Tree Climbing Gear for a Novel Tree Climber
Have you decided to learn a new profession and pursue a career as an arborist? Welcome to the club!
As always, every new thing needs research, learning and someone’s help in the beginning, to get things going smoothly. The same in this field. Next to various knowledge of tree biology, the main necessary gear for a modern tree climber is tree climbing gear. We are talking here about the stuff with which you haul yourself up into a tree and perform the necessary tasks there. For this purpose, we have put together a small guide about things you have to pay attention to when collecting all the tree climbing gear, and about what a novel tree climber should select for their work, and what not.
Don’t go crazy when choosing equipment
Having worked in the industry for many years, I’ve seen a variety of options for using tree climbing gear. There are those who have been working with minimal arborist equipment and supplies for years, renewing them only when a new examination is due, or when the items are really broken or completely unusable. I have also seen arborists who buy every new gadget that comes out, but they never use them in their work.
I know it’s a big temptation and desire to buy all these various beautiful, colourful things and think that they’ll do all the work.
However, it would be reasonable to actually place yourself between these two extremes. It’s not a good idea to buy too much stuff, but at the same time, not to economize too much. Let’s be honest, literally, your life is hanging by these tools. This isn’t a place where you save excessively. As far as I understand, you only live once.
But how does a novel arborist know which tools to buy and which not, and how many?
Recommendations for Choosing Tree Climbing Gear
- Do not buy arborist equipment before you have tried it. Many times, I’ve seen people come to the store or order a bunch of equipment online, but they don’t really understand or haven’t made it clear to themselves what they really need. They haven’t been able to try it and don’t know how different products work, or whether they suit them. Indeed, there are some products that are more popular, but there are also many that are suitable for one person and not for another. But where can you try them? The first choice, of course, is school, and secondly, choose a place of vocational training where you can do it.
- Ask experienced arborists for advice. How do you know who to ask? The place of vocational training mentioned in the previous section is very helpful, choose your training company carefully, it lays the foundation for your skills. Secondly, join some local arborist association or society. You can get to know your colleagues and ask them for advice. You can climb a tree in different ways, using different methods, so there are various arborists who understand one method better than another. Talk to as many different arborists as possible.
- Come to the arbogear.com store for an on-site consultation, touch items with your own hands, and see them with your own eyes. You can see the arborist equipment in the online store, but you can’t touch it, much less try it. Make an appointment, come and have a look. We can talk about the possibilities and options, what your goals are, and I can give you as much advice as I can when it comes to buying tree climbing gear.
List of arborist supplies for a novel arborist
This list of arborist supplies for a novel tree climber in this post is completed on the basis of a list at an arborists school. So, it can also be used as a teaching material. It should be noted that this is a list of minimum supplies. You can start with it, but while working, each person will develop (hopefully) and can upgrade their equipment as they like. I’d like to point out that in some category, (e.g. tree climbing harness), there are several products from different producers. This is where the aforementioned suggestion of trying the equipment comes into play. Harnesses from different producers can come with different prices and extra functions and comfort levels. That was for the introduction. Are you ready? Then we move on to the list.
- A harnesses or a tree climbing harnesses. Must comply with standards EN813, EN358, EN12277. So yes, you got it right, certain products must meet the standards so that the work is safe and you don’t fall down from the tree. Don’t buy a harness from an unknown producer in China or some other country. You can get acquainted with arborist harnesses here.
- A helmet. A helmet suitable for arborist work must have a chin strap and be ready for attaching headphones. At school, in the beginning, you may not need headphones, but later on, at work, you will definitely need them. The helmet must meet the following standards: EN397, EN12492. You can find helmets here and accessories for helmets here.
- Safety glasses or a visor on a helmet. You can choose whether you buy separate safety glasses or install a visor on the helmet. There are different types of visors for helmets – plastic mesh or metal mesh visors, some are even made of glass. For example, on the Protos Integral Arborist helmet, it’s possible to install both a visor and safety glasses behind the visor.
- A climbing rope of at least 45 meters in length, the diameter of which is between 11-13 mm and it must have an eye at one end. The eye can also be on both ends. The rope must comply with the EN1891 standard and also be CE certified. The selection of ropes is quite large and they come in different diameters and lengths. A rope of 45 meters is optimal. With it, most of the trees in our area can be maintained or cut down, if necessary, but sometimes longer ropes are also needed. However, if you need to maintain young trees, it would be more appropriate to use a shorter rope. It depends on the work that needs to be done. And of course, the rope needs to be kept somewhere inside, so a rope bag would also be helpful.
- A friction cord, which is also called a prusik. A friction cord should be 90 cm long and with two eyes, or simply without eyes but longer – 185 cm. You can find friction cords here.
- A climbing system. This is the kind of kit that you can use to safely move up and down the climbing rope. To begin with, a set consisting of a friction cord – 60-70 cm long, a triple attachment or phlotich pulley and two trilock carabiners (standard EN362) is recommended. Later, of course, you can choose the climbing device that suits you, but the above set is very good to start with.
- In addition to the climbing rope, you also need to position yourself in the tree to perform the work, and for this you need a lanyard kit. The lanyard should be at least three meters long, and the kit should definitely have two trilock carabiners and a fixing device or a system made with a friction cord. This system then usually consists of a regular friction cord and a pulley, such as Pinto, Mova or similar. The ropes are divided into two – with and without steel content. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. To begin with, a set of regular rope is good enough.
- In addition, two 2.10-meter long friction cords as a spare cord and for practice.
- To protect the bark and rope, a friction saver is needed. A simple tool with two rings would be recommended for a beginner. Later, if you have already tried different options, there are more complicated tools that facilitate all kinds of work (but, unfortunately, they are more expensive).
- It’s necessary to get the rope up in the tree somehow, yes? A thin string, called a throwline, is used for this. Here, too, different producers provide different options. Some are cheaper, some more expensive, but more durable.
- We need throw weights at the end of the throwline. Usually one 250-gram weight and another 350-gram weight is enough for a beginner. But here you can take into account that sometimes they can also get stuck on a tree. So, if you don’t have any as a backup and you go to work for a client, and the last throw weight gets stuck on a tree, your work will not be finished.
- Work gloves are also very important. They must have a good grip and must not be too large or loose. If they are too big, they tend to get caught in the friction or climbing system.
- And, of course, a hand saw. How can an arborist do their job if there’s no saw in the equipment kit. This is one of the most important tools. Silky handsaws are recommended.
- You’ll need a small accessory carabiner to hang the saw from your belt, which can be found here.
- You also need a special express carabiner with a wide mouth to attach and carry the chainsaw, slings and other items. Usually a Petzl Caritool, Courant Honos or C.A.M.P Kilo carabiner is used.
- Besides, a screw carabiner for securing tools would be useful. It should be mentioned that it must definitely not be used in your climbing system, only trilock carabiners can be used there.
- In this section, it’s definitely necessary to mention a rescue kit and it includes the following items:
- And to finish the list of equipment for a novel arborist, all this stuff should be collected in one bag. This is where special gear bags for arborists come to the rescue, which come in several different versions with side pockets, and loops for attaching carabiners and more.
The tree climbing equipment list is completed now
As mentioned at the beginning, this is a starter kit. You can already do something with it, but there are certainly many tools that make the job even easier.
There are several arborist supplies that are better suited for one situation than another. For example, a lanyard, if you are only climbing thin trees, a 2-3-meter long lanyard is enough, but if you have to climb a big ancient tree, it’ll not be enough and will not reach around the tree trunk. However, if you climb a thin tree with a 5-7-meter lanyard, the extra part will bother you when working.
Or another example with a friction saver: you can attach a regular friction saver with two rings on a tree trunk only where there are some side branches, but you can also place a RopeGuide or a pulleySAVER on the trunk. And this last version is good for sectional felling. What is sectional felling? A good question, but not the topic of this post. You’ll be told about it when you attend an arborists school, or are in vocational training.
If you have questions about the tree climbing equipment, call 504 7811 or write to [email protected]
Happy tree climbing!