A hunting safety harness should be a mandatory piece of equipment when utilizing a tree stand. Each year, thousands of hunters end up in emergency rooms because of tree stand accidents. Compare that to the less than 1000 hunters who are injured in firearms accidents each year, and the numbers are sobering. Modern tree stands are immensely useful, and safer than ever, yet still very dangerous if you neglect to wear a safety harness.
Most of the time the danger lies in the hunter simply getting into or out of the tree stand. Injuries include spinal injuries, skull injuries, paralysis, neurological trauma, and even death. This results in a trip to the hospital with lost wages, large doctor bills, and the real possibility of never being able to hunt again.
Yet, many hunters still choose to tempt fate by neglecting the harness. Think of it this way, it’s not a matter of if you fall, but when. Today’s best hunting safety harness models are easy to use, lightweight, and comfortable. It’s a mere slight inconvenience to strap up before heading out to the stand. The treestand safety harness is your best friend, and will not interfere with you aiming or shooting.
In this guide, you will learn what makes a good safety harness, and which ones are best.
Best Hunting Safety Harness: Top 5
*Last updated 2019-05-20 at 22:33 / Product Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
How We Rank the Safety Harnesses
- Harness Materials – Is the harness made so it will hold you, should you fall? Is it designed so you can hunt with it without impedance?
- Harness Comfort – Actually wearing your harness is most important, being effortless to wear throughout a day in the stand makes it far easier.
- Ease of Use – How easy is it to use? Are there lots of buckles and straps or can you put it on and take it off easily?
- Weight – Although harness weights vary by a pound or two, the weight adds up if you have to haul in all your gear.
- Durability – Is your harness made of quality materials and a design that will last lead through the expiration date?
- Weight Capacity – How much are you expecting the harness to hold? (No lying on weight here.) What weight capacity are you requiring when you consider your body weight and the gear you wear?
- TMA Certification – Is the harness built to meet or exceed the standards set out by the Treestand Manufacturer’s Association?
When we rank the following safety harnesses, we take these six points into account. After all, if you have a safety harness that doesn’t fit well, it won’t protect you if you leave it in the car. At the same time, it needs to work so that you will be safe if you do fall from your tree stand.
Treestand Safety Harness Reviews
The following are some of the most popular tree stand safety harnesses and our review of their features, advantages, and disadvantages.
1. Hunter Safety System X-1 Bowhunter
- Lightweight at 1.9 lbs, suitable for all seasons.
- Easy to adjust, comfortable, with no dangling straps.
- Metal leg buckles may clack together on some people.
- Just one pattern, Realtree X-Tra.
One of the best safety harnesses for the money, the Hunter Safety System X-1 Bowhunter is popular among tree stand hunters. The product comes with a DVD showing you how to put it on and use it correctly, has the primary tree strap, suspension relief strap that doubles as a deer drag, and an instruction booklet. Some people have complained that the metal buckles will click together and even when they purchase the silencer for them, the bands still can slip off.
2. Hunter Safety System Ultra-Lite Flex
- An ultralight harness (2.0lbs), as the name says.
- Cell phone pocket, easy to adjust and wear.
- Extremely comfortable.
- Does not include a linesman strap.
Like the Bowhunter, the Hunter Safety System Ultra-Lite Flex is popular among tree stand hunters. The product comes with a DVD showing you how to put it on and use it correctly, has the primary tree strap, suspension relief strap that doubles as a deer drag, and an instruction booklet. Made to be even more flexible than the Bowhunter, it has individual, padded hexagons to provide a snug fit that is still comfortable and great flexibility.
Most hunters who use this system are sold on the comfort and the flexibility, as well as the ease of use. Some hunters, after refusing to wear safety harnesses for years tried this one and found that they could wear it without discomfort, changing their minds on safety harnesses.
3. Muddy The Safeguard
- Quiet, lightweight at just 1.9 lbs.
- Includes everything you need, carabiners, SRS, and lineman’s rope.
- Six pockets plus two lanyards for gear.
- Learning to adjust can be tricky, but is highly customizable.
Muddy The Safeguard is a lightweight safety harness that many hunters love. Even so, some hunters have reported they had trouble adjusting this harness, and at least one hunter said it was uncomfortable to wear. Still, many hunters sing the praises of this lightweight harness and at least one has said it has saved his life. Comes with lineman’s rope, Suspension Relief Strap (SRS), and tree strap.
4. Hunter Safety System Elite Vest
- Tons of pockets for hand warmers and accessories.
- Built-in ElimiShield scent control technology.
- Comfortable, shape adapting vest design.
- On the heavier side at 2.8 lbs.
What to do when you want a vest, but still need a safety harness? Combine the two and you get the Hunter Safety System Elite Vest. The product comes with a DVD showing you how to put it on and use it correctly, has the primary tree strap, a suspension relief strap that doubles as a deer drag, and an instruction booklet.
Most hunters love this system and find it to be both comfortable and quiet. The vest goes over the harness lines, and you may feel the harness between your body and the vest, which some hunters will not care for.
5. Muddy The Magnum Pro
- Good value for the price.
- Lightest hunting safety harness at just 1.5 lbs.
- One size fits most. May not fit larger, very tall, or shorter hunters.
Most hunters like Muddy The Magnum Pro harness as a first harness or an extra harness. Most say it is comfortable. Comes with Lineman’s Belt, Suspension Relief Strap, and Tree Strap. One person complained about the size of the lineman’s belt and tree strap, saying both were too short and unusable. A few people complained about quality control of the harness, saying that there were either missing parts or harnesses that were sewn poorly.
6. Hunter Safety System Lil’ Treestalker – Best for Kids
- Adjustable for youths between 50 and 120 lbs.
- 2 large waist pockets.
- Includes suspension relief strap that doubles as a deer drag
- Lineman’s belt not included.
- Only comes in Mossy Oak Bottomland Camouflage
Hunting parents rave about this vest and safety harness combination for kids. Made to fit over bulky clothing easily, it also fits children during the warmer days in autumn. The harness is very lightweight, comfortable, and children will find this vest and safety harness combo easy to use.
7. Hunter Safety System Contour – Best Women’s Harness
- Specially contoured to fit women.
- 2 large contour pockets.
- Pricey compared to some of the men’s harnesses.
Women who have this harness rave about it. The vest is contoured and has turquoise trim so women will never get their harnesses mixed up with their male hunting partners’ harnesses. Has a special scent-lock treatment that is supposed to trap body odors so game does not smell the hunter. Lightweight at 2.5 lbs. The product comes with a DVD showing you how to put it on and use it correctly, has the primary tree strap, suspension relief strap that doubles as a deer drag, and an instruction booklet.
Tree Stand Harness Safety Tips
Once you have a quality harness, your next step is to learn how to properly use it. Don’t expect to show up on the first day of the season with a tree stand safety harness and expect to learn how to use it while you hunt. Even though they’re lightweight, you need to learn how to use the tree strap as well as the suspension relief strap if you want to be able to use a tree stand and the harness safely.
Read the Manual – Once you have your harness, read the manual that the manufacturer provided. Watch any videos the manufacturer made either included with the harness or available on their website. These manuals and videos show you how to use your harness correctly to prevent injury, should you fall from your tree stand. They also give instructions on how to use the suspension relief strap in case you do fall and your harness catches you. The relief strap is designed to take the pressure off of your leg straps once you’ve stopped your descent. You have to deploy it in order to either wait comfortably for help or to relieve the pressure on your legs so you can get back in the tree stand.
Practice at Ground Level – After you’ve read the manual and watched the videos, it’s time to practice — at a safe level. Practice with the tree strap, the lifeline, clipping in and climbing a couple of feet off the ground. Practice “falling” from ground level and rehearse using the relief strap. Get comfortable with the setup and practice with unloaded weapons to understand how you can maneuver with the safety belt. That way, getting into a tree stand will be second nature to you and you’ll only have to worry about watching for that big buck.
Always Wear the Harness – Wearing a harness should always be done, like wearing seat belts in cars. Sure, it might seem inconvenient at first, but you have to be alive for it to be inconvenient. One moment of forgetfulness, one “just this once” not wearing it could be the difference between a trip home after the hunt or a trip to the morgue. The statistics tell the story, don’t risk your life and your health — always, always wear your harness and keep it clipped to the tree at all times.
Don’t Rush in a Tree Stand – Take your time and be deliberate when climbing into the stand, climbing out of the stand, and moving around in it. The buck will be there and if you don’t spook him, you’ll get your deer, but you have to think slow and smooth. Make sure you know where you put your feet. Make sure your harness is attached to a line to the tree at all times. Be certain of your movements and you’ll be both safe and surprisingly quick because you’ve moved smoothly.
Use a Haul Line – Never climb up to a stand with gear–especially your weapon. These items can cause you to become off balanced or can harm you should you suddenly fall. A firearm will most likely be pointed in an unsafe manner while climbing and can accidentally discharge if snagged or dropped. Use a haul rope to bring your gear and your weapon up to the tree stand, and to lower it to the ground when the day is over.
Inspect Before Use – Your life is dependent on your harness, so you need to inspect it before you use it each and every time. Look for rips, wore areas, damaged stitches, frayed areas missing and damaged buckles, UV bleached areas, and other possible problems. If your harness is damaged: DO NOT USE. Your hunting day is done or you need to stay on the ground until you replace your safety harness.
Mind the Expiration Date – All harnesses have a life of three to five years, depending on the material, manufacturer, and use. Know the expiration date and purchase a new harness before your harness expires. Then, dispose of the expired harness. Do not keep it around for a spare–it could fail on you.
Replace Your Safety Harness if You Ever Fall – If you fall and your life is saved by your safety harness, congrats! Frame that harness, put it up on the wall next to your trophy buck, and buy a new safety harness. Why? Because the safety harnesses are made to control the fall and stop you before you hit the ground. That requires panels being ripped out, the fabric is stretched, and safety features compromised to save your life. In other words, harnesses are good for one fall only and you need to replace yours after your fall. Otherwise, it will most likely fail on you if you have another fall.
Be safe this hunting season and wear a safety harness. You’ll be glad you did if you ever need it.
*Last updated 2019-05-20 at 22:33 / Product Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API