As an arborist, your ropes are among the most important tools you have. They're literal life-lines when you're up in a tree, and you want to make sure you take good care of them.

First off, you want to start with a top-quality rope. Here at Richardson Saw, we carry and recommend Samson ropes. Samson offers reliable ropes that will withstand rigorous daily use as climbing, rigging, and accessory lines. They specifically design arborist ropes to stand up to the abrasion, dynamic loading, and safe rigging that your jobs demand.

No matter how good a rope you start out with, though, it can degrade pretty quickly if you're not taking care of it. Here's a quick guide for how to care for your arborist climbing ropes.



To protect your ropes and yourself, don't exceed the Working Load Limit (WLL). Even a well-made rope can fail if used to handle loads higher than the recommended limit.

You'll also need to protect your rope from sharp and abrasive surfaces, such as steel-wire gouge marks or metal burrs, and harsh chemicals. Also, be careful to avoid twists in the rope as that can make them degrade faster and lose strength.

High and low temperature extremes can also affect rope strength. Low temperatures have no long-term effects, though if moisture in the rope freezes it can affect how the rope handles. High temperatures, including heat generated by friction, can damage and even melt rope fibers.


It's important to keep your rope as clean as possible. If dirt and grime work-in between the strands, the sharp pieces of grit can wear against the rope. It's always a good idea to lay down a tarp to pile the rope on or deploy the rope directly from an arborist rope bag.

Dirty rope can be washed by hand or in a mesh bag placed in a front-load washing machine. Use only very gentle detergent. Make sure the rope is completely dry before storage.


Always store your rope in a clean, dry area with good ventilation. Ropes should be kept out of direct sunlight and away from extreme heat. Never keep rope in the same area as acid or alkalis.

Braided ropes have no built-in twist and don't kink easily. The best method for making up braided rope is in figure-eight fashion. For 3-strand ropes, coil in a clockwise direction and uncoil in a counterclockwise direction. Bagging is the most common storage method for both types of rope.


Inspect your ropes for wear, damage, or abuse every time you use them. Never use worn-out, damaged or abused rope. For detailed guidelines on rope inspection check out these resources from Samson:


In some cases, you can repair a rope by cutting out the damaged section and splicing the rope back together. Samson offers detailed splicing instructions for each type of rope. You can watch instructional videos or download written instructions by clicking here.


When it's time to replace your ropes or purchase extra new ones, come to Richardson Saw & Lawnmower. We stock a variety of Samson ropes and if you don't see what you're looking for, we can order it for you.