Stepp Ladder Revi

Discussion in 'Product Reviews' started by kyler1945, Nov 14, 2017 at 5:43 PM.

  1. kyler1945

    kyler1945 Active Member

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    I've owned the jim stepps for four or five years now. I gave them a go early on, but I found a set of muddy short sticks worked much quicker. Well, in the pursuit of light weight and packability, I revisited them this season. Honestly, what did it was seeing the aider that Wild Edge came up with, as well as seeing the different aiders folks were using here.

    I pulled out some tubular webbing, and put aiders on 6 stepps. I've got a long stride, so by some conservative math, each stepp/aider got me 48" up the tree. I really didn't have a ton of confidence, so I packed it up to some local public land prior to my OOS trip. I know what turned me away from the stepps in the first place - tying 10-12 of them on the tree every time. Now that 4/5 could get me to most hunting heights, with three additional steps to complete my platform, I was pretty excited. It went as planned, and I committed to using the stepps for the upcoming trip.

    I used the stepps with aiders on 11 of 12 hunts. 10 of those 11 were hang and hunts, in new trees. I averaged about 1-1.5 miles walking in to each set. I use an alps pursuit pack (which was a champ for this hunt), and was able to stuff a set of 10 stepps (6 of which had aiders), a 2 liter bladder, all hunting accessories, lunch, camera equipment and arm, layers of clothes, and my kestrel on and in the pack. I could have carried the stepps over my shoulder, but being able to stow them in the backpack is a huge plus for walking a mile through CRP and up and down hills.

    This is by far the quietest and safest I've felt climbing trees. I had two occasions where i set my tree within 50 yards of bedded deer in daylight (unknown to me), and they didn't spook. Once again, going slow and deliberate had a lot to do with this. I feel confident that SRT or 1stick would've resulted in too much movement. And packing in a set of sticks would've made too much noise.

    I still intend on giving the wild edge aider a try. But the webbing loops a easy to make, actually quiet the stepps down a bit in the bag, and are a no fuss way of getting up and down.

    The combination of the Kestrel and stepps set up this way made the trip very enjoyable. I was able to come up with one negative, sort of...

    Because everything is so light and easy to pack, i removed my set all but twice. The guys I hunted with were hunting preset hang on stands and sticks. We had an hour drive every morning, and forcing them to give me an extra 20 minutes in the morning to get my set in place wasn't easy. Being this mobile really does present you with a dilemma. If you've only got one set of stepps, leaving your set ties you to that location for the next hunt.

    I eliminated this issue by picking up 10 more stepps. I've now got 25 total, 18 of which have aiders on them. And two of the shoulder bags. I keep 6 with aiders, and 4 without in each bag. That way, if I want to leave a set, I've still got a set and bag ready to go if i change my mind on where to hunt. I have my SRT, and 1stick set up in case those two can't cover it.

    Here's a thanks to wild edge, as well as you guys who did the aiders on the stepps - i was just about to sell them when i came across that info.
     
    #1 kyler1945, Nov 14, 2017 at 5:43 PM
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017 at 11:16 PM
  2. GCTerpfan

    GCTerpfan Active Member

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    Are you carrying them in the wild edge bag? I don't currently have the bag and the only reason I am hesitant to order one is I wasn't sure if they would still fit in the bag with the webbing loops. Also, do you have any issues with the webbing loops getting tangled when you are trying to take them out of the bag?
     
  3. EricS

    EricS Well-Known Member

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    That’s great. As soon as I get Christmas behind me I plan to add a set of ten or 12 to my setup. I can’t say enough good things about the stepps using the aider. I still think there is a better answer to the aider but I really have no complaints.
     
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  4. kyler1945

    kyler1945 Active Member

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    I use the bag. The stepps are worthless as a climbing method without it, in my opinion. Jim was a brilliant dude.

    In order to make it work with the webbing aiders, it takes a little more time. When I load the bag before a hunt, i put each stepp in and fold the ropes and aiders downwards to make it easier to stack them in the bag. Then, i start with the top stepp and fold them all back pointing upwards. Then i grab the whole bundle and fold it just above the top stepp, and lay it down in between the standoffs toward the bottom of the bag. I fold again at the bottom stepp, and run back upwards. I then zip up the bag. This leaves about a foot or 18" of tag ends hanging out of the bag. If I was carrying the bag on my shoulder instead of in my pack, i'd repeat the process again. But I just leave them out and stuff in my backpack.

    When I get to the tree, i lay the bag down, unzip, and take ropes by the bottom fold and pull out top of bag and zip back up. Then I use it just like intended. The threads on the webbing aiders wil catch on the sharp points on the stepps. Do not rush this part of the process. 20 seconds is all it takes to slowly pull them out, and undo any catches.

    Once you're climbing, there's no difference pulling them out of the bag with/without aiders.
     

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