Have your kids been begging you to get a slackline in your backyard? If so, you’re likely wondering what it takes to get one. The key is to understand how to shop for and evaluate the many slacklines for sale – there are a ton of options! Here are a few main factors you should look for in a slackline:
- Length and width
- Accessories and attachments
- Ease of assembly and installation
- Price and value
Let’s dive into each one.
Durability is the first factor that you should evaluate any time you are shopping for a slackline. The materials of the slackline and how they connect to one another will dictate how safe the slackline is to use and how long it will last.
So how do you go about ranking the durability of a slackline?
The best place to start is by looking at the essential component of a standard slackline – the line itself. Many of the most popular slacklines consist of the line, often referred to as webbing, and a set of ratchets that allow you to connect the line to a tree or some other structure.
Most of the top slackline brands make their webbing out of some form of polyester. This material can be pliable and strong, making for the ideal balance of give and resilience in your slackline.
Regarding ratchets, you’ll want to choose ones that incorporate metals like carbon steel or alloy steel. However, the quality of the ratchet materials is not enough. The way that the inner workings of the ratchet connect is also important. Always read through a few reviews to see how durable and easy to use a set of ratchets before buying your first slackline.
If you’re like most parents, the last thing you want is to introduce a new toy or play structure that will end up hurting your kids. And if you have ever seen some of the more extreme versions of slacklining, such as highlining, you may not be convinced that slacklining is a safe way for your kids to enjoy the backyard.
However, when done correctly, slacklining is both exciting and relatively safe. Of course, anyone using a slackline should do so with caution, as there is no guarantee that you won’t fall off. But also know that there are a few slackline traits that can make for a safer experience. Here are three of the most important ones. We cover all safety factors in our guide on slackline safety.
If you are buying a slackline for your kids, you should look for slacklines designed for kids. As you shop, you’ll find that there is a wide variety of slacklines, and each one has subtle differences that make it better for a specific demographic.
Some slacklines are made for experts who have been practicing slacklining for years. Others are ideal for families with children. Make sure you read through the slackline products you find online to see what age group they are appropriate for. Doing so will go a long way toward ensuring that whoever uses your slackline does so safely.
Weight capacity is another critical aspect of slackline safety. As you will find as you shop, each slackline comes with a weight rating that indicates the maximum load that it can safely support. It is important not to exceed that number as doing so will make your slacklining a dangerous practice. In most cases, a standard slackline can hold 300 pounds at a time.
Consider the individuals who will use your slackline as well as their relative weights. Then choose slacklines that are well equipped to handle that weight and more. That way, you won’t need to worry about your slackline collapsing and causing injury while in use.
Other Safety Features
There are a few other safety features that can make your slacklining a bit safer. The more of these measures you choose to use, the less likely it is that you or your family members will get hurt while using your slackline.
Back-up ropes are something you should always consider using. These ropes act as an added layer of protection for your ratchets. In some scenarios, the tension of a slackline can overcome a ratchet that is weak or poorly attached. That tension can cause the ratchet to fly off at high speeds. To avoid that dangerous outcome, we recommend always using a backup rope when your slackline.
Another fantastic safety feature you can use is a set of crash pads. You can use these pads to line the ground below your slackline so that if anyone falls, they will have a soft surface to land on.
Length and Width of the Slackline
After finding a durable and safe slackline to use, you’re ready to consider some other slackline features. For instance, the length and width of the slackline you choose will have a significant impact on what it is like to use it.
For beginners, it is easiest to walk across a short slackline. Short slacklines generally have more tension which makes keeping your balance a bit easier. However, that does not mean that you should choose only the shortest slacklines for your backyard.
On the contrary, a long line gives you more flexibility regarding setting up your slackline. It will also allow you to gradually increase the length of the line that you can walk.
Regarding width, slacklines were originally just one inch wide. Nowadays, many slacklines are wider, at about two inches. As you would guess, those slacklines are much easier to walk on. So, choose a width that you’re comfortable with. Wider if you’re a beginner, narrower if you’re a more advanced slackliner.
Accessories and Attachments
One thing that makes slacklining so fun, especially for kids, is that there are many fun attachments and accessories that you can add to your slackline. Here are just a few of the items that we suggest you consider buying to make your slackline that much more engaging:
- Climbing ropes
- Rope swings
- Monkey bars
Each of those items gives your kids a new way to play with your slackline. However, to use these attachments, you’ll need to set your slackline higher off the ground than you normally would.
For that reason, you should think about buying a safety leash for any time your kid has the chance to climb high off the ground. These leashes come in several varieties, but all act similarly by creating a strong connection between the slackline user and the slackline itself to prevent falls.
Another set of accessories that you’ll want is tree protectors. While most of your concern for safety is justifiably directed toward the people who will use your slackline, your trees will appreciate some attention as well.
After prolonged use, the tight fittings of a slackline can begin to damage tree bark. Once tree bark becomes compromised, the entire health of the tree is in jeopardy. That means you may lose one of your favorite backyard trees while also losing one of the structural support to which you prefer to attach your slackline.
Find a slackline set that includes tree protection so that your trees can remain healthy while you use your slackline. Other items like carrying bags can also be beneficial when you want to store or transport your slackline.
Ease of Assembly and Installation
No one wants to spend hours working through a frustrating installation process when they receive their slackline. So, do some research in advance and weed out the slacklines that come with an excessive number of pieces or an otherwise complex setup process.
We find that standard slacklines, those with webbing and a straightforward set of ratchets, are some of the easiest to use. Look for a slackline that comes with a comprehensive set of instructions too. A step-by-step guide is an excellent choice for beginners as they will guide you through all the steps to get your slackline ready to use. If you’re more of a DIYer, read our article on slackline setup and slackline setup without trees.
Price and Value
It’s easy to adopt a frugal mindset and search for the slackline that has the lowest possible price. However, we do not recommend this approach.
Instead, we suggest that you take time to weigh both the price and the value of the slacklines you browse. While it is always enticing to select the cheapest product, you should not do so at the expense of quality. Look for value on your dollar and don’t compromise on important aspects like material durability and safety.
Hopefully, these considerations have been helpful for you to wrap your head around how to buy a slackline. Remember, safety first! Let us know if you have any questions.