There are a few core pieces of equipment used in Slacklining, and these can be added to, updated and improved as you start to develop your skills. Some pieces of kit are only required for certain disciplines and others are required for all of them. Here we explain the main bits of equipment used in the sport. You don’t need to go out and buy all of this kit in one go, just decide what is required for the discipline you intend to practice.
Webbing is essential in all disciplines, the webbing is the Slackline.
Different widths, weaves and materials are used in the different disciplines of Slacklining.
Checkout our full article explaining all about the different types of Slackline Webbing
and when and where they are used.
Most slackers have a love/hate relationship with ratchet kits. Ratchets are useful for being able to quickly setup a line between trees or other stable fixtures and they are less complex to setup and use than pulleys. However even using two at time it can be difficult to get a good tension in the line, a lot of physical strength is required and ratchets do have a tendency to degrade with usage over time. The teeth eventually get eroded making it hard to get them to lock securely when the line is under tension. Most Slackliners accept that ratchets won’t last forever and they will have to be replaced. The standard ratchet that comes with most slackline kits is the 2500Kn type, these are usually sufficient to get enough tension for a standard walking slackline and also a trickline (usually using two ratchets simultaneously).
We have managed to get good tension into our lines using this more advanced Gibbon Trick Tension XXL Ratchet (pictured below). The extra long handle really gives extra leverage when pulling that tension.
A superior solution to getting a good line tension is to use a pulley system.
Using a pulley rig with e.g a 5 to 1 mechanical advantage it is possible for just one person to pull a good tension into the line. Pulley systems are considerably more expensive than ratchet kits but are far superior at delivering tension. In fact they are essential for the disciplines such as longlining and highlining where it can be difficult to get a sufficient tension into lines that go way in excess of 30 metres (100 feet).
A Frames are required if there are no suitable tree’s or other stable points to rig your line to.
It is possible to buy an A-Frame pre-made or they are actually relatively easy to make from wood.
We have enjoyed some great tricklining sessions using home made wooden A-frames.
Generally you will need to couple an A frame with a secure fixing point in the ground
such as ground anchors.
A dead mans anchor can be a good solution to fix the line securely, or we have even seen a car wheel driven over the loose end of the line used with good success.
With more of a tendency to be used indoors, the Slack Rack is perfect for situations where you are short on space and/or have no stable fixing points and are unable to create stable ground anchors so that A-Frames can be used.
The Slackline rack is a totally independent and self supporting frame so no need for any other fixing equipment. 3 to 4 metres is a common length for these racks so easily usable in a bedroom, garage or other inside space. As the line is set very low when used on the Slack Rack, it is not suitable for dynamic tricklining, however for walking practice and even some static tricks then it can be perfect.
Also known as a slow release this is a really crucial piece of equipment to be used whenever you have a line with a high level of tension such as a trickline. A soft release strap allows you to carefully and slowly de-tension the line therefore minimising the potential for damage to the line, the ratchets or yourself.
Tree protectors are only required if you are rigging your line to trees. If you are using trees as your anchor
points then tree protection is essential. The protectors stop the line from cutting into the tree bark and damaging
or even killing the tree. Protection kits can be ordered online from many retailers, or you can simply improvise. Strong cardboard boxes flattened down and wrapped around the tree can give just as much protection as the professional equipment that can be bought.