I'm a new deer hunter in NY who's getting started with crossbow hunting. A neighbor voluntarily left his ladder tree stand on our property for me to use, and I'm wondering what the best safety harness system to use with the tree stand is. I plan to use a lifeline paired with either a full body harness or a climber's harness.

I was about to buy the full body harness for treestand safety but I heard that a climbing harness may be better for a few reasons:

  1. Less risk of suspension trauma (supposedly)
  2. More upper body flexibility if you fall from a tree stand, making it easier to climb back up and regain your position
  3. Generally cheaper
  4. Easier to get into and out of

Safety is my main concern. Affordability is my second, since who knows whether I'll really enjoy the experience of hunting in the long run. Any suggestions appreciated, and recommendations for a particular brand or model of harness to buy.

Edit: The type of tree stand I'm referring to looks like this. enter image description here

  • Do climbing harnesses come in camo? Commented Nov 29, 2020 at 7:06
  • 1
    Fascinating. Where I come from, hunters look more like this and probably have never used a harness in their whole life. Commented Nov 29, 2020 at 8:44
  • @phipsgabler do they also use the stands as pictured? Because that looks a lot lower down than what I think the OP is interested in Commented Nov 29, 2020 at 11:46
  • Oh, no, I have never seen that kind of stand. Now I understand why anyone would want to wear a harness while hunting. The seats in central Europe can be quite high example, but there's always a kind of cabin. (Also, you'd probably get arrested for hunting with a bow :)) Commented Nov 29, 2020 at 11:53
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    I'm a climber with no hunting knowledge. In climbing, full-body harnesses are usually used only for little kids, because their pelvises are weaker. Adults don't need full-body harnesses. You can't fall out of a normal climbing harness, even if you're upside-down.
    – user2169
    Commented Dec 11, 2020 at 3:28

2 Answers 2


most (full body) safety harnesses provide attachments (loops if you will) that if you were to fall you would be able to take the weight off your legs by stepping into them. I typically attach them and wrap them in a rubber band so they're not dragging behind when walking to stand.
There are several companies who build these harnesses. I prefer Hunter Safety Systems as they are very easy to put on and take off.

As for climber harnesses, I don't think they will work for what you're looking for. Those systems are really only used for hanging a stand vs. sitting in them. It allows you to stay away from the tree but the way they are used, you'd actually be facing the tree. In the case of hunting, you'd be sitting down and facing away from the tree.

Hope this helps.


There is a reason that workplace safety regulations forbid use of a body-belt or climbing harness for arresting a fall. If safety is truly your main concern, you would use neither of those.

Instead you would use a certified fall arrest system comprised of a full body harness and shock-absorbing lanyard (along with an appropriate anchor point, of course). These are designed to minimize shock-load on the body and prevent you from falling out if it flips.

Climbing harnesses are for positioning systems where you can work from a rope but there is no potential to free-fall.

Of course, hunting on your own time is not subject to workplace safety regulations and a reasonable compromise between safety, complexity, and cost is understandable. If it were me I would use the full-body option and buy suspension-trauma prevention straps. And pay lot's of attention to your anchor point, a falling human body can develop a lot of force.

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