If you have ever seen a tightrope artist at the circus, you should have a basic beginner idea of what a longline slackline is. Going to parks where there are plenty of trees or strolling along a college campus, you might catch a few people cracking an attempt or two on their slackline. Opposed to being filled with yoga vibs on a slackline, this is more of an adventurous activity and an endeavor which takes more physical expertise.
With this guide, we will go through various terms involved in longline slacklining, taking you from the beginning basics to the more intermediate factors and pieces of equipment that you may need to enjoy this hobby.
First, let’s introduce you to the challenge that’s taking the world by storm: slacklining.
What is a slackline?
A slackline is an equipment used when walking or balancing between two anchors. This line is a flat webbing, traditionally wider, flatter, and more flexible than a tightrope usually found between two trees.
Slacklining is when you are walking, doing tricks, balancing, and even doing yoga on the line. Extreme slackliners perform various trips, jumps, and bounces on the slackline. The Redbull folks are obviously strong on this…
The type of slackline we’re going to talk about today is the longline slackline. This is a line which is generally longer than a distance of 30 meters long (98 feet). The current world record is actually 2000 feet/609 meters — so it can definitely be longer than 30 meters long.
Where’s the Challenge?
Not only does it take a lot of balance and discipline to be able to perform well on a slackline, but the longer it gets, the harder it is. For instance, the longline is one of the most difficult of the three, between:
- The Trickline
- The Longline
- The Highline
Because of its distance, the sag of the line and the tendency of swinging increase when the line gets longer. Another tricky factor is that longlines are usually not as wide as the usual two inches, sometimes coming as thin as one inch.
When you’re walking on a longline slackline, there is a big challenge when you get to the middle area of the line, because physically speaking, it gets a lot looser and takes more balance and concentration.
To walk on these longline slacklines properly, it takes effort and muscle input from your shoulders, your core muscles, and your leg muscles, all working together as one and focusing on your balance. Also, although the minimum is 30 meters/98 feet, there are many slacklines that can even reach up to three hundred or four hundred feet!
If you are beginning right on longlines, there are a few things you should know.
Depending on if you are a beginner or if you are a more advanced slackliner, you can get into the extra features that are included in a longline slackline. But if you are just starting off, please feel free to follow our basic steps that may help you get started with your possible new passion!
Once you pass the 100-foot mark when it comes to the slackline, you have to have a good rigging system. You should get mechanical advantage from pulleys measured at a 5:1 or 9:1. If you are unfamiliar with pulley system, you can check this video to get you familiar with pulley system.
Unfortunately, these pulleys are really expensive, so if you’re investing in a longline, you might want to make sure that you’re sure about practicing on it.
- First, before you even leave the house, coil up your pulley system to make packing it even easier
- When looking for a proper place to setup, the trees you’ll be looking for will be 12 inches in diameter at least with a flat surface in between. To be courteous to other park-goers, you will want to make sure you’re not setting up on top of sidewalks or paths that will inconvenience others.
You can use polyester round slings (spansets) to rig the line to the tree. This is good for you and for your tree, it is also extremely portable and lighter than chains or heavy-duty slings.
- After that, you can attach the webbing anchors. They attach directly to the sling on one side and the pulley system on the other. There are various factors that can affect the type of webbing that you can get, and that’s based on the strength, stretch, and weight of your subject(s).
The longest and most difficult step that comes with longline slackline is the complication of tension systems made up of the pulley system, the multiplier, the rope brake, and if you want, the line grip.
- Once you’ve rigged the longline between the two trees, you can check the tension on the line. To do this is simple and doesn’t require much thinking or physical effort — just go sit in the middle. If the longline takes your weight and still keeps you off the ground, then you can be sure that your line is tight enough to walk on it.
When you are finished, you have to loose your slackline in a way that is controlled and safe. Once it is loose, then you can derig the anchors. If done beforehand, it’s dangerous to your material.
Setting up a longline slackline can be a difficult process. The reason why it can vary so much, its that the various distances and materials can affect the material you need and the quality that it needs to be.
Once you know how to setup your longline slackline, you can begin your journey to try it out! Always make sure your anchors are steady and follow the precautions of testing your material before you use it. Falling from a slackline, even though it might be low to the ground can be detrimental to your physical health and you can really get hurt from it if not done properly.
We hope you can use our longline slackline guide to help get you started on your new passion.