LAST UPDATED: May 1st, 2015
The old saying that “Safety is no accident” couldn’t be more true than for the thousands of deer hunters who take to the woods each fall. Hunting is a safe and enjoyable sport. However, if you’re a tree stand hunter, it can be deadly unless you are using the right equipment. With modern day technology and new state of the art harness designs, Hunter Safety System eliminates excuses such as “I don’t like the way it feels” or “It interferes with my shot”.
Every season we all hear about a hunter who suffered a serious fall that changed their lives forever. A fall from just ten feet in the air can be fatal, or at the very least can leave you living the rest of your life paralyzed. In this review we break down the Hunter Safety System UltraLite Harness and the features that make it so versatile, and more importantly……life-saving.
The first thing I noticed immediately upon pulling this harness out of the box was the slim-line design. It has two padded shoulder straps that are approximately 2 ¾ inches wide, with a single padded back strap that is approximately 4 inches wide between your shoulder blades. The vest keeps you tethered to the tree by a 2 foot nylon strap. The tether strap has three shock absorbing folds to reduce the stopping shock in case a fall would occur.
The buckles on the HSS UltraLite are not only safe, but dead quiet.
Working our way further down the vest, there is a single waist buckle that is made of a high strength plastic. We really appreciated the fact that Hunter Safety System utilized a high strength plastic buckle versus a metal “seat belt” style buckle that some other companies use. Not only is this buckle strong, it is also much quieter if your bow or another object would strike or rub up against it.
Thanks to a slimmer design, the HSS UltraLite gives the hunter plenty of room to manuever.
You have several different options when it comes to attaching the UltraLite Harness to the tree. The first is the lineman’s strap. This can be done by running it through the two foot harness tether and strapping the lineman’s belt to the tree. The second option is using the HSS Rope-Style Tree Strap. This is the method I personally prefer due to the fact that the rope uses a Prussic Knot and a carabiner for a quick and quiet tether to the tree. The third option, and the option I will be using this year, is the HSS LifeLine System. This is the safest and the best option for any type of tree stand hunting….period.
Option 1: Lineman’s strap
Option 2 : HSS Rope-Style
Option 3: LifeLine (connects to tree above stand, runs down the tree and is tied off at ground level).
Safety When You Need It Most
Over 95% of tree stand accidents occur while the hunter is getting in or out of a tree stand. The LifeLine System keeps you safely attached to the tree from the minute you leave the ground until you climb back down. The HSS LifeLine System is a 30 foot rope that attaches above your tree stand, and is hung down to the base of your tree. The rope has a positive stop knot with a carabiner to attach to your safety harness. As you begin climbing up the tree, you simply slide the knot up the rope as you climb. When you get to the tree stand platform, simply climb aboard. It’s that simple. It is without question the safest method of attaching yourself to the tree, and keeping you attached, from the time you leave the ground until the time you are safely back down. In the event you should fall, the prussic knot will synch down on the rope; immediately stopping your decent.
I absolutely swear by the LifeLine System. So much so that I have purchased one for every tree stand set I have. Yes, it might be a bit expensive at first, and my wallet may take a hit, however I believe you cannot (and should not) put a price tag on your safety.
Field Test Ratings
We took the HSS UltraLite System to the field and tested it out for ourselves in order to give our loyal readers at Bowhunting.com the best review possible. We broke the harness down and not only tested the safety of it, but other features such as comfort, ease of use and noise, along with many other features. We rated this system on a scale of 1-10, 1being the worst and 10 being the best. Here is what we found.
Overall, the HSS Ultra-Light exceeded my expectations. Perfection and Safety is an awesome combination!
Weight: 9.0- The vest comes in lighter than other vests we have tried; making our trek to the treestand even easier.
Comfort: 9.0- Once it is on, you hardly even notice you’re wearing a safety harness.
Quietness: 9.0 – When used with the HSS Rope-Style Tree Strap or LifeLine System. 5.5- When used with the lineman’s strap as a tree tether, due to the metal buckle to adjust the length of the lineman’s strap.
Ease of Use: 8.5- Easy to put on and take off. Does not feel like a Rubik Cube to put on like other safety harnesses.
Interference with Shot: 9.0- Noticed no affect with difficult shot angles from a tree stand.
Over-all safety: 9.5 – A well designed and a very safe vest, especially when used with the HSS LifeLine System.
Quality: 9.0 – This system is very well made. No skimping on cost by using cheap parts or stitching. It is designed to last.
Overall performance: 9.0
Safety truly is no accident, and there is no excuse for not wearing a safety harness in a tree this fall. I remember hunting with my father (at age twelve) as he preached to me about the importance of being safe. Back then the only safety harnesses on the market was a single strap that went around your chest, just under your arm pits and then strapped to the tree. Technology in tree stand safety has come a long way since then. The HSS Ultra Lite Harness is proof of that. It is by far the best harness I have ever used.
When it comes to safety harness options, do you want one made by a company that specializes in “safety”, or a harness made as an “after-thought” by a clothing company? You decide.
Just like riding in a car, I don’t feel safe without my seat belt on; the same is true while in a tree stand. I simply will not get into a tree without wearing my safety harness, and I hope neither do you.
If you are searching for the perfect gift for someone special in your life, that also happens to hunt from a treestand, get them a safety harness. Not only will it be a gift that they love, it’s also a gift that shows them how much you love them. Please don’t let your family or friends hunt without a safety harness this fall.