The Blessing of Inexperience

Heaven’s Trail tree stands are proudly engineered by non-hunters — and here’s why.

To create the most comfortable tree stand on the planet, Heaven’s Trail founder Chris Berry knew he needed to take a radical new approach.

“It probably sounds crazy,” he remembers, “but when we first started, it was important to me not to hire a bunch of people with hunting experience. That’s because I didn’t want anyone bringing their old tree stand ideas to our new project, and figured the best way to do that was to start with a clean, blank slate.”

Berry understood that accumulated experience — even his own — can often be an obstacle to truly creative thinking. So he rounded up a dozen engineers around a table with a blank piece of paper, explained what a tree stand was and how it functioned, then told the team to have at it.

“It was funny how quickly this group with zero interest in hunting identified all the elements that make traditional tree stand hunting so wildly inefficient, unsafe and uncomfortable,” he says.

Hunters are just conditioned to deal with some of the discomforts that exist with conventional hang-on and ladder stands, continues Berry. For instance, he recalls how the team just laughed when looking at the old, backbreaking process of setting up a stand.

“Four thousand years ago, the Egyptians were moving stones weighing thousands of pounds using block-and-tackle — with less risk and less manpower than it took to get a two-man ladder stand attached to the tree,” Berry says. “So the engineers came up with the Hang Around® Winch and an all-round simpler, faster and more secure installation process.”

Other advances included more spacious and quieter ASTM tested platforms, more comfortable seating, handrails that double as shooting rests, and unique innovations like the Forward Step that delivers an extra platform for a hunter to unload gear before safely entering the stand’s main cockpit area.

“During every phase of the design process, I put a premium on comfort, safety and function — not cost,” says Berry. “And my team delivered fresh ideas that we turned into solutions to add value and peace of mind for Heaven’s Trail customers.”