Equipment for hunting from tree saddle

This is something I wrote for an English-speaking friend. Maybe someone else can benefit from it. How to use and hunt from a saddle will be a later article. 

I use SRT - Single Rope Technic, and this is the way I do the climbing. Of course there are a lot of different ways of doing this.

Equipment 2


First, I need to get my rope up in the tree. I use a weight and throwline.

No 1 throwline, a light but strong line with low friction

No 2 Weight, a small bag filled with lead and with a ring for attaching the line

With aid of throwline I can hoist my climbing rope up.

No 3 Climbing rope. I use 9 mm static rope but 10-12 mm is OK, length minimum the height you plan to climb + 2 meters, but I recommend total 12 meters or longer. I use 12 meters.

Rope up and secured – now attach climbing gear:

No 4 Ascender connected to

No 5 rope with loop for a foot

No 6 Pulley-carabiner

No 7 Belay/descender

No 8 Carabiner

No 9 Treesaddle

Now I can climb the rope up to desired height and attach my platform (not in picture)

Standing on platform I will attach my tether

No 10 Tether, a static rope climbing rated. Aprox 2-3 meters with a loop in one or both ends. At least a stopping knot in one end (as in picture)

No 11 Rope clamp/Mechanical prusik

No 12 Carabiner (Yes you need at least two because No 8 is attached to you and you do not want to open it before secured to tether)

Well up on platform and secured to tether I can hoist my bow up.

No 13 Hoist rope. At least length as your climbing height. A simple carabiner makes it easy to connect the bow.

I need to hang my bow somewhere so I use a screw-in holder

No 14 Bow holder

No 15 Extra carabiner that very often comes in use to hold some equipment.

No 1 and 2 - Throwline


Throw rope must be strong yet light and low friction. You need a long length at least 20 meters, I think mine is 25-30 meters. I use Tree Runner Fly but there are a lot of alternatives, Edelrid, Petzl and more.

Attach the line to bag with a simple knot as shown, if bag gets stuck you want the knot to open.

I use Edelrid 250 gram bag alternatives are plenty look for Petzl and many more. There are heavier bags but I think around 250 gram is enough.

No 3 – climbing rope


It is important that you choose a static climbing rope. Mountaineers usually use dynamic rope for climbing due to its attribute of damping a fall. But when climbing the rope you do not want a rubber band. Always use only climbing rated rope!

I use a 9 mm Edelrid static rope but any static climbing rope will do. My rope is a little bit stiff making it hard to bend. I chose a small diameter for low weight and packable in small space. When choosing diameter please check with your other gear (belay, ascender, pulley, etc) what diameters they can handle. Normally 9-13 mm will be OK.  A long rope is bulky and heavy, a (too) short rope limits your choice of tree… I think 12 meters is OK for most cases.

In one end of rope is a loop, make it secure – your life depends on it. In the loop is a delta-carabiner attached. The purpose is to lower friction between ropes. It does not have to be a triangle/delta any form will do but please use a screw-carabiner as they are safe.

In the other end I have put a loop of thin line (hard to see in picture) and then with crimp tubing I have reduced the diameter of rope. Purpose is that I attach throw line to the thin loop and then hoist the rope up. The slim form of the end makes it easier to slip through small passages in tree without getting stuck. This is something extra and not necessary.

No 4-8 - climbing gear

climb gear

The ascender (4) moves one way=up and locks. I use Petzl ascender in right hand version. Of course, there is a lot of different brands CT, CAMP, ROCK etc. There is also alternatives to handheld ascenders like chest mounted or on foot.

I have a line (5) attached to my ascender, about 1,5 meters depending on own length. A loop in the end to put your foot in, I got a rubber hose in the loop to keep it open. When climbing you alternate standing on foot in the loop or sitting in treesaddle.CT QuickRoll

A pulley-carabiner (6) could be exchanged with a normal carabiner but this rollclip lowers the friction. You could go for a combo of pulley and ascender as this CT Quick Rolll.  Lower than the ascender you will mount a belay/descender (7). You connect the belay with your bridge with a normal carabiner (8). Make sure the carabiner is climb rated. I use a Mad Rock belay Lifeguard, another very popular descender is Petzl Grigri. The Petzl has a panic function that Mad Rock lacks. I think the panic function is not necessary but if you feel that descending from high altitudes could cause panic maybe… As with all stuff there are a lot of alternatives.

Stand in the foot loop (5) and pull the rope with hand. You will go up as your treesaddle via the bridge is connected to the belay (7). Just before belay touches ascender (4) stop the pull and sit down in treesaddle. Now raise the ascender (4) with right hand and follow with your foot in the loop upwards. Start it all over.

No 9  – Treesaddle

treesaddle letters

The treesaddle is the core component of saddle hunting… of course. I use an Aero Hunter Kestrel a discontinued model, new for Aero Hunter is Flex but as I go for light and small I will buy me a Tethrd Phantom . Other options are:

All saddles need some sort of bridge that connects to the tree. I use two bridges, one short (A) for climbing and one long (B) for use when up in the tree. My bridges are of Amsteel and are fixed in length. Normally saddle hunters use one adjustable bridge. With two fixed bridges I need two carabiners.

I have equipped my saddle with with a sack/dump bag (C) and a loop (D) with a carabiner for extra gear and a harness tool holder (E) that can hold my platform during climb.

No? – Platform

Predator  WEI










I use Tethrd Predator and I am very pleased with it. I think a platform is better than the alternative – a ring of steps. I have used a ring of steps made of 3 or 4 Wilde Edge Edge steps and it works fine but the Predator is easier to set up and more comfortable to use. Other platforms are:

No 10-12 – Tether

tether 1

Tether is a piece of climbing rope that connects the tree and your bridge. Length 1,5 – 3 meters, to short limits you but to long is bulky. Use only climb rated rope, your life depends on it. You need a loop in one end (A). Take the loop around the tree and pull the rest of the tether trough the loop.

End the tether with a stop knot (B) so that the gear (C) and you can´t fall of. I usually use a longer tether with loops in both ends. The free end loop attaches to my treesaddle as an extra safety if something fails.

You want to adjust the length of the tether – or more precisely length of where you connect to the tether. I use a rope clamp from CT and a carabiner. There are other rope clamps out there as Ropeman and a lot of others. A rope clamp is also known as mechanical prusik.  You could use a prusik knot that you make your self (E) or one from HSS (D). The carabiner from HSS is equipped with a rubber cover to reduce unwanted sound.

I think the Rollnlock from CT is more friendly to the rope than Ropeman. A rope clamp is often easier to move than a prusik knot but not always. A prusik is lighter and quieter.

No 13 – Hoist rope

HSS hoistHawk hoist

I use a home made hoist rope made of paracord and a small carabiner. I also use my hoist rope as a “pull down” rope – Before sending my climbing rope up I attach hoist rope to the loop of climbing rope. Now the hoist rope is in place and ready to use for hoist. When I take all my gear down I need a pull down rope to get my climbing rope down. A very hard pull is usually necessary.

If you use something like HSS Bow&Gear Hoist you need another rope for pull down. There are lot of hoist rope manufactures for example Hawk.

 No 14 – Bow hanger

bowhanger AB

I use bow hanger from Hawk they have a lot of different types. (A) is very good for a bow as you can position the bow for an easy grab. (B) is a cheap variant and I use it for my backpack. There are a lot of screw in or strap on variants out there. You need some sort of bow hanger to avoid fatigue.

Alternative to a hook on the tree (screw or strap) is a hook on you. Put a hook in the Molle strap on your treesaddle.

How to use the system

In detail instructions will come later.

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