By no means a new product but one that is getting increasing use from Arborists, Foresters, Industrial workers and even Cyclists. The obvious ugliness and size of the helmet belie its extraordinary ease of use and comfort and with multiple adjustment points it will certainly prove comfortable for a range of head shapes and sizes. The helmet sits wide and high to the top of the head and combined with the ventilation door on the rear top gives incredible air circulation, climbers need cool heads, to concentrate properly on complex aerial work. The chin strap is designed to adjust inside the helmet so there are no dangling pieces of webbing under the chin, also the wide ‘V’ shape ensures that the strap doesn't not hinder the enclosure of the earmuff. That the visor (modular) sits flush and the ear muff (modular) sits inside give a snag-free design for climbers. There is a modular safety glass attachment too that lives inside the front of the helmet, a wonderfully contained design. The ear muff has pressure settings, letting in or keeping out noise levels as the wearer wishes. All the close contact material can be easily removed and washed keeping the helmet free from bacteria and bad smells. This is a highly recommended product.
２ Teufelberger Rope Bucket and Kit Bag -
There is something salty-sea-dog-like about the Teufelberger Rope Bucket, it seems to have been woven by a giant with a giant needle and giant string. The bags simplicity belies its unique storage options, the Treemotion styled put-it-where-you-want-it makes the bag perform way over anything I have used so far. You can create personalised internal storage or hang it on the outside, I can fill to the brim the inside of my 50 litre and attach Spurs, 2 Throw-lines and Snow-Shoes on the outside. There are adjustable ruck handles, 2 types of shoulder strap and a side handle to help when loading into vehicles or launching down hills! I thought that rain would flood the bag but this isn't the case at all, snow too, it's fine. 14 months on with heavy use there is still zero damage, tis a shame though, I like bags but there is no reason to buy anymore ! Highly recommended.
３ Black Diamond Crag
There are of course a few different reasons for wearing gloves while doing tree work. They keep the delicate skin organ from becoming damaged, cut and possibly infected, they keep warmth in and cold out in the winter months and the common disposable rubber coated variety offer grip without over-exertion of the arm ligaments. I never understood rock climbing gloves, what help could a leather or suede material give for Arborists?, certainly the first two points work but the frictionless surface, I thought, would offer no assistance for rope climbers…..until I tried them.
There must be a slight definition made here as I am primarily a Stationary Rope Climber (SRT), not DdRT and there is a fundamental difference in how we move. SRT climbers use their legs, either on the rope or the tree, they do not ‘haul’ themselves with the rope ,like DdRT climbers do, and so a rubber surface is not needed. And the fact that the Black Diamond Crag gloves offer so much sensitivity due to there incredible pattern cutting and choice of material make purchasing them easy for me. They last longer than rubber gloves too so will save you money in the long run. Highly recommended product.
４ LOWA GTX-MID Boots Up to this point I didn’t talk about boots for groundworkers and luckily I had the chance to try Lowa’s ‘GTX MID’ which turned out to have many aspects of a good climbing boot but with slightly more room in the toe area and a stable footbed which perhaps gives it extended comfort for groundworkers. They are stiff enough to wear all day with spikes too. Well made, warm and waterproof. Recommended.
５ Hachinohe Onye Waterproof Trousers Yoshiharu Kudo from Hachinohe Shinrinkumiai has been involved with the design and manufacture of Japanese chainsaw trousers and he recently showed me a pair of waterproof trousers from On-Ye that have an articulated knee perfect for the constant bending when doing forestry and arborist jobs. Unlike my tissue thin Berghaus trouser the On-Ye is thick enough to withstand abrasion from day-to-day work.
６ DMM Durolock Karabiner
Any experienced arborist rigger will tell you that equipment when used in trees is highly likely to twist, misalign, go from good loading to bad loading, strong to weak due to the on-off nature of loading patterns. If there is a lazily composed rigging system the weakness will show itself, quickly, through damage, it is an inevitable aspect to working with trees. Some connectors are kept at a close distance and can be monitored regularly, while others are not. The typical 3 Way Twist and Lock offers a great advantage to tree workers as a well maintained spring in the gate will close it if it opens inadvertently…well that is the theory anyway. The Durolock from DMM offers an additional outer sheaf that takes an extra motion to open the gate, a 4 Way mechanism. Off-centre placement that may begin to open the gate unbeknownst to the climber will sort itself back into position as the inner green gate springs back into a locked position. Available in Ultra O, Boa and Klettersteig shapes. Highly recommended.
７ Fimbl Climb and Slaice Termination The lightweight tear drop shape of Teufelbergers 6mm Fimbl Climb (not Fimbl Saver) thimble make it possibly the easiest retrieving anchor system available. Added to which the internal 6mm legs (x2) plus cover give it a maximum diameter of 12.7mm and is compact for storage and maintains a stiffness when setting and retrieving.
The Slaice by Teufelberger is unique and combines splicing and stitching to achieve a very light weight, malleable and slim termination. It is available for 16 strand (Safety Blue), kernmantle (Fly) and double braid (Tachyon) climbing ropes. The latter two have a dyneema strip in the eye to achieve a 15kn MBS. The Fimbl Climb plus Slaice termination are a perfect match wether you are a DdRT or SRT climber. Highly recommended.
８ The Wooden Hand Double Braid Splicing Book
I spent a while to refine the DB class 1 process and created a text book, both Japanese and English, that gives the beginner and intermediate level double braid splicer, hints and suggestions to make the process as smooth and easy as possible. It is hand drawn and hand pressed in a traditional Japanese style.
９ ODSK Chest Harness
Designed for modern arborist SRT techniques. Simple and comfortable, what more need I say !