The tree climbing harness is one of the most crucial elements in the climbing system. It connects the tree climber to the system and protects him from falling. Furthermore, the tree climber often moves around in it all day long. In addition to functionality, quality and comfort are what count with the tree climbing harness in tree care – like no other element of personal protective equipment (PPE) and equipment in tree climbing. After all, they contribute to effective and gentle work. We have summarised the most important facts about tree climbing harnesses for you.
Which standards are required for tree climbing harnesses?
For tree climbing, harnesses shall be used in accordance with EN 813 for sit harnesses, EN 358 for work positioning harneses and/or EN 361 for fall arrest harnesses. Most tree climbers use harnesses according to EN 813 and EN 358 for tree care. Many harnesses can be quickly upgraded to a fall arrest harness according to EN 361 with an additional shoulder harness.
Which climbing harnesses are suitable for tree care work?
There are several aspects that play a decisive role in harnesses used in the tree care industry. Tree climbing harnesses must perfectly support the three-dimensional movements of arborists. Important for dynamic positioning are the central suspension and the rope points at the front and sides of the harness.
Which aspects are decisive for a tree climbing harness?
The horizontally movable central ring “Sliding D” offers the climber the greatest possible freedom of movement. It allows him to turn sideways despite a tensioned working rope. The lateral rings are used to attach the safety lanyard. A wire core lanyard serves as backup when working with the chainsaw. A textile lanyard is used by tree climbers for work positioning.
In addition, tree climbing harnesses must be well padded and support the back to ensure a comfortable working environment – both when climbing and hanging in the tree. Because in tree care, the working days are long and the climber usually wears the harness for a very long time. The climbing harness must adapt perfectly to the user. For this reason, it must neither cut into nor be too loose in order to offer both high wearing comfort and the greatest possible safety. Therefore the adjustment possibilities of the leg loops and the hip belt are also a decisive factor when choosing a harness.
» more information about the different buckles and materials can be found in the Harness Handbook (PDF) by Edelrid
Which equipment belongs to the climbing harness?
The tree climber needs various accessories for his daily work in tree care. In addition to a handsaw or a chainsaw, these include the equipment needed for tree climbing. Furthermore, a small first aid kit for minor injuries in the tree is mandatory. For this purpose, the harness must have appropriate loops and possibilities for attaching accessory carabiners or chainsaw strops.
Of course there is no standard equipment for the arborist’s harness. Which gear is attached to the harness depends on the daily tasks and varies widely from one climber to another. For this reason, there is a great variation concerning the features of tree climbing harnesses. Some like it reduced, others like to be equipped for every situation. Every arborist has to decide for himself whether he wants as many sturdy material loops as possible – or whether he would rather do without them, for example, in favour of less weight.
How do I maintain my tree climbing harness?
It is important to store the climbing harness properly. It should be kept at room temperature and above all dry. It must also be protected from UV radiation and daylight. This makes the material brittle and ages faster. In addition, care must be taken to ensure that it is not exposed to heat sources and chemicals. Pressure should also be avoided during storage.
Especially when working in the tree, the climbing harness gets dirty quickly. This causes the material to wear more quickly. Therefore, you should clean the climbing harness regularly – but not too often – from dirt. It is best to wash the harness by hand with warm water (max. 40 °C). However, climbing harnesses can also be washed in a washing machine using the gentle wash cycle (max. 30 °C). Special detergents are available for this purpose and we also recommend using a wash bag. The climbing harness is best dried by air without exposure to sunlight and without an additional heat source. For all harnesses, the operating instructions regarding cleaning and washing must also be observed.
» more information on the proper care of climbing ropes can be found on our Blog
How long can I use my tree climbing harness?
The tree climbing harness in professional tree care is part of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This means that it is subject to certain specifications with regard to its service life. On the one hand, it is based on the manufacturer’s specifications, on the other hand on the respective conditions of use. In everyday working life, the climber is responsible for ensuring that his or her PPE is in proper condition before each use.