If you are new to tree climbing and would like to learn more about it, here's a beginner guide on the basics from tree climbing techniques to equipment and more.

What Should Be Worn When Climbing a Tree

Whether you are new to tree climbing or just looking for a few clothing tips to enhance your experience, look no further. Here, we give you a few pointers on fabric, fit and function that will add comfort to your climb, secure your safety and provide protection as you embark on your trunk-led trail.

Tree climbing – a fun-for-all activity, a nostalgic hobby, a way to keep fit or a great excuse to try something new. Whatever your reason, what you wear can greatly impact your enjoyment and safety as you embark on your climb towards the canopy, no matter your age.

tree climbing kid
Tree climbing is an adventure for all ages.

If you’re new to tree climbing, on top of knowing what are the necessary equipment needed to buy for tree climbing, here you will find some top tips on what to wear to give you the best start to your action-packed ascent.

Long Layers

The surface of a tree trunk does not run smoothly so it is important to keep your arms and legs covered as best you can to prevent scrapes and scratches. The odd nick here and there is to be expected, but do your best to return to the ground graze-free with long layers that protect your limbs.

Protect Your Head, Hands and Feet

We have spoken about protecting your arms and legs, but if not more crucial to your climb is the protection of your head, hands and feet. Think about your essential extremities. 

Helmet

A well-fitting helmet is paramount to your protection and safety. Please ensure that your helmet is secure, a loose-fitting lid will slip and disturb your field of vision, and a too-tight-top will cause pain and discomfort. 

Tree Climbing Gloves

Your hands are the tools to carry you up the trunk, and that is why protecting them with good-fitting gloves is golden. Ensure you get the right measurements. Varying styles exist on the market with finger-less or fully covered options, and different levels of grip, waterproofing and breathability exist too. For the happiest hands in the forest, be sure to do your research.

Shoes with Grip

Hot footing in the forest. Make sure you have sturdy, safe and secure shoes before you set off on your tree-scaling task. Fine-fitting and appropriate footwear can make all the difference between an average climb and an enjoyable climb, not to mention the safety impact of a solid shoe with a good grip.

Spurs and Spikes

Having just mentioned the importance of a good shoe, if you wish to enhance your tree climbing equipment further, have a look into tree climbing spikes and spurs. These are effective tools used by professionals to have them simply soar to new heights. They easily attach around your lower leg and under your shoe, and the spikes positioned on the inside of your feet dig into the trunk as you traverse the tree.

Tree Climbing Harness

Hang safely in a well-fitting harness.
Hang safely in a well-fitting harness

Incorporate a harness into your tree climbing gear for optimum safety. A well-fitting harness will maintain your security throughout the day, and if positioned correctly, it isn’t as uncomfortable as it looks.

Well-Fitting Clothes

Excess fabric can pose a problem when scaling your way through the forest. It can cause trips and slips and is likely to get caught on smaller branches, so avoid bulky and baggy clothing. Of course, comfort is key, and I wouldn’t recommend restrictive clothing either. Think maneuverability, flexible and relaxed (not loose) fitting garms to optimize movement and enhance your safety between the branches.

Types of Fabrics

In the modern world of textiles, fantastic fabrics with practical properties are readily available on the market, and actually affordable. Have a look at ripstop materials and double-stitched seams for stronger, more hard-wearing and durable clothing. Wear and tear is to be expected as you embrace the outdoors, but it doesn’t harm to do what you can to prevent serious damage and keep your clothes living for longer.

Clothing Stains

Whilst hanging (literally) out among the trees, it is inevitable for a few smears and stains here and there. After all, if you return home smudge-free then did you even spend the day tree climbing!? But you can help speed up your clothes-cleaning process by looking at stain-resistant fabrics or materials that withstand high washing temperatures, for example, nylon, polyester and spandex. Alternatively, choose something that you don’t mind getting a little roughed up around the edges.

Bold and Bright Colors

Safety is so important as you embark on your adventure, and that’s why we recommend wearing bright colors and/or reflective markings. Should the worst happen and you get stuck or the weather takes a turn, being easily visible can help save time, get you spotted and returned to the safety of the forest floor. 

Wearing bright clothes can help people spot you if you're stuck
Wearing bright clothes can help people spot you if you’re stuck

Wet-Weather Clothing

In unpredictable climes, water-resistant or better yet waterproof fabrics can be crucial for your climb. Nobody likes a soggy bottom so do your best to prepare should the damp descend. 

If the temperature is too high for waterproof layers, an alternative is moisture-wicking fabrics such as polyester and nylon. These not only have a speedy dry time if you get caught in a downpour, but also wick away sweat should you be so lucky to have a sun-soaked day. But don’t forget to have a waterproof handy too!

Lightweight and Comfortable

Whether you are an accomplished ascender or a first-time forest-frolicker, you want to look like an ever-expert. With lightweight and comfortable clothing, you will be able to move with ease, enhance momentum and glide as best you can towards the canopy. Think practicality over aesthetics and dress for the task in hand to make light work of your climb. 

Storage

A trunk-climbing task is no breeze in the leaves, so think ahead and plan to carry water, sun cream, plasters and anything else you may need on your excursion. 

An easy way to store your escapade essentials is in a fanny-pack; lightweight, compact and securely attached out of the way. If you require more storage space think about a backpack as opposed to a cross-body bag or satchel. Again, aim for a lightweight and secure compartment with padded straps for optimal comfort throughout your climb.

Sun-Safe

As you head towards the sun on your ascent, consider the effects of the UV rays. Find fabrics with UV-resistant properties to protect your clothes and have them last longer. In addition, wear long layers, tops with collars to protect your neck, and a cap under your tree climbing helmet to protect your face. And don’t forget to pack your sunscreen and water!

Apply sunscreen and wear long-sleeved clothes to protect you from sunburns
Apply sunscreen and wear long-sleeved clothes to protect you from sunburns

We hope that the pointers above will assist you on your ascent. Feel free to read more about fabrics and finishes to fully prepare you for your day within the canopy.

Plan, prepare, smile and soar to new heights!

Lydia Y

Lydia Y

Lydia is an avid outdoor lover and wildlife enthusiast. She loves all kinds of nature escapades and enjoys immersing in the mountains and landscapes, hence the name Lydiascapes was born from there. She embarks on outdoor adventures like camping, hiking to skiing and water sports. She has travelled to 49 over countries to date and is waiting to conquer Norway in 2024.

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