Best Slacklines

Updated September 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

12 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
176 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best slacklines

Last Updated September 2019

What began as a hobby practiced by rock climbers at national parks has become a common backyard activity that’s surprisingly easy to learn. Slacklining involves walking across a tensioned piece of fabric called webbing which is stretched between two points to create a line.

Slacklines vary in their length, width, materials, and tensioning system, all of which combine to make them better suited for beginners or advanced users. In general, the longer the slackline, the less stable it is, and the greater the challenge it presents. Narrow slacklines are favored by experienced users for their feeling and control, while wider slacklines are a better choice for beginners seeking stability. Some sets may include a “helpline” that inexperienced users can hold onto as they learn to balance on a slackline. Though all slacklines are similar, the variations from one set to another can make a difference and may affect how and where you slackline.

Slacklines are fairly inexpensive, but it is still important to choose one that meets your needs and matches your experience level. To learn more about the types of slacklines available, read our buying guide.

It’s common for beginners to experience some serious wobbling, but it isn’t the line that’s wobbling. With a bit of practice, your legs should become steadier and the wobbling should stop.

Key considerations

When choosing a slackline, you should first consider your skill level and who will use the slackline. Many sets are intended for beginners, while others are designed for maximum lengths or for performing tricks. The main factors that determine who a slackline is right for are the width and length of the webbing, the flat piece of fabric that you will (hopefully) be walking across.

Width

Slackline webbings generally come in three widths: 1, 1.5, and 2 inches. The wider the webbing, the easier it is to plant your foot on the line. A narrower line may be more comfortable against your foot and give you more control.

  • 1-inch webbings are the preferred choice of experienced slackliners. While this was once the standard width, it has become overshadowed by the popular 2-inch lines. If you are at ease on a slackline, you may find that 1-inch lines are more comfortable and give you better control and balance.

  • 2-inch webbings are the most popular option and work well for beginners. The extra width makes it easier to plant your foot on the line and it’s more forgiving if you aren’t perfectly centered.

  • 1.5-inch webbings, unsurprisingly, have some of the benefits of both thinner and wider webbings. These work well for intermediate slackliners who still struggle to balance from time to time.

Length

Slacklines vary greatly in length, ranging from 20 feet to 100 feet or longer. In general, the longer the slackline, the greater the potential for wobbling, making longer lines better suited to experienced users.

  • 20- to 30-foot slacklines work well for beginners and can be set up in a variety of places.

  • 30- to 50-foot slacklines work well for beginner to intermediate users, and they can always be shortened if the maximum length is too much. The added length gives you more flexibility when finding a place to set up.

  • 50- to 100+ foot slacklines are extremely challenging and can be set up in a variety of places — even over bodies of water. The length of these slacklines results in more sag, so they must be set up much higher above the ground than shorter lines.
DID YOU KNOW?

The longer the slackline, the more it sags in the middle. This presents a challenge and can make balancing more difficult, but it can also be more fun.

Features

Webbing materials

The first slackliners who originated the sport in the 1980s used climbing webbing, which was fat or tubular and made of nylon. While modern slacklines haven’t traveled far from their roots, there are a few more options for webbing materials.

Polyester webbing is a popular choice for its lack of stretch and its strength. The combination of these qualities make it common in beginner sets as well as advanced longline sets.

Nylon webbing is stretchier than polyester, giving the line more bounce. This makes it popular among “trickliners” who perform jumps, flips, and handstands on slacklines. While the bounciness can be more fun, it also presents an additional challenge.

Some webbings may combine polyester and nylon for a line that is somewhere between stretchy and rigid.

Tensioning system

Despite its name, slacklining requires a good deal of tension. A slackline shouldn’t be perfectly taut — this would be difficult to set up and a lot less fun. Instead, the tensioning system should allow you to get the tension just right, whether you are simply balancing or performing tricks.

Ratchet systems are by far the most common and the easiest to set up. They use a metal ratchet which locks in place and can be easily adjusted to increase tension at any point. When you’re done, you can release the slackline by pulling a lever, packing the ratchet away with the rest of your gear.

Primitive systems use carabiners to create tension. It can be difficult to achieve high tensions with these systems and it is not possible to adjust tension.

Pulley systems are rare and are primarily used by longliners. Adjusting tension is easy and achieving a high tension is possible, but these systems are challenging to set up.

Additional accessories

Help lines are thinner lines of webbing that can be set up at chest-height or higher to give inexperienced users something to hang on to. They can hold the help line the whole time or they can simply reach for it to regain their balance.

A carrying bag allows you to keep all your slacklining gear in one place.

Tree protectors are foam or cloth pads designed to protect trees from potential damage from slacklines. In addition, they can extend the lifespan of your webbing.

Slackline prices

Inexpensive: Slacklines for $30 to $40 are usually intended for beginners and may include help lines and carrying bags. In this range, slacklines vary from 20 to 50 feet in length and are usually 2 inches in width.

Mid-range: For $40 to $60 are beginner to intermediate slacklines that may be up to 80 feet long. These sets often include accessories like tree protection and carrying bags. Some sets in this range may have narrower webbing.

Expensive: High-end slacklines for $60 to $100 are generally designed for experienced slackliners looking to perform tricks or bridge massive gaps.

EXPERT TIP

Before you buy a slackline, consider where you will set it up and what you will use as anchor points.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Slacklines should generally use trees as anchor points. You need trees with trunks about one foot thick to act as a reliable anchor.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

Getting started can be intimidating, but with practice, you can be walking from one end of the line to the next after just a few weeks.

  • When you are just starting out, use the help line or hold a friend’s hand to get used to the sensation of walking on the webbing.

  • After a bit of practice, stop using the help line and work on just getting onto the line and balancing in place.

  • Don’t use the tree for balance. Learn to trust yourself to get onto the line without help.

  • Keep your hands above your shoulders as a general rule. Use your arms to balance when necessary.

  • Keep your feet pointed toward the other end of the line; don’t let your feet become perpendicular to the line.

  • Try to preserve steady momentum and always move forward.

  • Keep your knees comfortably bent.

  • Keep your eyes on the base of the other end of the line as you walk.

Other products we considered

While we stand by our top recommendations, there are a few other slackline sets worth calling out. One great beginner set is Barefoot Slacklines 49ft Slackline Set, which includes a carrying bag, a help line, and tree protectors. Customers love the sturdy ratchet and durable webbing included with this set.

Another popular and highly reliable option is Slackers 50-Feet Slackline Classic Set, which includes a carrying bag and help line. If you are simply looking for a well-constructed slackline and ratchet, this is a great no-frills set.

For the experienced slackliner looking to get into longlining, the Gibbons Slacklines Classic Red Edition XL 82-Feet Slackline Set is a popular option from a trusted brand. Though this is a more expensive option, there are few complaints about this high-quality slackline.

Slacklining can increase your core strength and greatly improve your balance, both of which can help to prevent future injuries.

FAQ

Q. Are slacklines safe?

A. As with many outdoor sports, injury is always possible. However, when performed safely at a low height, you are at less of a risk.

Q. Should I wear shoes when slacklining?

A. It’s up to you. Most people prefer to slackline barefoot to help with grip and control. This can be especially useful when you are just starting out to help you center your feet on the line.

Q. Can young children use slacklines?

A. They can, but they should only do so with adult supervision and an adult standing nearby in case of a fall.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer

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