There are several ways a slackline can be tensioned. Each has its pros and cons so let’s take a look at each one of them.

Ratchet

A simple mechanism for webbing tensioning. It applies tension force which is based on the principle of various fixed mechanical lever ratio which as such cannot be altered. In other words, the more you wanna tension the line, the more force must be applied but only to a certain webbing length; then not even muscles can help.

Ratchet is ideal to tension basic slackline kits up to 20 m long or tricklines.

Pros:

  • Simple and quick operation
  • Low price

Cons:

  • The system tension cannot be decreased easily
  • Limited reel capacity
  • Faster wear of moving parts

Ellington ("primitive system") 

A simple pulley system (efficiency ratio 4:1) called Ellington, or primitive system, utilises steel carabiners instead of pulleys, and a webbing instead of a rope.

It’s suitable when setting lines up to 30m.

Pros:

  • Low-weight
  • Low price
  • Extremely reliable upon installing

Cons:

  • Tension cannot be easily decreased 
  • Requires proper handling

Soft-release 

Essentially a single webbing wound up between two shackles or carabiners and secured with a knot. It is used especially when releasing the line using Linegrip, but can be used to tension the line as well. Essentially, it’s a very simple brake-free webbing pulley. EQB Sheriff FX is commonly used when tensioning with Soft-release.

It can be used to rig lines up to about 30 m long.

Pros:

  • Low weight
  • Low price

Cons:

  • Low efficiency
  • Requires certain skills

Buckingham

A tensioning system that uses Linegrip and a weblock (ideally EQB Sheriff FX) to make a pulley system (the webbing is used instead of the rope). Due to its low-weight, the system is frequently used in highline. Buckingham’s efficiency depends on the weblock geometry, weave and stretch of the webbing, too.

It is regularly used to tension lines up to 50m.

Pros:

  • Low weight
  • Low gear requirements
  • Tensioning system remains off the line

Cons:

  • Intense webbing friction in the weblock

EQB Tandem FX

A professional webbing pulley system based on the soft-release principle where the main difference lies in having a 25mm line weblock and brake already integrated. That lets you achieve far greater load than you’d normally get.

Tandem can be used to tension lines up to about 50m long.

Pros:

  • Low weight
  • Easy system tension regulation
  • High efficiency

Cons:

  • Requires certain skills

Rope pulley system

The most common tensioning option for lines over 50m long. There are pulleys, a rope, a rope break and connectors. Various pulley combination increases the system efficiency and thus allows to set a line of any length.

A 100m longline can be tensioned using EQB Minima; 200m line with EQB Quatron.

Pros:

  • High tensioning efficiency
  • No length threshold (important for high-stretch PAD webbings)
  • Versatility

Cons:

  • More expensive
  • Requires tensioning techniques knowledge

usage of slackline kits according line length

usage of slackline kits according line length