Fancy giving tree-climbing a go? Before you belay on up to the crown of the tree make sure you’ve got all the equipment you need.
If you go for a class, equipment will be provided. But if you want to go it alone, there are a few gear must-haves. Once you’ve got them (and know how to use them) they’ll keep you monkeying around in the trees for years and years.
As you might well guess, climbing rope is the single most important bit of gear – if it’s broken it could make the difference between life and death, so always check it with your eyes and hands before you climb.
Tree climbing ropes are between 13mm and 11mm in diameter, and need to be twice the length of the climbing tree. So, if you’re climbing a 50ft tree, you need a 100ft rope. The rope should be non-elastic and braided – avoid twist constructed ropes as they will leave you spinning!
These are paramount for keeping the tree safe from damage. The easiest to use is a rope sleeve which covers the rope to both protect the branch from friction and stop it from slipping.
Rope placement is a big challenge. To do it, you need to lob a throw line with a weight attached. Use a 150ft long polypropylene line, along with an eight ounce weight (you can get specific bean-bag type weights or get creative).
A good rock climbing harness is ideal, although investing in a tree-climbing specific harness is worthwhile. They have wider, and sometimes padded straps, making hanging around in a tree much more comfortable on the behind!
It goes without saying that a helmet is a must in case of drops or falling objects. A good climbing helmet will do just fine, just make sure it fits. You’ll also need some good strong gloves to prevent rope burn (a pair of latex-coated gardening gloves will do the trick).