Tree Gaffs vs Pole Gaffs: The Key Differences

Climbing trees can be quite risky. But with the right gaff, things might seem a bit safe. But there are two types of gaffs: tree and pole gaffs. So, how do you know which one to use?

Well, even experts tend to get confused regarding this matter. But fret not. We’re here to help you by comparing tree gaffs vs pole gaffs.

To top it off, we’ve even picked out the best tree and pole gaffs in the market. Using them as an example will help you get a better understanding of the matter.

So, are you ready to dive into the pool of info with us? Well, if you are, then let’s start-

What Are Tree Gaffs?

The tree gaffs, also known as the tree spikes or climbing spurs, are tools used to people climb trees. You see, these are a bit old school, but they do certainly work like a charm.

These were mainly used to help the climbers get a strong foothold. And they were mostly designed for people who didn’t have a limb. However, people with limbs can still try them on. In fact, it’s a great thing to have with you if you’re trying to climb a tree.

How Do Tree Gaffs Work?

The tree gaffs are basically spikes. And, they are attached to the outer part of a climber’s boots. Now, they can be attached using velcro straps and/or belt straps.

You see, these boot spikes stick right into the bark of the tree and give you more support while you climb. In fact, the mechanism behind this is quite simple. 

It’s kind of like putting a knife into the tree. Then using it, you get to have a better grasp of the tree. Later on, you can use the support from the knife to climb your way up to the top.

However, the design is quite simple, and there’s nothing fancy in it. All you have to do is stick it into the tree at 45 degrees, and you get to use them as extra helping support.

What Are The Functions of Tree Gaffs?

Now, it might be obvious from the name, but we’ll still like to say it: tree gaffs are mainly used to climb trees. To be specific, they are carefully designed for thicker bark trees.

Review of Tree Gaffs

Notch 40929T Tree Gaffs

Notch Gecko Aluminum Climbers (Tree Gaffs) with Straps
9.3/10 Our Score

Product Overview

Among the hundreds of tree gaffs out in the market, the Notch 40929T tree gaff caught our eyes. This one has some exceptional features to offer. So, are you ready to check them out?

Well, the first quality that should be noted is the building material. You see, this gaff is made of aluminum. Now, if you’ve done your research, then you should be aware that this material makes the gaffs lightweight.

Thus, you’ll have the luxury of carrying it around from one place to another. And since you might have to travel for quite a long time, then you can count on this product to not add an extra burden to your life.

Also, the gaff has alloy leg shanks that were custom-made to cup the foot arch. This shank is also made of aluminum. And it helps to reduce the irritating contact with the ankle. Moreover, it smoothly braces against the upper shin.

This makes the whole experience of climbing the trees an easy process. Thus you will not face much discomfort while making your way to the top.

To top it off, their pads are washable. Thus you can remove all the stains and harsh lines you pick up while climbing the tree. And one quick wash will get it back in real shape in no time.

What We Like
  • You can carry it around easily
  • The gaffs won’t stay dirty
  • It’s comfortable to use
  • Sticks easily with the tree
What We Don’t Like
  • You cannot add extra weight to it

What Are Pole Gaffs?

Pole gaffs are quite similar to tree gaffs. They’re also spikes that attach to the tree or pole to help you climb. In fact, this gaff also provides support so that you can climb up effortlessly.

Now, this tool might not be as good as a static rope, but it certainly aids in climbing up the tree. All in one, it’s not a bad product to have around if you’re out to climb trees.

How Do Pole Gaffs Work?

They function in the same way as tree gaffs. Yes, that means they dig deep into the bark of the tree or pole and sticks to them like glue.

Afterward, you can use them as a support to climb up the tree. But while doing so, make sure that you strike the gaff at a 45-degree angle.

What Are The Functions of Pole Gaffs?

Unlike the tree gaffs, the pole gaffs work better on thinner bark trees. You see, they don’t work well with thicker trees because they cannot dig too deep into them. So, they can also be used on poles.

Thus, pole gaffs are mainly suitable for utility workers who have to climb poles on the street. Other than that, tree climbers can also have a go at this product if they’re aiming to climb thin trees like Aspen, Poplar, or Birch.

Review of Pole Gaffs

Klein Tools 221486 Pole Climber System

Klein Tools 221486 Hydra-Cool Pole Climber System
9.5/10 Our Score

Product Overview

Amidst all the pole gaff in the market, we have only one product for you and that is the Klein Tools 221486 pole climber system. This one did beat all the pole gaffs in the market and climbed up to the top.

So, are you ready to have a look at its feature?

To start-up, we have to mention the hydra cool climber pad. You see, this property makes it quite comfortable. Thus if you’re climbing trees with the help of this gaff, then you’ll be able to climb up in peace.

Moreover, this pad has two layers. And each of them has a separate function like the first one has cooling properties. So, it will ensure that the friction doesn’t heat up your ankles, and you can climb without such resistance.

And the second layer cushions to impact. Due to this feature, you can rest assured that you won’t get badly hurt in the climbing process.

Plus, it also has ankle straps that you can use to attach your ankles. Hence, you can be assured that the gaff will stay in place and won’t move around.

What We Like
  • It fits most people
  • You won’t get hurt or face discomfort
  • The pads will cool off the heat caused by resistance
  • The strap won’t move around
What We Don’t Like
  • It doesn’t come with set screws

Tree Gaffs Vs Pole Gaffs: Slight Comparison

By now, you’ve seen how you have learned a little about tree gaffs and pole gaffs. But you might still be curious about the difference.

So, to satisfy your curiosity, we have made special arrangements-

Comparison Table: A Small Overview

Tree gaffs are customized for trees with thicker bark.Pole gaffs are made for trees with thinner bark.
They are useful for climbing cedars, pines, or redwoods.They are useful for climbing poles and palm trees.
They don’t work too well on the hardwood.Pole gaffs can work on the hardwood.

Differences on the Basis of Some Common Grounds

Hold on, that was just a glimpse of difference. And don’t worry we won’t leave you stranded with simply this much info.

In fact, we’re about to dive into more detail. So, are you ready to join us?

The Thickness of The Bark

Tree gaffs and pole gaffs can handle different thicknesses of the tree. You see, the tree gaffs are designed to go deep into the bark of the tree. And, it can crawl its way right into the middle.

Later on, it hardens up so you can use it as a support to climb up the tree. However, the pole gaffs cannot do this trick. Here, they can only sink their claws in thinner bark.

However, that doesn’t mean they’re not capable enough. In fact, they’re quite useful. It’s just that they are used for other purposes.

Purpose of Use

Speaking of purpose, the two gaffs have different uses. You see, the tree gaffs work well with different trees, and pole gaff, on the other hand, work with other ones.

To be more specific, tree gaffs are used for climbing cedars, pines, or redwoods. In general, they are useful for thicker bark trees. At the same time, pole gaffs are used for climbing poles and palm trees- the thinner trees.

Application on Hardwood

Another point of difference lies with their ability to work on the hardwood. You see, the tree gaffs don’t work too well on the hardwood. This is because they cannot penetrate through such wood.

However, pine wood can penetrate this wood. But they have to be quite thinner in size. That’s also because pole gaff cannot penetrate thicker woods.

To Sum Up

Well, that was our take on tree gaffs and pole gaffs. We hope you liked it. But if we missed out on anything, do let us know. We’ll love to learn more from you.

Anyway, that’s all from our side. We’ll call it a day. Take care. Adios!