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Get to know Gibbon Slacklines

Gibbon Slacklines

Slacklining is a ton of fun. The learning curve can be a bit steep, however, especially if you don't have the optimal line when starting out. Luckily, Gibbon Slacklines makes lots of different options, so beginners can hop on and have fun learning to stay upright, while more advanced slackliners can upgrade to bouncier, longer lines for tricklining (doing tricks on a slackline).

Let's take a look at what's available.

Width and length

Traditionally, slacklines have been 1 inch wide, and Gibbon produces a few 1-inch options. A few years ago, though, they created the first 2-inch line and now have multiple 2-inch models.

So what's the difference?

2-inch slackline for beginners

A 1-inch line isn't necessarily more difficult to ride than a 2-incher, but with the latter option you have a little more surface area for your feet, so it can be better for beginners. Another reason for this is 2-inch lines can get much tighter with a ratchet system, giving a novice more stability and less up-and-down movement. A tighter line is also better for tricklining, so 2-inch slacklines in different materials are popular for that sport.

The line's length also makes a huge difference. Shorter slacklines are more taught throughout the entire length (specifically the middle). Longer lines will have more sway as you move closer to the center of the length. As you advance in ability, your line's length should advance with you.

Material and weave

At first glance, you may think it's just a tow strap, but that's far from the case! Slackline "webbing" (that's what they call the strap material) is thinner and more flexible. The webbing material in Gibbon slacklines ranges from static (very little stretch) to dynamic (high elasticity to provide bounce). Here are the webbing options you'll see:

Tubular 1-inch slackline
Static material: Low stretch, high strength for a taught, stable feel.
Elastic material: Some stretch, making it ideal for walking and posing with smooth movement.
Trampoline material: Thin line with plenty of bounce, which is great for performing tricks. This is the preferred webbing for competitive slacklining.
Standard weave: This is a regular, flat strap like you would see in a tow strap. Most Gibbon lines use this weave.
Tubular weave: A tubular weave means the strap has no edges, giving it a softer feel and excellent durability. You will see this used on some 1-inch slacklines.


2-inch Gibbon Funline

Gibbon ratchets are smooth, durable and easy to use. To tighten, all you do is thread the end of the line through the ratchet, making sure to pull out the slack in the line. Then pull the lever that releases the ratchet handle and start ratcheting. When it's as tight as it can be, close the handle all the way to lock it. To release, pull the lever up and open the handle completely, until it's flat. The tightness will release, and you can start pulling the line out of the ratchet.

Gibbon's 2-inch lines use one ratchet, where the ratchet is looped around one tree, and the slackline itself loops around the other. Gibbon's 1-inch slackline kits use ratchets on both ends.

Slack responsibly. Use tree protection!

Gibbon Treewear

It is important to wrap the tree -- the tree should be at least 12 inches in diameter -- before you wrap a slackline around it. This will protect the tree from damage, helping ensure that communities will allow slacklining in public parks and other public areas. Gibbon Treewear is the easiest way to protect the tree. It uses Velcro closure, so you can put it on the tree and the set up the slackline easily. You can also use carpet scraps, floor mats, foam sleeping pads, etc., but those tend to complicate the slackline setup more than the Gibbon Treewear.

You also want to make sure to take the slackline down after each use, so as to not damage the tree's vascular system. Short-term usage won't cause damage.

by Nathan Moulton

Nathan is the content manager at Bikewagon. He has written or edited product descriptions for thousands (probably tens of thousands!) of bike parts and accessories. Nathan joined the BWCC faculty in 2008.