Shopping for the right slackline kit for beginners can soon become too overwhelming since there are a number of different slackline kits out there. Apart from all the different brands, there are different types of slackline webbing and mechanisms used to set up a slackline, so how can you know what equipment you actually need?
Don’t worry, because this guide will help you learn all the basics necessary for buying the best slackline for beginners. If you’re fascinated by slacklining and want to get into it but don’t have a slackline kit yet, the following slackline beginner’s tips will help you make the right choice.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 10 Best Rated Slacklines
- 2 What Is the Best Slackline for a Beginner?
- 3 Important features to look for in a slackline
- 4 What Factors Should You Consider When Choosing the Best Slackline for Beginners?
- 5 How to Set up a Slackline for Beginners?
Top 10 Best Rated Slacklines
What Is the Best Slackline for a Beginner?
To get the best slackline for the money, you should conduct a bit of research and find out what the best slackline brands are. Once you have an idea of which brands offer high-quality slackline kits, check out the various online slackline reviews to get an insight into other people’s experiences with those brands.
Important features to look for in a slackline
There are two main types of webbing used for slacklines: 1-inch webbing and 2-inch webbing. While 2-inch webbing is generally easier for beginners to walk on and keep their balance, you may find 1-inch webbing easier for you. It’s really a matter of personal preference, so you should give both a try and see for yourself which option is better for you. Here are their main features.
1-inch webbing is easier on your feet and much more flexible than 2-inch webbing. The width and the flexibility may make this type of slackline webbing a bit scary for beginners, but it is extremely strong. It is made in the form of a flattened tube, which is precisely what makes it more flexible, but also stronger and more durable.
There are three different types of 1-inch slackline webbing, based on the materials used for the webbing: nylon, polyester, and hybrid webbing.
- Nylon webbing is very stretchy, so you may not find it very appealing if you are a beginner. However, it is very strong but, if you are not experienced, you may find yourself on the ground after the nylon sways too much in the middle of the slackline.
- Polyester webbing doesn’t stretch as much as nylon webbing and it’s the best choice for longline slacklining. This type of 1-inch webbing is also great for yoga slacklining, but it won’t do you much favor if you want to do some slackline beginner’s tricks, precisely because of its lack of bounce.
- Hybrid webbing is a combination of both nylon and polyester, so it may be the best type of slackline for beginners, as it blends the features of both the materials.
2-inch webbing is becoming more and more popular, especially among beginners. Since it is not tubular but flat-threaded, many beginners find it easier to walk on, especially since the surface area is wider. Flat 2-inch webbing is much bouncier, better for slackline beginner’s tricks and much easier to get tensioned than 1-inch slacklines.
This type of slackline webbing usually has a hybrid webbing (a combination of nylon and polyester), so it’s stiff and low-stretch, giving you a good bounce perfect for maintaining balance. This is also the reason why this is the best webbing type for jumping and doing tricks. Since it’s not very stretchy, it‘s perfect for setting up closer to the ground, without worrying about falling off the line.
Slackline Tensioning Systems
There are two main tensioning system types used to set up a slackline: the primitive (traditional) setup and the ratchet setup.
The primitive system, also known as Ellington, is used for 1-inch webbing slacklines. It’s very affordable and great for traveling, as all you need for the setup are 4 carabiners, 2 anchor slings, 2 chain links or rings, and your chosen webbing.
This system is basically easy to set up but, as a beginner, it can take you about an hour to set up everything properly and make sure that the line is holding tight. Also, it can be tough to maintain the right amount of tension with this system, especially if you opt for polyester webbing slacklines that don’t provide enough friction for the locking hitch to hold.
The ratchet system is used for 2-inch webbing slacklines and it’s extremely easy to set up, taking only about 10 minutes. The system uses a lever-and-lock ratchet that makes it very easy to set up the slackline and keep it tight.
However, you need to be extra careful when setting up your slackline using the ratchet method because, if you don’t keep your slackline perfectly straight while threading it through the system, it may get caught in a cog of the ratchet and rip.
There’s another type of a slackline tensioning system but it doesn’t come with slackline kits and it is very expensive, costing as much as several thousand dollars. This type uses complicated pulley systems that are designed for advanced longline and highline slacklining – definitely not for beginners.
What Factors Should You Consider When Choosing the Best Slackline for Beginners?
Apart from slackline webbing types and types of tensioning system, there are several more factors that you should have in mind when looking for the best slackline for beginners.
- Quality – Quality equals safety, so this is the most important factor to consider. Make sure the webbing for your slackline is made of high-quality material that will last a long time and not pose a safety hazard.
- Versatility – It’s important to consider the versatility of slackline kits, because you may not be a beginner for a long time, so you’ll need a kit that can easily adapt to different situations. This is definitely not as important as the other factors, but you never know where your slacklining will take you.
- Rigidity – As a beginner, you should go for a webbing that is more rigid and low-stretch, because walking on a less rigid slackline will make it more difficult, not to mention that such a slackline must be set up higher. Given the fact that you’ll fall a lot in the beginning, you need to be closer to the ground; hence the need for a rigid webbing.
- Tree/Anchor Protection – Make sure that your slackline kit includes the protection for the trees or other anchors that you choose, because that protection is actually designed to protect your slackline by keeping your webbing from tearing.
- Topline – Every slackline for beginners should have a topline, which is a handheld setup above the slackline that you can hold on to while getting your balance.
Who Makes the Best Slacklines?
After reading a lot of slackline reviews, you’ll find that two brands stand out due to their high-quality products that guarantee safety. The best slackline brands include Slackline Industries and the famous Gibbon.
How to Set up a Slackline for Beginners?
Since the ratchet system is a better choice for beginners, you should learn how to set up that system first, until you become experienced enough to walk on 1-inch slacklines and use the primitive tensioning system.
As you already know, setting up a slackline using the ratchet system is pretty easy and takes only minutes. First, you need to wrap the trees or other anchor points you have chosen with the protector from your kit, so that your webbing doesn’t tear or rip.
Then, you need to wrap the end of your webbing like a noose around the tree, and there are stitched loops at both ends of the webbing for that. When you pull out the entire webbing through the loop, you should pinch the webbing in half at the point where it makes contact with the loop, so that your slackline will remain flat under tension.
Then, anchor the ratchet around the tree just like you did with the webbing, making sure that the system’s lever is facing down, so that it doesn’t twist the slackline or get in the way of your walking.
Once you’ve anchored both the webbing and the ratchet, connect the two by looping the webbing through the ratchet’s axle and pull it all the way through. Start tightening the ratchet, while making sure that the webbing remains perfectly straight, so that it doesn’t tear or rip in the process.
After you’re done tensioning your slackline, lock the lever in place and you’re good to go.
It’s important to note that the two trees or other anchors should be about 10-15 feet apart when you are a beginner, because you should start with a short slackline and work your way up. That way, your slacklining will be effective (and much safer) and you’ll soon get enough experience to try out some tricks and level up to longlining and highlining.
With this slackline review, you’ll be able to easily buy the best slackline for beginners, so start your search right now and find the best kit for enjoying this thrilling sport and making the most out of your outdoor adventures.