Gear Review - Comfort Zone 20 Foot Climbing Sticks
As the saying goes, "half the battle is getting there," and there is no place that this is truer than when "there" is elevated in a tree! Much of our hunting is done from elevated spots, including most of our big game hunts. An elevated position gives you a lot of advantage, but getting up to where you want and doing so safely is often a literal battle. Our review today will focus on the Comfort Zone climbing sticks in 20' package.
For a hunter, getting up higher means a longer field of vision, better lines of sight with less obstacles, and it improves your chance of staying undetected because your smell is less simple for the deer to pinpoint. Our team likes getting up in the tree as high as possible, but we are focused on getting there safely! Hunting is one of the safest sports you can undertake, but there still are risks. The number one way that hunters are hurt in the wilderness is from falling from tree stands. A nasty fall will ruin your day in a hurry... perhaps permanently!
After unboxing the Comfort Zone climbing sticks, we were struck immediately by the sturdiness of this product. There's a bit of work to do as they need to be assembled, but the steel is thick, the brackets are strong, and the bolts are good. It is apparent in this world of shrinkage and cheapening of products, this company hasn't done so.
Manufacturers Claim: T-Bar top provides extra handhold
In the field:
One of the things we like most about these sticks is the ability to use less (or more) sections of stick to allow for the perfect height. The T-Bar of the top is a great addition which allows stability and safety when you’re stepping down into your stand. As nice as the T-Bar top is the T-Bar bottom which prevents the sticks from sinking into the dirt at the base of the tree while you climb.
Claim: Five 4' sections allows easy transport to and from the woods
In the field:
One of the only negatives of the CZ climbing sticks is that the Five 4’ sections are not terribly easy to transport. You can connect the 5 sections together with the included straps, and at 21 pounds, it’s not a heavy carry, but it is awkward if the bush thickens.
Claim: Pinned sections prevent separation
In the field:
The pins live up to their name. Certainly it’s not possible to remove the sections while the pins are in place, but in our experience, separation is not an issue once attached to a tree. During take-down, if the pins were not used, you could find that the sections have connected “too tightly” after having the weight pressed together by a human’s weight. The pins are invaluable.
Claim: Attaches securely to tree with multiple diameters
In the field:
The limiting factor of the diameter of the tree is the length of the attached straps. It is possible, and something we experienced this spring, to securely attach these climbing sticks to extremely large trees using separate ratchet straps with longer lengths.
Claim: Angled steps for safer climbing
In the field:
As we discuss in the real world section, angled steps are a fairly universal feature in climbing sticks, but the fact that these sticks have “doubled” the steps is an incredibly attractive feature. While it may add to the weight of the product, not having to worry about which side the next step is on is important, especially climbing down after darkness has fallen.
Claim: Non-glare black sand finish
In the field:
Nothing especially important to write about here, but it should be noted that the matte black finish on the Comfort Zone climbing sticks does fade fairly quickly in the real world. Of course, it doesn’t affect functionality, but you can clearly tell the difference between sticks we’ve just purchased and ones that have spent a season or two in the field.
Claim: 300 pound weight capacity
In the field:
Given that none of us are small, we can absolutely attest to the strength of the Comfort Zone 20’ Climbing Sticks. A year ago, one of the members of our team was clearly approaching, or even surpassing the 300 pound weight limit, but was able to climb with ease and no ill effect to the product. After the season we always inspect our Comfort Zone Climbing Sticks and we have yet to come across any signs of wear aside from the fading. The welds are incredibly solid and there has been no bending or loosening.
Cost: $79.99 Suggested Retail Price
It is very common to see the Comfort Zone Climbing Sticks on sale for $59, and even as low as $49. Every set we have purchased has been one of those two prices, and we are not sure if they ever sell for MSRP or if this is merely a marketing technique to show "mark-down" all the time.
Real World Thoughts:
These climbing sticks come in five lengths and each are four feet long. They fit together one into the other by a couple of inches and are held by a bolt system when they are together. The 20' total height gives a lot of options as does the fact it comes in multiple sections. You can put as few or as many of these four foot sections as required for your area. If you need to go just 12' up, you can use three of them, or go up to 20' if you want. Because they are all made identically, you can put one or more sections on from another set to go above 20 feet even! This aids to safety as it is important to always extend the climbing sticks above the tree stand so that you can step down into the stand while keeping your hands firmly held to the climbing sticks.
The parts of the climbing sticks are, as mentioned earlier, made very solidly. There is a solid steel "tree" piece that a straight, hollow piece with grooves and if is drilled through to attach the steps. The steps are slightly inclined upwards and the welds look solid and perform well. We have had these sets for three years and they have held up perfectly through annual use. These sticks get a workout as they are in the woods between April and November each year through all conditions. Through each season they hold up well and they look almost like new with a slight tinge of rusting that could be touched up with some paint if we wanted.
The upward incline of the steps make them easy to climb and minimize risk of having your foot slip off the step. This also helps to keep your hands secure ascending or descending.
The straps on the climbing sticks are very easy to understand and use. They pull tight to the tree to keep the sticks secure and they hold well throughout use. I check the straps between climbs and rarely have to pull them tighter. They stay tight and keep you safe getting up and down the tree.
The design of the steps having them side by side on both sides of the center piece also lends to their safety. We own and have used other models where the steps are staggered and one must be extra careful in assembly to make sure each section lines up to avoid having a gap from "missing" steps. Comfort Zone has relieved that stress by keeping them consistent on each side of that center piece.
These climbing sticks are easy and fast to set up and can safely be done by a single person. Depending on whether any limbs have to be removed, we can often have our climbing sticks and tree stands up and secure in under twenty minutes! They get you in and out of the woods quickly and simply!
In addition despite their sturdy steel construction, they are relatively light and easy to carry into the woods. I wrap a strap around them all at each end and pull the bundle tight which makes them easy to carry in and out of where we need them.
The primary negative on this model is something we have yet to see on any model of climbing sticks: the lack of ability to attach a theft deterrent to any model including this one.
It is a terrible shame that we live in a time that hunters need to be concerned with the loss of their equipment, but we all know it is a sad reality. We anxiously await a model to come out with some sort of security device to deal with this. Whether it is a locking device to make them impossible to disassemble without a key, something to secure it around the tree, or even something as simple as a welded circle to be able to secure it with a chain, it needs to be addressed. We had a set of these stolen in 2014 that we tried to secure with s cable lock. An axe made quick work of our cable lock judging from the market in the tree.
The Bottom Line:
These are perhaps the best climbing sticks we have purchased and used. They are safe, flexible, easy to set up, and reasonably priced. These climbing sticks will get you where you want to be, elevated to your tree stand safely.
There is also the ability to purchase individual sections of even 16' packages of these sticks should you need a different configuration.
Gone are the days of worrying about the safety of that homemade wooden ladder. You will not be disappointed with these climbing sticks.
Contact us and let us know!