Tree Climbing Gear List
Working in the treetops, whether you are an arborist, arboriculturist, or tree surgeon, can be challenging. To perform your job, you have to be able to safely climb a tree, and move around the treetops freely while having multiple tools attached to you. This is almost impossible without proper and professional tree climbing gear.
That’s why we prepared a tree climbing gear list for you. We picked the 10 most essential pieces of equipment for every tree professional.
But before we jump right to it, let’s have a look at arborist tree climbing techniques first and briefly talk about arborist knots, so the lines about gear will make more sense.
Arborist tree climbing techniques
There are several techniques to help you climb a tree safely. These are the two most popular ones.
The first technique is called the arborist single rope technique (SRT) – often referred to as the stationary rope technique in the tree care community. Using this technique, the climber moves up and down (using ascenders or descenders) along an arborist climbing rope that remains stationary.
Another popular tree climbing technique is a doubled rope technique (DdRT). Similar to SRT, a single rope is used, however, it is doubled over. Using this technique, the rope does not remain stationary but moves back and forth as the climber ascends or descends.
Essential knots for arborists
When climbing a tree or working in the treetops, situations may occur where you need to tie a knot: for example, when you have to join two ropes, ascend or descend a climbing rope using a Prusik knot, or to tie an anchor knot for the pulley system.
Every tree climbing professional working with ropes should have an extensive knowledge of the different types of arborist knots and for which circumstances they are deemed best. Alpine butterfly, double fisherman’s knot, figure-eight knot, klemheist knot, prusik, or clove hitch are all knots that arborists find handy.
Learn when to use them and how to tie them in our article: 10 Essential Knots for Rope Access.
Tree climbing gear list
Finally, let’s move to our tree climbing gear list. We consider the following 10 pieces of climbing equipment to be almost essential for every tree professional.
1. Tree climbing harness
An arborist harness is the heart of your tree climbing gear. The harness should allow the arborist maximum freedom of movement in order to perform his job efficiently. When choosing the best tree climbing harness for you, safety, comfort, and adjustability should be the primary concerns.
The arborist needs to move freely in the crowns and needs to have a wide range of motion – so a harness that is easily adjustable and does not restrict movement is a must. The comfort is very important as well, especially as you will be spending hours in the treetops. Look for a harness with high-quality waist and leg padding and pay attention to the material the harness is made of.
One of the most popular climbing harnesses widely used among the arborist all over the world is Courant Koala Harness. This tree climbing harness is literally designed for maximum performance in the trees, as Courant developed the Koala harness in a close collaboration with actual arborists. It is lightweight (only 1.73 kg!), very comfortable (improved leg padding, ergonomic straps, thermo-regulated SmartFoam back plate), easily adjustable (10 quick adjustments) and has a lot of handy features (tool holders, chainsaw hooks, carabiners loops). In addition, you can easily connect the Koala Chest harness to it.
It is one of the best arborist harnesses in the market and it is available in three sizes to fit every arborist. Learn more about the Courant Koala Harness and its features in the video from the French manufacturer Courant:
If you are looking for another solution, look at Singing Rock Timber 3D – a comfortable work positioning harness for arborists.
2. Arborist chest harness
The previously mentioned Courant Koala Harness is a sit-type harness. However, sometimes you may need a chest harness too – especially when you need to redistribute the weight of heavy tools hanging on your body. Arborist chest harnesses are useful for the SRT style of climbing as well because they offer an extra attachment point for a chest ascender.
The arborist chest harness should be comfortable (quality padding for the shoulder and chest areas) and compatible with your sit harness. Courant has a solution for this: the Courant Koala Chest Harness that can be attached to Koala Harness with three carabiners and is also compatible with any other arborist harness. It is made of perforated foam and soft fabrics, so this arborist chest harness is comfortable and highly breathable.
3. Climbing rope
As an arborist, you need a climbing rope. The rope you buy should be specifically designed for tree climbing. Usually, you will need a climbing rope that is the double length of the tree, but it depends on the tree climbing technique you will use.
For SRT (Single Rope Technique) we recommend the Courant Squir. This climbing rope has a durable sheath and very low stretch that helps to keep the bounce effect to a minimum when ascending the tree.
For DdRT (Doubled Rope Technique), thicker climbing ropes (11,5 – 13 mm) are more suitable. In this range, the Courant Komora is our pick. This arborist climbing rope is made from innovative X-Braid parallel core technology and offers excellent abrasion resistance.
When ascending or descending the climbing rope, you may need to tie a prusik or the klemheist knot around the rope. Courant developed an arborist hitch cord exactly for situations like that. The Courant Phoenix is great for tying different types of hitches and works as a perfect brake on the arborist climbing ropes.
4. Tree climbing throw bag
Installing the climbing rope from the ground may be challenging. One of the most efficient options for getting the rope on the tree is to use throw bags and throw lines.
Firstly, throw a light throw bag attached to a throw line over the anchor point. Secondly, attach your ascend system to the thin throw line and pull it up by the throw line over the anchor point.
Source: Singing Rock
Singing Rock Treemouse and Courant Treez Throw Bags are ideal for this. These throw bags are compact enough to pass even through narrow spaces. Because of their shape, they obey gravity exactly how they are meant to.
5. Arborist helmet with visor and earmuffs
Tree climbing or working at heights in trees can be dangerous, so protecting your head, face, eyes, and hearing with a safety helmet is extremely important. Tree climbing professionals often opt for a complex solution (including helmet accessories) when choosing the best arborist helmet for them.
Singing Rock Flash Aero is a perfect helmet for working at heights. The helmet is equipped with air vents which makes the work in warm environments more bearable. Its main purpose is to protect the user from falling objects. However, the Flash Aero can be equipped with a visor that helps to protect the eyes from flying fragments and other impact injuries. To help with noise attenuation (for example from the saw), the Hellberg Earmuffs can be attached to the helmet as well.
All these helmet accessories make the Singing Rock Flash Aero a great solution for tree climbing professionals.
6. Arborist pulley
Pulleys are great tools for lowering static loads, such as branches or supplies. At VERX AU, we offer Singing Rock Miky – a lightweight arborist pulley designed specifically for tree climbing applications. The pulley has two attachment holes with a strength of 28 kN. Its side plates are made of anodized aluminum alloy and the sheave can be used with textile rope and cords up to 13 mm in diameter.
7. Arborist ring
When it comes to connecting a large number of pieces of equipment of different sizes and setups together, classic carabiners might not be good enough. That is the situation when you should consider using an openable arborist ring, such as Courant Odin – “a king’s tool.”
The Courant Odin is made from high-resistant stainless steel. The ring opens like a standard carabiner but in a sideways direction. Together with the specially designed keylock gate, it assures minimal force is applied to the locking screw. The screw has a spring ball system with a thread lock to securely fix the gate before use.
8. Climbing Carabiners
The more traditional way of connecting pieces of equipment together is to use carabiners – one of the most essential pieces of your tree climbing gear. There are multiple kinds of climbing carabiners available: twist-lock, screw-lock, triple lock… You can read more about them in one of our previous articles about climbing gear.
For safety reasons, make sure that the carabiner that is used for your main support (holding the weight of your body while climbing) is at least a double-action carabiner – it means that it takes at least 2 movements to open the gate.
9. Arborist sling for an anchor point
While working in the treetops, you often have to create an anchor point anywhere in the tree. That is why you should always have an arborist sling on hand. Just attach the sling to the tree or to the branch and run the rope through a block or set up a pulley system to the anchor.
The Singing Rock Jingle II is suitable for this kind of use. This arborist sling is available in multiple sizes (100 cm, 120 cm, 150 cm) and multiple variants (with or without “O” rings).
10. Arborist gear bag
Great fold-out design (you don't have to dig around looking for equipment) and plenty of storage options. This arborist rope bag can easily store all your tree climbing gear, from the harness, through rope, to carabiners and accessories. You can see for yourself in the following video from the French manufacturer:
Arborists also often use Courant Dock – a versatile kit bag that has a lot of great features, as well. Emily, our in-house operational assistant, recently reviewed this carry bag, looking at all its features, pros and cons. So, if you are interested in something other than Courant Cross Pro, be sure to check her review here.
If you are a tree professional, you need high-quality gear to perform your job safely and efficiently. With our tree climbing gear list, you got a basic overview of arborist equipment you might need. Browse through our collections of arborist equipment and make your work in the treetops safe and comfortable.
Do you have any questions regarding the tree climbing gear? Feel free to give us a call or send us an email. Our knowledgeable staff will swiftly get back to you with a quick response.