Slackline Express - Balance In LifeOuray Highline

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Slackline Express Frequently Asked Questions


What is with the ladder in some of the photos? How does it work to support the line?

Well, for starters it isn't anchoring the line at all. In most of the photos that it is in, the real anchor is a large beam in my garage frame or a sling around my cement back porch. The ladder only provides lift to bring the line higher up than where the anchors would normally set it. This is an industrial heavy duty step ladder and is rated for heavy weight use. It is only receiving a downward pressure this way. We recommend A-Frames for similar usage.

Do the kits come with instructions?

Unless specifically noted on the page, all slackline kits come with detailed step by step instructions.

My instruction manual was lost / rained on / snowed on / fell off a multipitch / eaten by my dog / used as a newspaper by my dog and I don't want it back. Can I have another?

Sure thing. Email me for the link and you can print your own.

Why do you use ratchets for slacklines? Isn't that just overkill? My buddy can put one up by himself with just webbing and carabiners.

I don't doubt your buddy's ability to set a line like that; it does work up to a certain point. People also still use typewriters but that doesn't mean they are better or worse than computers. Just different tools for different jobs. Using a primitive line to set fairly tight lines or longer lines is a pain if not impossible by yourself unless you use a lot more gear and advanced techniques like piggy backing pulley systems.

We use ratchets for a few reasons:

  • They are almost universally understood, there isn't a steep learning curve and most people already know how to use them.
  • They are affordable as the tensioning system will cost less than the dedicated carabiners needed to make a primitive pulley system. Another bonus is that it requires you to pay for less webbing since it doesn't need weave 20 feet of webbing back and forth between the tensioning system.
  • Probably most importantly, they have a much higher mechanical advantage, which means instead of your buddy trying to set a tight or medium sized like having to pull like a bull or need extra people to pull you could just exert 30 to 50 lbs of pressure on a nice comfy handle and set the line as tight as you desire.
  • Efficiency, since there isn't the major problem of friction drag more of the energy you exert actually goes toward tightening the line rather than just rubbing webbing against a carabiner.
  • Ease of setup, it's more of a clip, thread, tighten and slack type of thing rather than having to stop and think about how many turns over, tucking the last loop just so and having to tie off the line without loosing tension.
  • No knots to weaken the main line.
  • The units are usually far stronger than the webbing which means they won't be the failure point. You could break carabiners and webbing before it will break.
  • You don't have to tie the line off every time and then when the line sags over time re-tensioning it is a breeze.

All of that said, if you want a primitive rig, we'll gladly make you one with plenty of nifty extras you won't find anywhere else.

Can I shorten my classic fixed length tree slings?

Yep. If your kit came with zip slings or primo slings there is no need to ever retie, just follow the instructions that came with it. If your kit has tied slings you can untie the bowline knot on one end and retie it further up or even better just wrap it around your tree a few extra times. The recommended knot is a bowline knot. An overhand or eight on a bight works too, but can be very hard to untie once tensioned. See illustration below.

Bowline Knot Instructions


How do I use a ratchet anyway?

Ok, for lots of us this is a non-question but for anyone who's never used a ratchet before it's a legitimate concern. Rather than write down a huge user manual I'd rather refer you to: Ratchet Usage Info.


How do I know when it's time to replace my webbing?

Check out our Webbing Wear Page.

How big of a company is Slackline Express?

Pretty small. Four people handle 95% of everything, but I enlist extra help from my friends when things get hectic. We do however ship far more slacklines than any other company out there. Mostly due to our excellent word of mouth. Check out our Gear Reviews to find out why we're a hit.

What's your rock climbing rating?

Damn, I was afraid you'd ask that. Sport leading around a 5.10+ (on a good day), still apprenticing on trad gear and occasionally I can hang dog my way up a 5.11 on TR but I haven't been climbing too seriously since I was diagnosed with nerve damage in my left arm. Funny thing, just as I finished my Masters degree that had kept me from climbing much, I ended up with some major nerve issues in my arm so now that I have time to climb I have to take it extra easy. I've only been climbing since the May of '03. I just managed to really get into slacklining. I'm more of a slackliner who climbs occasionally.

So why'd you get into slacklining so much if your not a hardcore climber?

Well that's easy - I got into slacklining because I was so bad at it. Seriously, I was horrible at it. I was doing ok on my climbing but I really needed work on my balance. I started slacklining every night for two weeks just to take my first couple steps. Most people can get at least few steps down within an hour and it took me forever. Once I got it, I just kept at it and all I can say is wow. My balance made a huge difference in how much power I was using for climbing and the stronger abs certainly didn't hurt either. Good stuff.

You mentioned grad school, where and what?

I've gotten asked this a lot. For some weird reason people are actually curious about it. Yes, I graduated from Missouri State University where I currently also work for our Web Services team. I've finished my bachelors in business/computer information systems and my masters in administrative studies (think MBA for CEOs instead of managers).

Child walking a slackline

"This hobby is one of the most awesome things I've ever done. Your kit made set up so easy." - Heather M. More Gear Reviews