Introduction: Set-Up a Slackline

Picture of Set-Up a Slackline

Slack lining is a very fun and challenging "sport" that requires a lot of skill. However the cheapest slack line "kits" available are around fifty bucks, i made this one for about half of that. This instructable will show you how to set up your own slackline.

Step 1: Supplies

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Here is what you will need. I got all of the supplies from REI, but i am sure there are many other places that carry these things.

1 inch tubular webbing- (at least) 70 feet
carabiners - 5
carpet (1ft. by 3-5ft.)

also needed:
2 trees, poles, or any two VERY sturdy upright objects

Step 2: Anchors

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The anchors attach the line to the tree or whatever you are slack-lining in between.

so, once you have the webbing, you need to cut of TWO ten foot sections (make sure to burn the ends, so the webbing won't fray). these will be the anchors.

Now, tie a water knot on both ends of the ten foot sections to make a big loop.

you can see how to tie a figure water Here

Step 3: Knots

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... well hitches actually
there are only two simple knots that you need to know
these are the Clove, and half hitch

if you dont know how to tie these, look here:
Clove Hitch
Half Hitch

Step 4: Set It Up - Anchors

Picture of Set It Up - Anchors

wrap the carpet around the tree, this will not only protect the tree, but make your line last longer.
then wrap one of your ten foot sections around the carpet and put one carabiner on the ends of the loop

do the same to the other side, but with two two carabiners on this side. make sure that BOTH carabiners go into both loops with the gates facing out

Step 5: Set It Up - Slack Line

Picture of Set It Up - Slack Line

now, tie one end of your large piece of webbing to the anchor with only one carabiner, use the clove hitch.

now walk towards your other anchor holding the line to make sure that there are no twists. when you are about 4/5 of the way there tie a clove hitch, put 2 carabiners through the two loops you make in the clove hitch.

Step 6: Set It Up - Slackline

Picture of Set It Up - Slackline

now feed the exces Webbing (the free piece of webbing) through the bottom carabiner on your anchor, going up, then feed it back through the bottom carabiner on the line,going up, then the top carabiner on the anchor, going up', and the top carabiner on the line, going up.

now PULL, this might take more than one person. you want it to be pretty pull until it won't go anymore.

Keeping tension on the line, tie at least three half hitches around the webbing that is in between the sets of carabiners. I recommend tyeing them on a bite, this will make taking down the line much easier.

Step 7: Set It Up - Slackline

Picture of Set It Up - Slackline

now, while keeping all the tension on the line tie 3 or 4 half hitches in front and in back of the lines's carabiners.


Picture of SLACKLINE!!

now you're ready. this takes a ton of practice, but eventually you can get pretty good, have fun and be safe!!

Note that it will take a while for your line to stretch out, if you notice the line getting loser, it is probably the webbing stretching.


gbmvdd (author)2013-03-04

"tyeing them on a bite" -> "tying them on a bight" - this took me a while to figure out!

flamekiller (author)2013-01-09

Surprised I missed that original reply from so long ago, but since we're back on the topic ...

A proper single-carabiner climbing anchor uses a single sling/webbing loop that goes through the carabiner (don't forget the loop in one section so you stay connected to one anchor if the other fails!) loads the carabiner at only one point. In any setup where you have to use two slings, or have to sling an anchor (such as a tree as in this setup, or around a boulder, etc), you HAVE to use two carabiners for maximum safety. Any setup will load the carabiner(s) in one direction or the other on their minor axes, but the idea is to minimize this as much as possible.

My slackline method is thus:
The anchor webbing is folded into a loop and a carabiner clipped into the end of the loop. I feed a bomber rappel ring (20kN, Omega Pacific rappel ring, about $4.75 at REI or wherever else)) over both tails then wrap the webbing around the tree. I Muenter-hitch the webbing to the opposite end of the carabiner, pulling a loop in the tails through the last wrap of the hitch. I can pull out the loop by yanking the tails and slowly ease the tension out of the line if I for some reason can't release the tensioning setup (primitive/Ellington method). The stationary carabiner from the Ellington setup goes into the rap ring and thus lies horizontally flat. The same method is used on the static end of the line, using a flat line-locker hitch through that carabiner.

As mentioned above, this gives me two locations to release line tension without damaging anything in the case of a long, tight line, or a jammed tensioning system if I botch the release. The rappel rings ensure everything is loaded only along its major axis (every axis is a major axis on a rap ring!), and the line lies perfectly flat with minimal effort.

There's a billion ways to rig a line. As long as you're safe and having fun, anything goes!

flamekiller (author)2010-06-09

A worthwhile consideration on this setup: these carabiners are tri-loaded. In a shorter line as in this Instructable, that's probably not a problem, but consider other methods when rigging a longer line. Carabiners are rated to be loaded axially on their major axis (along the spine from end to end) and a tri-loaded 'biner will fail at a lower load. Again, probably not a problem here.

These are loaded in the same way you would rig an anchor for climbing. the biner is only being loaded at two points even though it is connected to three things.

BigShotUK (author)adamcgreenberg2013-01-04

Flamekiller is right. There are *three* loads on the 'biner, not two.

There's one load to the line and two off-axis loads going to the tree (one each side of the anchor loops) they pull at a slight angle whereas the line itself pulls along the axis of the 'biner. If you're having a hard time picturing it, imagine it was anchored to a HUGE tree, the straps would be almost perpendicular - though the tree won't ever be quite that wide the forces are still off-axis and the 'biner is still tri-loaded.

eightbit (author)2012-07-31

Come on people. Other than the use of a water knot for webbing this is a great instructable. Give me a break on tri-loading the carabiners. The tree's shown in the picture are not wide enough to worry about tri-loading. In theory a tri-link would be better but the carabiners have plenty safety factor. Also the suggestion to use ovals instead of d-links. In this application it doesn't make a bit of difference.

As far as the guy claiming to be swift water certified and is there fore qualified. All that means is you went to a weekend class somewhere and the instructor told you how it has to be done in rescue. Go spend a saturday climbing with some experienced climbers and you'll see how this gear is really used and used safely. Lots of rules in rescue don't apply in the real world. Real world doesn't need a 10 to 1 or 15 to 1 safety margin. Your 2 ft off the ground here, you'll be fine.

Now if you start high lining or going longer distances than you need to change your setup and even the techniques suggested here aren't going to be enough.

The Insomniac (author)2008-06-29

Just for clarification, could you add more photos? This does not look like a figure eight, and the one on the next page looks to me to be more like a girth hitch than a clove hitch. More photos would be excellent, but this looks great, I am definetly going to try it at camp.

admanrocks (author)The Insomniac2008-06-29

ok, well, a figure 8 looks funny in webing, but you shouldn't use it. use a water knot in your anchors also, that is a mistake, that is a girth hitch on the next page. they work the same.

crackHacker (author)admanrocks2012-03-19

i am fairly sure that this is a critical load bearing "sport" if that is the case this should be a double figure 8 or figure 8 bend according to the website you referenced. i use them ALOT when repelling.

CUclimbing (author)2011-08-08

Whats this? just use a friction knot with two biners. Much easier.

woody558 (author)2010-08-04

An easier way (but probably not instructables-worthy) is to just buy a ratchet strap and wrap one end around the tree and attach the other end to an anchor around the tree.  It makes it very easy to tighten, too.  They only cost about $15.

sk3lton (author)woody5582011-04-19

I use a ratchet for my slackline it is very quick and easy to set up but i don't trust it for long/high lines

Marsh (author)2011-03-07

Rather than using 4 carabiners here, use three and thread the piece you currently have going through the 4th biner back underneath the strap at the 2nd biner. Tension alone will hold the line secure and you'll be able to get it a lot tighter.

kmix (author)2010-10-28

I use line lockers in my kit, they are rappelling rings, solid cast aluminum rings about 1.5 inch diameter. using these with a carabiner allows you to put 0 knots in your main line and it gives you a perfectly flat surface to walk. They are available from REI.

woody558 (author)2010-08-03

Will this webbing work? Also, is there an advantage of having the four-carabiner tensioning system versus a two-carabiner system?

admanrocks (author)woody5582010-08-10

I wouldn't recommend that webbing. As I said in the instructable, I recommend 1 inch military spec. tubular webbing. You can get this easily at a local climbing or outdoors store.' 4 carabiners will give you a greater mechanical advantage than 2, I find that 2 is enough, but 4 is better for longer lines.

woody558 (author)2010-05-15

How long did it take before you could walk without help?
It seems like you would need immense concentration and superior balance to walk on one of these.

admanrocks (author)woody5582010-05-15

 about 3 weeks of trying every day.
anyone can get good at slacklining, that's why it's so great.

woody558 (author)2010-05-14

How is this $25?
5 good biners cost $25 (total) + 70 feet of webbing costs $25 =

This costs just as much as a kit.

admanrocks (author)woody5582010-05-15

 did I say $25?
haha, well let me say this.
Since making this a few years back i have realized that 5 biners is quit excessive. you really only need 3.
and yeah, webbing would be 25 dollars.
sooooo that's 35.

I really dislike the kits though, like those gibbon lines, those suck, i would not recommend them.

woody558 (author)admanrocks2010-05-15

How do you make it with 3 biners?

admanrocks (author)woody5582010-05-15

 exactly the same way as i showed except use only one biner where there a two on the tensioning end.
you can also double the webbing through, which allows for better MA and the friction holds the webbing tight, so you don't really need to tie it off or worry about it slipping before you do.

I really like this system.

woody558 (author)2010-05-08

Will these carabiners work?

admanrocks (author)woody5582010-05-09

 absolutely not.
you need biners that can carry a load.
I would recommend these one's

woody558 (author)2010-05-07

What if the anchors slip on the tree?

admanrocks (author)woody5582010-05-07

 they won't if you have the line tensioned.

MKohen (author)2008-06-23

Hey I'm thinking about going into slacklining, but I've got some questions... Do the carabiners have to be the screw-lock type? Can they just open and close? Also, what type of webbing and carabiners did you get off REI? I don't want to spend too much money...

admanrocks (author)MKohen2008-06-23

the carabiners do not have to be locking, infact I probably wouldn't reccommed them, they're sort of a pain.

you can set up a line for not a whole lot:
webbing - - 32 cents a foot (1 inch tubular military spec)
carabiners- $9 these

there is a way to set up a line using only 3 or 3 biners, let me know if you want to see how to do that.

but you could probably get it for 30 bucks

MKohen (author)admanrocks2008-06-25

the three carabiner one would be useful. How did you get 5 of the ones on the website for $9? wouldnt it be more like $25?

admanrocks (author)MKohen2010-04-29

 those were $9 a piece.
I'd reccomend the $5, oval, non locking one's though.

fizil (author)admanrocks2008-06-27

I would think the non-pulley side wouldn't need any biners. I would put a bend in the rope and tie a double over hand knot so that there is a nonslipping loop in the end. Put that end around the tree and fee the free standing side through then do the pulley stuff on the other side.

lasersage (author)fizil2010-04-19

a knot/bend would actually be better than what is shown in step 5. Crabs should NEVER be 3 way loaded like the picture shows. It should've been girth hitched round the tree then crabbed to the line to keep the crab aligned.

This ible totally takes me back, I bought a load of webbing and did it this way. Used it once or twice and really liked it, then my girlfriend bought me a proper ratcheting line for my birthday. Way more convenient.
Totally try it out this way on the cheap, but buying a decent line makes life so much easier in the longrun.
Just had my first slackline of the year on saturday. Came back pleasingly easily. Can get from one end to the other, turn, bounce, even tried doing some poi whilst walking. Can't do any mad flips yet though  :)

admanrocks (author)lasersage2010-04-22

I've always preffereed this method to the racheting systems.
A slackline is a simple thing, no need for unneccesary bels and whistles.

I tried one of those Gibbon one's with the 2 inch webbing the other day.
That's funky. I spose I'm a litle bit of a sentimentalist

lasersage (author)admanrocks2010-04-23

I thought I did until I owned a ratchet.
I was convinced I needed the extra pull available through the pulley method, but you don't actually need tree felling power, just nice'n tight.
Hence why I went with the pulley system first, but having owned the ratchet system I wouldn't go back. Quick and easy and definitely less hardware. I had 5 crabs, but the biggest problem with it was I had way too much webbing and didn't want to cut it. Made setting it up tedious. I should've faced facts that I'm not as awesome as I'd like to be, cut it, then had a lot easier time. Bet I would've liked it more then  :)

Each to there own I figure.

admanrocks (author)fizil2008-06-27

ya, that would definitely work, but the anchor - biner set up gets the line perfectly flat, but that is a great set up solution on the cheap.

admanrocks (author)admanrocks2010-04-22

 also, unless you're setting up a line that's a lot more than 30 feet, it would be difficult to overload your biner... Just saying

fizil (author)admanrocks2008-06-28

oh yeah, forgot about getting the webbing flat.

nbail79 (author)2010-04-18

 Do the carabiners have to be locking?

admanrocks (author)nbail792010-04-22

 not at all. That's just what i had.
It's easier and cheaper to use non-locking biners.
Just make sure that you're using legit climbing biners, meant to hold large loads. (climbing one's)

nbail79 (author)admanrocks2010-04-22

Awesome, thanks. I went ahead and got some oval non locking biners. Great ible by the way. It came right when i was thinking about buying a kit. Oh how my mind did change.

wolf123450 (author)2010-04-20

With my slackline, I store it by folding it over 4 times and tying it into a daisychain, and then hooking the carabiners to either end of that, and the same with the anchor loops, and it just slings over the shoulder.  Then you've only got to worry about carrying the carpet pieces in your arms.

Nice instructable.

greatpanda (author)2010-04-18

 This appears to be a ringbolt hitch/lark's head/cow hitch, in a clove hitch one of the bights is turned the other way.  It's the right knot for this though, since it's in a sling anyway.

JoshBittner (author)2009-07-21

The carabiner system is nice, but it gets hard to tension the line when it is very long. I use the Charger 40 Kit from Freeflow Lines. ( Very nice kit, super easy to set up, and easy to tension.

viridiscomis (author)2009-04-26

of course, he could have gotten even this system really tight if he used a travelling pulley (ie another biner hitched onto the pullcord). I just tried one yesterday, the thing was amazing, and then you can add biners like that ad infinitum (if it weren't for friction), there's amazing potential with those things.

Myself (author)2007-04-24

A video clip or some diagrams would really help with that last complicated step. It looks like a good way to take up slack in a strap, and it's a technique I should know, but it's a bit hard to follow.

zoink (author)Myself2007-05-30

How he got it tight enough will three yanks I have no idea.
n8man (author)zoink2008-07-13

He used mechanical advantage with a pulley and he was able to use less force with a longer distance. You learn this in Physics.

Corvidae (author)n8man2008-12-14

I set up the way he does in the video and it takes more than three pulls. I actaully have more biners in my system and thus more MA (though admittedly more friction). Im sure he sagged pretty far once he was off camera. His line may be super short though. Shorter lines are easier to tighten, and you dont need a long line to make a demo vid.

jclaw (author)Corvidae2009-04-06

there is cut between him pulling the line and him walking on it, so he could've given the line several more yanks that didn't make it to the final edit...

n8man (author)Corvidae2008-12-15


About This Instructable




Bio: my name is Adam!
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