Onyx Saddle Platform – Best Platform for All Day Comfort
It’s no secret that saddle hunting is a huge growing segment in the industry filled with innovation each year. 2023 ATA show was no exception as many brands brought some incredible offers to the table including our 2023 new platform for Trophyline – the Onyx.
The saddle platform is one of the most essential pieces of gear for a lightweight and mobile saddle hunter. Unlike a tree stand, the saddle platform lacks a seat, and is often reduced to a ⅓ or more of a tree stand in size. This offers just enough size to stand on, turn/rotate for shot opportunities, and should offer completely rock solid support when leaning off the platform in the saddle. The “best” saddle hunting platform should be conscious of these 3 needs and always abide by the most attractive point of saddle hunting, it must be lightweight!
This build was a 2+ year project, however this product was mainly guided into production by hunters giving feedback on previous designs. It became all too common to hear the same comments month after month to combine 3 of the most popular saddle hunting platforms on the market – the Mission Platform, EDP Platform, and the Wingman Platform. Each of these Platforms excel in one category over the other.
Trophyline Onyx Platform
The Onyx is a saddle platform that simply has it all. It is a fusion of our EDP, Mission, and Wingman platforms, and results in perfect size and function. The Onyx contains an Angled Perimeter – angles on each side of the platform, with built-in non-slip ridges, containing the ideal contact points for foot placement and comfort when leaning, rolling to stand, or turning to shoot your weak side. The Platform also was built with the newClaw Design – a singlecast post, standoff, and stomp pad built and integrated together.
Saddle Hunting Platforms
The Mission Platform – the mission offers a great bridge for tree stand hunters, whether they came from climbing stands or hang on stands, the mission offers a familiar footprint, while still half the size and a ⅓ of the weight! What’s crucial about this platform is it offers the bigger foot (men’s 12+) room to turn around while standing – essential for easy shooting out of the saddle. The most astonishing factor for the mission for users and draws for new saddle hunters looking to purchase a saddle platform is the standard in rigidity…the platform doesn’t budge. There is no movement and no chance for kick out when the mission platform is cammed in correctly.
The E.D.P. Platform – The E.D.P Platform took the rigidity of the mission build but in a lot smaller and lighter package. Meant for the public land and ultimate/run and gun that still want a platform that cams in tights, the E.D.P platform quickly became one of the most popular platforms on the market.
The Wingman – One of the very first platforms that featured an angle on the front of the platform to increase the surface area of your platform for your foot when leaning. Edges can become uncomfortable when sitting all day, so an angled saddle hunting platform allows more contact to your foot/shoe, not an edge cutting into the arch or ball of your foot. More importantly, the wingman features a rolled edge with a less steep angle than some platforms that came on the market after the wingman. This is important as it does not “throw” you off the platform but rather supports the lean, while the rolled edge allows an easy transition to “standing” position from a lean. The last and most advantageous offer of the wingman was the efficiency to stack onto a pack of climbing sticks, Making it a great run and gun option.
You can clearly define three massively important features to seasoned saddle hunters – 1.) Rigidity 2.) Maximum Foot contact for comfort/yet room to stand 3.) Lightweight/packable
What the Onyx Saddle Platform Offers
The Onyx in latin means “the claw” – and it’s easy to understand why the Onyx got it’s name. We introduced the claw as a new simplified design for the stomp pad/cleat/standoff for the platform. The Claw features four large teeth built directly in with the casting of the post and stomp pad. This Creates no room for error, no movement, and when cammed in, a situation previously not encountered…an extreme cam! In some instances you may have to rip the Onyx off the tree it bites so effectively.
The other most notable upgrade was the expansion of the Wingman’s platforms angle but into all three sides of the platform. This is called the angled perimeter, and it is why the platform has quickly garnered so much attention. The angled perimeter not only offers maximum foot contact in every position, but aggressive holds that match for each of those positions. SImply put, wherever you are on this platform, you will be comfortable and you wont be thinking about your feet…just the hunt.
To review, the onyx is combining several platforms into one offering.
- Rock Solid
- Just Enough Room
- Concave Build for better packability.
With this many features, there isn’t one thing the Onyx isn’t offering, making it a great single purchase/first purchase for prospective saddle hunters getting into the hunting style.
- Overall Dimensions: 14.9″ W X 13″D
- Weight: 4.5 lbs.
- Complete Angled Perimeter w/ Non-Slip Ridge Grips
- Claw Design – Single cast post, stomp pad, and standoff
- Platform Leveling System
- Folds flat
- 300lb Weight Limit
- Easy to use Cinch Belt
- Fits trees 4″ to 22″ Diameter
A Week in Kentucky Public – All Day Sits Saddle Hunting?
Obviously this is a hunting gear review, and it wouldn’t be so without some very personal first hand use with such a product. I got plenty of time throughout the hunting season as our team tested prototypes after prototypes throughout the year last year…everything from bear in the summer to deer in the winter. The most time I spent in the Onyx happened on Kentucky public land for a straight week. I ganged up with Robert Kennedy from Man Over Beast YouTube channel to do some late season KY public land hunting. We were trying to capitalize on the second rut/fawn’s coming in and some big boys left deep in the public chasing them.
As you can tell, if you watched the film we had a couple of all day sits in the Onyx, making lunch with the jet boils and sticking it out. We also spent a couple days moving around…a lot! We spent one day scouting/hunting 6 miles round trip on some new pieces of public we didn’t know. Overall it gave us a great feel for the Onyx, from packing miles in (with film gear) with it on our Sumpter Frame packs, to spending all day in them.
On the second all day sit, I remember looking at Robert and telling him I hadn’t even thought of my feet over the entire 2 day period of all day hangs in the saddle. Any experienced saddle hunter knows that might not be common. While not uncomfortable, some platforms may have you wanting to adjust weight/move around, and put pressure points from the edges of platforms on different parts of your feet. Not on the Onyx… It was unnaturally comfortable after 2+ all day sits in it.
The fact that is has multiple holds, angles around the entire perimeter and even an angle on the stomp pad means without thinking about it, your feet always find perfectly comfortable and natural positions to rest in. After spending several all day site this season, and many seasons in the past in saddles and saddle hunting platforms. I can honestly say it is the most comfortable, and most worthwhile saddle hunting platform to carry in the woods.
P.S: Robert never got a deer in Ky…but we are hoping to tag him out this year!
Ready to buy? Onyx Platforms are sold in many areas/shops, including
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Weston Schrank is a hunting industry professional with years of whitetail management and hunting experience in the Midwest. He is currently expanding that experience in the mobile hunting world, and the world of western hunting.