Leaf through any old school, paper-based arb catalog and you'll find products with a star burst, loudly stating 'Popular Choice". That's code for 'this is the one you should buy!' in case you didn't know.
There's no doubt about it though, 'Top' lists are popular (witness the NZ Arbor Top 20). So… due to popular demand we have listed below some of the top products sold through Treetools during 2010.Which of these products would look best under your Christmas tree?
Top Climbing Harness
Treemotion by a long shot! Closely followed by Petzl Sequoia and Swing, Komet Dragonfly and Butterfly and the Tree Austria triumphirate ( Duo , II and III ). The Petzl Swing is a relative latecomer but is doing very well with climbers who prefer a seat. The other big move on the harness front has been the addition of braces
(or shoulder straps) to the harness particularly for climbers carrying a load.
Top Climbing Spurs
Distel Gecko Classics
with American Long gaffs. The German-made Geckos have blown the ever popular steel Buckingham
's out of the water this year. But this is a closely fought market - expect to see more from the Bashlin steel and aluminum
climbers during 2011.
Top Climbing Carabiner
DMM Sentinel takes this spot. On volume the DMM Ultra O would be number one, largely due to the fact that climbers buy two Ultra O's when they invest in the Treemagineers Hitch Climber Combo. The Sentinel carabiner was introduced to Treetools by DB Tree during a 2009 visit to the UK. We bought a few in to see how they would go… and the rest is history, as they say.
Top Accessory Carabiner
The Edlerid Micro O
and Micro 3 . The top position was held by the Kong Mini
until the arrival of these mini carabiners by Edelrid. The Micro O is rated to 150kg and Micro 3 to 400kg.
Top Hand Ascender
Hand Ascender. The smallest of all hand ascenders - this unit is very lightweight unit and not for all climbers. It requires a relatively high level of climbing skill for correct use.
Top Climbing Kit
The Hitch Climber Combo continues to be the most popular climbing upgrade kit. If you are migrating from a prussic loop or Blakes Hitch this Treemagineers inspired hitch system is your best bet. The kit includes the Hitch Climber pulley, two DMM Ultra O's and the Ocean Polyester 8mm e2e friction cord. The interesting thing is, Teufelberger were not entirely happy with Treetools for selling this as a combo set but we follow customer demands - not suppliers - seems you guys were right!
Top Climbing Rope
Samson Arbormaster is the biggest selling climbing line and is suitable to the widest range of climbers and climbing styles. Arbormaster is a very robust rope, useful for both natural crotch anchors and friction savers - you can't go wrong with this choice for everyday climbing.
Top SRT Rope
made by Teufelberger and designed by the Treemagineers. Tree Access offers very low stretch but is still rated to EN 1891A specifications and is available at an affordable price. Globe 5000 10mm and Yale Blue Tongue Access 11mm are very high on the 'lust list' but are both priced at the premium end of the market.
Top Competition Climbing Rope
Tachyon leads the way here. Tachyon is another rope made by Teufelberger and is part of the Treemagineers association.
Top Throwline Cube
The biggest seller is the Stein Throwline Cube . Cubes offer the best storage option for throw lines and the Stein Throwline Cube is an excellent choice if you have a limited budget. The Stein Cube is an affordable 'Falteimer' but if you want top end (and are prepared to invest more money) go with the original Falteimer Cube.
The Harrison Rocket of course - it's the only throw bag we sell and that's because it is the best throwbag in the world - period!
Samson Zing It Yellow with Red a close second. The Stein Skyline Dyneema throwline in 1.8mm and 2mm will possibly nudge Zing It off the top spot for 2011.
The Buckingham Buckgrab
is a newcomer but already demanding plenty of attention. The twisted eye makes all the difference!
Top Rope Bag
The Whiptail Standard Rope Bag is made in New Zealand and very robust - hence its popularity. Other bags worth noting are the DB Tree Crackajack
and the Silver Bull Profi .
DB Tree take the top prize here. The DB Tree cone (not currently listed on the Treetools website) for the ART Cocoon and the DB Tree Crackajack
SRT rope bag are cherished items by all those tree climbers not resident in New Zealand. The Cone has sold by word-of-mouth only which is testament to a great design.
Top Chainsaw Trousers
Stihl Advance chainsaw trousers made from the Swiss 4-way stretch fabric, Schoeller. The Stihl Advance are the lightest chainsaw trousers currently available on the market making them very popular for summer wear. The chainsaw trouser market should be interesting for 2011. Clogger will launch an updated pair of arborist trousers during January (Dave Darbyshire from Asplundh is already sporting a pair) and Treetools will have a wider range of Stretch-Air garments on display.
Top Chainsaw Boots
chainsaw protection boots. Most companies are moving towards full chainsaw protection in their choice of footwear rather than settle for steel toe cap only. With the three-quarter steel shank in the sole, the Stein Explorer is comfortable enough to wear all day and perfect for use with climbers.
Top Climbing Helmet
A tie between the red and blue Stein/Kask helmets in terms of volume. Petzl has long dominated this section of the market but the Stein Kask helmets have given them a shake up this year. So much so, that Petzl will launch a couple of new helmets in 2011: the Alveo and and updated version of the Petzl Best and Vent. Watch this space.
Top Tool Lanyard
The Aspiring bungee was the leader until the advent of the Agathis Fund lanyard (also made by Aspiring). The Agathis Fund was established by the NTCA to provide financial support for New Zealand tree climbers and the Agathis Fund lanyards are one the the ways they generate funds - well done NTCA! (Northland Tree Climbers Association).
The double ISC Arborist
Redirect takes top spot. A major feature of this pulley is the dual sheaves without a becket making it very easy to install. Retrieval is a little harder to achieve.
Top Rigging Product
The Pro Climb Rigging Bollard is not in the top spot by volume but it has to take top place for innovation and sheer drive by the designer. Kiwi-made by Rossy Ross of Pro Climb and now exported to Australia!
Top Rigging Carabiner
The big daddy of steel carabiners, the ISC Iron Wizard
. Rated at 70kN, this carabiner is 'the boss'.
Top Climbing Book
The Tree Climbers Companion - this is a classic and should be in every climbers kit. In our opinion though, some information in the Tree Climbers Companion is looking a bit dated. Perhaps there is an opportunity for Joe Harris from VTIO to write an updated alternative! On Rope is the book to look out for 2011.
Top Safety Glasses
Competition Glasses. Originally made in the USA by AO Safety using a special anti-fog 3M treatment on the lenses. 3M liked the product so much they bought the company! Specially imported by Treetools for the Tree Climbing Competition climbers but now used by most companies for everyday work.
Top Product Migration
Armor Prus to the Treemagineers Ocean Polyester friction hitch cords. Generally speaking once climbers find the product that works, they stick with it. Armor Prus was in that category until Ocean Polyester began to take hold earlier in the year. Now it looks like Ocean Polyester will become the biggest selling friction hitch cord.
A spliced eye at climbing rope (and rigging rope) and friction cord termination. Splices by DB Tree and splicing newcomer (but highly respected) i-Splice have driven this sector of the market. And there are more up-and-coming splicers all wanting a piece of the action. 9 out on 10 climbing lines sold through Treetools has a spliced eye and friction hitches and lanyards are not far behind on this ratio. International certification for NZ splicers is next on the list. Expect to see more on this trend during 2011.
Top Climbing Gadget
The Line Boss . Climbers have high hopes for this ascender descender combination unit. Treetools has a test Line Boss with NZ No.7 and Czech No.2 tree climber David Stejskal for appraisal. Dave will compare the merits of the Line Boss versus the Unicender from a first time users perspective and report back to us in the New Year.
Overall, products designed by the Treemagineers dominate Top Product positions for 2010 - that tells a story in itself. Stein, DMM and ISC are not far behind.
This is not exactly an exhaustive list but it is getting exhausting writing about these products - it must be time for a beer! Merry Christmas all.