Slackline Industries Base Line Review
Cons: Minimal features
Manufacturer: Slackline Industries
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Slackline Industries Base Line Kit covers the "bases" for the beginner-intermediate slackliner. Designed with the novice in mind, this is an easy line to learn on. The 2-inch webbing has a nice stable feel underfoot, while the improved weave of the webbing over the original 2-inch lines of yesteryear gives it enough bounce to be fun as you begin to progress into entry-level tricks. For this review, we tested the 82-foot line (78' slackline + 8' ratchet) and includes tree protection.
Ease of Set-up
The Base Line is simple to set-up, even for the least mechanically inclined person. It has a ratchet-based tensioning system that makes set-up quicker and simpler than a traditional slackline.
The trickiest part about setting up any slackline of this nature is finding appropriate anchors. The most commonly used option is mature trees with sizable trunks. This model has eight feet of webbing on the ratchet end, giving it one of the longest anchors of the lines we tested. This provides plenty of length to fit around the majority of trees found in your local park or backyard. Its tree protectors, on the other hand, are quite short and are only suitable for trees less than 40" around. If you're hoping to use bigger trees, set-up is mildly complicated by needing to extend your tree protectors.
The webbing has well-defined graphics on one side only that didn't fade despite heavy use. This helps you eliminate twists when rigging the line and ensures that the webbing is laying flat before feeding it through the ratchet for tensioning. Finally, the handle of the ratchet is a soft-molded plastic that is comfortable in your hand as you tighten down the line.
The Base Line Kit is a great line for the beginner-intermediate slackliner. There are better options for the true novice and the more advanced slackliner, but its length provides room for progression from a short line to a long line, and the somewhat stretchy webbing leaves room to develop basic trick lining skills.
As the popularity of 2-inch slacklines has increased, the companies making these products have adapted them to the changing and growing demand. These lines were once nothing more than a tow strap the likes of which you could purchase at a local hardware shop. Now, the new 2-inch slacklines are calculated and precisely designed sporting equipment. This line represents a new generation of 2-inch lines. With a little due diligence in the set-up and disassembly phase, this slackline will last you for years.
As with all the 2-inch lines currently on the market, some fraying on the edge of the webbing edge was seen at the ratchet site when we repeatedly rigged lines of the same length. If you take care to keep the webbing straight and in line when feeding it through the ratchet and tensioning, the wear will be minimal, and the line will continue to be safe and fun, year after year. When we intentionally caused the webbing to catch in the ratchet (as one might accidentally do if the rigger doesn't tend the line while tensioning), this model experience similar wear to the other slacklines we tested.
Taking down this Kit is as easy as any other classic 2-inch systems with the bonus of a cushioned brake release lever. As with all ratchet lines, releasing the high tension in the slackline is a little dramatic, but the plastic-covered release lever on this model helps save your fingers and comfortably take down this line. The sudden snap of the ratchet releasing can cause the webbing to abrade if it weren't tensioned properly. Remember to keep the webbing aligned when you are tightening the line, so you have a good working line for years.
There are a few additional bonus features that make this model stand out from the competition. The extra-long ratchet line and the extra-long webbing are tremendously useful when the options for appropriate anchors are limited. For a slightly thicker webbing, it has a good walking feel. It's stable yet responsive and entertaining to walk in that eighty or eighty-five-foot range, and we found surfing this line to be loads of fun!
The ratchet on the Base Line has a nice plastic-molded hand grip as well as a plastic-wrapped brake release that facilitates safe and easy set-up and tear down.
Tree protectors are an essential addition to any kit. Many cities have banned the use of slacklines in parks without the use of some kind of tree protection. Including tree protection in their kit ensures that you will have uninterrupted fun all day, and don't need to make an additional purchase or spend time crafting instead of walking.
The ratchet cover is no more than a piece of the tree protection material that you cut out of the packaging along with a couple of velcro tabs so you can velcro the pad around the ratchet. We don't mean to gripe about a bonus feature, because it is better than nothing, but we would have expected something more "finished".
The Base Line has great value when you consider what it does well. The line has great durability, stability, and simplicity, for those new to slacklining. At roughly eighty feet in length, it offers a lot of growth opportunities.
This is one great all-around slackline kit. Don't expect this to be the greatest longline nor the greatest trick-line, but if you are just getting into it and you want to be able to learn and progress to walking longer lines, this line is a great choice.
— Adam Paashaus & Leslie Yedor