How to Use Tree Climbing Spurs: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’re an adventurous soul with a passion for tree climbing, then having the right gear is crucial. Among the essential tools for any professional or amateur tree climber are tree climbing spurs, also known as spikes or gaffs. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about using tree climbing spurs effectively and safely.

Gearing Up: What You’ll Need

Before heading out on your next treetop adventure, make sure you have the following equipment ready:

1. Tree Climbing Spurs (Spikes): These are metal protrusions attached to boots or leg-guards that help grip onto trees.
2. Safety Harness: An integral part of your gear for added protection.
3. Helmet: Protect your head from any potential injuries.
4. Gloves: Ensure a sturdy grip while also protecting your hands.
5. Rope and Carabiners: Used for ascending and descending safely.

Preparation is Key

Now that you’ve gathered all the necessary gear, it’s time to prepare yourself mentally and physically before embarking on your treetop journey.

1. Choose Suitable Trees:
– Look for healthy trees with strong branches that can support both your weight and the pressure exerted by the spikes.
– Avoid fragile trees such as those affected by disease or decay.

2. Weather Check:
– Assess weather conditions before setting off; avoid climbing during storms, heavy wind, or rain which could compromise safety.

Putting On Your Gear

Once properly prepared mentally and physically, it’s time to put on your gear correctly:

1. Safety Harness:
– Fasten securely around your waist ensuring a snug fit without being too tight or restrictive.
– Ensure all buckles are securely fastened.

2. Tree Climbing Spurs:
– Attach the spikes to your boots or leg-guards according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
– Check that the gaffs are sharp, but not excessively so, for optimal grip during climbing.

3. Helmet and Gloves:
– Place the helmet on your head ensuring a secure fit.
– Slide on protective gloves that provide both comfort and dexterity.

Basic Techniques

With your gear properly worn, it’s time to learn some basic techniques for using tree climbing spurs:

1. Ascending:
– Stand close to the trunk of the tree with one foot slightly higher than the other.
– Dig one spur into the bark while supporting yourself by pushing against the trunk with your opposite foot.

2. Weight Distribution:
– Distribute your weight evenly between both feet when ascending or descending to avoid strain on a single spur.

Safety Reminders

While enjoying your tree-climbing adventure, remember these safety tips:

1. Never Rush: Take enough time at each stage of climbing and ensure you’re comfortable before moving forward.

2. Stay Focused: Concentrate solely on climbing; distractions can increase risks significantly.

3. Secure Anchoring Points: Make sure your rope and carabiners are attached securely at all times before relying on them for support while ascending or descending trees.

4. Descending Properly: When coming down from a tree, remember to control your descent slowly and carefully, keeping an eye out for obstacles such as branches or uneven terrain below.


Using tree climbing spurs opens up a world of possibilities for adventurous explorers like you! By following this step-by-step guide along with proper safety precautions, you’ll be well-equipped to enjoy exhilarating climbs amidst nature’s wonders. Remember, practice makes perfect, so invest time in mastering your technique and make cherished memories high up among the treetops!