Slackline Setup and Rigging
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 to neatly store your slackline gear.
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 "Light" Kit Setup on Trees
Step by Step Instructions
1) Choose the right tree
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
3) Wrap the anchor piece around the first tree
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
5) Girth hitch the slackline to the second tree
6) Place the line lock
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
8) Take Down
9) Storing Your eLine
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.
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) Daisy Chaining the Line
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.
See the instructions on how to create a quadruple daisy chain below. Once you daisy chain your line, fold the anchor piece in half and tie it with an overhang knot. Clip a carabiner with a line lock to both ends of your daisy chained line. Clip a carabiner to the anchor. Clip both carabiners together. There you have it, a less likely to lose individual components’ storage system for you. Just remember to take it with you.
Daisy Chain Tying Instructions
- Start the Daisy Chain by holding both ends of the line in one hand. With the other hand, slide down the line until you find the middle of the line. Now the line will be shortened by fourths. Hold the four pieces of webbing in one hand and start the daisy chain there. You will treat this bundle of webbing as it was one.
- Make a 4 inch loop with the webbing with the short end on top.
- Pull a short section of the webbing through creating a hitch closing the first loop.
- Repeat the process over and over, pulling a section of the webbing through the new loop created until you reach the end of the webbing bundle.
- Finish and secure the daisy chain by passing the end of the webbing through the last loop entirely and tighten slightly.
- To remove the 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 try to undo the other side.
3) Butterfly coil
If you are dealing with longer pieces of gear, butterfly coils are a great option. Plus the skills used to store your gear are the same ones you will use for climbing rope.
Stacking webbing refers to the process of placing webbing on top of itself in a bag. This method is our prefered way to transport long (+200ft) pieces of webbing.
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.
1) Two Pieces of Wood 2”x 4” Studs, 3 to 4 ft tall
- 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.
- 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
- 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
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.
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.
- 3x Pieces of 2”x 6” Studs Select a straight and clean wood planks
- One sling
- Two 3 1/2″ long x 5/16″ bolts
- Four washers
- Two lock nuts
- Ratchet or wrench to tighten bolts
- Long string
- Measuring tape
- Drill a hold at 12 inches from the end of each leg. This will create the feet of the hand frame.
- Drill a hole at 8 inches from the end of the bridge on one side.
- Bolt one leg to the bridge.
- Lay the wood in the general shape of the frame
- Measure the distance for the spread of the feet. Around 48 inches. Use that as an approximation to drill the bridge’s second bolt.
- Bolt the bridge to the second leg.
- Attach a string to the midpoint of the bridge and extend it toward the head of the frame.
- Use the string to mark the wedge cuts on the head.
- Trim the wedges off the head and the excess length of the bridge.
- Mark the center point of the head pieces for the alignment hole.
- Drill the hole evenly through the head.
- Feed the sling through the head .
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 1 or 2 steel stake per anchor
- 1 large, 8 to 15 lb sledge hammer
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.
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.
- 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 4x4 or 2x6 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
- 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.
- 1x helix anchor per xframe
- Installation bar
- 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.
- 1x arrowhead anchor per xframe
- 1 pushing rod
- 1 hammer
- 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.