Tree climbing is an activity done by an individual moving up a tree either for recreational purposes or professional purposes. When done for recreational purposes the climber will be moving up the tree at their own pace and time, since they are not competing with anyone.
However, when in a competition the climber will have to move faster to beat their competitor and win the race.
Tree climbing is not done blindly or without training, there are gears and equipment used depending on the type of climbing done. That’s where we are going to base our article’s details on, “tree climbing gear kits”.
Before the discussion, it is better to be conversant with the term “arborist”. An arborist is a person who plants and studies the science of trees. They study the science involved in different types of trees: shrubs, trees, vines, plants in general.
On the other hand, a person who climbs trees and has knowledge of tree climbing is called a tree climber. These are the individuals who need tree climbing gear kits most because they have little knowledge of trees, unlike arborists.
Tree climbing gear kits are the equipment that is used by climbers in ensuring they climb both safely and effectively without incurring neither injuries nor inconveniences.
Examples of climbing gear kits include:
- Climbing ropes–these are ropes specifically designed for tree climbing and are different from ordinary ropes. They play the role of the “lifeline” as you climb a tree and they vary from one user to the other depending on their weight and the size of the tree they are climbing. The normal length is 35 meters but there are others with 45, 50, and 60 and above meters long.
- Harness–these are devices used in giving a climber safe-brakes in their climbs. They are designed with rope attachment points and knot tying ends that will ensure you can stay in a sitting position, hand free while climbing a tree.
- Spikes– spikes are worn on your feet as you climb and ensure to give your feet tight grips with every step of tree climbing. They give the illusion of walking up a tree
- Hooks – these are devices that help you in holding on to the tree for support so that you cannot fall no matter how far up the tree you are! Though they are not recommended by tree-lovers, they do come in handy in case of a misstep or a slip.
- Hand gloves – trees are known to have barks with different textures which might harm our arms as we climb them. To avoid such circumstances, it’s best to wear hand gloves for they will ensure your hands remain as clean, soft, and injury-free as they were before you went up the They also help firm grips of ropes and adjustment of the tree climbing equipment.
- Boots– ensuring to have the right footwear while climbing trees is one of the safety measures to take before starting. Boots are among the recommended safe footwear for tree climbing.
- Pants – it is obvious that you cannot climb a tree in shorts, this is because of the coarse texture of the barks and scratches from branches and twigs. Thus getting the right pants for tree climbing is a matter of concern to look out for before climbing a tree.
- Friction savers–these are short rope-like devices that help in saving you and the tree from friction while climbing. They also help in hastening your steps of climbing especially during bad weather like winter and storms.
- Carabiners–these are devices used in creating secure connections between the climbing rope above you, the lanyard of your harness, and the prusik. They are used as alloys for climbing and are rig savers for your steep equipment. Most people use two of them while tree climbing, but it is highly recommended that you use four for better safety. They come in different types: Steel Locking Carabiners, Screw-Locking Carabiners, and Alloy Locking Carabiners.
- Prusik– the simple definition of a Prusik is a hitch for friction. It is used in adjusting the position of the climber on the climbing rope as they ascend or descend. It can be tied at the end of the climbing line and helps in minimizing the heat resistance brought by the climbing friction, which can melt the cord.
These tools are always classified with the tree climbing capability of the climber. Climbers are classified into beginners, intermediate and professional/arborist climbers. These classifications have different needs and use different equipment.
- Beginner climbers – these are the type of climbers who have zero knowledge about tree climbing and need a trainer to guide them through the activity. Most of them are trained using the free climbing technique, without gears so that they can acquire the basics.
- Intermediate climbers– these are the type of tree climbers who have an idea of what tree climbing entails, they have climbed before but with the help of a trainer or a professional. They use simple tools like ropes and nets. Although not advisable but they can climb trees alone in the absence of their handlers or trainers.
- Professional climbers– these are the group of tree climbers involving tree climbing trainers, arborists, teachers, and tree researching scientists. They can climb trees of different shapes and sizes located in different places without anyone watching over them. They use the most advanced cached equipment and take tree climbing seriously unlike their companions who do it for recreational purposes. Their main motto is to ensure they climb trees successfully without bringing any harm to it whatsoever. These features make them the best flora-lovers and environmental conservers.
Let’s look at benefits attained in climbing trees before discussing deep into the gears and kits used.
- Climbing trees helps in the development of physical strength
- Climbing trees helps in the development of the climber’s concentration and focus.
- Climbing trees is a recreational activity that boosts the climber’s self-esteem and self-confidence in the lifestyles.
- Our bodies require brain coordination, physical and locomotive boosts which can be developed in tree climbing.
- Tree climbing in children helps them in developing gross motor activeness for physical development.
- Climbing trees develops an attitude of self-belief in the climber.
- Climbing trees helps the climber in making strong and confident reasoning skills and abilities that help in decision making.
- Climbing of trees helps in strengthening the mind and will of the climber.
- Tree climbing helps the climber in creating their connection with nature and its gifts.
- Climbing trees help in developing an attitude of environmental care in its participants.
Now that you are informed on what gain comes from tree climbing, let’s look at the different tree climbing gear kits for different types of climbers.
Climbing Gear Kits for Beginner
A beginner climber is a climber who has just started climbing trees and is still on the learning process of tree climbing. These are the individual who is still on the basics and do not require advanced equipment nor special techniques and styles.
Gears and kits are manufactured by different companies and may differ in names or prescriptions.
Thus, it’s best to find one that suits you best and acquire it. For instance:-
- climbing gear kits for beginners from MRS include:
- Arbor-Plex Climb line of a half-inch by 150′ (AP1215)
- RockO carabiner *2 (CAR136)
- Cordura throw weight with loop 10oz (THR233)
- Cordura throw weight with loop 12oz (THR234)
- Bail Out XL eye-to-eye prusik 9mm by 30’’ (CLI369)
- Buckingham split suspension wide-back saddle (SAD102)
- Canvas gear bag (BAG203)
- Tree Climber’s Companion (BOO101)
- WesSpur Line Mug (BAG110)
- SMC CR micro pulley x 2 (PUL124)
- Marlow throw line 2mm x 164’ (THR112)
- Cordura throw weight w/loop 10oz (THR233)
- Rock Exotica Pirate Carabiner (CAR134)
- Hawkeye flipline 1/2” x 12” (FLI265)
- Bail Out XL eye-to-eye prusik 9mm x 28” (CLI369-S)
2. The Texas Climbing kit–this is one of the simplest climbing kits in the world. It entails a simple canopy-entry methodology that allows the climber to ascend with a simple design of sit and stand motion. As they ascend, both foot straps are clipped into one ascender and the daisy chain is used as an adjustable tether. This easy to own and use kit contains:-
- A CMI Expedition ascenders *2 for both the right and the left
- A RockO carabiner *2
- Ascender foot straps *2
- A Delta links *2
- And a 1 *54 inches daisy chain for support.
3. The RADS kit – this is basically, the Rapid Ascent and Descent system kit that is designed to use a single rope system for ascending with added mechanical advantages. It contains a Petzl rig which allows the climber to easily descend by removing the handled ascender and switching back and forth from ascending to descending easily. It is inclusive of:
- A quarter-inch Delta Link
- A Petzl Basic Ascender
- A Revolver Carabiner
- A foot strap
- A RockO carabiner
- A Petzl Rig
- Petzl Rig
This kit is recommended for tree climbing beginners who are either climbing for fun or friendly climbing competitions. This complete package will ensure you are safe and fully equipped to climb peacefully and it comes at affordable prices that will not harm your budget.
Climbing Gear Kits for Arborists
As we mentioned earlier, arborists are individuals who have studied the science behind trees and everything that involves them. This means they are professionals who don’t climb trees for recreational purposes but research, testing of equipment and climbing gears or when they are saving or taking care of a tree with adverse heights.
That said, they will require advanced cached climbing gear than their beginner counterparts. For instance, while doing research an arborist will require a mug holder for coffee when they go climbing in cold areas. This is a device that may not be necessary for a beginner climber.
Here, we are going to look at the Premium ropewalker kit for arborists which ensures safe, professional, and simplified climbing. This gear kit includes:
- A chest box
- A treeMotion Harness
- A slit leg tether
- A rope wrench with Prusik
- A phlotich Pulley
- A 3’ Cambium Saver
- A 2 times RockO Carabiner
- A 2 * time XSRE Carabiners
- A 200′ drenalLine with a tight eye
- A 30’’ Epicord Prusik
- A 12” Blaze Flipline
- A Floating Knee Ascender
- An airline throw line
- A Turbo Foot Ascender
- 10 and 12 oz. Jet Bags
- Airline Throw Line
- A Transport Rope Bag
- An Eclipse Line Storage
- Tree Climber’s Companion
- A DVD training video manual
Being an arborist means that you need more experience than a normal climber. Sometimes you are going to study a tree in the Himalayas or any other mountain for that matter, this means you will have to rock climb first before actually climbing the tree. Another factor to consider is the position of the tree which may be dangerous, so trees grow on cliffs, and climbing them one needs to be extra careful and well conversant with what they are doing to climb successfully.
Climbing Gear Kits for SRS Climbing
SRS- stationery rope system climbing is an advanced-climbing done by either intermediate trained climbers or professional arborists. Either way, it’s a technique that cannot be done without training and instructions.
In SRS, a climber stays in an upright position and used one rope as the support in going up another rope, all the while they are dressed in full climbing gear with nothing else for support.
There are different types of SRS climbing kits and gears, however, we are going to look at just three of them:
- The Hybrid Ropewalker Kit – this is a climbing kit designed with the newest SRS gears that will enable you to climb fast, safer, easier, and above all, without causing single harm to the tree while doing all that. It is inclusive of:-
- Hitch Hiker
- Rope Wrench
- A Unicender
- A Roperunner
- A Zigzag with Chicane
- Torse chest harness by petzl
- Connectors and tethers for the other devices
- A turbo foot ascender
- A SAKA Mini floating Knee ascenders.
These devices are well gathered by professionals with the knowledge that you will require every single one of them for a successful climb.
2. The basic Ropewalker Upgrade – this is the upgrade of the SRS rope climbing starter kit that enables the climber to use the Stationery Rope System with Ascenders conveniently. It is mostly used for long ascents and allows the climber to alternate between standing on a single foot ascender and creating a balance with the foot strap. This technique makes the experience feel like climbing a ladder.
It’s inclusive of:
- Foot ascender
- Ascender foot strap
- CMI hand ascender
- A Delta Link
- Standard figure 8
- 7feet of the Sterling 8mm cord
- A Prusik.
3. The Rope Wrench Kit SRS Upgrade–this is the all-you-need hardware kit for the Rope Wrench for SRS. It is designed to give you smooth and cached precise control as you climb. Not forgetting its timesaving in helping the climber switch between the SRS and the MRS systems effectively.
The best feature of this kit is the ability to allow climbers to add the SRS effects to their normal climbing gears and is best used with the starter packcached gear kit. It contains:-
- The turbo foot ascender
- The ISC rope wrench ASC179
- The RockO carabiner *2 CAR136
- The ISC Phlotich pulley PUL160
- The Lawton Tether ASC180
- The Maillon Rapide delta link, a quarter-inch HAR117
- The DMM XSRE accessory carabiner CAR318
- The PETZL Torse Chest Harness SAD405
- How do you climb a tree-like an arborist? – An arborist being a tree scientist needs to climb a tree in a way that brings no harm to the tree at any cost. This means no use of hooks or grips or unnecessary cutting of branches to pave way for the climb.
It is there sworn duty to do anything and everything that ensures the wellness of a tree both professionally or in a recreational activity.
This means they are ones using harnesses and rope systems to ensure they have achieved their mission of climbing while leaving the tree in the same state that it was before the climb or in a better state than they found it.
2. How do you climb trees without branches? – climbing a tree with no branches means you need to get something that supports your climb. Most people use clips and hooks but this technique ends up harming the tree. However, there exist other techniques that will help you in achieving your climbing goals. For example:
- Free climbing –this is a technique where a climber uses no equipment at all. They just put on rubber shoes, pick a tree and go up as much as they can by hugging the tree and clinging on it one step after the other.
- Self-belaying climbing – this is where you are climbing a branchless tree by using a fixed rope and pulling yourself up till you reach the top. This technique was borrowed from rock climbers and is very effective and safe for both you and the tree.
- Double-rope climbing – this is another easy, equipment-free technique whereby the climber uses two ropes tied around the trunk and alternates them with each step as they climb up step after step.
- Single rope technique – this is a tree climbing technique where a climber uses a single rope for support as they ascend. The rope acts as both the support and the climbing tool. It’s the simplest tree climbing technique taught by trainers to date.
3. How do you rig a tree climbing harness? – Hopefully, you are aware that a rig is a device used in self-braking while belaying. It is used on an anchor or a harness depending on what you’re using when tree climbing. A rig can accommodate up to 150kgs for a single user or 200kgs for two persons when in a rescue situation or an emergency from an injury.
That said, it is best to know that the rig helps in maintaining your pace of climbing but doesn’t necessarily mean they are safety insurance. Staying safe and knowing when to use it, is entirely the climbers’ duty and responsibility.
When belaying with a rig ensure the rope passes through a redirect of the anchor and ensure never to let go of the braking side of the rope, also do not let slack between the rope and the anchor and the rig, this will reduce the risk of a fall by 90%.
Tree climbing is an activity that is not fully restricted by age. As much as young children are discouraged from climbing trees, a child that is 8years old and above can enjoy this recreational activity without the parent worrying.
Conclusively, the main reason why we need tree climbing gear kits is for our safety. Tree climbing has its fair share of cons and nobody enjoys a broken leg, arm, neck, spine, or hip. Thus, before choosing to climb a tree it’s best to acquire one.
Nevertheless, after acquiring a tree climbing gear kit, find a professional trainer who will guide you accordingly on how to use each piece in the kit. This will help in ensuring you don’t use the wrong tool for the wrong purpose.
Thus, go and get a gear kit of your tree climbing status and start your journey to being a fit, successful, environment-loving, passionate, tree climber that you’ve ever dreamt of!