DIY: How To Make A Rope Harness For Tree Climbing

A rope harness is a type of safety equipment you can wear when climbing trees. This harness will help you stay safe in case something goes wrong, such as a branch breaking or someone falling out of the tree. There are many different types of rope harnesses that you can use to climb trees, but they all perform the same general function. Here is how to make a rope harness for tree climbing.

1. Find A Tree And Gather Your Materials 

Making your tree climbing harness is a great way to get outside and explore your backyard or local park. Plus, it’s a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy! Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • A tree that is strong and sturdy enough to support your weight. Avoid trees with dead branches or leaves, as they could break and cause you to fall.
  • Several lengths of rope. You’ll need at least two 10-foot lengths of rope, but you may want to have more on hand just in case.
  • A knife or scissors. It will be used to cut the rope to the correct length.
  • A tape measure. It will help you make sure the rope is the correct length for your needs.

Once you have your materials, you can prepare your rope harness.

Isolated new climbing equipment - carabiners without scratches and blue rope

2. Prepare The Rope

Step two in making your rope harness for tree climbing is preparing the rope. You’ll want to start with a length of rope that is at least twice the circumference of the tree trunk. If you’re not sure how much rope to use, it’s better to err on the side of caution and have too much than too little. Once you have your length of rope, you’ll need to tie a basic knot at one end. 

It will be the end that you attach to your harness. At the other end of the rope, you’ll need to create a loop. You can do this by tying a figure-eight knot or by tying a simple overhand knot and then passing the tail of the rope through the loop. The size of the loop will depend on the width of the tree trunk. 

You’ll want it to be large enough so that it can easily slide over the top of the trunk. The last step in preparing the rope is to add a few extra loops along its length. These loops, known as Prusik knots, will be used to attach your ascenders later on. 

3. Tie It In Place And Fit Correctly

The next step is to tie the rope’s end in place at the base of your harness. Harnesses are not one size fits all. To get the most comfortable and safest fit for tree climbing, take some time to adjust the harness before use. 

First, take the rope’s end and thread it through the loop at the other end. Next, pull the rope tight and tie a knot at the base of the loop. Make sure the knot is tight and will not slip! 

Then, put the rope around your waist and adjust it to be snug but not too tight. You should be able to breathe comfortably and freely move while wearing the harness. Finally, tie a second knot at the back of the waist to secure the harness in place.

A karabiner locks equipment safely to your harness

4. Put On Your Ascenders 

Now that your harness is secured in place, it’s time to add your ascenders. Ascenders are devices that help you climb by gripping the rope and allowing you to pull yourself up. First, thread the rope through the device to attach the ascender to your harness. Next, clip the ascender onto your harness loop and adjust the positioning of the device. 

You may need to experiment with different positions to find what works best for your body. Once you’ve found the perfect position, clip the second ascender into place and adjust the tension. Ensure that the ascenders face opposite directions, so they don’t get tangled as you climb.

5. Start Climbing! 

You’re now ready to start climbing! Grab the rope above one of the ascenders and push down on the other ascender. It will give you enough leverage to pull yourself up a few feet. As you climb, be sure to keep your weight centered over the rope and your hands close to your body. If you need to take a break, rest your weight on the ascender and let go of the rope.

Climbing a rope can be tiring, so be sure to take breaks as needed. Once you reach the top of the tree, you can tie off the rope to provide additional stability. And that’s it! You’ve now successfully climbed a tree using your very own rope harness. Whether you need to free climb or cut some branches for woodworking, you’ll know you’ll be safe during the climb.


Making your rope harness for tree climbing is a relatively simple process that can be completed in a few steps. Once you’re all set up, you can start climbing! Be sure to take breaks as needed and tie off the rope once you reach the top of the tree. With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to master this technique and enjoy safe and easy tree climbs.

About the Author

Kurt Grant is a gardener. He has been servicing multiple clients for more than 15 years. He writes blogs to share his expertise in monitoring the health of plants and trees. During his free time, Kurt enjoys camping with his family.

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