Recently, I was given the opportunity to field test the EZY Climb Folding Detachable Tree Steps from Cranford Manufacturing. As a Field Evaluator for Bowhunting.net, my first and foremost responsibility is thoroughly evaluating a product and then telling the whole truth about how I feel about that product. I’m not adding advertising fluff or sugar coating a product to get them to like me. This is for the visitors and consumers so here is what I think about these metal, folding tree steps from Cranford, in a word, Awesome!
Upon initial inspection, the tree steps were folded and measured 1 ½ X 6 inches long. The actual step platform folds away from the base utilizing a rivet and is a generous 3 ¾ inches, which is perfect for those bulky winter hunting boots. The stainless steel riveted bolt, which is separate from the step, is extended to 2 ½ inches. This gives the tree step that extra grip to ensure that it will not slip. At the head of this bolt is the self-tapping screw, which is one of a kind, and makes short work of installation. The bolts connect to the steps utilizing a “Keyhole” notch in that back of the steps. Simply place the square bolt into the notch and slide it up. Now you have a secure and complete tree step. The step is made of heavy 11-gauge steel and are made to last. The total weight of the step and bolt is 11.2 oz average on my scale, and with its small size (when folded) and light weight, you can carry enough in your cargo pockets, for one stand set-up.
The great thing about installing these steps is the self-tapping screw. I installed this step on numerous types of trees and it only took a total of 13 turns until it was flush with the tree. Using no tools, it’s simple, slip the stainless steal riveted bolt into the keyhole notch on the step, push the screw against the tree and start turning; in 13 turns you are done. So much for “Work and effort.”
If you are a public land hunter, like I am, then it is imperative that you protect your investment. Once you find that great spot for “Monster Bucks,” you want to ensure that you can sneak in and set up, while maintaining silence. This is almost impossible with a climbing stand. So a “Lock on” type stand is used; and to ensure that no one steals your steps, you remove them on your way down. If you have ever read the instructions for tree steps it states, “Never install a tree step in a drilled or pre-existing hole!” I am afraid to ask for a show of hands of who is guilty of that warning. That is where these great steps come to the rescue, yet again. Instead of removing a whole step when you leave, just take the step off the stainless steal riveted bolt. Then, next time you go out hunting, all you have to do is slide the step on the bolt, climb up, and you are hunting! You can even leave some steps on the tree and fold them out of the way.
Ease of use: 5 out of 5
Installing in only 13 turns, it gives meaning to the term “No sweat.”
Affordability: 5 out of 5
The average tree stand height is between 12 and 20 feet. Depending on how tall the person is, they might use 10 steps or so. So if that hunter has five different stand locations, then he buys 50 steps.
That is another great feature about these steps; you can purchase 10 initial EZY® Climb Folding Detachable Tree Steps for about $9.45 apiece. By initial, I mean the complete step, bolt and step. Then, all you have to do is purchase as many of the EZY® Climb screws for $3.25 apiece, for all your other tree-stand locations, because all you will need is bolts to attach the steps to.
Durability/Safety: 5 out of 5
When I field test gear, I am all but gentle on it and when it comes to something that has to do with safety, I definitely want to ensure that it will work correctly. These steps performed superbly. I installed them on every tree that I have in my area, be it hardwood or pine, and not once did the steps slip or move when I climbed them. Made from heavy 11-gauge steel, these steps are made to last and not bend or break.
Conclusion:I am very impressed with the quality of products produced by Cranford Manufacturing. Being a victim of gear theft, I was pleased to see that someone had designed a product to keep “Honest” people, honest, and it is my understanding that Cranford, is the only company who makes a detachable tree step. I believe that you need the best gear possible when you are in the woods, and these steps are no exception. It is no wonder after 30 years of being in the tree step industry; Cranford’s EZY® Climb tree steps are known as, “The best Screw in the hunting industry.”
*NOTE* Always use a safety belt while installing tree steps!