I want to show you how to use bucket truck outrigger pads. All bucket trucks should have outrigger pads as they help protect the ground or driveway. These pads are always wider than the outrigger foot on the truck. The extra width helps spread the crushing weight to a reasonable level so the area beneath the outrigger isn’t harmed.
You don’t need a big bucket truck outrigger pad, even a medium size pad can more than double the square footage on the ground over the original truck outrigger’s pad. Any extra square inch will help against compacting whatever is below the pad. Which is important if the outrigger will be on the edge of a driveway or on a brick or stone sidewalk. Each of those we don’t want to break or smash.
You definitely know the primary reason for bucket truck outrigger pads is to provide a strong base for the outrigger to press against. The outriggers job is very important, it must keep the truck steady while the boom and bucket are in operation pruning the tree. That is why it is crucial to have strong and trustworthy footing for the outrigger. If the outrigger moves or slips that movement will be magnified in the bucket.
Why Must We Use Bucket Truck Outrigger Pads
My bucket truck has a sixty-foot boom on it and that size boom requires two outriggers. There is one on each side of the truck, they are mounted directly behind the truck cab and beside the pedestal that holds the boom to the truck.
Since the boom is mounted pretty much in the middle of the wheel base on the truck, the suspension and tires can support the boom when it is working out the front or back.
But when I want to work at the tree out the side of the truck, then the outriggers play a huge role. The bucket truck is much narrower than it is long, so when I swing out to the side I won’t have the length of the truck acting as a support.
My bucket truck has it’s outriggers extending on about a 45 degree angle. The outriggers are about 3 feet wider than the truck when extended to the ground. That is enough of width, plus it is very solid against the ground so it will be able to keep the bucket truck from leaning over. If you wouldn’t use an outrigger and fully extend the boom out the side of the truck, it would lean very much! So far that it would be in danger of tipping the truck!
So now you can see there is a lot of weight on these outriggers when the boom is in operation. The bucket truck outrigger pads are crucial to keep the main outriggers from sinking into a softer driveway or lawn. These pads can be twice the footprint or even bigger than the small steel pad attached to the truck outrigger. With no outrigger pads the outrigger will sink significantly into grass if it is a softer area of the lawn!
Using my bucket truck outrigger pads is not hard at all. First I determine where to park the truck at the tree I am going to prune. Then park the truck on as level ground as possible and make sure the brakes are locked.
Then if the wheel chocks are needed I take those from their compartment. They get firmly placed against the tire on the downhill side to prevent the truck from moving.
After I’m certain the truck can’t roll I will pull the bucket truck outrigger pads from their compartment. The pad is placed on the ground where the outrigger will come down. This needs to be a flat and sturdy place. Flat so it doesn’t slide downhill when the outrigger presses down on it. And sturdy so it doesn’t sink into the dirt or driveway.
While the outrigger is coming down toward the pad I need to make sure it is going to be centered on the pad. If it won’t be, I need to stop it is descent and rearrange the pad until it will be centered. Continue putting the outrigger down until it touches the pad. Double check that it is still in the center of the pad. Keep putting the outrigger down until the frame of the truck starts lifting a bit and the truck is level.
I repeat the same steps on the other side of the truck and make sure the truck is as level as possible when finished.
My Favorite Bucket Truck Outrigger Pads
We have just recently upgraded our bucket truck outrigger pads and I am really happy with them! It was time for new outrigger pads, the old pad was only an inch thick and was starting to bend a bit when it had a lot of weight pressing on it.
I’ve upgraded to the Mytee Products outrigger pad! It is one and a half inches thick, easily thick and strong enough for our truck. The color is black and it has a rope handle attached to the one side because these pads are pretty heavy. Its rope handle is a loop and makes it very nice to pick up from the flat ground. The smallest outrigger pads weighs around 15 pounds, but some of the wider pads are quite a bit heaver.
This outrigger pads has a crush rating of 200 PSI and the vertical load rating is around 60,000 pounds! Both of those are strong numbers, easily strong enough for our truck.
The material used to make the outrigger pad is high density polyethylene, famous for it is tensile strength and durability. An outrigger pad like this can be used for a lifetime!
Storage Compartment For The Outrigger Pads
Our bucket truck is important because it has the boom on to lift me up to prune the tree. But it also has many toolboxes to carry all the tools and equipment we need to work on trees. Chainsaws, leaf blower, handheld pruners, ropes, rakes, and pole saws are all essential tools and we have a toolbox for each of them!
The outrigger pads each have a compartment near the back of the truck, one on each side. This compartment is built specifically for outrigger pads. It is the perfect width and about 3 inches high. There is enough room on each side to easily slide the pad in and pull it out.
The compartment slopes down a bit, that keeps that pad in place against the back. It shouldn’f fall out while driving but for safety there is a small chain to close in the front. That chain has a snap on so it is easy for me to unhook when I want to pull out and use the outrigger pad.
Which Bucket Truck Outrigger Pads Are The Best
There are a several brands of high quality and trusted outrigger pads, all with varying size and thickness. But two brands stuck out to me.
The Mytee Products are a brand that is popular and trusted. I chose them because I wanted the inch and a half thickness. That specific size was a bit harder to find because the one inch or two inch thickness is more common. I thought the price was reasonable as well and so far am very happy with these pads!
Mytee Products also makes the one inch and two inch pads. You can choose their round outrigger pads if those fit your needs.
The other very good bucket truck outrigger pads are from Buyers Products. Their pad is very similar and they offer one inch and 2 inch pads in a variety of sizes. Their standard pad does have rounded corners, but they make square and round pads as well.
I have used other products from Buyers so I know they make quality tools and equipment!
If you have any questions be sure to ask them in the comment section below and I will do my best to answer them for you!
Your Arborist Friend: Justin