Slackline Setup and Rigging

In this page we explore different ways to setup a slackline. We start by detailing the most common slackline rigging method: between two trees. Then we offer a few solutions for those times when you loose some gear and how to neatly store your slackline gear to avoid loosing any of your gear.

Since we know at one point or another most slackliners will want to set a slackline in a location where trees are not available, we added a section of treeless setups and ground anchors.

While there are a plethora of slacklines available in the market, we recommend that you start practicing on an eLine slackline. We developed the eLine based on the needs and requirements of the slackasana practice. The information in this page was written with an eLine in mind, which offer the possibility for low tension slacklining. This info is also appropriate for other 1-inch slackline webbing.  

Keep in mind that rigging is just as much an art as a science, it takes lots of practice to perfect. A few things to keep in mind as you start to rig, is to take your time and keep things neat. The cleaner your rig is the easier it will be to identify any potential hazards or issues with it. This applies to all slacklines and xframe set ups.

 

eLine Kit vs eLine 'Light' Kit

3x Oval Key Lock Locking Carabiners
1x Line Lock
2x 6 ft Anchors
1x 50 ft eLine webbing

2x Oval Key Lock Non-Locking Carabiners
1x Line Lock
1x 6 ft Anchors
1x 50 ft eLine webbing
2x Velcro (to hold in place your DIY tree pro)

eLine "Light" Kit Setup on Trees

This video should help you set your eLine slackline or any slackline of 50 ft or less following a primitive setup.

Step by Step Instructions

1) Choose the right tree

Slackline Tree Setup

If you are learning to slack we recommend setting-up the eLine on trees approximately 15 to 25 feet apart. This will allow you to set a line that is between knee to inseam height without having to over tension the line.

Make sure to set up your slackline using trees that are larger than 12” in diameter as to avoid harming young or delicate trees. An easy way to estimate the size of the tree is using your eLine anchor. If the circumference of the tree is smaller than your anchor folded in half, the tree is too small and it should not be used for slacklining.

 

2) Install the Tree Pro

Play Video
Place padding around the trees where the line and anchor will make contact with the tree trunk. Make sure that the tree pro covers the entire circumference of the tree and that it is tight enough as to not move while you are slacklining. As most of the forces of slacklining are downward forces, place the webbing high on the tree pro, this will help keep the tree protected while you are slacking.

3) Wrap the anchor piece around the first tree

Play Video

Girth hitch a tree with an anchor. Pass the anchor piece around the tree and take one end of the anchor piece through the largest loop in the other end. Lines longer than 50 ft or with more tension than the one required for Slackline Yoga may require the use of a ‘basket’. This is when the two ends of the anchor webbing and the slackline are joined together by a shackle. Please note that carabiners should not be used to make the end of baskets.

 

4) Attach a carabiner

Attach a carabiner to the loop end of the anchor. If you have a long tail left, you can increase the walking length of the line by attaching the carabiner close to the tree trunk. You can do that by girth hitching the carabiner to the anchor.  Avoid tying knots on your webbing or anchors.

5) Girth hitch the slackline to the second tree

Play Video
Locate the loop side of the slackline webbing, wrap it around the tree using a girth hit at hip height. To help keep the line flat, pinch the webbing (folding it in half) at the point where it passes through the loop. This will prevent the line from turning sideways. Walk the slackline webbing to the other tree, making sure that the line stays flat and does not twist.

6) Place the line lock

Play Video

Measure around 2 to 3 feet from the carabiner on the anchor piece, then fold over the slackline creating “a bight”. Place the bight through the line lock, then wrap the bight up and over threading it through the line lock a second time. Clip the second carabiner through the inner most loop. Pull the line tight from both sides so that it secures around the line lock. The line lock allows you to create a strong non permanent “knot” in your line.

After securing the line lock, take the remainder of the line towards the other carabiner attached to the anchor piece. Make sure the gates of the carabiners are opening on the same side and the nose of the carabiners are closest to each other (“THE YOGASLACKERS” side of the carabiner faces up on one and the “NOT FOR CLIMBING” warning faces up on the other) so that it is easier to spiral the line through. This will also make it easier to de rig the system.

 

7) Create the Z-Drag

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Loop the remainder of the line through the carabiner from the bottom to the top creating an inward spiral. Pass the line through each carabiner a second time so that it wraps under itself twice on each carabiner. Lock the carabiners. Pull on the end of the line to tighten the z-drag and secure the slackline above the ground. Getting behind the anchor point or tree will allow you to tighten the line more, but the eLine can also be set up truly slack. We recommend using one hand for tensioning and opting for increasing the height of the anchors before deciding to add more tension to the system.

8) Take Down

Play Video
Release the spiral lock by pulling the end of the line up and out so that the inside pass of the line releases. The first release is not holding the tension, when you release the second carabiner be sure the line is clear and your hand is not wrapped around the line, as the tension releases. Keep all your eLine pieces together, daisy chain the line and clip the carabiners, line lock and anchor to two ends of the daisy chain.

9) Storing Your eLine

Play Video
Keep all your eLine pieces together, daisy chain the line and clip the carabiners, line lock and anchor to two ends of the daisy chain.

eLine 'Complete' Kit Setup

The setup for the eLine Complete is very similar to the eLine ‘Light’ Kit.

The eLine Slackline ‘complete’kit’ comes with 3 locking carabiners and 2 anchors. These additional gear will allow you to wrap both trees with a black anchor piece. This will protect your webbing for abrasion and will extend the walking length of your webbing by a few feet.

Full details on the eLine Light Kit Setup.

1) Choose the right trees

2) Install the Tree Pro

3) Place an anchor on each tree
Girth hitch each tree with an anchor. To help keep the line flat, pinch the webbing (folding it in half) at the point where it passes through the loop. This will prevent the line from turning sideways.

4) Attach carabiners
Attach a carabiner to the loop end of each anchor.

5) Attach the slackline webbing to one anchor using a carabiner.
Locate the loop side of the slackline webbing. Attach the webbing and anchor with a carabiner. Lock the carabiner and walk the slackline webbing to the other side making sure that the line stays flat and does not twist.

6) Continue following the steps listed above to create the tensioning system.

7) Before slacklining, make sure that all your carabiners are locked.

Replacing a Lost Line Lock

How to Replace a Line Lock

Line locks are amazing little pieces of gear. Yet they are so easy to loose. If you are missing one, simply follow the instructions on these images to continue slacklinining without them.

To avoid losing line locks during storage and transport, we suggest attaching the line lock to a carabiner as soon as its removed during derigging. Then attach the carabiner to the sown loop of your  webbing.

In the next session we share our favorite methods to safely store and transport slackline gear.

How to Make Your Own Tree Pro

Play Video

Save on shipping cost by creating your own tree protection.

We like using outdoor carpet from the hardware store. It comes in 12 feet lengths. Ask for an 8 inch strip and cut it in half. That’s it.

Use velcro to secure the carpet to trees and for easy storage. Check out this video for further details.

 

Storing Your eLine

There are four main methods we use to store our webbing. The ideal method will depend on the length of your webbing and what you are storing it for.

 

1) Webbing Coil

Remember when you opened your new eLine kit and saw a perfectly neat coil?  We sure do. We only re-roll our lines when we are very limited in space. If you are packing for a trip and want to make sure the line fits, take the time to roll it. To speed up the process we find the middle of the line and start rolling from there. If you have a long piece of eLine by the foot, we recommend rolling it in two different coils. That way if you decide to just use part of your line, you don’t have to undo the entire coil.

2) Double Coil

Play Video

If you have the 108ft eLine webbing or any long slackline and you are packing with size constrains, we recommend rolling your line into two different coils. That way if you decide to just use part of your line, you don’t have to undo the entire coil.

3) Daisy Chaining the Line

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A quadruple daisy and is our preferred method to store eLines. This method shortens the length of the daisy chain easing up the transportation and future setup. It is easy and quick to do, plus it helps us keep the line and all its components together.

 

Daisy Chain Tying Instructions

Play Video

How to Remove a Stuck Daisy Chain

Simply unloop that last end that you pulled through, and then continue pulling – all of the other loops will undo themselves. A good daisy chain should become completely undone with some pulls, without leaving any knots behind. If you always start with the ends then it’s easy to know which side to undo first, in this case the side with only loops.

If your daisy chain does not immediately come undone easily, try to undo it from the other side.

If that doesn’t work remove the last loop, and pass the webbing around the next loop in the opposite direction. It will make sense once you see it and do it a few times! Whatever you do, avoid undoing it one link at a time. Your time is priceless!

4) Stacking

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Stacking webbing refers to the process of placing webbing on top of itself in a bag or box. This method is our preferred way to transport long (+200ft) pieces of webbing.

 

5) Butterfly coil

Play Video

If you are dealing with longer pieces of gear, butterfly coils are a great option. As it allows you to store and transport long slacklines with or without a bag while reducing the probability of having twists, kinks and turns in your webbing. Plus the skills used to store your gear are the same ones you will use for climbing rope. 

 

Setup Instructions

Frames or Treeless Setups

There are as many ways to set treeless lines as there are people who slackline. Creativity is the name of the game. Your number one priority is safety. Make sure that the anchors are secure, and the landing zone is safe. While covering every possible setup is beyond the scope of this site, the following are several examples to give you inspiration as to what is possible. Keep in mind that slacklines can easily generate over 1000 lbs of force at each anchor point.

 

Xframes

If trees are not an option or attaching to a solid structure that is at least hip high is unavailable for you, you may want to consider building some frames. There are many ways to build support for tree-less slacklining, and many plans can be found online. We use xframes at almost all festivals we teach at, whenever we set waterlines over pools and often in indoor rigging conditions. We gravitate to this type of frame because they are easy to store and transport. If you are building a frame for a permanent installation, for longlines or highlines, we recommend using a hang frame instead. You can purchase xframes online, but you may be better off building your own. Below is a rough drawing of a very simple frame to be used in conjunction with ground anchors or stakes to make a full treeless setup.
Simple Xframe Drawing

Materials Required

This instruction sheet is per xframe. A tree-free line will require double these materials.
1) Two Pieces of Wood 2”x 4” Studs, 3 to 4 ft tall
An eLine length line (up to 50 ft) can easily be set on frames made of a standard 92-5/8” long 2″x4″ stud cut in half. If you are working with children you may want to make shorter frames. One way to adjust the height is to have a longer cord at the bottom of the frame. If however, you want to have longer and higher lines, you may want to increase the length and width of the boards used. Keep in mind that longer lines will increase the forces associated with it. This website does not contain the necessary information to safely rig longer or higher slacklines.
2) Hardware
  • One 3 1/2″ long x 5/16″ bolt
  • One Lock nut
  • Two washers
3) Rope or Webbing

One 4 to 6 foot piece of rope or webbing that has a strength rating of at least 200 lbs. We like using Sterling cord 3mm to 5mm GloCord.

Tools Required

  • Saw (only if you need to cut the boards. Most hardware stores will cut them for you.)
  • Drill with bit the same size as bolt
  • Ratchet or wrench to tighten bolt
  • Scissors and lighter to finish the ends of the cord

Building Instructions

  • Drill hole through the center of each 2 x 4, 6″ below top for the bolt and 2″ from the bottom for the rope/cord.
  • Place the bolt through the top holes (don’t forget washers!) and hand tighten.
  • Slide rope through bottom holes, tying a knot big enough on each end that it cannot slip back through (tip use a drill bit the same diameter as the rope and use a barrel knot as a stopper).

You can vary the width of the bottom of the X-frame (thus varying the height) simply by wrapping the cord around the end of the legs of the frames once or twice (make sure the cord is long enough to provide you with 3 or 4 height options).

Xframe Setup Instructions

Xframes need a ground anchoring system to work. We recommend for the anchor to be located at ground level. Since the frame will be taking most of the leverage of the system, an xframe is a good way to utilize structures that would otherwise be unsafe to use. The ground also needs to be suitable to stop the legs of the frame from sliding such as grass or sand.  If you are setting up on hard ground you need to find a way to keep the legs of the x-frame from sliding out. Please note that you will still need a structure that will withstand at least 1000 lbs of force.
YogaSlackers Xframe Setup

Prepare the Setup

  • Lay down the open xframe on the ground 3 to 4 feet away from the ground anchor. You can use your 3 to 4 foot long xframe to calculate this distance.
  • Lay the slackline on top of the xframes from one ground anchor to the other.
  • Connect a carabiner to each ground anchor.

Loop Side of the eLine

  • Stand the xframe up.
  • Wrap the loop side of the eLine around the xframe once, leaving enough of a tail to reach the ground anchor. We recommend using some sort of padding to protect your lines from the frames. Thin pieces of tree pro work great.
  • Connect the loop side of the eLine to the ground anchor with a carabiner.
  • The angle made by the eLine should be less than 45 degrees. This will decrease the upward forces on the anchor. If the angle is larger than this, you will need to walk the xframe further away from the anchor

Tensioning Side of the eLine

  • Walk the line from the loop side xframe to the second xframe, making sure that it stays flat.
  • Stand the xframe up at least 4 feet away from the anchor. Wrap the line around the second xframe.
  • Place the line lock close to the xframe on the anchor side. Continue making the zdrag as explained in the eLine Setup. Placing the line lock as close to the frame as possible will make tensioning easier.

Review Your Setup

  • The xframes should tilt slightly (10 to 15 degrees off vertical) towards the anchors. The angle created by the slackline (ground anchor to xframe) should be less than 45 degrees.
  • Sit on the middle of the line. The frames will naturally sink a little bit onto the ground making the line sag. (If you are setting up on solid or slick ground you will need to pin the legs of the frame to the ground to inhibit them from sliding.) Re-tension the line once more.
  • Sit on the middle of the line and bounce slightly while a friend observes the ground anchors. These should not move. Review your angles once more and celebrate. You are ready to slack!

NOTE: We do not recommend surfing or jumping on xframes lines.

Hang Frame

The structure of a hang frame helps to evenly distribute the forces of a slackline. They also minimize webbing damage by removing the need to wrap the webbing around the wood support. The information shared in this section was developed by Bradley Duling. Check out his video for the full instructions. 

 

Materials Necessary

  • 3x Pieces of  2”x 6” Studs 
Select a straight and clean wood planks
  • One sling
  • Hardware
  • Two 3 1/2″ long x 5/16″ bolts
  • Four washers
  • Two lock nuts

Tools Required

  • Drill
  • Saw
  • Ratchet or wrench to tighten bolts
  • Long string
  • Measuring tape

Building Instructions

  1. Drill a hold at 12 inches from the end of each leg. This will create the feet of the hand frame.
  2. Drill a hole at 8 inches from the end of the bridge on one side.
  3. Bolt one leg to the bridge.
  4. Lay the wood in the general shape of the frame
  5. Measure the distance for the spread of the feet. Around 48 inches.  Use that as an approximation to drill the bridge’s second bolt.
  6. Bolt the bridge to the second leg.
  7. Attach a string to the midpoint of the bridge and extend it toward the head of the frame.
  8. Use the string to mark the wedge cuts on the head.
  9. Trim the wedges off the head and the excess length of the bridge.
  10. Mark the center point of the head pieces for the alignment hole.
  11. Drill the hole evenly through the head.
  12. Feed the sling through the head

.

Installation

  1. The installation is very similar to installing an xframe. The major difference being that instead of wrapping the webbing around the frame, the sling is wrapped on either side of the head and a shackle is used to connect the hang sling to the anchor and the webbing.

Ground Anchors

Ground anchors are a way to create a slackline setup pretty much anywhere. The ground anchor you choose will differ tremendously depending on the location of the setup. Indoor rigging differs greatly from outdoor rigging. In outdoor rigging situations, the substrate will dictate the best anchor to use. The answer to ‘which anchor is best suitable for this setup?’ will always be: ‘It depends’. It depends on many factors: do you want a permanent installation, semi-permanent, what is the substrate, what obstructions are buried in the area?

Installing ground anchors indoor and outdoors should not be taken lightly. Electric, gas and water installations can be hidden underneath the ground. ALWAYS check with the local authorities before nailing, digging or disturbing the ground. Never forget or skip this step as it could be a deadly or costly mistake.

The strength and stability of any ground anchor depends on the soil components and the direction of pull. Make sure you understand your system before installing any of these. The following ground anchoring systems are provided as examples of what is possible. Please seek assistance from a qualified instructor before installing them for the first time.

As a general rule avoid straight up pull on ground anchors. The smaller the angle (closer to parallel to the ground) the more resistance the anchor can provide.

1) Slacker Staple

A slacker staple is a ground anchor built by nailing a flat metal or wood piece to the ground. A long time ago, in a galaxy not far from here, we showed up to a festival and we were informed that we could not use trees. This forced some of the best quick thinking that we have done to this day. After a few brainstorming sessions and a lot of walking back and forth on the brightly lit aisles of a hardware store, we came up with the ground anchoring system that we use to this day. While we have modified the materials used through the years, the basic configuration stays the same.

This is a non-permanent and minimally intrusive setup ideal for grassy areas. We use this setup when limited by how deep we can nail or disturb the ground.

 

Materials Necessary

  • 2x 24 inch metal unistrut (superstrut) per xframe or 4 per slackline.
  • Unistruts are available at your local hardware store. Search for them in the electrical aile. They come in 10 ft long pieces that you will need to cut into 20 inch to 24 inch sections. A hack saw will do the trick.
  • 24 x 12 inch nails per unistrut so 96 nails (10 inch nails may work depending on the type of ground)
  • 1x Hammer per friend you can convince to help you set the xframes. Tip a 2.5 to 5 lb sledge hammer works the best.

Installation Instructions

  • Secure the anchor webbing  on the unistruts at 2/3 of the bar. With the shorter side closer to the line.  
  • Place the unistrauts next to each other on parallel lines pointing towards your slackline. Separate the point of the unistrat closest to the line by 12 inches and the point further to the line by 24 inches. You can use your nails to determine this distance.  This will help equalize the pull along the entire strut on each side.
  • Starting with the holes nearest to the anchor webbing, place 2 nails per hole facing away from each other and at a 20 to 30 degree angle. Your goal is to ‘grab’ as much width of ground as possible. Therefore nails pushed straight down are not effective for this type of setup.
  • Hard ground may allow you to skip every other hole. Softer ground will require all the holes to be filled and therefore more nails, or longer unistrut and more nails too.

2) Steel Tent Stakes

These should be at least 3 ft long. You read correctly: 3 feet long or around 1 meter. These are not the stakes used for camping. These are the stakes used while securing large tents. While they are relatively simply to install and quite strong, these stakes require some serious pounding to place and remove.

 

Materials Necessary

  • 1 or 2 steel stake per anchor
  • 1 large, 8 to 15 lb sledge hammer

 

Installation Instructions

Pound each stake to the ground on a 60 degree angle facing away from the slackline pull. Secure an anchor strap around the protruding end. Follow the instructions on how to set an xframe.

 

1 Meter Stake

3) Deadman Anchors

A deadman anchor is a buried object like a log, sandbag or rock. Its strength depends on the size of the anchor, the depth buried and the packing quality of the soil. Deadman anchors work well in snowy and sandy conditions where trees or rocks are not readily available.

This anchoring system has been used for years by climbers and canyoneers. It is relatively simple to create and allows you to build an anchor in soft areas where nailing something to the ground would not be useful. Plus, you can often find the necessary materials on site.

Materials Necessary

  • Object to be buried
  • Since the strength of the deadman anchor depends on the perpendicular cross-sectional area of the object that is buried, you should search for a log or piece of wood that is at least 3 feet long and 6 inches wide. A broomstick-like (long and skinny) piece of wood will not work. Search for a wide log around 6 inches in diameter or at least a 4×4 or 2×6 piece of wood.
  • Webbing Anchor
  • An anchor strap or rope that is long enough to go around the anchoring object and have enough tail to stick out of the ground when buried.
  • Shovel or digging device

Installation Instructions

  • Dig a trench where you would like your ground anchor to be placed.
  • Tie a webbing loop around the log long enough to stick out of the dirt.
  • Place the log in the trench and bury it. Being careful not to bury the webbing entirely.
  • Make sure to compact the soil. If working with sand, adding water and stepping on it repeatedly will help strengthen the setup.

4) Helix Anchors

Similar to a deadman anchor this anchoring system is perfect for sandy locations. It consists of a long metal stake with a spiral plate at the bottom. Helix anchors if placed in soft ground are easy to install and remove.

Materials Necessary

  • 1x helix anchor per xframe
  • Installation bar
helix anchor

Installation Instructions

  • Place the anchor on the ground in the same direction of pull you will set your slackline.
  • Install by utilizing a screwing movement while pushing the anchor into the ground. You may need an additional rod to help with leverage.
  • Pack the earth around it as you would on a deadman anchor.

5) Arrowhead ‘Cabled’ Anchor

The arrowhead anchor is a permanent ground anchor. It is easier to install than a deadman and can be equally strong. The type of soil will determine the size of the arrowhead, but the installation will remain the same.

 

Materials Necessary

  • 1x arrowhead anchor per xframe
  • 1 pushing rod
  • 1 hammer

Installation Instructions

  • Similar to the helix anchor, the arrowhead anchors are installed in the same direction of pull as your slackline.
  • Place the rod on the arrow head and pound with the hammer in a 60 degree angle.
  • Pound as deep as you can since the cable will extend when pulled for the first time.
  • Remove the rod and pull the cable. This will secure the arrowhead in place.
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