Treestand Safety Harness Review: OL Tests the Top 5 Harnesses

safety harness review

OL Harness Test

Once clumsy and encumbering, harnesses have evolved into sleek, comfortable little numbers. Most contemporary designs have been lifted from NASCAR, mountaineering, and skydiving. And while they won't coax a buck into range, treestand harnesses will save your life. Here's the best the industry has to offer the hunter who dresses for survival. Rating Key
★ ★ ★ ★ - Excellent
★ ★ ★ - Very Good
★ ★ - Good
★ - Fair OL's Protocol Explained Our field of harnesses was tested over several days against a wide range of evaluation criteria that reflected real-world expectations. We wore each harness for an hour in a treestand to evaluate its comfort. We then wore each harness for a half day while going about normal activities. To get a real feel for the harnesses and their performance in the event of a fall, we suited up and hung suspended in each for two minutes. It is important to note that no harness was considered "comfortable" during the hang test. The harness with the best overall score was bestowed with our Editor's Choice award, while the unit that provides the most value was given our Great Buy award.
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safety harness review

OL Harness Test Summit

Summit Seat-O-The-Pants Fast-Back Deluxe
Slipping into the lightweight FastBack Deluxe, we immediately noticed its comfort. The nylon webbing is supple, conforming to every body contour. Rubber coating on the low-profile buckles cuts down on noise. Once adjusted, the harness fits like a familiar pair of cotton pajamas. However, a lack of padding on the leg straps makes them a bit tight while hanging. While a wide waist belt offers ample lumbar support, the EVA foam liner can make it warm during the early season. Two accessory pockets provide a place to squirrel away those hunting accessories you need at a moment's notice. The pocket material is quiet and the zippers are quality components. Summit's rope lanyard, with its sliding Prusik knot, is foolproof and the best there is. The one-piece unit serves triple-duty, as a lanyard, tree belt, and linesmen belt. The knot slides effortlessly for custom lanyard length adjustment, yet locks into place in the event of a fall. Test Result
Overall: ★ ★ ★ ★
General Comfort: A
Hang Comfort: B-
Ease of Use: A+
Quality of Design: *A
*Adjustability:
A+
Price/Value: B
MSRP/Best Price: $130/$97 Weight: 3 lb. 14.2 oz.
Final Word: Comfort, easy of use, and quality construction make this the total package.
Company: Summit Tree Stands *Best Prices reflect the lowest prices found at reputable online retailers at press time.
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safety harness review

OL Harness Test Pro Series

Hunter Safety System Pro Series HSS-600
The HSS-600 is a vest-style harness with the shoulder straps and waist belt sewn inside the vest to keep them tidy and tangle-free. We loved the elastic around the bottom edges of the armholes, which offers a custom fit. The waist belt adjusts inside the vest liner, comfortably encircling the torso. Weighing just 4 pounds, the HSS-600 is trim for a vest harness. Four horizontal zipper-less pockets and two vertical zippered pockets keep hunting essentials handy. The large leg strap buckles operate easily and quietly, but with no padding, the leg straps get a little too close for comfort in the crotch area while hanging. A mesh liner keeps the vest off your body and allows air to circulate--a nice feature for early-­season hunts. We were a little disappointed in the tether and tree strap setup. For this kind of coin, we'd like to see the optional rope-and-Prusik-knot setup come standard. Test Result
Overall: ★ ★ ★ ★
General Comfort: *A+
*Hang Comfort:
C+
Ease of Use: *A+
*Quality of Design:
A
Adjustability: A+
Price/Value: C+
MSRP/Best Price: *$150/$107
*Weight:
4 lb.
Final Word: The best vest-style harness on the market. Lots of pocket space.
Company: Hunter Safety System
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OL Harness Test EZ

Big Game EZ-On Basic
The EZ-On is surprisingly light, at just a tick over 3 ½ pounds. A large nylon waist buckle operates easily, and the parachute-­style leg buckles fasten silently. The large tangs on the buckles accommodate gloved hands and articulate easily. We found the tree belt and lanyard a bit pedestrian and cumbersome to install; however, we can easily overlook these minor issues at such a great price. Padded shoulder straps, with their piped edges, are quite comfortable, though while hanging they did tend to dig into the chest. A soft foam frame holds the straps apart and tangle-free, while the padding keeps your back comfy when leaning against the tree. The padding does have some audible crinkle to it, but a deer would have to have bionic hearing to notice it. Eight deceleration folds are accommodated into the lanyard, lessening the shock should you take a fall. The built-in deer drag is a nice touch. Test Result
Overall: ★ ★ ★ ½
General Comfort: A-
Hang Comfort: B-
Ease of Use: A
Quality of Design: B
Adjustability: *B+
*Price/Value: *A+
*MSRP/Best Price: *$58/$36
*Weight:
3 lb. 8.2 oz.
*Final Word: *Bare bones, but good enough to save your life, and at an excellent price.
Company: Big Game Treestands
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OL Harness Test Gorilla

Gorilla G20
There's been much ado surrounding the G20's shock-absorbing tether, which, at 29 ½ inches, allows for considerable freedom of movement when you're attempting a bow shot that requires contortion. Gorilla claims its tether reduces shock during a fall by 40 percent over its competitors--a claim we did not attempt to validate. The spring-loaded carabiner on the tether is great. The design ensures the carabiner is engaged at all times and prevents the possibility of its opening unintentionally. The G20's design eliminates the need for a waist belt, which is great for hunters who rock a beer gut. During the hang test, we found the Gorilla to be one gentle primate.
The G20 has generous molded EVA foam padding to help keep the harness' shape. Large, raised dimples in the foam offer nice airflow; however, the foam is a bit stiff on the shoulder pads and will take some time to break in. Test Result
Overall: *★ ★ ★ ½
*General Comfort:
B
Hang Comfort: B
Ease of Use: B+
Quality of Design: *A-
*Adjustability:
A
Price/Value: B-
MSRP/Best Price: $100/$87
Weight: 5 lb. 8.2 oz.
Final Word: An eye-catching design loaded with excellent materials and components.
*Company: *Gorilla
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OL Harness Test Tree Spider

Tree Spider Speed Harness
At 3 pounds 3.2 ounces, the Tree Spider was the lightest harness in the field, and the figure-eight strap design does not feature a waistbelt. The harness adjusts simply with the tug of two large tags. Two machined aluminum leg buckles have large tabs for easy operation with gloved hands, and no matter how much we banged on them, they remained rattle-free. Quality hardware abounds on this unit. The tether has elasticity, allowing increased range of movement. A large padded shoulder area keeps your back off the tree. We found the relaxed nylon webbing pliable and as comfortable as a well-worn pair of jeans. However, because the straps are so soft, they tend to bunch up while hanging. On the downside, a linesmen belt must be purchased separately. And while it didn't bother us, the metallic hardware is shiny--a potential turnoff for the hardcore head-to-toe-camo crowd. Test Result
Overall: ★ ★ ★ ½
General Comfort: A-
Hang Comfort: *C
*Ease of Use: *B+
*Quality of Design:
A+
Adjustability: *A-
*Price/Value:
C+
MSRP/Best Price: $150/$105
Weight: 3 lb. 3.2 oz.
*Final Word: *Incredibly lightweight, and the most innovative design on the market.
*Company: *Tree Spider
Outdoor Life

Your most important of deer hunting gear? Your safety harness. With this sentiment, we tested the five top harnesses for comfort, ease of use, and safety.