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 Make your own Slack line + instructinal video!
  

How to Build a Slackline

Build your own slackline with a couple of trees, some ordinary climbing gear, simple knots, and a carbiner pulley system to tighten the line. The end result is a fusion between a tightrope and a trampoline--a bouncy, highly-tensioned, single-line playground that you can carry around in stuff sack. Maybe you've tried a friend’s slackline or read the How to Walk a Slackline featured article and now want to figure out how to build one on your own. Once you learn the steps and gather your supplies, you can set it up in 5 minutes.

Steps

  1. Gather your supplies. Slacklines are typically built from 1" tubular webbing, although other materials can be used. A typical setup includes:
    • 50 feet (or more) of webbing for the main line
    • 2 ten-foot pieces of 1" tubular webbing for the anchors
    • 5 carabiners (climbing-strength, oval-shaped)
    • 2 pieces of carpet or other sturdy material for protecting tree anchors
  2. Select the anchor points. A good length for beginners is about 15-20 feet between anchors. Find an area clear of sharp objects--smooth grassy areas are ideal. Shorter spans are easier to learn on than longer spans and allow for a lower line.
  3. Build the anchors. Choose anchors capable of holding about 500-1000 pounds of lateral force: medium-to-large trees, cemented poles, truck hitches, eye-bolts, etc. When using trees for anchors make sure to protect the trees by padding the area of contact with carpet or other sturdy material. Wrap the loop of webbing around the first anchor about 2-3 feet off the ground (for a 20 foot length). Attach a carabiner to the two ends. Repeat for the second anchor using two carabiners instead of one.
  4. Attach the webbing to the first anchor. Connect the webbing to the carabiner on the first anchor with any secure knot. Or, if you're good with knots tie a munter hitch with a half-hitch backup to make it easy to untie when disassembling.
  5. Attach the other end of the line to two carabiners. Tie an overhand knot about 4-5 feet from the second anchor and attach two carabiners. Or, use a clove hitch here to make untying easier.
  6. Build a simple pulley system. Loop the webbing through the first carabiner attached to the anchor, then through the first carabiner on the slackline end. Repeat for the second carabiners on anchor and slackline. You should have a zig-zag pattern connecting the carabiners. Pull tightly, using about 50-100lbs (or more) of pulling force. Grab the lines in the pulley with one hand and tie off the loose end with 3 half-hitches. Alternately, use a tightening system that comes with a specialty slackline kit.
  7. Tighten your line. You can experiment with tying your line very taut or moderately taut. If the line is too loose, it will lose many of its dynamic qualities. Make sure, however, that the line is tight enough so that it will not touch the ground at any point along your path over it.


Tips

  • Buy more webbing than you need for the span between anchors. Although, you may only want a slackline that’s 20 feet long, you’ll need about 20 more feet to operate the pulley system.
  • Use different colored webbing for the anchors and main line. This makes it easy to sort out your supplies when setting up the slackline.
  • Get more leverage when tightening the line by wrapping the webbing around a sturdy stick. As the distances increase, you’ll need more leverage to tighten the line. Tie the webbing to a stick with a clove hitch and several wraps around the pulling end of the webbing to get a better grip on the line.
  • Piggy-back pulley systems to maximize tightening for long lines. Instead of pulling directly on the webbing used for tightening, run this webbing through another pulley system attached to another nearby anchor. Ideally, the other anchor is in line with your line. Although somewhat complicated, this will provide an enormous amount of leverage, for those extra long lines.
  • Combine pulling strength with 2 or 3 friends. Get a friend or two to help pull the line with you. If using a stick with a clove hitch, you can each pull on a side of the stick.
  • Buy a commercial tightening system. If you want a fast and easy method for setting up a slackline, consider investing in kit. Several manufacturers offer professional tightening systems and complete slackline kits. Expect to pay about $100-$200, depending on the model.


Warnings

  • Slacklines generate enormous forces on the anchors when weighted. Carefully choose anchors that can withstand these forces.
  • Do not use slackline materials for climbing after they have been tensioned in a slackline.


Things You'll Need

  • Two anchor points
  • 50 feet of 1” tubular Webbing for the main line and pulley system
  • 2, 10 foot pieces of 1” tubular Webbing tied into loops for the anchors.
  • 2 medium to large trees or other anchors.
  • 5 carabiners



Creation date: Apr 12, 2007 12:20 am     Last modified date: Apr 13, 2007 4:02 pm   Last visit date: Sep 21, 2016 8:20 pm     link & embed ?...
5 / 1000 comments
Apr 12, 2007  ( 4 comments )  
4/12/2007
8:04 am
    
Tom Carr (penpaint)
Very well done! I am relly tempted!!
4/12/2007
12:56 pm
    
Kathy Carr (kathy)
Good demo!  The half hitch is my favorite knot for tying up animals for a short time.
4/12/2007
2:44 pm
    
Richard Carr (richard)
Have you done this yet?
4/12/2007
4:10 pm
    
Ian Carr (redlightbulb)
Yeah, some kids I know are getting into it. They warned me two weeks ago that it was addicting and... well... Let's just say I plan to go out and make one of these myself.

Currently I can only stand on for a short bit, but soon (hopefully) I'll be able to walk!
Apr 14, 2007  ( 1 comment )  
4/14/2007
2:08 pm
    
Andrea LoPinto (lopinto)
I've always wanted to do that...now I know!
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