Unless you’ve been hiding out off grid for the last few years, you know that saddle hunting is one of the hottest things going these days for the mobile deer hunter. Saddles are nothing new. They’ve been around for decades. However, their popularity among deer hunters is definitely a fresh approach to getting the drop on big bucks in hard to reach places.
It wasn’t long ago that I remember telling a friend, “Treestand companies better get on board with the saddle style of hunting.” And Hawk Hunting was among the first treestand companies to jump in the mix, offering a saddle and saddle platform option of their own.
Check it out in our Hawk Helium Hammock Saddle & Platform review video below…
What's in the Kit?
The Hawk Helium Hammock Saddle kit is an all-in-one kit that includes everything you need to get started saddle hunting, with the exception of a platform and climbing sticks.
The kit includes:
- Helium Hammock Saddle
- Removable Padded Seat
- Tether Rope
- Lineman’s Rope
- 3 Carabiners
- Reclining Belt
- Carry Bag
This saddle kit offers a lightweight, all-in-one option for getting started saddle hunting. The entire kit weighs in at less than 4 pounds.
It’s a compact setup that all fits inside the included 8″ x 8″ x 10″ carrying bag.
The saddle is designed to fit sizes 28″-40″, so it covers a wide variety of users of all shapes and sizes. In fact, it has a weight rating for up to 300lbs.
The saddle is finished in the Chaos camo pattern for adequate concealment from critters below.
I like the compact design of this kit and the fact that it can be stashed down into a small, easy-carry bag between hunts. It’s a comfortable design. I like the fact that it has a removable padded seat, however, I found it to be just as comfortable without the padded seat as with it.
The pad snaps in and out for easy removal, so you can easily choose whatever works best for you in the way of comfort.
The saddle goes on quick and easy, allowing you to put it on at the truck, or once you arrive at the treestand. I think the process would be even quicker, and more convenient, with the addition of clips or hooks on the leg straps in future generations of this saddle design.
Comfort Comes Standard
I found the saddle to be comfortable in design, free from pinching or binding around the waist or legs. I’ve not made an all-day sit in the saddle to know what toll extended hours will take on the body, but I like what I’ve seen after a few hours in the tree.
And to take the comfort level a step further, Hawk has included their recliner belt in the kit. You honestly won’t know how big a difference a recliner belt makes until you put it to work in the tree. It greatly adds to the comfort you can achieve in a variety of positions. It’s a lifesaver when it comes to being completely relaxed and comfortable in the tree.
The Platform Options
A lot of saddle hunters have done nothing more than climb to the top of their Hawk Helium sticks and use the top two steps as their perch while they wait out a deer. It’s not a bad option for the extreme minimalist, or if you find yourself in a pinch. But sooner or later, you’ll find yourself looking for a more comfortable saddle platform option.
Hawk has introduced two new platforms for 2020 that pair nicely with the saddle.
First, the Helium Hammock Apex platform is the larger of the two new platforms recently released. It’s a great mobile hunting option that works really well alongside the Helium sticks and saddle.
The Apex platform features Tree Digger Teeth, designed to bite into the bark for a solid and secure rest on the tree.
The platform goes on the tree quick, quiet, and easy with one-hand attachment of a cinch strap. No noisy buckles, or ratchet straps to fool with here. It’s a simple and smooth process for easy setups. Once you arrive at the top of your sticks, you can honestly have the platform secured to the tree in well under a minute. The Apex also has a leveling bolt that allows you to adjust the platform on angled trees for the perfect fit.
The Apex weighs in at 3.6 pounds, and the platform size is 12″ x 11.75″.
It’s built with lightweight aluminum construction. However, despite it’s light and compact size, it can handle some pretty serious loads. In fact, it boasts a weight rating of 300 pounds.
Another platform option that can serve as a secondary platform/step when paired with the Apex, or a stand-alone platform of its own, is the Helium HSP platform.
I really like the design concept of this platform. It’s so simple, yet really functional for a variety of applications.
The HSP platform installs easily to the top of the company’s Helium climbing stick. You simply remove the top two steps on the Helium stick and slide the HSP back over the top of the stick. It’s anchored in place with two quick-set snap pins. It’s just that easy.
The HSP platform weighs just 1.4 pounds – less than half the weight of the Apex platform. The platform is constructed of lightweight aluminum and measures 10″ x 6″ in size.
Like the Apex, the HSP platform is rated for 300 pounds.
No other elevated treestand method allows you the flexibility you’ll find with a saddle. Crooked trees, branched trees, short, tall, or skinny, the saddle can typically play the game most anywhere you can climb up a tree.
Like much of the new mobile hunting gear to hit the market, saddle setups aren’t cheap. Between climbing sticks, platform and your saddle kit, you can easily be in over $500. However, when it comes to saddle hunting, one is all you need.
The Hawk Helium Hammock Saddle Kit is priced at $329.99. You’ll find the Apex platform priced at $99.99 and the HSP platform at $49.99.
There’s a growing number of saddle brands hitting the market these days. Hawk is among the newest, so give them a look as you compare features, functions, and options.
Check them out at www.hawkhunting.com.