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Tree Saddles


New Member
Figured I’d give my 2 cents on saddle hunting if anyone was curious about it.

Got a saddle last year, never got around to hunting in it until today. Wanted a low weight, easy to use system for public land. Ended up with the XOP. I believe it’s a renegade? I was really unsure about it until today. I can say I’m absolutely sold on saddle hunting. I’m usually a little sketched out up in the tree. However, after being in the saddle today I can say it’s the most comfortable I’ve been in the tree.

Only piece of advice I’d give is don’t cheap out on the saddle. The XOP is decent so far but I’m gonna switch to a tethrd system next year. The XOP has a lot going on and is a little inconvenient but it does the job for the price point.

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I bought the whole setup last year and got frustrated with it practicing in the July heat (mistake #1) and sold it all before season. Decided to give it another go this year and bought the whole setup again (I like lighting money on fire).

I absolutely love it. Never felt so comfortable and safe in a tree. The only downside I see is taking a little extra time getting up and down if you don’t have sticks or steps pre-set.

My tips from the 2nd time around…

Get 8mm ropes over 11. A lot less bulky.

Get mechanical ascenders. Prusik knots aren’t great for quick adjustments.

Get dump pouches. May seem obvious, but I thought I was going to keep everything in my pack. Way handier with your ropes on your hip.

Get knee pads. Your knees will thank you for it. A lot more stable of a shot if you can put your knee into the tree too.

Check out the Cruzr saddles. I never hunted out of the phantom, but from the little I did use it the Cruzr XC felt better.

Not saddle related, but the rope attachment and containment system on the skeletor sticks is amazing.

Sorry to hijack, but it really is a great way to hunt.


Land of the Whitetail
This is my 3rd season with a saddle. I dont use it exclusively. It is great for bouncing around or if you were a public hunter. My first season with it i did not like it. But, last year I took the time to figure out how to get it all adjusted to where I can be comfortable. Love it now. I will say it can be a little bit of a struggle on all day sits, I'd rather have a stand for those. It was a bit of a learning curve for me to learn to climb and get set up etc. Probably took me like 30 minutes starting out. Now I can go from base of the tree to full set up in about 12 minutes and without rushing. Once you figure out where to store your gear etc and the order in which to do everything its pretty simple. The mobility once set up is unmatched, you can shoot nearly 360 degrees around the tree. I like that face the tree so its nice to have your pack right in front of you and if a deer is coming you can use the trunk of the tree as cover.


PMA Member
I've utilized a saddle for 3 yrs now and I'm probably gonna sell my platform and pick up a LWCG .5 stand. I hunted almost exclusively out of a saddle my first year, probably 2/3 last year and probably 1/3 this year. It has its advantages and disadvantages compared to a stand, but ultimately I had too many encounters where deer would come in directly behind me or on my weak side and I couldn't get away with the movement needed to get a shot. Yes, you can shoot 360 in theory, but if your tree is big you or you are covered in deer you are limited on what you can get away with. A saddle works best when you can keep the tree between you and the deer and sometimes that's easier said than done.

The other issue I had was wearing cold weather gear; one of these 20 degree days I was unable to pull my bow back while leaning at a weird angle around the tree with all my heavy layers on. I've never had that issue in a stand and afterwards I was fine drawing my bow while standing, leaning or knees against the tree. Lastly comfort wasn't ideal for me, I have a fractured process on my L5 (old football injury) and all day sits were miserable for me. Even with a back band I could not get comfortable without fidgeting or constantly shifting.
I will say, I shot 2 does out of a saddle this year and if the deer come from where you anticipate and it's a short hunt then the saddle is hard to beat. It's a tool to add to your kit for sure, but for me I can sit still better and more comfortably in a tree stand.

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My buddy has used one for 2 years and he gets into some pretty slick spots. I’m much bigger than him and just can’t wrap my head around how it would even be comfortable. I guess I just like my stands to much- even carrying all the way in on publics- once you have a system it’s pretty slick regardless. Maybe this year I will convince myself to try one out

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