A question I get asked almost daily is "Do you have a "starter kit" mate?" When I dig deeper and ask some qualifying questions I found that for a few it's about the perceived value of bundled gear, but for most, it's because they are totally new to climbing and don't actually know what they need. And that's ok. We all started somewhere.
Tree climbing offers endless possible combinations of equipment used to create many varied systems and techniques for climbing trees.
The thing is, you really need to know what Technique you are going to use first. Only after that can you know what gear you need!
For the point of this article, we're going to start with Doubled Rope Technique, or DdRT for short. It is generally considered the most basic technique and where most climbers start out. From there you can add extra equipment to improve on its efficiency, or progress to other more advanced techniques including Single Rope Technique.
So how do you know what gear you need in a DdRT "starter kit"?
I've resisted offering a "starter kit" at Treegear for a long time.... Reason being I don't believe it offers a new climber the best value in the long term. Usually starter kits bundle the bare basic lowest grade gear with low price being the driver.
It might seem like a quick solution to you, and a quick easy sale for the vendor, but it's false economy. As soon as you get an understanding of what you're doing I promise you'll either want to replace half of it, or realise you didn't need half of it. And I don't want to be the guy you're cursing for selling you a useless pile of gear... I wanna be the guy you appreciate for helping you put together the best kit for you that will serve you long term. A kit that is a solid foundation that you can expand on over time.
Here is a list of the 7 basic minimum items needed to climb trees professionally & safely. *Note this list does not include Personal Protective Equipment. Your PPE needs will vary, but consider Helmet, Eye/Ear Protection, Chainsaw Protection Trousers & Boots.
Each item type has a link to a range of products that suit where you can browse the options and choose the one that appeals most based on features or budget. There is no right or wrong within each, just different. And all the products are professional grade gear. There is no cheap handyman grade stuff here like what you might find in "kits".
That's about it for the basics. With the above "Kit" you can access, move around, and position yourself within the canopy.
By combining your preferred choice within each of the above items you can build a "kit" that will have you up in the canopy safely in no time. I'll warn you it's not a "cheap" kit - and that's a good thing! This is professional grade gear even the best Arborists would be happy to use, not the lowest cost collection of stuff we could get away with selling as a kit to unsuspecting newbies! The is no value in a bargain kit if you have to replace most of it a month later!
It is also highly recommended you grab a copy of The Tree Climbers Companion. This handy illustrated guidebook will help give you an understanding of basic to advanced tree climbing techniques, and how all the above gear works together as a system.
Beyond here, there is an almost never-ending array of of tools that will make the whole process safer, more efficient, more comfortable - and therefore loads more fun!
DMM Compact Swivel Units PRODUCT RECALL / HAZARD NOTICE
Stop using any of the above items immediately, remove from service and quarantine.