Slackline Express
Slacklining: Verb, The act of having an unbelievable amount of fun walking and doing tricks on a piece of webbing pulled tight between two points, also used as a form of meditation, physical and mental training.
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Ratchet 101 – Getting to know your gizmo

Ratchet for tensioning a slackline

Since not everyone has used a ratchet before This section is strictly on general usage tips.

Slot – This is where you slide the webbing you want to tighten through. Just slide the slack end through, pull tight and your ready to tighten. It is the center of the take up spool.

Handle – The handle has three positions, fully closed and locked, fully open which allows the center slot to rotate thus releasing any tension stored and in the midway section where you would be working it back and forth that creates the tension.

Release tab – You must pull the release tab towards the hand grip on the handle to release tension from the ratchet.

General procedure: Connect the clip on the ratchet to an anchor point #1. Connect the clip/carabiner on the webbing to the other anchor point #2. Avoid twists in the webbing so make sure the line is flat. Place the webbing in from the under side of the ratchet, up through the slot and pull all of the slack through and back towards the anchor #2. Pull as much slack through as possible before starting to work the ratchet. Once desired tension is achieved make sure the ratchet is in a fully closed position to lock off all tension. To release, pull the release tab and extend the handle straight with the ratchet’s chassis.

 

Common mistakes

Mis-threading the line

On many occasions I’ve seen the loose end of the strap fed through the slot in such a way that the handle is covered by the strap. This mistake completely prevents tightening of the strap as the handle cannot be operated. The strap must be threaded through the slot and back under the handle.

Failure to pull out the slack prior to ratchet operation 

Another common mistake is to begin operating the ratchet prior to pulling out the slack from the free end. This may simply result in delaying the desired tension if only a moderate amount of slack exists. However, if too much slack exists, the spool will fill up to its capacity which will prevent any further tightening. If this is the case it will be necessary to unwind the strap and start over with the slack pulled out prior to operation.

Pulling the slack out of the free end in the direction of the fixed end 

When pulling the slack out of the free end, the proper way is to thread the free end through the slot on the take up spool then pass it back over the spool (under the handle) and pull back in the direction of the free end. Pulling the slack out in this fashion will have the effect of tensioning the entire assembly, the fixed and free end of the strap. This will allow for effective operation of the ratchet handle in quickly tightening the strap. Some people fail to thread the free end back between the handle and the bale in the direction of the free end. Instead they may thread it straight through the bale and pull the slack out towards the fixed end. This will leave the fixed end and the ratchet mechanism loose making it difficult to tighten.

Not leaving the ratchet handle in the locked closed position while strap is under load 

When the desired strap tension is achieved the handle should be left in the locked closed position which provides a means of assuring strap tension and preventing any possibility of the slot “free-wheeling” out slack.

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