We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

Written By
Published Sep 7, 2022 9:54 AM

Although many people are just learning about tree saddles, they have been around for decades and are making a huge comeback. So are tree saddles just a returning fad or are they here to stay? 

One thing is for sure, saddle hunting is back, if it ever left, and lots of hunters are now hanging in trees by ropes, carabiners, and a saddle. The popularity brings many new products with smart designs and advanced materials. 

I have been hunting for nearly 40 years and have tried everything from climbing stands, lock-ons, tripod, ladder stands, and a few elevated box blinds and ground blinds. However, over the last few years, I have purchased 15 different saddles and have tested and reviewed 25 to date. I’ve made it my mission to help hunters find the best tree saddles for them. Of the 25 I’ve tested, here are my top picks:

How I Tested Tree Saddles

Author testing saddles in the forest.
The author tested saddles for comfort, adjustments, and climbing features. Mathew DuShane

I attached loaded dump pouches to the MOLLE webbing and looked for any waist belt sagging or leg strap pulling. 

I tested the lineman’s loops and belt for ease of use and functionality as I ascended and descended the tree. 

While at hunting height, I tested the bridge adjustments up and down the bridge loops to see if they held their positions and how easy it was to make those adjustments. 

While making bridge length adjustments, I looked for the smoothness of the bridge through the carabiner. 

I sat in each saddle for one hour and rated their overall comfort. A comfort score of 1 to 5 was used, with 5 being the most comfortable. 

Price and weight are listed as cons on any saddle that costs more than $200 or weighs more than 2 pounds.    

Best Single Panel: CRUZR XC

Mathew DuShane

Check Price

Why It Made the Cut

The CRUZR XC was extremely comfortable, functional, and easy to use.

Key Features

  • Single panel
  • Weight: 1 pound 13 ounces
  • MOLLE webbing: Two rows on top of the panel, one loose and one tight 
  • Waist belt: ADF Raptor Buckle 
  • Leg straps: Webbing strap with quick-release buckles, not removable from the saddle  
  • Bridge type: Adjustable AmSteel 
  • Special features: Xpansion Chamber mesh pleated panel, gray or black options
  • Comfort: 5

Pros

  • MOLLE loops are easy to use and in a good location
  • Saddle doesn’t sag with weighted dump pouches
  • Vertical lineman’s loops easy to use
  • Bridge slides through carabiner easily
  • Bridge holds all positions on the bridge loops
  • Bridge length adjustments made easily

Cons

  • Price

Product Description

I was impressed with each of the saddles reviewed, but the CRUZR XC stands out as the most comfortable single-panel saddle. It has a pleated mesh panel which is breathable during the warmer early season temperatures, and the MOLLE loops were easy to use and in a good position to access dump pouches. The CRUZR XC’s comfortable leg straps have quick-release buckles, and the webbing waist belt utilizes an ADF Raptor buckle. 

During my climbing test I found the lineman’s loops easy to use while ascending and descending the tree. The saddle also felt light and was snag-free with weighted dump pouches.

The AmSteel bridge smoothly slides through the carabiner, is easy to shorten or lengthen, and it holds in every position up and down the bridge loops allowing you to make adjustments for added comfort. The functionality and comfort of the CRUZR XC are top notch, and the only con it received was its price.

Best Two-Panel: Latitude Method 2

Mathew DuShane

Check Price

Why It Made the Cut

The Latitude Method 2 was extremely comfortable, very functional, and comes with unique features.

Key Features

  • Two panel, but can be worn as a single panel 
  • Weight: 1 pound 15 ounces
  • MOLLE webbing: Single row on top panel
  • Waist belt: Metal free patent-pending Oplux rope bridge
  • Leg straps: Webbing strap with G-hook & retainer spring, completely removable
  • Bridge type: Adjustable AmSteel
  • Special features: Panel magnets, two-panel strap attachment points 
  • Comfort: 5

Pros

  • MOLLE loops are easy to use and in a good location
  • Lineman’s loops are easy to use 
  • Doesn’t sag with weighted dump pouches
  • Bridge slides through carabiner easily
  • Bridge holds all positions on the bridge loops
  • Bridge length is adjustable

Cons

  • Price

Product Description

The Latitude Method 2 is a two-panel saddle that wears like a compact single-panel saddle while you’re hiking. Once you’re ready to hunt you can deploy the second panel, which is held in place by magnets. Another unique feature is the metal free design, which cuts noise. 

Panel attachment “set straps” can be added to keep the panels at a set distance if desired. The waist belt is a free-floating rope belt that slides to your desired fit. The saddle is extremely comfortable while walking, and it didn’t sag with loaded dump pouches. The leg straps are comfortable and completely removable due to the G-hook attachments and can be quickly put on at the base of the tree. 

The single row of MOLLE webbing is easy to access, and the dump pouches are in a good position. The fade-away lineman’s loops running from the top panel to the bottom panel are easy to use while ascending and descending the tree. The mesh panel is breathable and utilizes two vertical webbing straps for added comfort.

The Method 2 has an adjustable bridge.
The Method 2 has an adjustable bridge. Mathew DuShane

The AmSteel bridge is adjustable in length, slides easily through the carabiner, and holds all positions up and down the bridge loops for perfect pitch adjustments. The only con for the Method 2 is its price, while it is an extremely comfortable saddle with numerous adjustment options.

Best for the Money: Aero Hunter Shrike

Mathew DuShane

Check Price

Why It Made the Cut

The Shrike offers some unique features included with the price of the saddle. 

Key Features

  • Single panel
  • Weight: 2 pounds 6 ounces
  • MOLLE webbing: Single row on the top panel
  • Waist belt: ADF Raptor buckle
  • Leg straps: ADF Raptor buckles, which are not removable from the saddle
  • Bridge type: Webbing bridge with AustriAlpin adjuster buckle
  • Special features: Pleated mesh panel is sewn on outside of webbing, additional row of webbing bottom of the panel, integrated lineman’s belt and carabiner, floating leg straps
  • Comfort: 5

Pros

  • MOLLE loops easy to use and in a good location
  • Doesn’t sag with weighted dump pouches
  • The integrated lineman’s belt is permanently attached and included with the price of the saddle
  • Bridge slides through carabiner easily
  • Bridge holds all positions on bridge loops
  • Bridge length is adjustable
  • Panel expands 

Cons

  • Price
  • Weight

Product Description

The Shrike uniquely features a permanently attached lineman’s belt with an AustriAlpin adjuster buckle, floating leg straps, AustriAlpin bridge buckle, a pleated mesh panel and many other features that make it the best value for your buck even though its price is listed as a con for the saddle overall. These features, as cool as they are, do add noticeable weight to the saddle.

The saddle does not sag with dump pouches, and the MOLLE loops are easy to use and in a good location. The AustriAlpin buckles on the bridge and lineman’s belt easily allow for quick adjustments, and the bridge slides through the carabiner easily and holds all pitch adjustments. The floating leg straps utilize bungee cords to hold the straps up and are comfortable while walking and while in the tree.   

Best Lightweight: Tethrd Phantom

Mathew DuShane

Check Price

Why It Made the Cut

The Phantom’s lightweight, streamlined design and Comfort Channels make for a functional and comfortable saddle.

Key Features

  • Single panel
  • Weight: 1 pounds 7 ounces
  • MOLLE webbing: One row top of panel and one row bottom of the panel
  • Waist belt: Webbing with quick connect buckle
  • Leg straps: Webbing with G-hook attachments, not removable from the saddle
  • Bridge type: Adjustable AmSteel Utilibridge
  • Special features: Football shape design, lineman’s loops pull from top and bottom of panel
  • Comfort: 4.9

Pros

  • Top row of MOLLE loops are in a good location
  • Lineman’s loops are easy to use
  • Bridge slides through carabiner easily
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Price

Product Description

Tethrd is known for leading the charge in this new saddle-hunting era; their innovation and marketing are second to none. They make several contenders that could be on the best tree saddles list, but the Phantom is my pick from their catalog. 

The Phantom is lightweight and offers two rows of MOLLE webbing, and has very little sag with dump pouches attached. The leg straps are comfortable, made of webbing, and connect with G-hooks. The lineman’s loops are big and stiff and easy to use to ascend and descend the tree. The AmSteel bridge slides smoothly through the carabiner, and length adjustments are easily made as well. 

Preset pitch adjustments are made by moving your bridge into any one of the three Comfort Channels along the bridge loops. The Phantom is a very comfortable saddle and the only con I could find was the price.     

Most Adjustable: Buzzard Roost

Mathew DuShane

Check Price

Why It Made the Cut

Customization at the time of ordering and the adjustability of the patent-pending dual panels makes the Buzzard Roost a one-of-a-kind.

Key Features

  • Two panel
  • Weight: 2 pounds 1 ounce
  • MOLLE webbing: Single row top panel, customizable at time of ordering
  • Waist belt: ADF Raptor buckle / Doesn’t sag with weighted dump pouches
  • Leg straps: Webbing strap with G-hook & retainer spring, completely removable
  • Bridge type: Adjustable 8mm Teufelberger Resc Tech Rope
  • Special features: Dual adjustment bridge loops with no lineman’s loops 
  • Comfort: 5
  • Price: $259

Pros

  • Can be worn as a single or two-panel saddle
  • Unlimited adjustments for comfort
  • MOLLE loops easy to use and in a good location
  • Bridge slides through carabiner easily
  • Bridge holds all positions on the bridge loops
  • Bridge length adjustments made easily
  • Leg strap loops double as safety stop loops for rappelling 
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Price
  • Weight
  • Leg straps pull slightly while walking 

Product Description

Despite three minor cons, the two-panel Buzzard Roost saddle offers an unlimited number of adjustment options, is functional, and very comfortable. Buzzard Roost also offers a couple options to customize the saddle at the time of ordering. You can choose loose or tight MOLLE webbing and a right or left-hand bridge adjustment option. 

It also offers a patent-pending dual panel adjustment system which is unlike any other saddle on the market. There are four bridge loops that allow you to change the pitch of the top panel and the bottom panel independently of each other. Due to that, there are no lineman’s loops on the saddle, as you have the option to use any of the bridge loops to attach your lineman’s belt. 

The MOLLE are in a good position, and the saddle does not sag with loaded dump pouches. The leg straps do pull slightly while walking but putting them on at the tree is a quick and easy fix. The leg straps are also completely removable from the saddle, and the gear loop attachment points also double as a backup tender for those wanting to rappel down from the tree. 

The Buzzard Roost has four bridge loops so you can adjust the pitch of each panel separately.
The Buzzard Roost has four bridge loops so you can adjust the pitch of each panel separately. Mathew DuShane

The two panels are held together with two buckles and webbing straps that allow you to deploy the panels at hunting height. The bridge slides through the carabiner very nicely, and length adjustments are easy to make using the included poor man’s ascender. Bridge adjustments hold in every position as well.   

Best Entry Level: H2 Hotshot

Mathew DuShane

Check Price

Why It Made the Cut

The Hotshot is lightweight and sleek and yet packs in a lot of nice features.

Key Features

  • Single panel
  • Weight: 1 pound 5 ounces 
  • MOLLE webbing: One loose row on top of the panel and one tight row on the bottom of the panel
  • Waist belt: Webbing with AustriAlpin quick release buckle
  • Leg straps: Webbing with G-hook attachments, not removable from saddle
  • Bridge type: Webbing or TriAd AmSteel 
  • Special features: Mesh panel, lineman’s loops pull from top and bottom of panel, bridge length adjusts from both sides
  • Comfort: 4.6

Pros

  • MOLLE loops easy to use and in a good location
  • Right and left handed TriAd bridge adjustments 
  • Bridge slides through carabiner easily
  • Bridge holds all positions
  • Bridge length adjustments made easily
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Price
  • Flimsy lineman’s loops

Product Description

Coming in at 1 pound 5 ounces, the Hotshot is a lightweight saddle with a breathable mesh panel and two rows of MOLLE webbing. It holds the weight of dump pouches without any sag, and the leg straps are comfortable, made of webbing, and connected with G-hooks. Although the lineman’s loops are a bit flimsy, they function just fine to ascend and descend the tree. 

The TriAd AmSteel bridge slides easily through the carabiner, and adjusting the bridge from either side is easily done. The TriAd bridge is the only bridge on the market that allows for right and left-hand length adjustments, and the bridge also holds in all positions up and down the bridge loops for pitch adjustments. Overall the Hotshot is very functional and easy to use with the only con being the price.   

Best New Saddle: Timber Ninja Black Belt

Mathew DuShane

Check Price

Why It Made the Cut

The Black Belt offers padded panels for great comfort and lots of nice features. 

Key Features

  • Two panel
  • Weight: 2 pounds 9 ounces
  • MOLLE webbing: One loose row top panel and one loose row bottom panel
  • Waist belt: Webbing with metal side release buckle
  • Leg straps: Webbing with G-hook attachments, not removable from saddle
  • Bridge type: Adjustable Oplux rope 
  • Special features: No slipping, free-floating waist belt, padded panels
  • Comfort: 5

Pros

  • Can be worn as a single or two-panel saddle 
  • Waist belt holds tightly once set
  • MOLLE loops easy to use and in a good location
  • Lineman’s loops are big/stiff and easy to use
  • Bridge slides through carabiner easily
  • Bridge holds all positions
  • Bridge length adjustments made easily
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Price
  • Weight
  • Bridge pitch adjustments slip slightly 

Product Description

The Black Belt is a two-panel saddle that comes with padded panels for added comfort. The two panels are held together with webbing straps and plastic side-release buckles and can be deployed at hunting height. The webbing waist belt is free-floating through the upper panel, which allows you to move the metal side release buckle wherever you like it. The waist belt also has a tri-glide buckle for size adjustments, and once you have it set,  it doesn’t slip or loosen up. 

The Black Belt is well padded and very comfortable.
The Black Belt is well padded and very comfortable. Mathew DuShane

It offers one row of MOLLE webbing on the top panel and one on the bottom panel, which are in a good location and easy to access. The webbing also holds the weight of dump pouches without sagging the saddle. The webbing leg straps connect with G-hooks and are comfortable. The lineman’s loops are big and stiff and easily used to ascend and descend the tree. 

The Oplux bridge slides easily through the carabiner, and bridge adjustments are easily made. Although the bridge pitch adjustments slip slightly, they hold in all positions up and down the bridge loops for added comfort. Although the price and weight of the Black Belt were also listed as cons, its weight wasn’t noticeable due to its comfort.   

How To Choose A Tree Saddle

Mobile hunting gear is all about personal preference. The best way to choose a saddle is by trying one at a sportsman’s show in your area or by checking out a local saddle hunter meetup. Saddle hunters occasionally get together to talk about new techniques, and folks at the meetup can try out any of the saddles that each person brought. This is a great way to get your feet wet. You can find these meetups on most saddle-hunting forums and Facebook.  

FAQs

Q: What can I hunt from a tree saddle?

You can hunt any animal from a tree saddle that you can hunt from any of the best tree stands (deer, elk, bear, hogs, etc.). 

Q: Are tree saddles comfortable?

Yes. There are many tree saddles on the market today that give hunters endless adjustment options for comfort. 

Q: What size hunting saddle do I need?

Each tree saddle manufacturer provides sizing options that generally coincide with your waist/pant size. If your waist is at the high end of the sizing chart it is better to move up to the next size. 

Final Thoughts

There are more tree saddles on the market today than ever before, and finding the right one can be a challenging and daunting task. If you feel overwhelmed with the number of options out there, simply narrow it down from my list of the best tree saddles by choosing the saddle that best fits your hunting style.