As I walked the aisles of the 2016 Archery Trade Association Show in Louisville, Kentucky, a thought about treestands struck me. While it’s easy enough to think of stands as a category encompassing pretty much any elevated platform out there, the reality is there are three distinct categories and each represents a different tool in the bowhunter’s arsenal.

Consider climbers like the Summit Sentry SD. Nothing allows mobility quite like a quality climbing stand, and for anyone looking to sneak in, find fresh sign and hunt right now, a climber is the best choice. Today’s climbers become even more appealing when you realize they offer open-front designs, are lightweight and are designed for silent, simple travel.

A close second in mobility are hang-on or lock-on stands like the innovative s2 from Advanced Treestand Systems. Hunters looking to maximize their treestand dollars should definitely check this company out, but stands from Advanced Treestand Systems go beyond pleasing penny-pinchers. Quality hang-ons allow you to hunt nearly any tree that is suitable for a treestand, which means anywhere there is some timber, there is a chance to hunt.

The last category is, of course, ladder stands like the Alpine from Big Game Treestands. Anyone with a spot that produces deer sightings all season long – like a secluded kill plot or a high-traffic funnel – should look into a good ladder stand. They offer heights up to 22 feet, are easy to climb and are seriously comfortable. What they lack in portability, they make up for in nearly every other desirable attribute.

Check out our extensive treestand and ground blind coverage in the print edition of May/June Archery Business as well as in the Bowhunting World Buyer’s Guide.