Updated: Nov 19, 2020
Mobile hunting or the ability to be as mobile as possible is currently all the rage, especially when it comes to hunting public land.
With the increase in popularity of both public land hunting and saddle hunting in recent years, hunters are doing everything thing they can to shed pounds of gear to make moving around the woods as easy as possible.
This added interest has caused a reaction by companies to start expanding product lines and increasing production of mobile hunting gear such as saddles, light weight hang on stands, and various climbing methods, such as climbing sticks.
While saddles and tree stands are generally able to fit and accommodate any sized hunter, one question I see asked very frequently is,
What climbing sticks are best for big guys?
To get straight to the point, our answer to this question after some thorough research is, drum roll please............
Due to their 350 lb weight rating and other key features, XOP's Patented Locking Climbing Sticks make them our recommendation for those big guys out there!
As a disclosure, we are in no way affiliated with XOP, this is just an honest opinion based on what's available in today's market.
Let's take a look at all the factors we considered when making this consideration, the pros/cons of these sticks, the features we like, and our honorable mention picks!
For starters, XOP's climbing sticks are rated for an impressive 350 lbs despite only weighing 3.2 lbs per stick, which is plenty light enough to still be mobile. Despite the fact most modern day climbing sticks are rated for 300 lbs, this extra 50 lbs can give some extra peace of mind, especially when supporting you 20 feet off the ground!
Other sticks that feature a 350lb weight limit include the Lone Wolf Climbing sticks, the closely related Novix Climbing sticks, and the Novix minis, you can check them out on Amazon below:
While weight rating is often the first spec that hunters gravitate towards when making a decision on climbing sticks, several other factors need to be considered for bigger guys.
Typically speaking, "big guys" are bigger not just because of weight, but also because of height. Guys who are 6'3", 6'4", 6'5", or more will likely have larger feet and therefore, larger boots.
The nice thing about the XOP sticks is that their standoff puts the body of the stick and steps further away from the tree than most of its competitors, allowing more room for those size 13, 14, 15, and up boots!
Being further away from the tree also makes it easier to climb each step as you have the extra clearance and space to not need as much flexibility, therefore improving maneuverability.
Coming in at an overall length of 34" a piece and featuring 3 steps per stick, big hunters will also find comfort in not having to reach too far with each step. XOP does offer a shortened, 2 step version of their sticks that still boast the same weight ratings and features as their full size sticks but shortened to just 20".
You can check these sticks out on their website HERE.
Lastly, is packability. XOP's climbing sticks are designed to be "locked" together very tightly during transport which provides a ton of security when walking to and from your stand.
This picture from XOP's website demonstrates the packability that these sticks offer!
XOP Climbing Sticks Pro's/Con's
So we've discussed the key features that we like about XOP's sticks including: 350 lb weight limit, increased foot room, and excellent packability.
All of these features, in addition to an MSRP of just $189 for 4 sticks, make up all the Pro's of buying these sticks. But this wouldn't be an honest review/recommendation without mentioning the Cons.
The first con of these sticks is their overall weight. At 3.2 lbs per stick plus the strap and buckle weight, they are definitely on the higher side when compared to other modern climbing sticks such as Out On a Limb's 2 pound Shikar Sticks.
It's worth noting though that although they're heavier, they're also going to feel more sturdy and safe when in use, which makes it a nice compromise.
The second con is that these sticks are only offered in a single step version, meaning that you would not be able to stand with your feet side by side on an equal height step.
As you can see in this picture, there is only one step one each side as you climb, meaning that when stationary, your feet will be staggered at different heights.
This is important to many guys from a comfort perspective when climbing or descending the tree and setting your next stick or platform/tree stand.
Most hunters find that having your feet at an equal height is more comfortable than having to staggered with one foot being higher than the other when stationary such as stick setup.
For some hunters, being only a single step will be a deal breaker as they only feel comfortable with double step sticks. For those hunters, we would suggest the Hawk Helium's. However, they are only rated for 300 lbs compared to 350 lbs for some of the heavier duty climbing sticks we mentioned earlier.
As seen, the Hawk Helium's offer a double step at each height compared to XOP's single step design shown above
All in all, we firmly believe that if you are bigger guy who utilizes a mobile hunting setup, you will absolutely not go wrong by choosing the XOP Climbing sticks.
Between all of the comfort features such as room to place larger boots, packability, and the fact they are rated for 350 lbs, they are an excellent choice to safely climb to hunting height this fall.
The XOP Climbing Sticks retail for just $189.00 on XOP's website for a pack of 4, but you can check out the most current price on Amazon by clicking HERE.
Click on the picture below to order your own XOP Climbing sticks today!
As an added bonus, in addition to the flat gray that is typically offered, you can also order these sticks in a Mossy Oak Bottom Land color!
Earlier in this article we mentioned 2 other sticks with 350 lb weight ratings, and although they were not our first choice compared to the XOP sticks, they would still be more than adequate to get you hunting this fall. Click on the links below to find out more about these products:
Are you a big guy looking for another useful product for use in a saddle? Be sure to check out the Ropeman 1 or Kong Duck ascenders in lieu of a prusik knot that often times will get too tight when bigger guys load their weight into the knot.
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