Field Evaluation: FallGuy Tree Stand Safety System

Article by Keith Dunlap – February 20, 2008
Edited by Stanley Holtsclaw – April 3, 2017


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[EDITOR’S NOTE – it appears that this item may no longer be available for sale. I found a limited number units available for sale at ebay but was unable to locate FallGuy at other retailers. Please consider other alternatives for your safety harness needs available at Amazon. This post will be updated if additional information becomes available.]

The FallGuy Tree Stand Safety System applies seat belt technology to tree stand safety. Two automotive safety engineers that worked for an automotive supplier in Detroit developed a safety system for treestand hunters that works like the seatbelt retractor in your car. This system enables you to climb into and from your treestand without danger. Once installed, the FallGuy retractor connects to your safety vest or harness and works while you are climbing into your stand, hunting from your stand, or climbing down from your stand. If you slip and fall, centrifugal force arrests the fall, just like your seatbelt does if you are in an accident.

This product is of great personal interest to me as I fell almost 20 feet while climbing into my treestand during the 2005 bowhunting season in Illinois. Fortunately, other than some major bruises and scrapes under my arms, I was not seriously hurt?but I could have been. God was watching over me that day. Needless to say, I now tether to a tree while climbing in and out of my treestand. I was anxious to put the FallGuy to the test and even more anxious to put it to regular use during the hunting season. If this product works as advertised?say good-bye to sliding tether ropes up and down the tree while climbing in and out of your stand.

The safety harness vest is simple to use and very lightweight.

– Initial Inspection: –

Upon initial inspection out of the package, all components appeared to be of sound quality, and there were no visible defects in workmanship.  The Superior 20 Safety Vest System includes a lightweight safety harness vest, the FallGuy retractor, a tether clip, and string to attach to the retractor for future use. One thing I noticed immediately was the weight of the vest. I have used other safety harness vest systems, and the complaint I’ve had is that the vests weigh so much. Not true with the FallGuy vest, I weighed one of my harness vests from a competitor versus the FallGuy harness vest, and the FallGuy vest weighed over three pounds less than the competitor’s harness vest. That might not seem like much, but add that to the weight of your layers of hunting clothing, backpack, bow, climbing stand?you get the picture.

The construction of the FallGuy harness and retractor appears to be solid. The harness vest has 100% steel, silent coated mating buckles and 5,000 lb rated webbing, strong enough for me. Next step was to setup the FallGuy and continue my evaluation.

Hookup is simple, and safe up and down.

– Setup –

Mounting and setting up the FallGuy could not be simpler. I used one of my old ladder stands for the sake of ease so that I could concentrate on my evaluation of the FallGuy. First, I put the FallGuy harness vest on and tethered to the tree. I then climbed up my treestand, strapped the FallGuy retractor to the tree just above my stand, and then attached the retractor to the harness vest using the heavy-duty clip provided with the FallGuy system. Total setup time was less than five minutes.

I felt safe climbing up or down the tree.

– Testing –

I evaluated the FallGuy Tree Stand Safety System for several items, including noise, function, strength, comfort, and ease of use. I found that the only noticeable noise that came from the FallGuy was a clicking sound when the retractor was activated during a simulated fall. I did not hear anything during the use of the retractor that would alert an animal to my presence. The retractor operated very smoothly during my ascent and descent, and was very quiet. In fact, I make more noise sliding my tether rope up and down a tree than the FallGuy does while retracting in and out.

The FallGuy vest secured to the FallGuy retractor using a black lineman’s clip that was included with the system. I found no problems with the function and operation of the vest, the connection to the retractor, or with the retractor itself. The FallGuy vest and connection to the FallGuy retractor were very comfortable, and did not hinder my ability to shoot a bow or gun while tethered to the tree. There is no rope to contend with while using the FallGuy, as the retractor replaces any rope you would normally use to tether yourself to a tree during your climb up and down. I felt very safe the entire time I was evaluating this product and even simulated a few falls from various locations on my treestand to test the stopping power of the FallGuy retractor system. Each time, the FallGuy arrested my fall and I was able to resume my climb. I would not attempt that type of test if I did not trust the product I was evaluating. My son, who was helping me with the camera, thought I was crazy, but a thorough evaluation requires this type of test.

I cannot adequately test the strength of the webbing on the FallGuy retractor, but suffice it to say that it held my 250 lb frame sufficiently during simulated falls. This product is rated at 5,000 lb webbing strength, and I hope I never have opportunity to put that to the test. One final note, you can use the FallGuy retractor with any harness system you may already have, and you do not have to use the FallGuy vest with it (although the vest is comfortable and lightweight). Integrated Safety offers the FallGuy retractor by itself for $39.95 or $69.95 depending on webbing length.

Attach the cord included to the FallGuy so you can pull the tether down easily next time you hook up to climb into your treestand.

– Specifications as Tested –

  • Length of FallGuy retractor – 20 feet
  • Vest Weight: 2 lbs 1oz
  • Material: Vest is cotton
  • Vest Camo Pattern: Mossy Oak New Breakup
  • Suggested Retail: $129.95
  • Warranty: 90 day from date of purchase or the first hunting season in the field

– Conclusion –

I really like the FallGuy Tree Stand Safety System. This one’s a keeper and I will definitely be buying additional systems for all of my treestands. I like the fact that it keeps you safe during your climb into your stand and out of your stand. The only issue might be price, but pricing should not be an issue when making purchases to ensure your safety while climbing into and out of your treestand.

Don’t forget to check out more posts by Keith Dunlap, or to learn more about Safety Harnesses – shop ‘safety harnesses’ on Amazon and check our sister site, BowList.net, for more Treestand Safety related links.