Does the concept of tree saddle hunting have you intrigued? If you're a gear junkie, chances are that it does. However, you might have a few reservations — beginning with the question of how exactly you're supposed to get started. In this piece, we'll take a look at today's top-notch tethers, lineman's belts, bridges, ascenders and much more. Additionally, be sure to check out our compilation of tree saddle sticks and other top climbing accessories, as well as our demo climb video with aider use.
Bridges and Materials
The bridge is what connects the saddle to the tree tether, and it can be fixed to the saddle or be removable from one side. The bridge is attached to specific saddle loops, and there are a handful of attachment options and bridge materials suitable for saddle hunting: climbing-rated webbing and rope, or quarter-inch Amsteel (used on truck winches and tugboats) are the typical choices.
Bridge length matters. For wider-hipped users, a longer bridge is typically more comfortable, but a long bridge can be tough to avoid with your bowstring at certain shot angles. I prefer an adjustable bridge of either climbing webbing or Amsteel on a whoopie sling, so I can snug the bridge down short, or lengthen it occasionally during all-day sits.
Bridge options are for the Aero Hunter Flex Saddle.
Ascenders and Prusik Options
A prusik is a friction hitch or knot used to attach a loop of cord around a rope to provide an adjustable, nonslip tie-in for carabiners on tree tethers, lineman’s belts, and bridges, exactly like the loop of cord on a full-body harness tree tether. A prusik cord is a cost-effective solution, but it often requires two hands to loosen and adjust, proving inconvenient when ongoing adjustments need to be made, like when climbing with a lineman’s belt. Aero Hunter’s Eye-and-Eye Prusik Kit is an economical, lightweight, one-hand-adjustable solution that has no metal and is easily threaded onto a carabiner for convenient use (Aerohunter.us).
Borrowing from the climbing world, mechanical ascenders like the Wild Country RopeMan 1, are metal devices that clip to your carabiner, with your tether or lineman’s belt threaded through it. A spring-loaded, “toothed” cam provides instant and quiet one-hand adjustability up or down your rope. These types of ascenders have proven reliable from Mt. Rainer to Mt. Everest. While a more expensive option, mechanical ascenders are incredibly reliable and convenient (Tethrdnation.com or REI).
1. Tethrd spliced-eye tree tether, Black Diamond carabiner and Ropeman 1; spliced lineman’s belt with prusik.
2. Aero Hunter lineman’s belt with Eye-and-Eye prusik, tree tether with Ropeman 1 and Fusion auto-locking carabiner.
1. Mantis Recliner
2. Black Diamond Mini Pearabiner
3. Aero Hunter MOLLE Accessories and Gear Bag
1. Tethrd SYS Hauler ES
2. Standard SYS Hauler
3. SBW Saddle Insulator
4. Aero Hunter Gear Bag and Back Band