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For day 3 of the 12 Days of Outdoor Christmas we are excited to announce Gibbon’s Slacklines! We’ve been slacklining with our climbing webbing and gear for a few years and have enjoyed it. Then two years ago, we went to the Teva Mountain Games in Vail and saw all of these young kids doing crazy tricks and using a slackline just like a trampoline. Needless to say, we were very impressed. We like slacklining because it is something fun to do by itself, is a great addition to a lazy afternoon and always adds to our camping trips. Everyone has fun with it from the neighbor kids to our 86 year old grandma!
Photos Courtesy of Gibbon Slacklines
Gibbon gave us one of their Funlines to review and it totally lives up to its name! The Funline is 40’ of webbing with a ratchet and loops to anchor it around trees, rocks or some other sturdy support. We set it up in a small, 10’ area first, then set up our own ancors and extended it to a 45’ gap. We also set it up in a park close to us and enjoy playing around. One thing of note is that the trick to get the line flat is to fold it in half as it goes through the loop at the anchor point.
The best thing about the Funline is its ease of set up. Compared to setting up slacklines with my climbing gear, all I had to do was wrap it around our trees and crank the ratchet down. I was impressed with how quickly I was up and ready to play. Also, with the ratchet, I could easily set it up and tighten it by myself rather than requiring multiple people to pull it tight enough to walk on. This feature alone, makes it easy to get into slacklining and set up the line for any beginner.
Also, both of our kids love it. Whenever we set up the slackline, they want to be a part of it. Chloe in her 2 year old voice goes around saying “sat lion” and will request it for days. Sometimes we set up a hand line about 3 to 4 feet higher then the slackline that Mason could grab onto. The first time we set it up, he went back and forth on it for about 2 hours, jumping off, hanging, bouncing, climbing back on and had a blast. The only problem becomes taking turns practicing because everyone wants a turn.
Probably the funnest thing about the slackline is that the whole family can get in on the fun and enjoy it. When we had all of Jessica’s brothers visiting a few weeks ago, we all spend a few hours taking turns playing on it.
- Great family fun
- Quick set up time and with no extra parts – setup is super easy
- The ratchet system
- The wider line makes it much easier to balance on than the 1 inch webbing, so it is good for a beginner line.
- Lots of online resources and videos at Gibbon’s website to go from beginner to learning tricks and mastering the slackline
- We keep imagining places we can use it
- It is something great you can do on its own, by yourself, with a group or take as an addition to your regular adventures.
- Due to the weight of the ratchet, if it is set up on the top, it can twist the line to one side or the other. We easily avoided this by setting the ratchet up on the bottom so it just hangs there, which worked great.
- Slacklining takes practice! It is hard and takes a long time to get good at. You’ll get frustrated and fall off over and over again. It is also a sweet feeling once you start getting it and the challenge actually draws us in.
A few additional suggestions – When you are first starting to slackline here would be a few of the things that we’ve discovered that may assist you.
- Anticipate having a very “shakey leg” the first time that you try it. This is normal and once you get your weight on the line, you should settle down, then with just a little practice, this goes away as you get used to how the line feels and you
- Start off with a shorter distance between your anchors. There will be less play in the line and give you a sturdier platform to practice on.
- Setting up a hand line a few feet above the slackline is a great way for kids, or yourself, to get a feel for it and practice balancing. Also try having someone stand next to the line and have one hand on their shoulder for support as needed. Once you get a good feel, practice walking back and forth on it, give it a shot without the hand support
- Master standing up on the line by yourself. Up, down, up, down. Get comfortable with the movements to balance one foot, then your full weight up on the line.
- Practice falling off as well as recovering from near falls. Try just standing there and seeing how well you can recover from the different movements that make you fall.
- Concentration is key. Focus on a quiet, relaxed body. Similar to yoga or Pilates when you are attempting a difficult stance and holding it, your focus makes one of the biggest differences. Focus on the other end of the line.
- Keep your eyes on the other end of the line where it attaches to the anchor. Looking down at your feet, it is much harder to maintain your balance.
- When taking steps, I find that if I’m crouching just a little, I have a much easier time taking consistent steps. The lower center of gravity as well as your legs ability to adjust to the bounce and flex of the line assist as you make your steps.
- Enjoy it and have fun!
We live in Colorado, and if you live here as well, Gibbon is launching a scholarship program in 2012 touring around to high schools and colleges in the state holding clinics and starting regional slackline clubs. In addition, they will be hosting competitions and award a scholarship to the winner.
Gibbon has generously offered to give away one of their Funlines to one of our readers. To enter this give away you can do the following:
- Leave a comment telling us why you would like to have a slackline.
- Like Gibbon on Facebook here: Gibbon Slacklines and come back and leave a comment that you did.
Also, be sure to check out Gibbon’s website and watch for a special Thanksgiving deal.
Thanks for participating in the 12 days of outdoor Christmas from Bring The Kids and we’ll see you tomorrow for the next installment of the series.