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Line-Sleeves have been a part of slacklining from the very beginning. This is because they are a great way to protect your line from a number of bad situations that can and do happen.
What is a Line Sleeve?
A line sleeve is basically a piece of tubular webbing that you thread your slackline webbing through in order to protect it from various abrasions. They are commonly used for different types of webbing anchors and also in highline rigging.
The important place within your slackline to sleeve your line is inside the webbing anchor. Unless you are using a MONSTER Lock or Alpine WebLock, you should ALWAYS sleeve your line inside the webbing anchor. The webbing goes through a series of bends around potentially sharp pieces of hardware inside the webbing anchor and there are a lot of places where your line can become severly damaged. The line sleeve protects your line from all these potentially dangerous spots within the hardware.
Other Spots to Use Line-Sleeves
Another place where line sleeves are important are in highline rigging. When your line comes fairly close or is touching anything besides air, you should have a line sleeve around the line in case the line were to abraid against this object. Without the sleeve, you run the risk of abraiding through your line which could cause a premature break, which could ultimately lead to serious injury or death. For this type of line sleeve, the common tubular webbing is not always the best option. There are hydraulic hose covers on the market that you can wrap around your line at any point in the system before or after your rig your line and they offer supreme protection against even the burliest of abrasion. There are a number of sources around the internet, we will have them in the shop within the next couple of months. Definitely a great way to go for highline setups.
What to Use for Line Sleeves?
The most common products to use for sleeving your line is tubular webbing. The best size to use for 1" webbings would be either 1-1/2" or 1-1/4", as they both offer a nice fit around the line and are not very hard to thread your line through. For the situations where there will potentially be a lot of abrasion, velcro hydraulic hose sleeves work best. Finding sources for these is a bit hard, we will be carrying them in the shop within the quarter.
How to Sleeve your Line
Putting the sleeve on your line can sometimes be a pain, depending on what kind of webbing you are using and what size of sleeve you have. The longer the sleeve, the harder it becomes to thread your line through. For a shorter sleeve that is used for a line-locker, simply pushing your webbing through is usually easy enough. When the sleeve is longer than 4 feet, you may have to use a different technique to get your line through. An easy way would be to take an old metal coat hanger and duct tape it to your line on one end, then slide the hanger through the tubular webbing and pull your line through. Don't pull too hard though as you may rip the tape and have to start all over again. This method will work for sleeves up to 10 feet in length, which is about as long as they get.
With the hydraulic sleeves, all you have to do is wrap them around your line and velcro the edges together and you are set. It would be a good idea to tape the sleeve in place at the ends of it because they have a tendancy to move around while people are walking the line.
Have any tips about sleeving your line? Post them in the comments below.
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