Are Chainsaw Trousers Waterproof?

Safety is the ultimate requirement when tools and machinery are being handled. Every day, across various technical disciplines, accidents happen. Studies have shown that the majority of these accidents could have been avoided or their impact would have been lessened if only the right protective gear had been worn. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is necessary to protect those that make use of tools and machines from hazards.

Chainsaws are powerful machines. They could cause serious injuries or death should an accident occur while working with them because they operate at very high speeds and have sharp teeth. As a professional arborist, chainsaw logger, landscape gardener, tree surgeon, or DIYer, you have to be fit and strong when handling a chainsaw.

Also, you must be equipped with the required personal protective equipment to be worn such as helmets, boots, gloves, jackets, safety mitts, visors, ear defenders, and trousers. All of which serve specific protective functions. Chainsaw trousers are the recommended safety gear for protecting your legs when handling a chainsaw. They provide an extra defensive layer.

Chainsaws generate a ferocious kickback when in use. Ordinary pants are unable to stop injuries caused by losing your grip on chainsaws, therefore, chainsaw trousers are made with special fabrics. This technological development keeps advancing each year and thousands of lumberjacks, landscapers, and DIYers are forever grateful for it.

 

 

While they do not protect wearers from injuries by a hundred per cent, they do offer a high degree of protection. These trousers are made of several protective layers of premium high-tech fibers such as polyester, polypropylene, and Aisycle. It feels sturdy and slippery on the outer layer but when a chainsaw comes in contact with it, it rips out the fibers which wrap around the drive sprocket, thus bringing the chainsaw to an eventual stop. 

Safety Rating of Chainsaw Trousers

Chainsaw trousers have safety ratings. These ratings determine the recommended trousers for various operational speeds of chainsaws. These trousers were tested to handle the specified speeds indicated in the table below.

For instance, Class 0 trousers are well equipped to stop the chainsaw’s chain when it is running at 16 m/s. At any speed above this level, the trousers will be ineffective and serious damage will be done.

 

SAFETY RATING

Class

Max. Chain Speed (m/s)

Max. Chain Speed (mph)

Max. Chain Speed (ft/min)

0

16

36

3150

1

20

45

3937

2

24

54

4724

3

28

63

5512

Before purchasing chainsaw trousers, read your chainsaw’s manual to know its maximum operational speed. A lot of users do complain about discomfort when wearing them because of the heat buildup. Therefore, it is recommended that you get one with a baggier fit, as it will be more comfortable because of the greater distance between the chainsaw and your leg. This provides more protection.

The higher the rating of the trousers, the more expensive and hot it becomes. You should also know that not all chainsaw trousers are suited to wear with electric chainsaws. Read the labels to know which chainsaw types they are compatible with.

Chainsaw Trouser Standard Types

Chainsaw trousers come in two standards. These standards determine the areas of protection provided by your pair of trousers. 

Type A Trousers: These are usually worn by DIYers and any other chainsaw operators working at ground level. They protect the front of the legs alone and are more comfortable as well as flexible.

Type C Trousers: These are usually worn by arborists, tree surgeons, and climbers. They protect every inch of your legs and could be worn as ordinary trousers. They are more uncomfortable as they cause a lot of heat buildup when worn for highly intensive operations.

Waterproof Chainsaw Trousers

A lot of manufacturers are leaning towards waterproof chainsaw trousers these days. They are quite heavy and your legs will sweat a lot but they do come in handy when it rains and you need to get work done urgently. 

Here are some top suggestions for waterproof chainsaw trousers.

Stihl Dynamic Trousers: These Type-A waterproof trousers are lightweight, durable, breathable, affordable, and thorn-resistant. They have been tested in accordance with the BS EN 381 standard. They are also equipped with large pockets suitable for storing mobile devices. 

Arborflex: These fully functional waterproof chainsaw trousers are multi-purpose as they have two layers; the base layer and the skin layer. The base layer is the innermost layer that provides ultimate protection from chainsaws. The skin layer can be worn alone for outdoor purposes. 

SIP Boxer Chainsaw Trousers: These chainsaw trousers are Type C Class 1. They are 65% waterproof and offer six layers of protection. They come with four pockets; two are inset pockets, one is a back pocket and the last is a ruler pocket. 

The Difference between Chainsaw Trousers and Chaps

Chainsaw chaps are different from trousers even though they offer similar functions. The table below highlights the disparities between them. 

Chaps

Trousers

Wearing Mode

Chaps are worn over trousers. 

These are worn by themselves.

Initial Cost

The initial cost is much lower than those of trousers. 

These are expensive in comparison to chaps.

Durability

Less durable. Will gradually become more expensive than trousers as they will be changed more frequently.

Very long-lasting.

Function

They are more suitable for groundwork.

Suited for groundwork and climbing depending on the type.

Breathability

They are highly breathable and comfortable to wear.

They are less breathable and flaps have to be opened to reduce heat. They do cause a lot of sweating.

Do’s and Dont’s of Wearing and Caring for Chainsaw Trousers

Do not put them through spin cycles: Putting chainsaw trousers through spin cycles when washing in a washing machine reduces its performance because it compresses the fiber layers. Once compressed, they do not immediately wrap around the drive sprocket. This means much damage could be done before the chainsaw comes to an eventual stop.

Do wash your trousers regularly: Chainsaw trousers accumulate oil and sweat stains over time. It is recommended that you wash them weekly or if very dirty, immediately after use.  A warm wash will do. It is highly unprofessional to work in dirty clothes.

Do check the safety rating of your trouser: When working with a chainsaw, you must be sure that your trouser is of the right safety rating. If not you would not be protected should an accident occur. Also, remember that most trousers are not effective against some electric chainsaws.

Do wear the recommended type of trousers: Type A trousers are suited for groundwork while Type C is suited for climbing. Ensure that you are properly protected on all fronts.

Don’t try fixing damaged trousers: Discard damaged trousers and go for new ones to assure your safety next time.

In conclusion, not all chainsaw trousers are waterproof but some are. They have been treated to be hydrophobic such that they become oil and water repellent. Chainsaw trousers are necessary when working with a chainsaw. Accidents are quite common when handling a chainsaw and the legs are most often injured. Wearing the right trouser recommended for your chainsaw speed is an absolute must. Also do not forget to wash them properly so they retain their protective layers.