35 inches of adjustability, removable leg straps for the walk in and out of the woods, and molle loops on the top belt of the saddle for attaching accessories.
While I like my Tethrd Phantom single-panel saddle, I find the Latitude a little lighter and more comfortable due to all the features described above. But honestly, if you’re looking for a single-panel saddle, you won’t go wrong with either.
What we like:
- Pleated single-panel design for maximum comfort
- Two rows of molle straps allow for customization
- Quick release buckles allow for quick, easy adjustment
- Comes in three sizes to fit hunters with waists from 28-42 inches
- Made in the U.S.A.!
If you want to step your comfort up a notch at the expense of the simplicity of a single panel saddle, then the pleated CRÜZR XC may be the perfect option. The saddle features a pleated mesh Xpansion Chamber™ that, when opened, offers superior comfort and cupping for your backside.
The CRÜZR XC™ is equipped with quick-release buckles, an adjustable AmSteel®-Blue Bridge in black fibers, and two rows of molle loops. The top row of loops is loose for easy clipping of carabiners and other gear, while the bottom row is flat and compatible with all aftermarket molle accessories.
This hunting saddle is rated for a maximum weight of 300 lbs. It is available in three sizes: Size 1 for 28”-33” waists, Size 2 for 34”-38” waists, and Size 3 for 38”-42” waists. The sizing recommendations account for some cooler weather layering.
Additionally, CRUZR offers a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee, providing peace of mind for customers. If you’re not satisfied with your XC saddle, you can return it within 30 days for a refund.
What we like:
- Two-panel design prioritizes both compactness during travel and adjustability for extreme comfort in the tree.
- Metal free design to reduce weight and noise.
- Dynamic weight distribution allow you to tailor the saddle's support to your body type.
- Removable leg straps to enhance your comfort during movement.
- Made in the U.S.A.
After extensive testing, the Latitude Method 2 will likely be my next hunting saddle. While the two panel design adds some complexity and increases the “fiddle factor,” the increased comfort and adjustability more than make up for it.
Key features of the Method 2 include the patent-pending Two Panel Flexibility design, which minimizes bulk while moving, and offers extreme comfort and infinite adjustability once in the tree.
The Dynamic Weight Distribution system allows hunters to optimize support based on their body type, improving lower back support and reducing common issues like hip pinch.
The saddle incorporates a Quick Connect Panel System and Metal-Free Construction, resulting in a seamless, silent, and efficient experience. The Quick Connect system uses rare earth magnets for quick and easy adjustments, while the metal-free design eliminates noise and enhances comfort during movement.
Additional notable features include Fade Loops for easy ascending and descending, a Contoured Vertical Support Skeleton for better weight distribution and comfort, and an Adjustable Bridge made from Amsteel for fine-tuning comfort.
The saddle is also equipped with removable leg straps for convenience and safety, and an optional two-panel strap for those who prefer to lock in the distance between panels while climbing.
What we like:
- Decent single panel saddle design
- Padded seat that can be removed as needed
- Comes with all necessary ropes, carabiners, a back band, and dump pouch, all at an affordable price
- Wide range of adjustment that fits a 28- to 40-inch waist
- 300lb weight rating
If you want to give saddle hunting a try, but aren’t ready to drop $600+ on a complete setup, then the Hawk Helium Hammock saddle kit is a great option.
At a price less than most saddles alone, the Hammock comes with all the necessary ropes, carabiners, a back band and dump pouch. You’ll just need to add a platform and some climbing sticks, and you’ll be ready to go.
Don’t expect the quality, comfort, or all the bells and whistles of the other saddles featured in this article, but if you’re on a tight budget, the Hawk will let you dip your toes into saddle hunting without spending a fortune.
Why You Should Trust Us
I’ve been following the saddle hunting craze since Tethrd first came on the scene back in 2018. I was immediately intrigued by the concept and began researching and testing various brands and equipment before finally taking the plunge in 2021. I’m now all-in on saddle hunting and love to research and test all the latest gear as it comes to market.
Features to Consider
When selecting the best hunting saddle for your needs, you should consider several factors to ensure you make the most informed decision. The following factors are essential in determining the most suitable hunting saddle:
- Comfort: Comfort is a top priority for saddle hunters, as they may spend extended periods in their saddles during hunts. Consider the type of saddle (single panel, two-panel, or pleated single panel) and the materials used in the saddle’s construction. Look for features like adjustable straps, padding, and ergonomic designs that cater to your specific comfort requirements.
- Weight: A lightweight saddle is easier to carry and less cumbersome during hunting trips. Opt for a saddle that balances weight and comfort effectively. The lighter the saddle, the better the mobility, but ensure that comfort is not compromised.
- Adjustability: The ability to adjust the saddle’s fit and support is crucial for comfort and stability during hunts. Look for saddles with adjustable straps, waist belts, and support panels, allowing you to customize the fit according to your body shape and preferences.
- Size and Fit: Ensure that the saddle fits your waist size and body type appropriately. Most hunting saddles are available in various sizes and accommodate a wide range of waist sizes. Check the manufacturer’s sizing guide to find the best fit.
- Durability: The saddle’s materials and construction should be durable enough to withstand the elements and the rigors of hunting. Look for high-quality fabrics, strong stitching, and sturdy buckles and hardware to ensure your investment will last for years to come.
- Weight Rating: Each saddle has a specific weight rating, which indicates the maximum weight it can safely support. Ensure that the saddle you choose can comfortably support your weight, plus any additional gear you may attach to the saddle during your hunts.
- Ease of Use: A user-friendly saddle is crucial for a seamless hunting experience. Look for features like quick-release buckles, easy-to-adjust straps, and intuitive designs that make putting on and taking off the saddle simple and efficient.
- Price: Lastly, consider your budget when selecting a hunting saddle. While higher-priced saddles often offer more features and better quality materials, there are affordable options that provide excellent value without compromising on comfort and functionality.
By considering these factors and evaluating your specific hunting needs and preferences, you can select the best hunting saddle that will enhance your overall hunting experience and contribute to successful outings in the field.
Types of Saddles
Most all hunting saddles, including the four discussed in this article, fall into one of three styles: single panel, two panel, and pleated single panel. Here’s what you need to know about each style.
Single panel hunting saddles consist of a single piece of fabric or material that wraps around the hunter’s waist and thighs, providing a comfortable and secure sitting position. This design is relatively simple and lightweight, making it easy to pack and carry during hunting trips. Single panel saddles are generally more streamlined and less bulky compared to other types, offering increased mobility and stealth.
Advantages of single panel hunting saddles include their simplicity, light weight, and ease of use. However, some hunters may find them less comfortable for extended periods due to the lack of customization and support compared to other types of saddles.
Two-panel hunting saddles feature two separate panels, one for the waist and one for the thighs, which can be adjusted independently to provide customized support and comfort. This design allows hunters to fine-tune the fit of the saddle, distributing weight more evenly and offering improved comfort during long sits in the tree stand.
Advantages of two-panel hunting saddles include increased comfort and support, as well as greater adjustability and customization. However, they can be slightly bulkier and heavier compared to single panel saddles, which may impact mobility and stealth.
Pleated single panel hunting saddles are a hybrid between single and two-panel designs, featuring a single panel with strategically placed pleats or folds. These pleats allow the saddle to expand and contract, providing a more tailored fit and improved comfort. The pleated design also offers additional support, especially for the lower back and thighs.
Advantages of pleated single panel hunting saddles include the combination of simplicity and lightweight design with enhanced comfort and support. The pleats provide additional customization options, making it a versatile choice for various hunting situations. However, they may still be slightly bulkier than traditional single panel saddles.
If you’re going to be a saddle hunter, then choosing the right saddle will be the most important decision you make in that journey. The wrong choice will ultimately lead to discomfort and frustration.
My hope is that this guide will help you in that important decision-making process so you can be more successful in the field this deer season.