Essential Arborist Equipment (8 Tools We Love)

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This Is the Arborist Equipment We Use Daily

At STS Arborists, we know it’s crucial to have the right tools. Here’s some essential arborist equipment for anyone serious about tree work. As first and second generation tree care professionals, we’ve tested out a lot of gear. Keep reading to see the tools we recommend the most.

The Go-to Guide for Arborist Certification

1. Arborists' Certification Study Guide

One of the most important things for any arborist is making sure that you are properly trained and certified. The best way to prepare yourself for that is with the Arborists’ Certification Study Guide. Whether you’re new to the world of tree care, or looking to grow in your career, you’ll gain valuable insight from this resource.

This guide is packed with knowledge you will need to know if you want to make a positive impression on your clients. Tree biology may not be your specialty, but understanding the various chapters in this book will benefit you in the field. For instance, this guide will help you:

  • Learn proper pruning techniques and how to make trees beautiful and healthy (which sets you apart from your competitors).
  • Gain better tree identification skills when doing estimates to show your clients you know what you’re talking about.
  • Keep yourself and your crew as safe as possible.
  • Understand soil science, water management, and tree nutrition. After all, knowing what signs and symptoms to look for allows you to diagnose and treat issues before they start or correct a tree in decline. 

For these reasons and more we recommend this guide. Because we know it can take your knowledge to the next level.

Vital Headwear We Can't Live Without

2. Pfanner Protos Arborist Helmet

If you’re trying to stay safe, you might as well do so in comfort and style. We use only the highest quality PPE (personal protective equipment) and it starts with a solid helmet. We personally use the Pfanner Protos Arborist Helmet and can tell you from personal experience it’s saved us from a blows that most other helmets just simply couldn’t have.  It’s essential for any arborist to have in their equipment bag.

The Reason?

It’s designed to take a side impact. Anyone operating a disk chipper will tell you that when the chipper knife grabs and twists a limb and you’re on the x (the danger zone) it doesn’t wait for you to move. Most of the time when we think of helmets it’s to protect us from falling branches and debris. However, the Protos handles that and more with its excellent side defense.

3. Kask Super Plasma Helmet

While our climbers love the the Pfanner Protos Arborist helmets on the ground, once they need to get into a tree they quickly swap out for a Kask Super Plasma Helmet.

In short, the Kask’s lighter weight and smaller frame make it easier to pass through a canopy without hang-ups.

Additionally, it provides a much broader field of view. Both helmets also come with a chin strap. However, the strap on the Protos is quickly removable whereas the Kask chin straps are left in-tact for a more secure fit when swinging about.

This helmet comes in some great high visibility colors for a few extra dollars (as pictured here). But regardless of the color you choose the Kask Super Plasma Helmet will allow you to do your job safely.

4. Sena SMH10D-10 Bluetooth Headset

Furthermore, either helmet can be fitted with a Sena SMH10D-10 Bluetooth Headset, which is absolutely essential for safe communication between an arborist and ground crew running equipment. For instance, you could be feeding a chipper and won’t need to shout or wave to get someone’s attention with this on.

Our crew has been using the Sena for a while now and we’re consistently impressed with the audio quality and range. Speaking of range, it works up to 980 yards. Considering these headsets were originally designed for motorcyclists to communicate with each other, that makes perfect sense. As a result, the noise canceling technology also does an impressive job of shutting out background sounds.

Crucial Ropes and Rigging Tools

5. The Good Rigging Control System (GRCS)

Suffice it to say, once you have the Good Rigging Control System, you won’t know how you did tree work without it. In fact, a 30-year veteran arborist on our team considers this the most essential piece of equipment we have. The GRCS is basically a boat winch that gets ratchet strapped to the side of the tree you’re working on. Additionally, there are other attachments to fit hitch receivers for anchoring to equipment if needed.

It’s designed to take the power out of large tree sections and it does just that with phenomenal ease. Using it properly will allow complete elimination of drop and swing when doing technical take downs. And if needed, you can actually lift overhanging limbs straight up to your block. 

Which brings us to your Arborist Block… 

6. ISC 5/8" Cast Aluminum Block

This 5/8″ Aluminum Block from ISC has a 4,400 pound working limit. When paired with a quality Samson Stable Braid and used with the GRCS for rigging, you have the dream team of any large technical removal. (Just be sure to pick up a dead eye sling to hang and position your block.)

7. Maasdam A-0 Long Haul Rope Puller

Once you get the branches off and are ready to lay the spar on the ground, you’ll need a Rope Puller. We use the Maasdam A-0 Long Haul Rope Puller in the 1/2″ 3/4 ton capacity and it handles anything we throw at it. Pair that with a 1/2″ three strand rope (what we call a “twisted rope”) attached to the top of the spar and you’re ready to pull.

The rope feeds through the Maasdam and is held tightly with “teeth” that grab it. Be sure to use a 3 strand rope for proper “bite” or you may run into problems with a smooth rope slipping free from the Maasdam. Basically, these devices are designed so you can’t over crank by hand and break anything. So, be smart and use as directed. Don’t try to add mechanical advantage by extending the handle for more leverage or it could lead to extreme tension and a serious safety issue.

8. Samson Zing-It Throw Line

Finally, we recommend the Zing-It because it does everything we ask it to do. We personally use the 1.75 MM diameter Hank which you can grab at Tree Stuff.  You can also get the Zing-It at Amazon, but only in the 2.2 MM version, for those who prefer a heavier line.

This is a pretty straight forward tool tool. First, take a Weaver Leather Bullet Throw Weight with a thin Zing-It string attached and launch it high up into a fork you wouldn’t reach from the ground. The weight then drags the string down the other side to the ground where it can be reached. Next, tie on a climbing line or twisted rope and pull it up and through the fork. Congrats! You just positioned a rope high up in an otherwise unreachable location.

What Are Some Crucial Arborist Tools for You?

This list is by no means exhaustive, and yet, these are products that we’ve personally used and recommend. Since you probably have your own essential tools as an arborist, let us know what equipment you’d recommend.

Is there are specific tool or piece of equipment that makes your day easier or safer than it was before you found it? We’d love to know.

Share your recommendations or comments below!

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