Inspired by circus greats, slacklining, or walking and balancing along a line stationed between two anchors became a hit in 1979. Although thoroughly embraced by free spirits or those looking to challenge themselves in some uncommon ways, the basic slacklining which was implemented around three decades ago has blossomed into various art forms, all of which physically demanding and mentally challenging. You may have seen slacklining throughout parks and on university campuses and have wanted to give it a go. Of course, the first thing you should know is how to set up a slackline.
There are various ways to perfect a slackline set up. They can change from style to style, from the one being hundreds, if not thousands of feet in the air suspended between two cliffs, to another barely a few feet off the ground to perform tricks.
There are also several different types of slackline you can or even make yourself, depending on your budget, but we can get to the steps of “how to make a slackline” in a different article.
With various different tools, setting up a slackline can also vary from person to person. But regardless of what type of slackline or rigging system you have, there is a step-by-step procedure. What makes each one different is solely the type of equipment you use and how you best use it.
There are various styles of slacklining. After we’ve introduced you to the many options you have before you take it on, you can decide for yourself which type of slacklining most interests you.
Types of Slacklining
This is the basic form of slacklining that most people often begin with. It can work with the cheapest material since it doesn’t take much. This is the traditional form of slacklining. With this style, you can also do yoga, sitting cross-legged, and practice your balancing.
From a different form of slacklining, this style takes more skill and a different type of slackline. They are much tighter than regular slacklines to be able to be springy for your tricks. You usually set them a lot lower than you would another style of slackline because not only to be safer for you if you fall but also there is less sag in the line because of the high tension.
With this style, the slackline is usually longer than 30 meters or 100 feet. When the line is so long, the difficulty increases. Factors that are not so drastic with other types of lines are multiplied in longlining. For example, when the line is so long, the wind, even a slight breeze can make slacklining much more difficult at this length. The dynamics of the material is also a large factor, but the material is adjusted to the length when a longline is constructed.
Highlining is basically longlining but at extreme heights. For example, These lines are actually measured at any length but must be rigged at 20 to 50 feet high (or more). This, as you can guess is the most dangerous and most difficult of all the styles of slacklining.
Now that you’ve been introduced to the different styles of slacklines, we can get into how to set up a slackline. Our step-by-step process can help guide you through what needs to get done to rig your slackline, whether it is with the cheapest, do-it-yourself equipment, or if you’ve bought top of the line material, this guide can help walk you through the process.
1. Gather All Material
First and foremost, you have to be sure that you have everything you need. Some equipment comes with a carrying case, and with others, you just might have to make-do with a backpack. However, it is important that before you leave and get to your destination, check and double check that everything is accounted for.
Regardless of the type of material you have, you will probably need three-to-four-to-five different categories of items. You will need an anchor line to hold the ends of the slackline around the trees, the carabiners to connect them and the actual slackline. The fourth option is towels to protect the tree from getting damaged but it’s a personal preference. You also need slings.
2. Find the Perfect Spot
Locating the perfect area to set up your slackline doesn’t require many qualities. You are looking for an open space with two sturdy objects that can be the anchors, in most cases, people use trees. Make sure, especially if you’re in a local park, to decide on a location to set it up where it’s not thrown over a sidewalk, or pathway. This is important because you don’t want to inconvenience other people when they’re leisurely enjoying the park, too.
If you’re looking for trees, choose two of them that are almost clear of low-hanging branches. These might get in the way when you’re on the line. Once you’ve scouted out your perfect spot, it’s time to anchor the line down.
3. Anchors Aweigh!
These anchors that connect the slackline to the trees are constructed by two shorter lines. You can make these anchors yourself by using around 1-inch webbing and tying loops and knots on the line. You can see more pictures and instructions about how to make the various knots — water knot, overhand knot, etc. here.
Once you’ve created the anchor loops, take them around the tree once on each end, at the height of whatever style you choose. After you’ve walked them around, pad the tree with the towel if you have one, and now you have to set up your slackline rigging.
4. This is Where It Can Get Complicated.
Wrap one of your slings around the tree or anchoring object. Bring the two ends of the sling together and clip them at where they join with a carabiner.
Attach your webbing line to the where you have rigged the first carabiner. Use one of these knots: an overhand knot or Munter/Half Hitch.
Repeat the same process on the other anchor point, but this time, clip two carabiners.
Once you’ve done that, grab the slackline and attach two carabiners with a clove hitch. This hitch should be around three to five feet between the anchor points and the carabiners.
Once you have all the anchors down, take the free end of the webbing and clip it to the upper carabiner. Run the line all the way back to the opposing anchor and carabiner. Depending on the length of the slackline and the distance, you can do this a few times.
The line should be honed down tight because the less slack there is in the line, the easier it will be to walk the line. You can go back now, and wrap three knots — overhand or the Half Hitch around the strands that are layered, and tie it off.
Now that you have your slackline setup, you can get to practicing. Like the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. Even with fun hobbies, like slacklining, it takes effort, focus, concentration, balance and core strength. Even though you might not notice it, it is more taxing than you may think.
However, the more you try, the better you’ll get, so don’t get discouraged in the beginning if you can’t walk the whole line in one go. At first, just try with your dominant foot onto of the line and keep your weaker foot on the ground. Believe it or not, once both feet are on the slackline, it will shake less and less.
When you’re on the line, don’t look down. Although you will feel tempted to keep an eye on your feet and where you’re going, keep your eyes ahead of you. This will be great for your balance. instead of looking at the line, just like a gymnast on a balance beam, use your toes to feel the line and space infant of you.
When you begin to fall, just hop off. Don’t force it, especially in the beginning. If you stay on the line way too long, then you will increase the chances of you getting thrown off the line opposed to just you voluntarily hopping off and onto your feet on solid ground.
We hope that our guide has helped you to know the ins and outs of how to set up a slackline and entertain not only you and your friends but also don’t be surprised if the entire park stops by to watch!