Slacklines are great fun for both kids and adults alike. We wrote a guide recently on how to build a slackline in your backyard using trees as the anchors and heard from some readers who didn’t have trees in their yard or just didn’t want to use them as anchors. So, we decided to write up another DIY post.
If you don’t have any trees in your yard you can use, don’t worry. In this guide, we’ll show you how to set up a slackline without using a tree. We’ll go over the tools and materials you’ll need as well as a step-by-step process.
Ready to build a slackline in your treeless yard? Many of the tools and materials you need for this project are things you probably already have in the garage. For example, you’ll need a drill and some 2×4 pieces of wood. The other items are fairly simple to find on Amazon or your local hardware store.
- ⅜” x 14” Lag Bolts
- Drill with 9/16” drill bit
- Chain links
- Bolt cutters for chain links
- Bolts and chainsets
- 2×4” wood pieces for the anchor
- Aluminum carabiners
Identify a Location
Figuring out where to put your slackline is crucial. This will vary depending on the size of your yard. When you think you found two appropriate points to set up, mark these well. Ideally, the two points should be at least 50 feet apart.
Use a spade to remove a grass square from each point. You may keep these squares to put back in after you’re done with the slackline as well. Now you’re ready to begin making your anchors.
Start With the Anchor
You can build perfectly strong anchors without relying on trees. This is where your 2×4 wood comes in. Make a cross with two pieces, and drill a hole in each one near the bottom. The holes are where you will wrap a cord multiple times and tie a simple knot.
Drill your bolts into the ground and make sure to equalize each side (we found that using six per side works well: three and three on each end). Tie the paracord from the bolts and onto aluminum carabiners. Use a double-link sling to equalize these and connect them to another carabiner that will hold your span set.
For your span set, use either 1-inch or 2-inch webbing and tightly wrap it around.
Permanent Deadman Anchor
A permanent deadman anchor (DMA) is essentially an anchor that is wrapped with extra material to make it a more heavy-duty piece. This is then buried deep in the ground. Examples of what to use include a metal tube sealed in concrete or a heavy log wrapped many times.
Rather than attaching a line to this, you will attach a chain (you can find these at any hardware store). On the chain’s other end, attach a shackle for connecting the line. The process will go like this:
- Dig a hole about 3-4 feet going across and a few feet going down.
- Dig a second ditch to form a T. This one will be a little more shallow.
- Wrap your line around a 4×4 and place it inside the ground.
- Bury the 4×4 completely.
- Put some grass back in and cover up the open spots.
- Build an A-frame: 2 diagonal wood pieces and one for the base.
- Screw the anchor pieces together and run your slackline through it like for temporary DMA
Choose Your Slackline
For those who are attempting to build a slackline for the first time, it can be difficult to decide what type of slackline to use in a DIY project. You can choose between 1” or 2” as well as ratchet or primitive. Let’s cover some of the differences.
Ratchet vs Primitive Slacklines
A slackline is a rope composed of polyester webbing and typically comes in 1 or 2-inch options. The width is a matter of preference and what makes you feel most comfortable.
Ratchet slacklines use a mechanical ratchet to tighten up. Though it is very simple to set up, it can only be tightened so far. It requires maintenance as well, but the main perk is that it can be set up by one person.
A primitive rig, on the other hand, is similar to the original climbing setups. These take up much less space than the ratchet slacklines but can be more complex to use.
Another difference between the two is that the primitive setups are less expensive and are also more lightweight compared to ratchet ones.
The verdict? If you’re a beginner, your best bet is the ratchet slackline, as it is more user-friendly. If you’re looking for a DIY challenge, on the other hand, feel free to opt for the primitive slackline.
Whether you’re making a slackline for your younger littles or for adventurous teenagers, there are a few key features to keep in mind in terms of safety.
This is a given but triple-check that your anchors are sturdy enough before letting your kids on the slackline. Don’t shy away from using several bolts when making your A design!
Your slackline should not match the height of the users’ eyes, as this cuts down on their visual perception. Something that is aligned with the height of their eyes will become invisible. Make sure you use signals to avoid anyone getting hurt.
Don’t Leave Slacklines Unattended
If you have to leave your slackline, don’t leave it unattended. Make sure that it is properly anchored and set up every time before use. The last thing you need is your littles falling off and getting injured.
Always check your slacklines and monitor their sturdiness continuously. If something has to be replaced or adjusted, do so immediately.
Additional Safety for Beginners
Safety comes first with any DIY project, but especially if kids are involved. Here are a few additional things to keep in mind.
- Ratchet your slackline as tightly as possible
- Ask your kids to keep their eyes up ahead and not look down at their feet
- Lower positions are safer for total beginners or younger kids
- Try balancing one leg at a time before starting
- Make sure your kids learn to balance on each foot before walking on the line
- Have one adult on the end of the line for additional support and to minimize bounce
- Going barefoot can help your grip
Slacklining is a versatile sport and can be enjoyed in so many different ways. Depending on your level of expertise, there are a wide variety of tricks you can try. Let’s go over a few different types of slacklining you may consider trying out.
This type of style requires 2” webbing. Keep this in mind when you’re deciding which to build at the beginning of the project.
This type of slackline will be three feet off the ground and the webbing should be more stable and stiff. Lowlining is excellent for beginners because if you fall, you’re not likely to hurt yourself seriously. If you’re just getting started, making your slackline low to the ground is a great idea.
As the name implies, these slacklines are built high over the ground. Rigging a higher slackline requires more effort and expertise, so keep in mind that you should build-up to this and not try it right away. Additionally, highlining is more likely to result in serious injury if you fall.
Yoga has many purported benefits not just for adults but for kids as well. Yoga on a slackline typically requires a 2” line, so you can use a common type. Though people who prefer this style tend to be avid yogis, you can always practice simple balancing and stretching on your slacklines that incorporate beginners’ yoga fundamentals.
Slacklining with your kids is a great way to bond with them, get them outdoors, and keep them entertained while exercising. It may seem a bit daunting to create your own slackline, especially without having trees or poles you can use as anchors. Luckily, you have a couple of options for making a permanent or semi-permanent slacklining set up in your yard.
Using this guide, your DIY treeless slacklining project should be a smashing success.