“Ten years ago we [Eastman Outdoors] looked at which categories we wanted to proceed into. Of course, we were already in the arrow market, archery and hunting accessories market. Treestands stood out as a sector where we could produce some nice, quality products at respectable pricing,” recounted Lennie Rezmer, executive vice president for Eastman Outdoors. Since the early ’80s Eastman Outdoors had been making harnesses, belts and tree steps. Continuing with treestands seemed to be the next logical step.
As a group of rabid hunters, the Gorilla team knew what it wanted: comfortable seats, solid construction, etc. “We sketched up the things that we liked and others that we wanted to see in our stands. In the beginning we only focused on hang-on stands, but they made quite a splash at our first ATA show, and Gorilla was officially started. In fact, Gorilla was such a huge success that we immediately captured a dealer base as well as some of the majors like Bass Pro and Cabelas,” Lennie recalled.
More than just worrying about product innovation, Gorilla has been a force in protecting hunters. “We have been active in the Treestand Manufacturers Association [TMA] board. We were part of the push to include full-body harnesses with each tree stand sold. We then worked to secure the rights to produce climbers under the Ol’ Man Treestands patent, which opened another new market to Gorilla,” Lennie said.
Of all of Gorilla’s innovations, the one hunters care the most about may well be the innovation of the Air Ride Seat, 2001–2002. “The seat had a dual ride bladder. Between the foam was an inch-thick air bladder and another inch on neoprene foam under that. That seat really defined our stands as an ‘all-day comfort stand,’ a stand you could hunt from dark to dark without suffering,” Lennie commented.
For 2011 Gorilla has decided to go light and now offers a climber that tips the scales below 20 pounds. This is accomplished by using a combination of aluminum and steel. “On our Aluminum Stealth Climber we use aluminum in the critical parts and our new D-Tube steel in others. The D-Tube is 40 percent lighter, but 25 percent stronger than the square stuff we used in the past,” attested Lennie.
This year Gorilla has a new full-body harness. The G-15 is lighter version of the G-30 without some of the bell and whistles. “It hits that $100 price point and is doing very well for us. It’s light and very easy to put on. The new shock cord ensures you won’t exceed 900 pounds of G-force, even from a direct fall. The G-15 is probably the hottest product in our line,” said Lennie.
“All-day comfort, safety and an overall great performance are what define Gorilla,” Rezmer continued. “We hope no one ever takes a fall, but if they do, we created a product to get them home safe with the G-15 and G-30.”
(877) 685-7817; www.gorillatreestands.com