Review: Stacked Outdoors Ladder Sticks

Stacked Outdoors Ladder Sticks enter a market segment filled with some topnotch products. How did they measure up in our late-December field test?

Review: Stacked Outdoors Ladder Sticks

Like many of you, I spend the majority of my fall and winter whitetail season watching the woods from above. Sure, I slip into a pop-up ground blind on occasion, but the fact remains that the best way to avoid a wary whitetail is to climb toward the clouds. Whitetails will certainly look up, especially if your treestand tree lacks sufficient cover, or if you’re not high enough, but the advantage of climbing above the forest floor can’t be denied.

For safety reasons, I prefer ladder stands now that I’ve entered the second half of my journey on Mother Earth (I’m 53 years old). That said, I don’t own enough ladder stands to cover my many stand sites in Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Using screw-in treesteps and hang-on portables is still the bread-and-butter option I’m forced to use 75 percent of the time.

While I don’t mind a stable hang-on portable treestand, I must admit that as I get older, and perhaps less flexible, I dislike climbing on screw-in treesteps. And while I’ve never fallen to the ground in my hunting career, I’ve had two screw-in treesteps break during my climbs. Thankfully I was hanging on with two hands both times the steps broke under my boots. Not good. And scary!

My favorite method for accessing hang-on portables is with climbing sticks, but I must admit that sometimes these devices seem as dicey as screw-in steps. I’ve used sticks that don’t grab the tree securely, flex under my weight (and I’m not an NFL lineman; I weigh 175 pounds), and feature slippery and/or small footholds. For these reasons, I was intrigued when I first learned about Stacked Outdoors Ladder Sticks. (Click here for Bowhunting World’s “first look” article about this new product.)

Stacked Outdoors Ladder Sticks Unboxing

I was somewhat familiar with Stacked Outdoors Ladder Sticks because I’m the editor who put together the BW article about the new product back in October 2018. So I wasn’t surprised to see that no assembly was required. The only task is looping one end of a securing strap around each stick. After that, you’re ready to place the sticks on a tree. 

The one-piece, non-metal sticks feature no nuts or bolts; they are the definition of a smart and simple design. And as the name suggests, they stack extremely well for transport.

Attaching a Stacked Outdoors Ladder Stick to a tree is easy. After tightening the strap, simply pull down on top of the stick to ensure it is locked in place before climbing.
Attaching a Stacked Outdoors Ladder Stick to a tree is easy. After tightening the strap, simply pull down on top of the stick to ensure it is locked in place before climbing.

First Impressions

December bowhunting in South Dakota can be challenging. Cold temps, drifted snow and high winds define most days in the field. It was under these conditions that my buddy Bill and I tested Stacked Outdoors Ladder Sticks.

Carrying the sticks is simple thanks to the included shoulder strap. As I said previously, the sticks stack together perfectly, so there’s no problem there. We simply wrapped the securing straps in a bundle around the stacked sticks and then used one end of the shoulder strap to keep all straps in place. You could also quickly detach the securing straps and carry them in a daypack or fanny pack.

Stacked Outdoors Ladder Sticks aren’t the lightest sticks on the market, but their weight would come into consideration only if I were planning a hike of a mile or more. During these long-distance public land affairs, every ounce matters, so I might choose a lighter design. That said, for everything else, I put a lot more emphasis on stability and safety, and in these two categories, the Stacked Outdoors Ladder Sticks really shine.

Here are four of my favorite features:

  • Long securing strap. You can’t attach ladder sticks to a large-diameter tree if a strap is too short, but I can never imagine that ever being a problem because the securing strap on each Stacked Outdoors stick is 6 feet 6 inches in length. These sticks will work on the most massive oaks in my area.
  • Sticks bite into tree. I know that my description of “bite into tree” isn’t technically correct, but after you tighten the straps and then pull down slightly on the top step of a stick, the contact points of the non-metal stick somehow lock themselves to the bark of the tree. And once they bite, the don’t let go. That is, until you release the pressure on the strap by pressing on the strap’s buckle.
  • Zero noise. Even in cold conditions, the non-metal sticks don’t creak or make any sounds whatsoever while you stand on them.
  • Great boot grip. There’s no greater test for a ladder stick than to use them with bulky snow-covered boots, and Stacked Outdoors sticks get a perfect score. Each step is wide, textured and features a raised edge, which keeps a slippery pac boot in place.
Each non-metal Stacked Outdoors Ladder Stick seems to bite the tree, providing a safe and stable climb into your treestand.
Each non-metal Stacked Outdoors Ladder Stick seems to bite the tree, providing a safe and stable climb into your treestand.

Each stick is 21 inches long, with 17.25 inches between steps. With moderate spacing between four sticks (sold in a four-pack with MSRP of $179), it’d be easy to attain treestand heights of 14-15 feet. If you wanted to climb 18-20 feet, then I’d recommend purchasing one or two more individual sticks (single stick MSRP of $48.99). As I said earlier, the ladder sticks stack perfectly (think red Solo cup), so carrying a set of six would be simple. Another option: I don’t mind using screw-in treesteps close to the ground, so carrying two screw-ins plus the four ladder sticks might be a perfect climbing combo for achieving heights of 18-plus feet.

The step is wide and textured on a Stacked Outdoors Ladder Stick, providing excellent traction, even with bulky snow-covered pac boots.
The step is wide and textured on a Stacked Outdoors Ladder Stick, providing excellent traction, even with bulky snow-covered pac boots.

I look forward to using Stacked Outdoors Ladder Sticks much more during upcoming archery seasons. I was thoroughly impressed with their performance on my 2018 winter whitetail excursions, and I expect them to function just as well when the heat is on in mid-September.

For more information, visit www.stackedoutdoors.com.



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