The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Gibbon ClassicLine Review

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Price:  $75 List | $67.49 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Inexpensive, easy to walk, durable.
Cons:  Line shorter than advertised, not versatile.
Manufacturer:   Gibbon
By Libby Sauter  ⋅  May 17, 2015
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 12
  • Ease of Set-Up - 20% 8
  • Versatility - 20% 5
  • Quality - 20% 7
  • Disassembly - 20% 7
  • Features - 20% 5

Our Verdict

The Gibbon ClassicLine is the original 2-inch slackline for everyone. Gibbon appeared on the market years ago as the only company actively marketing to beginners and non-rock climbers. Unfortunately, the line has not changed much in recent years as slacklining has progressed and advanced. The inexpensive price tag is the only standout feature of this line. There are several other beginner models on the market today that are slightly more expensive but offer several additional features, like an overhead hand line or included tree protection. This line is fine if all you're looking for is an inexpensive short line to walk back and forth on. For five dollars more, check out our Best Buy winner, the Slackline Industries Base Line, which gives you similar ease of walking but with a longer line length plus additional features.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

This is a 2-inch, ratchet-based, 15 m (49 feet) line. This model is an update to their previous "Gibbon Classic" (our former Best Buy winner). This line comes with a different print and a "new and improved ratchet and ratchet handlebar."

Performance Comparison


Gibbon made the first widely marketed 2-inch slackline. They continue to have a presence in the industry  but are beginning to fall behind the competition.
Gibbon made the first widely marketed 2-inch slackline. They continue to have a presence in the industry, but are beginning to fall behind the competition.

Ease of Set-up


Gibbon pioneered the 2-inch line with a ratchet for tensioning. There's a sewn loop at one end of the line for wrapping around a tree and a separate loop attached to the ratchet's piece of webbing. This line goes up in five minutes with only one person. Like all lines with a limited anchor size, the trickiest part of set-up is finding two anchor points (often trees) of adequate diameter that are appropriately spaced. As well, in order to get a long life out of this product, the user must know to keep the webbing in line with itself while tensioning. This model is no different from any other ratchet system in this respect.

Versatility


The Gibbon ClassicLine is not versatile and it scored poorly in this category. While it felt as though the webbing had more bounce than previous editions, the total length of webbing is only 49 feet, which includes the 8 feet in the ratchet sling. This limits the length of walkable line available. All other slackline brands do not include the length of the anchor webbing in their overall advertised line length.

One of the problems we had with this line was the length. It's advertised as 49 feet long  but Gibbon includes the 8 feet of ratchet webbing in this total. This makes the walkable line length much shorter than other similar lines.
One of the problems we had with this line was the length. It's advertised as 49 feet long, but Gibbon includes the 8 feet of ratchet webbing in this total. This makes the walkable line length much shorter than other similar lines.

Because the webbing is still fairly stiff, this line can be set up low to the ground, which is a plus for beginners but offers little opportunities for advancing.

Quality


Like all ratchet tensioning systems, there is a risk of the ratchet fraying the line if proper care is not taken while rigging. However, when rigged with care, this line lasts for years. During our testing we came across the older "Classic" version that was still in decent shape after being left up and repeatedly used for two summers in the mountains.

This two-year-old Gibbon line has withstood two full summer seasons in Yosemite. It's weathered and stiff  but still usable.
This two-year-old Gibbon line has withstood two full summer seasons in Yosemite. It's weathered and stiff, but still usable.

The ratchet on the new Gibbon ClassicLine is an improvement in terms of durability and comfort over the older models, but there is nothing unique about it that stands out against the current competition. This line holds up well and the ratchet didn't give us any more trouble than any other. For a similar line that has all these features plus a hand line for beginners, check out the Slackers Classic Series Kit.

Disassembly


Taking down a slackline rigged with a ratchet is always a little exciting. All the tension must be released with your hands near the action. When done properly, it is easy and safe. The tension is released when you unlock the ratchet by opening it all the way. It makes a dramatic POP, the cog turns freely, and then you pull your line out. Simple, as long as you keep your webbing organized while doing so.

If you aren't careful when de-tensioning your line  the webbing can jam in the ratchet  damaging the webbing and making it difficult or dangerous to disassemble.
If you aren't careful when de-tensioning your line, the webbing can jam in the ratchet, damaging the webbing and making it difficult or dangerous to disassemble.

The high force of the disassembly can cause the line to fray and catch in the ratchet if the user is not careful.

Features


The Gibbon ClassicLine is a barebones, basic model. It comes with the main and ratchet lines, and the only additional feature is a protective case to put around your ratchet once the line is rigged. This feature is meant to ensure that the ratchet stays in the locked position and prevents an accidental loss of tension. While it is a good idea, for a basic line like this that will not see very much dynamic action, this feature is unnecessary.

This 2-inch slackline is a barebones  basic kit. This nonessential ratchet cover is its only extra amenity.
This 2-inch slackline is a barebones, basic kit. This nonessential ratchet cover is its only extra amenity.

Best Applications


The Gibbon ClassicLine shines best when it is set up low to the ground for brand new slackliners. If all you want is a line to go between two points that are relatively close together for walking and learning static poses with the smallest dent in your pocketbook, this is a good line for you.

Learning to walk and practicing static poses are the best uses for this line.
Learning to walk and practicing static poses are the best uses for this line.

Value


This is the least expensive line on the market. While it doesn't offer much in the way of extras, if you want an inexpensive, durable line for walking and nothing more, this model fits the bill. Even though it doesn't cost much, when cared for appropriately this system lasts through years of heavy use.

Conclusion


While Gibbon and its lines were once the world wide favorite in 2-inch slacklines, the current offerings have not kept up with the recent innovations in the fast-paced US market. This line is inexpensive and durable, but its selling points end there. For a few dollars more there are equally durable lines, like our Best Buy winning Slackline Industries Base Line, which is longer and more versatile, or the Slackers Classic Series Kit, which has a more comfortable ratchet plus an overhead hand line for beginners.

Libby Sauter enjoying  a casual stroll close to the ground.
Libby Sauter enjoying a casual stroll close to the ground.


Libby Sauter