slacklines are like tightropes, but slack! The idea is very simple – you tie up a rope between 2 trees and then learn to balance on it. It’s great fun, a good workout for your core muscles, very meditative, and I meet lots of people out in the park!

matt and charlie

slack line

Tight versus Slack

Most people seem to like to tie their ropes very tight, which I think has some disadvantages:

  • you need a ratchet system or a few people
  • if you fall it can catapult you
  • for distance you need to have the rope VERY tight and quite high too
  • if you fall with your legs either side…

I like it nice and loose because

  • its easier to set up (one person, no special equipment)
  • it looks like a smile!
  • otherwise I’d have to call it a tight rope!


All you need is a few metres of climbing tape. This shouldn’t cost more than £10 for 5 meters.

How to set it up

A good knot to use is the round turn and 2 half hitches. Use this on both ends of the rope around the trees. You can put in an extra turn to get more friction on the tree.

To make it easier to untie: while tieing the final hitch, put a loop through instead of the end of the rope. Then pull on the end of the rope to quick release.

knot pic

Getting started

now you’ve got the rope up, move to the centre and put one foot on the rope (in the direction of the rope). You want to have your center of gravity directly over the rope. Slowly put weight down on that foot and you’ll probably find that your leg starts wobbling uncontrollably! Don’t worry, this is totally normal! This stage lasts a little while but stick with it. Soon you’ll have the control to put all your weight on that leg and then you can start balancing!

getting up

Going further

After you can balance, you can learn to

  • walk forwards
  • backwards
  • not using your arms to help balancing
  • turn
  • stand perpendicular to the rope
  • jump onto the rope
  • jump while on the rope
  • lie down
  • do other things at the same time like yoga, contact juggling or Wing Tsun

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