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This Hawk Helium Climbing Sticks Review is the result of my decision to take hunting more seriously after becoming a landowner. For the 2018 whitetail season I signed up for the Quest Hunt Co Whitetail Tournament and upgraded a lot of my hunting gear. For the first time in my 18 years of hunting, I had decided to get more serious about my time in the woods. After much research, multiple store visits, and debate between premium or budget climbing sticks or ladders, I decided on Hawk Helium Climbing Sticks. These were a game changer to the way I hunted, continue reading my Hawk Helium Climbing Stick Review below to learn what I love about them and what I would change.
Inconvenient Hunting before Hawk Helium Climbing Sticks:
Until recent years, all of my hunting experiences occurred on public land or in semi-urban areas (5 minutes outside of town). In both of these areas its difficult to know how much human foot traffic your hunting area would be subjected to. Because of this traffic, I like to leave as little equipment in the area as possible. Equipment theft is a real problem in both of these scenarios. For me, this meant no stands left for extended periods of time and no game cameras. Luckily for the semi-urban hunts I was always able to frequent my hunting grounds enough to pattern deer during archery season. But for firearm season on public land I’m banking on last minute decisions and chance.
For my semi-urban hunts, stand placement options are limited. I generally pick an area that has potential and deal with it. I like to use hang on stands or my budget 2-man ladder stand for these hunts. On a larger plot of land it would be nice to have stands hung in multiple locations. Climbing sticks could be used to access any of them at any time without purchasing multiple ladders.
Pegs are a thing of the Past:
If you have ever used a hang on stand with screw in pegs you know what a pain they are. In the distant past, to make them easier to install I carried a 4” piece of 3/4” PVC and a cordless drill. I would pre-drill a hole and use the PVC as a sleeve to save my hands while cranking the peg into the tree. I don’t like this method for multiple reasons. First, relocation is just not an option. Second, the pegs can be slippery and have even broken while descending (I wasn’t overweight at 185 lbs). Third, pegs are damaging to the tree and if left in place between seasons can’t be removed after the tree has grown.
Why shop for Climbing Sticks?
While scouting for stand locations for the first season at my new house and 6 acre property, I found a stand set up on my fence row facing my property and chosen hunting area. Since I’m new to the area I don’t know who all might be roaming around. This told me I needed to keep an eye out for trespassers and that I wasn’t alone in the area.
I decided to set up my older game camera nearby just in case it went missing. I also decided that my stand needed to come in and out of the woods with me or be inaccessible from the ground. Pegs, 2×4 blocks, and ladders would allow easy access to my stand. This left me with 2 viable options: my climbing stand, or portable climbing sticks. As a father of 2 kids under 4 years old my hunts at home are destined to be short. Setting up a climbing stand every trip would be counterproductive. Climbing sticks seemed like a no brainer.
Researching Climbing Sticks:
Immediate research led me to two price points. The lower price point ($30-$70) appeared to consist of options with fixed steps and steel construction. The premium options listed between $100-180 generally included folding steps and aluminum construction.
I opted to shop the lower end of the premium options for packability . I was drawn toward the Lone Wolf Climbing Sticks and the Hawk Helium Climbing Sticks. Lone Wolf Climbing sticks caught my attention because they can be purchased as a 1, 3, or 4 pack. They look light with fewer moving parts due to the pivoting staggered steps. The Hawk Helium Climbing Sticks are offered in a 1 or 3 pack, with double sided fold up steps. I settled on a 3 pack of Hawks. After a full season I’m still happy with my decision. So pleased I felt the need to share it by creating my Hawk Helium Climbing Sticks Review.
Using the Hawk Helium Climbing Sticks:
My Hawk Helium Climbing Sticks showed up a few days after I placed the order. I opened the package, removed all of the rubber bands on the straps and nested them up neatly for my first trip to the woods to test them. The sticks came with a bungee cord loop to keep them bundled. The extra long straps can be wrapped around the frame to keep them out of the way. I generally carry too much gear so I wanted a way to attach them to my hang on stand. Digging through odds and ends I found a neon twist tie gear holder.
I looped it through the frame of the stand and around the frame of the sticks just below the tree teeth. I gave it a few twists, tossed the stand on my back and headed out the door.
My hike to my tree was silent for the most part with only a couple of clanks from unsecured straps. This is something that could be easily remedied before packing in prior to a hunt.
The Set Up:
After unpacking my steps and stand I set up the first climbing stick on the tree. Being a first timer I took extra care to make sure my strap wasn’t twisted and that the buckle was facing the correct direction and secured the strap.
Next, I unfolded the steps and gave it a test climb before gathering the rest of my gear. I discovered that the tree teeth are very secure laterally but allow a small amount of sliding vertically. I returned to the ground and raised the strap a few inches to accommodate the movement. It gets slightly more tricky from here but the rest of the climb is still very doable.
If you have a harness that is equipped with a climbing strap using it from this point on will make your job a lot easier. With my stand on my back and climbing sticks hanging from my straps I climb to the top of the first climbing stick and place both feet on the top step (now I’m glad I decided against the staggered steps). Secure your climbing strap and lean back into it to feel tension before letting go to secure the second step. Continue on up and secure your third step in the same manner.
Next I take my stand off my back and secure it in the same way. I didn’t take a tape measure with me but with rather large gaps between steps I feel like I was able to get around 13-15’ off the ground. In my normal hunting grounds this leaves me just above eye level for anything approaching from uphill. This season I think I will purchase one more step to get me out of the line of sight from above.
When I’m returning to hunt again the same day or before daylight the following day I like to leave my climbing sticks in place. After a weekend of hunting I generally won’t be back for a few days. When this happens, I put a cable lock on the stand and remove my climbing sticks on my way down. Even if someone finds my stuff they would need a way to access it. Therefore they are then less likely to be able to tamper with or steal it. This practice is an acceptable way of reducing theft risk to me because the hike in and out with my Hawk Helium Climbing Sticks is cool, efficient, and quiet. I couldn’t say the same thing about my climbing stand.
The main benefit over my climbing stand is the fact that it requires far less time, effort, and noise to actually get into the tree. Setting up and climbing with my climbing stand takes me a minimum of 10 minutes, likely more in the dark. My Hawk Helium Climbing Sticks can have me safely and silently in my stand without breaking a sweat. In less than 5 minutes! Also, in the inevitable event that I drop a glove I can sneak down the tree to grab it silently. This would not be an option hunting from the climber.
+ Aluminum construction makes them light compared to economy options
+ Foldable Steps for compact nesting of steps together
+ Dual steps for easier positioning during tree stand hanging
+ Easier to to pack than a full ladder
+ Easier, quieter, cooler to carry than a climbing stand
+ Attachment hardware is rubber coated for quiet set up.
+ In 2018 Hawk was $50 cheaper than their closest premium competitor, Lone Wolf. Competition has leveled the price this season.
– 1 more unit would be helpful for getting to my desired height
– Steps are a bit sharp on bare hands in early season
– At 2.8 lbs Hawk Helium Climbing Steps are slightly heavier than Lone Wolf at 2.5 lbs each.
– 300 lbs Capacity is less than the Lone Wolf 350 lb capacity
2019 Upgrades include:
+ Silent Lock Technology utilizes a suction cup function to stack and transport quietly
+ Silent Use Versa Button uses a loop in the strap instead of metal hooks for silent hassle free tree attachment.
***(This Hawk Helium Climbing Sticks Review is based on the 2018 model. I only have 1 2019 stick so the stacking hardware hasn’t been tested. The Versa Button with loop is easy to use though.)
Hawk Helium Climbing Sticks are Highly Recommended!
This is one of the products that I researched endlessly and it paid off. While I don’t use them for every single hunt, I would definitely make this purchase again. In fact, I do intend to add one more Hawk Helium Climbing stick to round out my collection with 4. My happiness with my purchase encouraged my writing of this Hawk Helium Climbing Sticks Review because I feel like they are a product that will help any mobile hunter. I Highly Recommend.
These can be purchased directly from Hawk (when they are in stock), from various outdoor vendors, or Amazon.
With only minimal searching I was able to get my hands on a single 2019 Hawk Helium Climbing stick . Since I was placing my order right at the peak of pre-season shopping a few suppliers were back ordered. My stick showed up recently and I immediately assembled and nested it with the other climbing sticks for my weekend trip to Northern Missouri. Assembly was a breeze with only 3 bolts needing installed. Two different size hex keys and an adjustable wrench did the job. While nesting with the old style sticks I had to place the new one on the outside because the anti rattle buttons didn’t sit right when the 2019 version was in the middle. Make sure you keep the strap pulled tight on the 2019 as well because it relies on a loop and doesn’t have permanent attachment hardware.
Quick Success Adds Confidence!
After getting all 4 climbing sticks nested and bundled together with straps secured, I attached it to the back of my stand using 2 twist ties and the stand’s ratchet strap. I didn’t arrive until well after dark so my first hunt of the weekend began with setting up the stand. After harnessing up I headed out into the darkness, not a single clank could be heard on my way into the woods. I picked a tree in the dark and went to work climbing and installing my stand. Within 15 minutes I was tied off in the stand with an arrow nocked and my bow hanging on the hook.
Before I even got settled and my heart slowed down from the walk, I had a young 10 pt whitetail come strolling down the path I walked in on. He crossed the creek within 20 yards of my stand seemingly oblivious to my presence. This gives me hope that my mobile hunting set up is finally where it needs to be as far as stealth, efficiency, and elevation are concerned.
Make sure you are ready for bow season by keeping you skills sharp! Check out my DIY Archery Backstop post so that you can practice in your own backyard!