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Summit Viper Climbing Stands

by Jill Christensen, Staff Writer, Georgia

Still a classic, and still my favorite climber.

By now, most deerhunters have heard or know firsthand how (relatively) light and comfortable the Summit Viper stands are (http://www.summitstands.com/catalog.aspx?catid=climbingtreestandsproducts), and that they consistently receive high user ratings. However, I consider several accessories, some by Summit and some by other manufacturers, to be essential for safety and convenience. Every hunter continually refines his or her techniques to save time, energy, and money. Treestands add the important consideration of safety. This article lists my (current) favorite accessories for my 2005 Summit Viper climbing treestand, and how I use them.

Summit Accessories

Summit makes several great accessories for the Viper. Older Vipers lacked many of these, while newer models include some of them. For example, some older Viper models lack Summit's marvelous plastic stirrups and rail wraps. The 2007-2008 Ultimate Viper SS includes these and many other accessories.

RapidClimb Stirrups

http://www.summitstands.com/productdetail.aspx?id=85052

If you are tired of bending over to pull on your toe straps before you climb, you might enjoy these hard plastic stirrups.

Summit Comfort Mat

http://www.summitstands.com/productdetail.aspx?id=85118

If your stand did not come with this mat, I recommend purchasing it for two reasons: insulation and safety. It provides a much-needed wind barrier for the soles of your boots on wintry hunting days. Also, I find that I feel more secure standing and moving on it than I did on the bare climbing platform.

Side Storage Bags

http://www.summitstands.com/productdetail.aspx?id=85123

I keep my 30-foot gun/bow rope in one side bag, I overstuffed the other one a time too many and the fabric pulled away from the zipper. One end of the rope remains tied to a corner of the climber rail and the rest stuffs into the bag between uses. Newer model side bags are made deeper on one end, so that even with the slant of the angled rail, the bottom of each bag is level, which keeps any heavy items from falling to the front end of the bag.

Bow/Gun Rope

http://www.summitstands.com/productdetail.aspx?id=329179

You can use other ropes, but this one is both strong and light. Since it is designed for raising weapons,I feel confident that it won’t snap while I am hauling up my small, but heavy .243.


Other Accessories

Omega-Pacific Screwlock Carabiner

http://www.uscavalry.com/Productinfo.aspx?productid=7556&TabID=548

My Viper came with the Summit SOP (Seat of the Pants) harness. It came with a strong, heavy steel screw-lock carabiner that required 40 half-turns to lock! Then I stumbled onto an Omega Pacific screwlock carabiner. Even though it is made of lightweight aluminum, it is strong enough to take the strain should I fall. Best of all, though, it only requires 6 turns to lock. It is available from army surplus and climbing supply stores for about $12. The above link is to a website that currently carries this carabiner, but you can easily find one online if you search for it by name.

Camelback Talon Backpack Hooks onto Viper Rail

http://www.uscavalry.com/Productinfo.aspx?productID=8300&TabID=548

At $156.95 when I priced it, this backpack is extremely expensive. I got lucky and received it as a gift. And what a gift! The "radio retention" straps on top are perfect for locking this backpack to the front rail of my Viper climber. Not only does it put my grunt call, binos, and other gear at my fingertips, it also adds weight on the front of the climber, which makes the bite in the tree more secure (read "safer"). This backpack has chest straps, useful when I carry my backpack without my stand. When I carry it with my stand, I strap it between the plastic stirrups on the Viper platform.

Military Backpack Straps

Even before I stopped pulling the seat through to the other side of the climber and started just pulling it up over the rail and securing it to use as a back pad, even before that...the backpack straps that came with the Viper kept slipping off my shoulders. Plus, the black attachment webbing was too short, and the padding thin. Then I sucked it up and paid the $40 for military rucksack straps. Wow! Not only are they well padded, they also have a sternum strap, which keeps them from slipping off my shoulders. Plus, their attachment straps are long enough to attach securely to the stand.

Bungee Cords, 18" and 36”

(1 of each)

http://www.armynavyshop.com/prods/rc10136.html

After I remove my stand from the tree, I slide the platform into the climber, and then fasten the seat over the top, making sure to avoid restricting access to the backpack straps. The seat makes a terrific back pad. If I am carrying the backpack, I secure it between the stirrups using the 18" bungee cord. The array of cords on the backpack tend to hang up on everything, so this takes a little patience. Once that is done, I fasten the 36" bungee cord longways around the whole setup.

 © Updated March 2012

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