Introduction: How to Make a Backyard Zipline

I've got young kids, and we're constantly looking for fun things for them to do, and ways to keep them active (and burn off a crazy amount of energy). Our backyard is becoming an amusement park, and I love it!

We decided, quite a while back, that a zipline was in order and after lots of planning and over thinking it, I finally got around to making it. Turns out, the kids LOVE IT! Like, really really love it! Check out the video below to see how I made it, and some thoughts about it's versatility.

If you can't see the video embedded about, you can view it here:

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AbbyL1 (author)2015-06-04

This looks SOOOOOOO fun But I don't have 2 trees in my backyard!

caruncles (author)2015-05-14

My dad made us one when we were kids. Awesome fun. I've been thinking about making one for my grandkids. You spent way too much time on the slider. You can get a pulley with an eyelet at the hardware store for a couple of bucks that will hold that 290 lb neighbor with no problem. Also, depending on how long the line is, you could make a rope-swing seat or even a stirrup to stand in. Comments about girdling the tree are right on. Leaving enough slack in the cable terminations will allow you to adjust as the tree grows. Good Job!

SCHLEPIC (author)2015-05-13

Ziplines are a blast! The only thing I would change is to upgrade the pvc handle to a metal one. I'm not sure how pvc handles fatigue stress and wouldn't want it to snap during a ride. Then since I have a super solid handle, I'd pad the ends and drill a few vent holes on the underside.

g0dswilll (author)2015-05-11

I believe it's better to leave more of a teardrop shape in the loops of cable around the trees (as opposed to choking in tight). In other words, to not pull the closest connector in so tight to the tree. This allows for minimal lateral forces on the connector itself. You want to keep the forces on the connector running along the zipline (more tied to friction), rather than pulling out on the connector. Given the back yard application in your video, it's probably not a huge deal, but as you increase the length, speed, height, etc, the danger of connector failure increases. Probably a good idea to inspect them regularly.

jeanniel1 (author)g0dswilll2015-05-12

Good point about not choking in tight around trees, as it could also girdle their growth layer, and basically kill the tree or limb. So, 2 good reasons for the teardrop shaped loop around the tree!

schabanow (author)2015-05-10

Great ible great video great WORKBENCH! It's a pleasure to watch. I'm just waiting much more complicated projects from you soon worthy your machinery! ))

Scratchthejeepguy (author)2015-05-10

Great ible. I'm thinking about making one myself! At about :18 in the video, you said this cable was 3/8"...? It looks a lot thinner than that, are you sure?

sleepinggiant (author)2015-05-10

Extremely well-done video/tutorial!

bkwalker (author)2015-05-10

Be careful, the tighter the zipline the faster it becomes a lever, and the strain on the zipline cable goes up through the roof.
At 120 degrees (the Critical Angle) you have equal force in all directions in the middle of the line, but as you approach 180 degree angle (straight no angle in the middle of the cable) the loads go to infinity! So, you will need a bigger cable if you have a 290lbs neighbor over, and/or you keep the cable tight with a small angle.
Zip On!

jlathem56 (author)2015-05-07

Would you please update the link? It isn't working on my phone. i

I added a link to the video, since it won't play correctly.

that works for me... Thanks

Which link? The video is embedded above (from YouTube)

found it on YouTube. Nice project. Think I will make it for the grandkids. Thanks for sharing it

ah, for some reason I can't get to it on my device. I will check it out when I get back home to my computer. Thanks

rcarr8 (author)2015-05-09

I was really wanting to see this but for some reason it doesn't show any link or place to click on , on my iPad. There is nothing there where you say to "click on the link below." I guess it's an iPad issue

Yeah, apparently it won't play embedded videos. I added a link to the text, hopefully that will work for you. Thanks!

Bridgetamyp (author)2015-05-08

That is really cool!! I'm gonna ask my Dad if he can make that for me :)
Thank you so much for that video, it was really helpful and cool!!! :) :D

Bban (author)2015-05-08

Great Ible. Really enjoyed watching it!!

amulder1 (author)2015-05-08

Hi Bob! YouTube video don't work well on Instructables mobile app... Annoying since they still haven't fixed it.... Awesome build as usual!

rcarr8 (author)2015-05-08

I can't find any video, where is it exactly?

The video is embedded above, but is hosted on YouTube at

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