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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

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Gear check

Author:  Canopy Climbing Collective
  24/05/2023
Last Updated:  22/05/2023

An industry perspective from Canopy Climbing Collective

For more in-depth content on some of these products and much more, go to: @canopyclimbingcollective

If you would like your products to be considered for a feature and review, please email cccfilmingarb@gmail.com

Canopy Climbing Collective

Husqvarna enters the market


Simeon Balsam and Gary Masey-McMenamin


We all know the name Husqvarna for chainsaws and garden machinery. However, last September at the APF show the company was showcasing something different. It was the first glimpse of a new direction it’s taking!

With a strategic partnership in place, Husqvarna is now offering climbing gear for arborists. The range is the brand’s first step into broadening its offering for arborists and tree professionals who face the most frequent and demanding tasks. The new climbing gear complements Husqvarna’s professional chainsaw range by offering high-quality equipment designed to meet the various needs of those who are climbing and rigging.

Let’s get into it. If you’re going to enter a market, why not partner with one of the biggest brands, in this case ARB Teufelberger? The Drenaline and Tachyon are the ropes Husqvarna has adopted for its climbing lines, perfect for SRS and MRS (stationary rope system/moving rope system) and with a neat new colour scheme. It is also offering equipment ranging from positioning lanyards to friction savers, multi-slings, bags and throw cubes, to mention just some, all following a similar colour scheme to the ropes and harness. A lot of the hardware is DMM so you know these products are not lacking quality! This is because Teufelberger already offers DMM hardware on many of its products.

Harness: a closer look

There is no disguising the fact this is a treeMOTION Pro with some cool colouring schemes and a neat double bridge perfect for UK arb and two-line working. The treeMOTION has been widely used by arborists for years and we don’t see this changing unless something similar or better enters the market. One difference is noticeable compared to the OG harness (original treeMOTION): the hardware on the side is replaceable. Why? We know DMM is not making the hardware for this harness any more, and this may mean the hardware may need replacing due to wear as materials have changed.

Here in the western world, we are able to get arborist products at a touch of a button with a huge range available to us. With Husqvarna having over 20,000 dealers worldwide, it’s a nice thought that people who were never able to get their hands on high-quality arborists’ gear may have this option now.

What next? Our guess is as good as yours, but with an R&D department bigger than most brands in arb, it would be interesting if Husqvarna could utilise this and look to create its own concepts in this forever-evolving world. It’s a solid foundation. We look forward to seeing how the company goes forward over the next few years.

treeMOTION Pro harness.
In the tree using the treeMOTION Pro harness

Summer is here: stay hydrated!


Charles Fowler


If I had told you this time last year that here in the UK we were going to hit 40-degree-plus temperatures in the summer, would you have believed me? Probably not, but that’s exactly what happened.

Last summer was a scorcher and as climate change does its thing, the UK seems to get hotter and hotter. I know that ideally we have to drink more water, even though most of us drink Red Bull, Monster and anything else we can buy. That being said, do we drink enough?

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There are those super-efficient individuals on site who stop all the time to drink water from their large measuring bottle that tells them how much they should be drinking – and some scientists recommend up to 3.7 litres a day. If you’re like me, you may fall into the other category. We find ourselves skipping breaks and not drinking enough throughout the day, focusing on getting the job done, and if we’re lucky, a nice cold pint down the pub at the end of the day.

Now, we’ve all heard of Reecoil – the company is known for its extra-long ‘coiled’ chainsaw lanyard. You either love them or hate them. The innovation came straight out of Australia from Dan and now he has a new product: the Audax 1500 Hydration Harness.

This is an all-in-one chest harness, suspenders and hydration pack. You can fill it with water or add some flavour if you prefer. Climbing SRT or SRS, this acts as a chest harness tendering point. And if you’re feeling thirsty, flick a switch and drink. It’s that easy, up a tree or on the ground. It’s insulated, hard wearing and changes your life in this industry. I never knew how much my body actually wanted to drink until I had it on tap. I don’t have to stop and get a bottle sent up to me. I can carry on climbing and be hydrated, and not end up with a mid-day headache like I used to.

One of its other cool features is that it shares the load of a chainsaw and stops your harness from being pulled unevenly. Now, I have climbed with an MS881 and that is not exactly comfy on the hips, but the Audax is a game-changer and it’s adaptable to all harnesses.

If you want to be efficient and focused on the job with one kit that has many purposes then this is a great purchase for you. I use mine more than I thought I would and it does help me keep hydrated.

Add ons

Expect to see a few extras coming out soon. As the harness has a molly webbing design the options are endless. Keep an eye out for a trauma kit attachment and heavy-duty suspenders. Guys in Canopy Climbing Collective have woven an in-built knee ascender system which works well.

Staying hydrated is a huge thing for tree surgeons and being able to do this without breaking work flow is even better. We think Dan from Reecoil filled a gap worldwide with this product and we love it!

In the tree using the Audax 1500 Hydration Harness.
The Audax 1500 Hydration Harness.

ST6P HD: an old-school twist


Simeon Balsam


I think it’s fair to say that in most cases when we talk about a particular product its predecessor was better.

We all talk about the 200T being the best-ever toppy and that the 201s and anything going forward will not be better or even in the same class. The same goes for the 060 compared to the 661. Most people believe that as regulation and standards take over, machines are designed to have sell-by dates and not last the course of time.

When sub-750kg became a thing, all manufacturers in the chipper market began ditching what made a machine strong and resorting to using lighter materials, materials that wouldn’t last! Yes, the new-era chippers were a game-changer but they were definitely missing the earlier robustness. We had chassis recalls and other things going wrong – things that should have never been changed.

During Covid, though, everything changed. Tow licences were lifted and we could now tow over 750kg in the UK!

Först took this as an opportunity to put back all it had had to remove. The New ST6PHD (HD = heavy duty) comes with a beefed-up chassis, a larger jockey wheel that I doubt anyone could bend and a steel bonnet and shell. Everything just seems better built (old-school twist) but with the modern look.

Yes, it weights 135kg more than the original machine but with the abuse these machines get daily, this is just what’s needed. It would be nice to see other manufacturers doing something similar.

I had great fun with this for a week. It won’t disappoint!

The New Först T6PHD (HD = heavy duty) woodchipper.

Let’s talk T-shirts


Connar McCue


Arboriculture – caring for and cultivating trees – has been around for centuries, dating as far back as the Neolithic period.

Many of the cultivation techniques were adopted by ancient Greeks and Romans and remained unmodified for centuries. However, it’s only in the past 200 years that a real passion for the practice has developed. With this, the industry has seen evolution in equipment, tools and best practice as more advances have been made into the science of trees and why we do what we do.

With the industry developing all the time, it’s nice to see brands are also evolving and bringing out products specifically for arborists. Clothing for arborists has not always been specific and there has not always been a lot to choose from. However, now there are more options than ever for arborists to find something to suit their needs. Whether it’s a new technical work T-shirt or a lifestyle design reflecting your love of trees, there’s something for everyone! Here we are going to look at a few of the brands making products specifically for arborists in 2023.

Bear Valley ExoRanger

Bear Valley ExoRanger.

Stein X25 Ventout

Stein X25 Ventout.

Dendroid

Dendroid.

Arb Fiction

Arb Fiction.

Let’s start with work T-shirts. We all know the feeling of getting up early in the morning, tired from the previous day but eager to get back out there and do what we love. What could be better than throwing on a technical T-shirt specifically designed for our line of work and geared for all our active needs?

Bear Valley is an example of a brand which is targeting the industry with its technical work gear and apparel. Its T-shirts feature a high stretch and strong polyester and nylon blend offering a slim fit but allowing a full range of motion, making them perfect for climbers or ground staff. They also feature vented sides which allow for more temperature regulation and vapour escape, keeping you cool on those hot days. When the wind blows, wearing one of these is a blast of fresh air, literally!

Here’s what Bear Valley says about why Sam started the company: ‘When Sam Davies was studying arboriculture at Sparsholt College in 2014, he realized that there was a serious lack of clothing options in the industry. As an arborist, clothing can be a huge issue, affecting not only comfort but also safety and performance. While working on the saw and climbing trees, Sam found that the wrong clothing could hold him back or even be dangerous. That’s when he had an idea.

‘“The first port of call is what everyone wears, day in day out,” Sam explains. “No matter who you are, you’re going to have to wear a tee.” With this in mind, he set out to create a tee that would meet the unique needs of arborists. And so, in 2015, the first ExoRanger arborist tee was born, and with it, the company Bear Valley.

‘The ExoRanger quickly became a cult hit among arborists, who praised its durability, breathability, and safety features. With reinforced seams and high-quality materials, the tee was built to withstand the rigours of tree work. But it wasn’t just about toughness; Sam also wanted the tee to be comfortable and practical. The ExoRanger tee features a tailored fit, moisture-wicking fabric, and even a pocket for a phone or radio.’

Since its launch, Bear Valley has continued to innovate and expand its clothing line. Today, it offers a range of products designed specifically for arborists, from hoodies to chainsaw trousers, but the ExoRanger tee remains its flagship product, and for good reason. Arborists across the world swear by the tee, citing its versatility and reliability.

Another example of a brand making specific workwear T-shirts is Stein Worldwide. With the ever-changing techniques and requirements of the industry, Stein has tried to keep up with a range of products suited to our needs. We all need a high-visibility vest or T-shirt, even if it’s not something we wear every day. We’ve all come into a scenario where wearing hi-viz is essential, whether it’s working on roadsides, near railways, next to other machinery or whatever the situation. The Stein X25 Ventout is hi-viz, breathable and rapid-drying – a perfect basic work tee. The half zip and collar are nice touches that allow for extra ventilation and keep sawdust and dirt out! 

However, we aren’t at work all the time. And when you’re not at work, how do you like to dress? I doubt many of us are into high fashion or anything like that. Most of us would rather have simple, down-to-earth stuff. For so long there have not been a lot of options for us as arborists to wear lifestyle clothing that reflects what we love made by brands who are passionate about arboriculture too. Noticing a gap in the market and evolving with the ever-changing industry, newer brands like Dendroid, Arb Fiction and Apeman have started to give us a range of lifestyle apparel which is appealing to everyone.

Here’s what some of the brands have to say about why they started and what they have achieved.

Dendroid Clothing ‘was established in 2015 by arborists who recognised the lack of lifestyle clothing for tree workers. We are on a mission to help Tree People stand out as proud members of their community – whether they’re climbing to the top of a huge oak or enjoying an evening at the pub. We believe that by creating clothing that is both stylish and eco-friendly, we can help to raise awareness about the importance of protecting trees whilst honouring those who work with them. Our love for nature is at the heart of everything we do, and we believe that our clothing can help inspire others to care for our planet. We are Dendroid, we are Tree People.’

Opting for a slightly different approach to design but still rooted within arboriculture, here’s what Colm from Arb Fiction has to say about the brand: ‘It was primarily started from a hobby with arb-related art on stickers. I never thought that it would generate so much traction and continue, too. The goals and aims are always changing. We started with merchandise then custom merchandise for brands, as well as working with brands on projects to customise products. With Arb Fiction products now sold in 23 retailers globally, we want to move to the next stage with arbfiction.com where our products are being sold direct to the consumer from the webshop. The webshop will also host the animated Arb Fiction talk show and also some Arb Fiction arb chat forums. Our aim now is to build relationships and a community. We are super pumped.’

Whether work-related or lifestyle, it’s nice to see that there are plenty of T-shirt options available for arborists in 2023. I hope to see more brands emerging and more products available as our industry grows and evolves with the times.


This article was taken from Issue 201 Summer 2023 of the ARB Magazine, which is available to view free to members by simply logging in to the website and viewing your profile area.