In the slackline community walking slacklines that are over 100 Feet ( 30M ) long on a 1-inch line is considered to be long line walking. Once you get slacklines over 100 feet long you can no longer use simple gibbons ratchet systems and lines.
Setting up long lines over 100F is going to require a pulley system and your choice of slackline webbing (the line you walk on). Setting up a long line system is not cheap, the price range can be $350 (U.S.) for basic setups to $4000 for advanced high line sets ups. Also setting up a long line system will require some rigging skills and knowledge of rigging equipment.
Long line walking can become more than just a fun balance training hobby it can become a lifestyle. There are many long line walking clubs, meet ups and groups that you can get involved with. These groups are always looking for a new place to string up a long line and practice. You can be part of a community of people that enjoy the outdoors, like to travel to new places to set up long lines/highlines and have fun while challenging themselves.
Another good part of joining one of these groups is that you will not have to spend your money on expensive longline rigs. You will be able to try out a bunch of different longline rigs to figure out what you like the most before you spend any money on a longline
Although it is possible to find information on setting up longline slacklines on youtube and the internet, it is always better to learn hands on from someone with experience rigging slacklines especially when it comes to pulley systems.
I do cover some basic information on setting up pulley rigs in this guide just so you can get a general idea of what is involved but I suggest you find someone willing to show you exactly how to do it.
How to choose a Beginner Long Line.
If you are new or a beginner at slacklining and are thinking about getting into long line walking one of your options would be to get the gibbon's surf line, it is their longest slackline at 98 Feet (30m) and 2in. wide. This line is much easier to set up and cheaper than a pulley slackline rig.
Additionally, if you can not walk this line you are not going to be able to walk a longer and thinner line so why not start with this cheap low maintenance easy to set up line.
Another good thing about the surf line is it can also be used as a fun bouncy trickline or for line surfing. After you have mastered walking across the surf line, gotten a few basic tricks down and have learned some rigging skills from setting up a ratchet rig you will be more comfortable moving onto a more advanced 1in. wide line that is set up with a pulley system.
Another good lower cost beginner option would be the gibbon flow line. The Gibbon flow line is shorter than the surf line (60ft long) but it is a 1-inch wide line, this will help get you prepared for longer lines because longlining is almost done exclusively in 1 inch wide lines once you get to lines over 100Ft.
The flow line is a double ratchet system so that means it takes a little longer to set up then a single ratchet system.
Why are pulley systems needed for long lines?
Once a line gets over 100f long it can become too hard to properly tension along the line using your strength alone.
Pulley and multipliers will allow you to increase the amount of tension on the line while using less force. When looking at pulley and multiplier systems you will a ratio for instance (4:1) or (8:1). The ratio means that the rigging kit will produce 4 pounds of force onto the slackline for every pound of force you apply. This makes setting up a long line much easier.
After you get the line up to tension you will need an additional piece of gear called the rope break to lock the line at the preferred tension.
Long line walking safety
Due to the extreme amount of tension needed to set up a long line it could possibly be fatal if something goes wrong. This is why it is so important to have someone teach you how to set up a longline properly and to have redundant safeties in place.
If you ratchet or pulley rig somehow fails and breaks free from the tree it is secured it will become a whip with chunks of metal attached to it that could easily kill someone if they get hit by it. This is why it is recommended that you tie down the ratchet or pulley system to keep in from flying off if it fails. Once again I recommend you have someone experienced in slackline rigging show you how to do this in person.
Due to the greater amount of sag in longline they need to be set up higher off the ground to prevent the sagging part of the line from touching this ground, this means any falls you take while using this line you will be much higher up than when using traditional slacklines.
I put together a guide of all the most common ways people are injured by slacking I recommend you check out my slackline safety guide for some additional information.
The Best Beginner Pulley rig for Long Lines 300 feet or 100 meters and Under.
If you have masted walking the Gibbons surfline/ flowline or want to jump right into walking lines up to 300ft (100m) one of the most affordable and well-liked longline walking kits by the slack line community is the "Slackline Brothers Pulleys: (4:1) Bare Bones Kit".
This kit cost around $175 (U.S.) just for the rigging equipment. The slackline webbing itself is not part of the package, it can become a big additional cost.
How to choose the rightLongline Webbing
Once you move on to using a pulley rig you are going to have to make the choice of what slackline webbing to buy because most of the pulley kits do not come with slackline webbing (the line you walk on).
Slackline line webbing is a topic that advanced slackliners have lots of opinions on and can be very subjective. So I think the best advice I can give on choosing the right webbing is to try as many different slacklines as possible and buy the webbing you enjoy the most.
A few basic things you should know about longline webbing.
When it comes to long lining and high lining 1 in. line with minimal stretch is most often used.
Long line webbing can cost from 75 U.S. cents per foot to $3.50 per foot for premium silk webbing.
There are many different kinds of slackline webbing you can buy. A few things that should be taken into account before you buy webbing are,
Safety. You might be able to save some money by using some industrial webbing you find on a generic site but you should only purchase slackline webbing from a vetted slackline company.
One of the most trusted company's for longlining and highlining pulley systems and webbing can be found at http://www.balancecommunity.com/Slack-Science/all-about-slackline-webbing
How long of a line do you want to set up?
There is webbing better suited for different ranges of a line for example 300 ft - 400 ft lines and over 1000 ft. lines Additionally the same webbing will behave with different characteristics at different lengths and tensions.
What type of slacklining are you into and what are your slackline goals?
There is some long line webbing that can also be used for trickline or line surfing. So you have to figure out if you want a line solely for long/highlining or for multipurpose use.
How much stretch do you want in the line(webbing)?
Higher stretch webbing will effect they type of rigging set up you will need to get the line to the right tension. Also, the webbing is cheaper than low stretch webbing
Low stretch webbing set up is a little easier and quicker because not as much tension is needed to set up the line.
Longlines Over 300 feet or 100 meters
After you have masted a 300 ft lines you can progress to even longer lines but this is where rigging systems start to get very expensive and even more complicated to set up .
These rigging systems start out around $800 (U.S.) and can go up to a few thousand for just the rigging equipment alone.
The components for these pulley systems have to be high quality to ensure safety because of the extream amount of tensions that is put on the slackline webbing.
Here are some videos that will give you some examples of the type of stuff you will have to learn to set up lines over 300 ft (100M) long.
Guide to setting up more advanced pulley systems.
Some more advice on choosing slackline webbing.
How to Walk a Longline.
The walking tutorial starts at 6 minutes. He does a great job describing the proper way to walk on a long line. Additionally, he describes how different lengths of line feel when walking on them.
Take Longlining to the next level with Highlining.
Becoming proficient at walking a 300 ft line can set you up to make the jump to highlining. By the time you make it to highline walking I would say long line walking is no longer a hobby and will become a lifestyle where you will be looking to travel all over the world with like-minded people looking for places to rig up a highline.
High lines have been set up across mountain tops, high-rise buildings, and canyons.
Rigging up a high line should never be attempted without lots of rigging experience. Furthermore, highlining is going to require addition rigging equipment for safety and more advanced rigging skills.
Setting up a high line is beyond the scope of this guide and is something i think should only be taught in person by someone who has lots of rigging experience due how dangerous setting up a high line improperly can be.
Be inspired to become a balance master with some the best slackline highline videos i could find.
Are you thinking getting into long line walking may be too expensive or complicated to set up but still want to get into slacklining? Check out one of my other begginer guides to slacklining some other styles of slacklining are a bit easier to get started with.
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