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A lot of people begin slacklining with a kit, and progress fast enough that they begin looking into what's needed to rig longer/higher/tighter/safer lines. If you are one of these people, you'll probably find this post VERY useful!
First off, a quality slackline rig is not going to be cheap, but it's going to last you a lifetime if you take care of it. Balance Community stocks and develops the highest quality slackline gear available, developed by the PRO-Team for use by the best slackliners, worldwide!
So, to get started, we'll have to look at where you'd like to go with your slacklining. I'll cover three categories - Highline, Longline, and Trickline.
The main emphasis on highlines is redundancy and general safety. I will merely outline what a highline should be — always seek personal training from an experienced highliner before attempting to rig/walk a highline yourself.
A highline generally consists of a mainline and backup (commonly, both will be the same type of webbing), connected to separate anchor points or one BOMBER masterpoint. All components in a highline should be super strong, and no shortcuts should be taken.
Anchoring: You will need the strongest spansets available to ensure bomber anchor points. Try to find two separate bomber anchors close enough to easily attach your mainline and backup - redundancy is key. Avoid angles greater than 60° in any part of your anchor, as this overloads the spansets and anchor points. Always pad areas of your anchor that could be prone to abrasion.
Webbing Anchors/Webbing: Depending on what type of webbing you are using, there are a few options to connect your webbing to your anchors. Here's a few good combinations for webbing/webbing anchors.
Backup: Your backup should usually be as strong as or stronger than your mainline — if the situation is bad enough to make your mainline fail, your backup can probably fail too. You can use a second piece of webbing as a backup or you could use dynamic rope as a backup. If you use dynamic rope, you can connect it to your fixed anchor point on a Steel Carabiner using a figure-8 follow-through knot. On the tensioning side, run the rope through a Petzl Grigri and tension with a 3:1 using a rope-grab (such as the WildCountry Ropeman), Oval Carabiner, and single pulley (such as the Rock Exotica Machined Single Pulley). Always tie off the slack end coming out of the grigri after you finish tensioning.
Tensioning: See the section titled 'Pulley Systems' below. You can use any of them for highlining. The 'light kit' is usually best for highlines, because of how lightweight the system is.
Leash Ring/Leash/Taping: The absolute best leash ring for highlining is The 3" I.D. BOMBER Steel Ring. Your highline should be rigged with this ring around the mainline and the backup. You will need to tape your mainline and backup together. Use high quality electrical (non-marking) or gear-marking tape to tape them together every 3-5'.
Your leash should always be super strong and redundant. You don't need to worry about whether your leash is dynamic or static — it's too short to make any difference. You can use 11mm Static threaded inside of 1" Slack-Spec Tubular Webbing for a bomber leash. You should use backup knots on each side of your leash in case of slippage, and try to catch the line if possible as to not load your leash — catching is always safer than taking a whipper. Retire your leash after around one dozen whippers to ensure there is no internal damage on your leash. Safety is the number one priority on highlines.
Overview: Once again, this is only an outline, the best way to learn how to rig highlines safely is to seek instruction from an experienced highliner. Always keep it safe, and don't guess. You should direct highline questions to Jerry.
Longlining deals with LOTS of tension — always make sure that you are rigging everything safely using the strongest quality components available.
Anchoring: Once again, you will need to strongest spansets available to ensure bomber anchor points. Always use tree protection (carpet, towels, etc.) between the sling and tree to prevent abrasion on your slings and the trees. Be very careful about tri-loading your anchors — make sure there are no angles over 60° on your anchors.
Webbing Anchors/Webbing: Balance Community stocks three webbings that are great for longlines, each with great advantages over each other.
Anchoring: The easiest and absolute best anchoring technique for longlining is to use the Alpine WebLock 2.0 (AWL). It's extremely simple to connect to your spansets and pulleys, uber strong, and very easy to load. You can also pull out the slack in your longlines after attaching them to the AWL using a method called pretensioning. This allows you to get the most out of your longline pulley system.
Tensioning: See the section titled 'Pulley Systems' below. Longlines usually need a lot of tension, so you'll most likely be using a 9:1 base with a 3:1 multiplier (Ultra).
Overview: Because of the high tension needed in longlines, make sure your locking carabiners are locked, shackles are screwed all the way in, quicklinks are fully closed, and the entire area is clear of people, especially during tensioning. Tie off the slack end of your pulley system to ensure safety if your braking device slips. You should direct longline questions to Jerry.
Most tricklines on the market are available in kits, which wear out quickly and contain various dangerous components, such as ratchets. They also commonly recommend to rig using dangerous setups with very large angles and webbing-on-webbing which loads the anchor webbing with much more force than is actually on the line — Balance Community currently has a couple options for trickliners, and are in the process of testing and developing the first extremely high quality, long lasting, super powerful trickline, which will change the tricklining world forever!
Slings: You're dealing with POWER. You're dealing with REALLY high amounts of force on your anchors while tricklining. You need tree protection and you need the burliest, strongest, most sturdy slings available. You need Green Spansets.
Webbing Anchoring/Webbing: Here's the current availabilities and how they perform as a trickline.
Anchoring and Pulleys: For Type-18 and 1" Slack-Spec Tubular, you can use either the Alpine WebLock 2.0 or the 5/8" Shackle Line-Locker Kit. Threaded tubular webbing has been known, rarely, to slip in the Alpine WebLock, so the Line-Locker Kit is the way to go for 1" Threaded Slack-Spec Tubular.
For pulleys, you can go with 'light' or "medium' pulley systems. I'd recommend 'medium' due to higher overall efficiency.
Overview: If you care at all about product quality and don't want pieces of metal flying towards you at high speeds, think twice about buying two-piece trickline kits. The upcoming BC RAGEline will define what a quality trickline is. If you want something that'll outlast all other brands, go BC! If you have questions about anything trickline related, email Brenden.
There's a lot of possibilities when it comes to pulley systems — Here's a couple possible setups to get your MA (mechanical advantage) started!
!! ALWAYS TIE OFF THE SLACK END OF YOUR PULLEY SYSTEM AFTER TENSIONING AS A BACKUP IN CASE YOUR ROPE SLIPS !!
Here's a simple, compact, and lightweight base 5:1 system with a 3:1 multiplier, making for a final theoretical 15:1 MA. It's ideal for shorter highlines and tricklines, and is the most cost-efficient system available. To assemble, tie a figure-8 follow through on one end of the static rope, and connect the loop of that knot to the inside of one of the double pulleys (this point is called the 'becket') via a quicklink. Run the rope back and forth through the other pulleys on both doubles and connect the end to your Grigri (which is connected on the other becket via the other two quicklinks. What you use to connect your pulleys to your sling and line depends upon what you use as your webbing anchor and masterpoint on the sling.
The most efficient base 5:1 system available, with a 3:1 multiplier, making for a final theoretical 15:1 MA. It's ideal for tricklines, highlines, and longlines up to 400'. It uses the highest quality and most efficient pulleys available. To assemble, tie a figure-8 follow through on one end of the static rope, and connect the loop of that knot to the becket of one double pulley via a quicklink. Run the rope back and forth through the other pulleys on both doubles and connect the end to your Petzl RIG (which is connected on the other becket via the other two quicklinks. What you use to connect your pulleys to your sling and line depends upon what you use as your webbing anchor and masterpoint on the sling. The Petzl RIG is a bigger and more heavy-duty braking device for your longlines, and allows for a smoother, more controlled release than the Grigri.
The best of the best — a base 9:1. This system allows you to pull with insane amounts of force. If you're advanced enough to walk lines that need a 9:1, you probably don't need a guide for this, and know what you'll need. If you have questions about pulley systems, email Jerry. If you'd like to check out other options, there's the pulley section on the online store as well as Titen Series Custom Pulley System page (interactive pulley system builder).
I hope this helped you on your way to bigger and better lines. You can email me questions via my name below if you need something cleared up.