GDK 2.5M Telescopic High Seat - in depth review
PUBLISHED: 16:18 10 June 2016
Chris Parkin reviews the 2.5M Telescopic High Seat from GDK
Honest 3-5 minute setup
Comfortable and solid to shoot from
Feels safe and secure to sit in and climb up!
A little wide for a long carry across the shoulders
I’d prefer green, but do deer care?
A high seat like this can open up plenty of shooting opportunities and improve safety on some types of ground. Although lightweight and portable, I felt very secure when seated and it is fantastic value for money
GDK Outdoors, 01582 879588
In the USA you will see endless designs for high seats on shop shelves, and many that are also portable. Designed to actually assist climbing of the tree itself and capable of locking into position for long reconnaissance or ambush hunting opportunities, many fail for UK hunters because they are designed for bow hunting; these shots are taken standing or seated, so the seats require minimal mechanical interruptions in front of the bow, and certainly no form of support suitable to assist a rifle shot. The GDK telescopic tree stand takes all these matters into account and, being fully-portable in a backpack-style, is easy to take wherever you need to go.
The overall weight is 12kg and, with two stout backpack straps looped from the upper frame onto the lower legs, it will easily carry as you walk through the woods. It is a little wide for most people’s shoulders, to be truly ‘backpack comfortable’, but a good thick layer of clothing will help to pad it out. On the other hand, when planning hunting in such a sedentary manner, you are likely to be wrapped up very warm anyway, as sitting still in a tree is a cold way to spend a morning! Speaking of mornings, I wouldn’t want to be putting up the seat in the dark and would always choose the night before but, in terms of time, it only takes five minutes to actually erect it from start to finish. However, like anything that is going to position you high up and alone in a remote location, I would always prefer daylight. I would also always check it before entering if you left it overnight; there are those out there who, upon finding such a seat, might just sabotage it, intending a fall from full height!
The telescopic design of the GDK requires you to unfold the seat assembly and gun-rest bar, which need a couple of bolts to be removed and replaced in position, to lock the seat perpendicular to the legs. The rest frame can be adjusted with sliding clamps, allowing a little height/angle movement to suit your upper body size, and the shot angle for uphill or downhill (although this can be set when you are in it).
The only part that is actually separate from the telescopic/folding package is a support bar. This braces the underside of the seat to the second rung from the ladder top, so just remember to keep it with the, otherwise complete, unit.
When the seat is locked out solidly you can release the legs, which will automatically fall to length as they telescope out, each segment locking into position with catches on the step below it. You don’t need to use them all but, with 2.5m full height available, the most important thing to remember as you lean it against your desired tree is that both feet are on a solid surface; leaf litter on the ground will soon sag, allowing the ladder to dig into the ground under your weight.
When leant against a suitable tree, the base of the polymer seat sits above a concave claw that bites into the tree trunk. The stand will easily handle a tree well over 18” in diameter, but you need to be a little careful, as reaching around that 18” tree to wrap the ratchet strap assembly could be a little dicey. The hooks on the ends of the strap remain securely in dedicated holes either side of the seat and, when tightened, really do lock the seat solidly into position. However, until this is done, remember you are at the top of quite a tall narrow ‘ladder’, with all the usual caveats to be aware of with regard to the angle you lean it at.
I was initially a little concerned about the security of the telescoping legs, but my doubts were quickly washed away by the fact that the ladder seems to want to lock extended, rather than compressed. Subsequently, it’s more of a concentrated job to put it down than to set it up, and when in place it feels very assured to climb. The seat is textured for grip and has drain holes to allow water to clear. It wasn’t cold to sit on, but you may want an extra cushion for very long waits. The back rest is fabric and holds back to the tree with a secondary strap which, if disengaged, allows the whole back and gun rest to fold down over the ladder, making it a little less prominent if left in situ. Climbing up with the gun is fine, and the gun rest leaves a fairly large space to fit through – you wouldn’t want it too big, as you want to use it as a rest without reaching too far, and I felt a good compromise was made. Light foam padding covers it to minimise noise, heat transfer, and to aid positional grip of your gun (I always prefer to hold the gun and rest my hand/arm anyway). The seat is actually quite spacious and I had no real problem swivelling to either side to make lateral shots, while still retaining full use of the gun rest – this remained easy to adjust for elevation when preparing your likely arcs of fire.