Commercial slackline solutions seem bulky, heavy, overpriced, and a little too industrial for my liking. I have 6 carabiners and 50m of tubular webbing. What knots do you recommend for building, anchoring and tightening a slackline?

  • I haven't rigged one myself, but one point - I believe that you need to use locking carabiners when rigging a slackline because the tension on the system can exceed the open gate strength of a carabiner. If you look at the pictures of rigs in the answers, you'll see that the gates often lay on top of each other. If you're rigging a slackline for a lot of people to use, with all that moving around, there's a definite chance that the carabiners might push on each other's gates. And you wouldn't want a biner to shatter when you're on the slackline. :)
    – DavidR
    Dec 3, 2012 at 15:22
  • Not sure that it makes that much difference - but I removed the non-locking specificity from the question. (Side note: I've slacklining for years with non-locking 'biners and never had one open, break, etc...)
    – Lost
    Dec 3, 2012 at 18:40
  • What do you find missing from my current answer? I believe all the information is provided in the linked videos and articles, and illustrated in the pictures.
    – Mr.Wizard
    Dec 5, 2012 at 10:11
  • @Mr.Wizard -- Your answer is pretty good - but if I want the answer to my question, I have to a) go off this site, b) watch a lengthy video (I read/digest diagrams faster than watch a video) and c) think for myself ;)
    – Lost
    Dec 6, 2012 at 15:21
  • I used to know a method using only webbing and carabiners because that is what I did, but it's been so long now that I can't remember what I did well enough to depict it as an answer yet. I'll get my gear out one day when it's not freezing and try to work it out.
    – montane
    Jan 19, 2013 at 3:49

2 Answers 2


I am not (yet) a slackliner, but I have been impressed with the methodology of testing and development of Adam Burtle of NWslackline.org. His site has a number of videos that demonstrate different anchoring and tensioning systems. He also does line tension measurements and break testing on different setups and materials.

When you watch his videos make sure you have annotations turned on as they often contain important details, corrections or revisions.

I cannot recall seeing an anchor/tensioning system using only carabiners but the line-locker system using a forged rappel ring is simple, light and inexpensive. Chain links are even less expensive but need to be deburred to protect your webbing. One of his basic tensioning systems looks like this (the load cell is only for testing of course):

enter image description here

Further illustration and efficiency testing (video).


Using line lockers.

Rigging a primitive slackline

Rigging a 2″ line without a ratchet.

In Strength of 3 men, for only $20 (article and video) he rigs a basic pulley system:

enter image description here

More advanced equipment and techniques will be needed for long lines.

  • 2
    +1 I used those same videos to learn my "primitive" setup. With just carabiners it is easy, you just have to tie it off where you would use the line lockers. Having said that, the line-lockers are very cheap and really worth it, they make it easy to untie, decrease the wear on the slackline and makes it look more elegant :)
    – yarian
    Nov 12, 2012 at 4:00
  • @yarian thanks for the vote. I guess that's what Adam was showing at the beginning of the "Using line lockers" video but an actual setup using that method was not shown (that I have seen).
    – Mr.Wizard
    Nov 12, 2012 at 16:30
  • Most primitive setups do not use double carabiners like in the photo above. Also, the pulleys are not necessary for shorter slacklines rigged in this way. And regarding the forged ring; you can actually use a carabiner instead of the ring too. Although it will be much bulkier, and might be bad for your webbing. Jan 30, 2014 at 21:22

You have probably already seen the excellent resource at www.slackline.com but they have an excellent page on how to tie your slackline to a tree using ordinary webbing and carabiners.

Key image from their sequence:

enter image description here

Then just add a carabiner (with webbing wrapped round it to protect) to the metal ring and you are set.

Total kit required:

  • length of webbing at each end
  • 4 carabiners
  • 2 metal rings
  • You could also add some padding to protect the tree

For tensioning, people use 3:1 or even 6:1 pulley systems with some success, but you'll find it hard to get enough tension to avoid bottoming out.

This guy tries a few pulley setups, but still has a fair amount of drop in his line.

Realistically, you'll want a ratchet like this one - it's the only way to get enough tension in your line!

  • This addresses making an anchor, but not tying a slackline. Updated the question to make it a little more clear. (Also, I don't have a metal ring.)
    – Lost
    Nov 4, 2012 at 18:38
  • Updated regarding tension - that will be your biggest problem, unless you get a ratchet. Also - metal rings can take the tension, but carabiners may not :-)
    – Rory Alsop
    Nov 4, 2012 at 19:31
  • Tensioning is no problem with a primitive system (the rigging method asked about in the question). The multiple wrappings of the webbing works as a primitive pulley-system, multiplying the pulling force. Primitives work for slacklines of up to 50 meters in length. Jan 30, 2014 at 21:19
  • With a 30' length of new webbing, I wasn't able to get enough mechanical advantage (using many different materials and configurations) without a ratchet/come-along. After a few days under tension outdoors, it became easy to adjust by hand with a simple 3:1 or 4:1 setup. Clove hitching another biner to the anchor webbing is an easy way to add another "pulley" point to the system. Old climbing rope is a poor anchor material because it's so stretchy, bulky, and high-friction. Webbing and accessory cord both work far better, but still benefit from pre-stretching.
    – Phil Esra
    Nov 17, 2016 at 15:39
  • Please don't set up a slack line without a layer of protective padding between your rope/webbing/ and the tree. It can damage the tree!
    – fgysin
    Jun 8, 2017 at 5:37

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