How wet did you get last year while deer hunting? For me, the first several days were not fun...rain, cold, rain, wind, freezing rain, snow, rain, sleet, down pours, drizzle...did I mention the rain? The miserable weather conditions for the early part of the season kept a lot of hunters out of the woods and fields; others ventured out but for only a limited amount of time. For those hunters who use a treestand, sitting still only made it worse. Treestand umbrellas don't keep you dry with the rain coming down at an angle, if the wind doesn't tear them up first.
Not wanting to invest in another new treestand with an enclosure, my inquiries and research led to Big Dog Treestands in Morton, Illinois. In addition to treestands, they handle a wide line of hunting accessories...including a universal full enclosure roof kit. Using their website to find retailers in the area who sell the roof kit, the response was the same..."sorry, sold out". With the help of Jesse Pierson, Marketing Manager for Big Dog Treestands, I was able to get my hands on a roof kit for this review.
The Model BDUSC-060 Universal Full Enclosure Roof Kit has three components...a metal frame, a roof panel and a 4-sided enclosure. The metal frame and tree connecting brace are made with square tubular steel. This part attaches to the tree with two button straps. The roof panel, made from synthetic polyblend, has a Timber Strike pattern on the inside and water resistant flat black carbon material on the outside. It attaches to the frame with four corner pockets, 10 velcro straps, and is arched with six fiber poles. The side panel (a one piece wrap around) is synthetic polyblend on the outside with the Timber Strike pattern and black vinyl on the inside. The side panel is tied to the roof frame and around the back of the tree.
The Big Dog Treestands Universal Roof Kit can be used three ways. Shown are two ways: roof only, standing position and full enclosure.
Attaching the roof to the frame was a little confusing; the assembly directions made sense once the roof was attached correctly. A piece of elastic is stretched through the fiber rods used to support and arch the roof. The elastic is knotted on the ends and trying not to pinch the elastic between a fiber rod and the frame was a little difficult. Also, some of the velcro strips for attaching the roof to the frame could be a little longer.
Installing the side panel was relatively easy. The side panel has three zippered windows (left, right and forward) and a zippered entry. Completely assembled, the full enclosure roof kit measures 52" wide by 45" deep by 62" tall.
The total weight is approximately 19 pounds, a majority of which is the steel tubing frame. When used with a treestand, it could be a little awkward to set up. It would be a good idea to set it up at ground level at least once for practice before doing it 8+ feet off of the ground. Having a second person to help set it up makes it much easier.
The BDUSC-060 can actually be used three ways. Obviously, it can be used with nearly any treestand (including many 2-person treestands) with the bottom attached to the platform of the treestand. It can also be used as a ground blind against a tree with the bottom secured with ground stakes (not included). The third way is to use the frame/roof as a canopy without the side panel.
The BDUSC-060 Universal Full Enclosure Roof Kit can serve the intended purpose of keeping you dry and out of the wind. Having an M.S.R.P. of $79.00 may seem a little pricey, but the alternatives are not as appealing (buying a new stand with enclosure, getting sick and missing a hunting season, turning an all-day hunt into a one-hour hunt, etc.). A one year limited warranty covers all defects. However, there is no warranty available for fabrics.
For more information or to find a local retailer, contact Big Dog Treestands at 309-263-6800 or visit their website: www.bigdogtreestands.com.