What NOT to buy | Highlining 101

“Buy things you can use for multiple purposes.”


Each slackline specific company sells slackline kits. Unfortunately there is no perfect slackline kit that you can use every part for highlining in the future, and that is ideal if you buy things that can be used for both.

Carabiners are always helpful but have limited use on a highline, and it's nice to have a slackline you can beat up in the park and save your highline webbing for highlining. Longlining in the park is fun, but to buy 100+ meters of webbing and big pulleys can get expensive and you may not use either on a highline.

I do recommend the basic kits to start with if you do not currently own a slackline, because it is always nice to have a basic slackline. Just be mindful of future purchases as the goal is to buy things once! The background gear wall on HNTH is not success but failure. No one needs that much gear.

We will show you the pros and cons of all the gear available that is relevant for what we are teaching in this course. You will have to decide if saving a few extra dollars on gear that might be heavier or less effective, or buying something that will be better long term is right for you. Where you live can also play a factor in what you buy. We try to give you the best tools to make those decisions.


Things you DON'T need:

- Ratchet slackline kits are the easiest kits to buy and set up. Even I own one for when I’m feeling extra lazy. However, you can not use any parts of these in a highline and not only that, they do not prep you for highlining as we walk on 1” (25mm) webbing and these are 2” (50mm) wide. Train on what you will be highlining on.

- Super low stretch polyester webbing is easy to rig in the park but sucks to whip on when rigging under 50 meters. If the stretch chart looks like this, where at 4kn it is lower than 4%, then it is not something you will want to highline on if rigging under 50m.

- Giant shackles or hardware, they are strong, but unnecessary and you won’t want to carry such heavy gear up a mountain in the future.

- Giant pulleys like the image of the 3” SMC pulleys are not useful for highlining, try to get a light weight pulley system like RAED has that could be used on big highlines. But even then you won't really need pulleys for highlines so just know that if you buy them, you will only be using them in the park. Diagram below shows the buckingham tension system which we use on highlines and if you add the 2 extra lineslides/hangovers it gives more mechanical advantage for park lines.

- Amazon or off brand slackline gear. Only trust quality slackline companies for gear that you trust your life to. Don’t buy crap on amazon or ebay that you will trust your life to!

Things you DO need:

- Harness: Buy a normal climbing harness. $40-$60 takes you a long way for a normal harness but many avid highliners use the Arc’teryx 395a with adjustable leg loops because it is so light weight. It isn’t good to sit in for long periods of time, if you plan on that for some reason, big wall harnesses give more padding. Just don’t buy that crappy harnesses you can rent at a climbing gym. Industrial harnesses with clip in points at your back or chest are also awful because you won’t be able to climb a leash once you fall. Just stick with a normal climbing harness.

- PAS: You need a personal anchor system to be clipped in near a cliff edge. Petzl’s Connect Adjust Lanyard is too short in my opinion but they do have a longer one that has two connections called the Petzl’s Evolv and that is nice for really steep areas that you need to be extra safe. For safeish scenarios, smaller personal anchors like Metolius Easy daisy is convenient to leave on your harness even when you highline but probably won’t hold you if you fell over the edge and loaded it with factor 2 forces. The Prucell Prusik is easy to home make with 5mm or 6mm coordalette. That is my preferred anchor when rigging highlines on cliff tops where I am not loading it full time.

- Shoes: If you choose to wear shoes while highlining, thin soled shoes are the best. Shoes can be great if it is cold outside or if you have plantar fasciitis and can’t walk on highlines for extended periods of time barefoot. But if it has a thick sole you won’t be able to feel the line and where your foot is relative to it.

- Gloves: Some choose to use full gloves but I enjoy using fingerless gloves that are thin and can protect my hands but also give me dexterity while rigging or catching the line.

- Carabiners: You need some for anything you do. Carabiners should not be used in longlining, or master points of highlines but your PAS needs some and anything you are trying to keep from falling down a cliff needs some. If you have none currently, I recommend 6 non lockers like BD OvalWires as they are the work horse of what I use. I recommend 4 small auto lockers and 2 large ones which you can see weighmyrack’s great breakdown of all your options

- Lineslide: EVERYONE needs their own line slide if they plan on highlining. These are carabiners with wheels the width of the webbing. The two best ones on the market are the Hangover Royal (don’t buy the others, they have spaces in between the wheels) and now the Rollex which is comparable in every way as the Hangover. Don’t even bother with the cheaper models. You will regret it. And don’t buy locking lineslides. The lock spins when you are trying to get it on and off the webbing and is a total pain in the ass. You are either attached by a leash or a locking carabiner with a PAS so the lock on them is unnecessary.


If you have feedback, additional information, more correct information, or just good ol' typos that need fixing, please email me at skylining@live.com or leave a comment below.


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