There’s a certain thrill in climbing trees, no matter your age. The challenge offers an exhilarating feeling that is heightened when you are engaged in recreational tree climbing. This outdoor activity provides you with a blend of excitement, fun, and relaxation, all at the same time. The best part is that you don’t really need much except for the right gear, some knowledge, and loads of enthusiasm to get started with this outdoor activity. But before exploring the required gear, let’s first look at what recreational tree climbing actually means.
What Is Recreational Tree Climbing?
Recreational tree climbing is an outdoor pursuit that enables recreation, exploration, adventure, and exercise and aims to establish a deeper connection with trees. This activity uses the techniques put forward by arborists for climbing trees and is suitable for people of any age. Recreational tree climbing usually differs from what you may have done as a kid, scrambling up trees without safety gear. Generally, tree climbing requires safety gear, harnesses, and precautions to ensure a pleasurable and safe climb.
8 Key Pieces Of Gear Required for Tree Climbing
It is essential to select the right gear for recreational climbing for two main reasons: to ensure your safety and minimize the impact on the trees being climbed.
Here are the key gears that you need to safely start tree climbing:
When it comes to tree climbing, a harness counts amongst the top safety gear. It helps to keep you tied up and secured. But a rock-climbing or fall arrest harness may not be able to meet your requirements. You need a harness that is specially designed for tree climbing. That is why you have to select one with a low central main attachment point. Your harness must include side D rings for flipline attachment. Quick-release buckles, a suspension seat, and a cushioned waist belt are the other factors to look for in your tree climbing harness.
2. Tree Climbing Rope
A tree-climbing rope is often referred to as the lifeline of climbers and for the right reasons. Without the right rope, you will be risking your safety when out climbing trees. But you need to pay attention to the type of rope you select. Any random rope or even one used to explore rock-climbing destinations may not be ideal for your tree climbing venture. Ropes that are specifically designed for tree climbing are what you should include in your gearbox. The typically followed rule is to include a rope that is double the height of the tree you intend to climb. But this may vary based on the tree climbing technique you follow.
A flipline is a specially built lanyard or pole strap meant to be clipped to one of the side D rings on your harness. You need it to secure your position by placing it around the tree and then attaching it to the D ring on the opposite side. It is an important piece of equipment required for climbing on spurs. Apart from holding you in place, it ensures a secondary form of attachment while you go about your tree climbing spree.
4. Flipline Adjuster
As the name indicates, this equipment helps to adjust the length of your flipline. In other words, you can use it to shorten or lengthen your flipline as per your requirements during your tree climbing adventure. It comes included as a part of a complete flipline system. But if your system doesn’t include it, you will have to get it separately.
5. Climbing Boots
As far as climbing safety gear is concerned, you can’t overlook the need for specialized footwear. Just like you require hiking boots for your hiking adventures, you need tree climbing boots to keep your feet safe while climbing trees. They are meant to offer you comfort and support. You need to select a pair that ensures ample grip even if the ground is wet and slippery. Tree climbing boots may have extra grip at the tip of the boots, added protection, loops for carabiners, and other features that make them better suited for climbing trees. You’ll also find many chainsaw boots utilized as many people climbing trees are doing so for tree cutting purposes.
A prusik is a knot or a friction hitch that enables you to adjust your position on the tree climbing rope. Its purpose is to allow you to ascend or descend trees effectively. By using a prusik, you can climb down without worrying about the friction caused by the process. This specialist cord is designed to be resistant to the high heat generated due to such friction.
Tree climbing spikes or spurs help to position yourself on the tree trunks if you find there is no natural foot-hold to do so. You can use spikes on the limbs of trees as well. They enable you to walk up a tree when the need arises.
Of course, spikes can cause damage to trees, so they really only should be used in certain situations.
Carabiners are small pieces of equipment, but they are important. You can use them for carrying accessories when climbing trees. Further, they enable you to create a network of secure connections involving your climbing rope, flipline attached to your harness, and prusik. You need to opt for high-quality carabiners made of steel or alloy for your climbing purposes.
To Wrap Up
There’s no denying that you have to keep safety in mind while enjoying your tree climbing adventures. That is why you need to invest in proper safety gear, whether you are a professional climber or a recreational climber.
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about