If you’re looking for a piece of gear that will help with your climbing abilities, climbing spikes will be what you need. Climbing spikes are useful in a number of different scenarios, such as scaling a pole, climbing a tree, or going up a frozen waterfall. You’ll find a wide variety of climbing spikes, such as traditional tree spurs, ninja climbing spikes, and ice climbing crampons or cleats. This article will focus on the traditional tree spur/climbing spike. It will be your guide on how to use climbing spikes, factors to consider when investing in a pair, and also give product reviews of some of the most popular climbing spikes on the market.
What are Tree Climbing Spikes?
Traditional tree climbing spikes are also known as spurs, gaffs or hooks. They’re useful for climbing up poles or trees. They can be used by line workers, tree removal experts, lumberjacks, hunters, or anyone keen on climbing trees. Tree climbing spikes have vertical spurs that extend along the inner side of your foot and under the sole of your shoe or boot, there’s a single sharp spike.
How to Use Climbing Spikes
Climbing spikes are designed to give you support and grip. First off, it’s important that your climbing spikes fit properly. Measure from the arch of your boot to just below the knob of your knee joint to find your exact size. It’s important that you attach your climbing spurs to boots with a high top and solid heel. After you’ve securely fastened your climbing spikes and the rest of your gear, it’s time to start climbing.
As you’re climbing up a tree or pole, the spurs provide you with a false platform when you dig them into the bark of the tree. Lift one spur first and dig it firmly into the tree’s bark, then lift the other spur either at the same level or slightly higher than your other foot (whatever is more comfortable). As you ascend, be sure to pull your body up with the climbing rope. Continue until you’ve reached the height you aimed for.
Factors to Consider
You’ll find two types of spikes on the market: long and short. Longer spikes are ideal for climbing trees with thicker bark. They’re also recommended for beginner climbers because there is less of a chance that you’ll suddenly lose your grip. Shorter spikes are usually around 1 inch long and are ideal for semi or half thick trees. They’re also usually made out of steel.
The most popular climbing spur materials are steel, alloy, titanium or carbon fiber. Steel is extremely durable but also the heaviest option. With steel spikes,you will need a design with leather pads over a sleeve. Alloy and titanium are strong and lightweight options compared to steel. Carbon fiber will be your ultra-lightweight option,but it can wear out more quickly. If you walk around on hard ground surfaces with them, the bottom of the stirrup will start to break.
Shin Pad Design
The design of the shin pad will be a key component to your comfort. There are two common shin pad designs: the sleeved shin pad and the fixed shin pad. The sleeved shin pad allows you to replace the pad with varying thicknesses, but they tend to move relative to the shank. When the pads shift, it can be uncomfortable. Fixed shins pads are mounted with bolts directly to the shank of the spurs. Although they’re stuck in place, you can still adjust the height.
Now it’s time to check out some of the tree climbing spikes you’ll find on the market.
Klein Tools Cn1907arl Tree Climbers
These Tree Climbers feature an adjustable steel sleeve that moves in 1/4 inch (6mm) increments, allowing you to find the size that fits comfortably. The steel sleeve and iron leg is secured together with two-slotted hex-head bolts, lock washers, and barrel-type nuts. It also has a steel split ring to hold the ankle strap in place and for easy replacement.
The stirrup is 4 7/16 inches wide, giving you exceptional foot support. The 8 x 8 inch pads are made out of high-grade leather for maximum comfort. The climber straps are made out of a neoprene nylon that’s durable and long-lasting.
Buckingham Steel Spur Kit With Big Buck Pads
Buckingham’s steel spur kit is a popular and ideal choice for beginner tree climbers because they are both durable and affordable. This kit includes: steel tree spurs, Big Buck spur pads, nybuck lower and upper straps, and a canvas carrying bag.
The Big Buck pads have a steel insert with lots of padding to give you more support and surface area as you climb. The steel insert keeps the pad rigid and prevents the shank from digging into your leg. To ensure that the Big Buck pads fit securely, two straps are needed.
Buckingham Steel Spur Kit With Shin Cup Pads
Buckingham is known for their high-quality steel tree spurs because they’ve been tried and tested professionally for over 100 years. The kit includes: steel tree spurs, shin cup spur pads, nybuck lower and upper straps, and a canvas carrying bag.
The Buckingham Shin Cup pads have a steel insert in the leather to prevent the pads from deforming. The inserts also prevent the spur shank from gouging your leg. These pads are not only rigid, but also cost effective.
Buckingham Steel Spur Kit With Cast Aluminum Pads
Buckingham’s steel spur kits are suitable for tree climbers of all abilities. This particular steel spur kit includes: steel tree spurs, cast aluminum spur pads, nybuck lower and upper straps, and a canvas carrying bag. Their Cast Aluminum Pads come in two widths: 5 inches and 4.25 inches. These solid aluminum pads are durable and won’t wear out as quickly as leather.
Not only are these pads long lasting, but they’re also comfortable. Buckingham also sells pad replacements to extend the longevity of your steel tree spur kit.
Buckingham Steel Spur Kit With Steel Cushion Wrap Pads
Buckingham manufactures high-quality steel spur kits that are popular among beginners and professional tree climbers. This kit includes: steel tree spurs, steel cushion spur pads, nybuck lower and upper straps, and a canvas carrying bag.
Their Steel Cushion Wrap Pads contain steel inserts that protect your leg from hitting the spur shank. They also ensure that the pad remains rigid and secure. To keep the pads in place, Buckingham has included wide Velcro cinch straps.
When it comes to investing in a pair of climbing spikes, be sure to assess your intended purpose(s) and the trees or poles you intend to climb. Find tree climbing spurs/spikes that are comfortable, yet, durable. It’s also important to wear them properly and practice regularly to master the art of climbing with spikes.