April 22, 2020

How to Protect Trees When Slacklining?

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You often get into recreational and training activities to keep yourself fit and healthy. Many sports enthusiasts love to go for slacklining as it is instrumental in exercising the core body strength and learn the art of balancing. It also helps in inculcating zen-like focus.

If you are wondering how to protect the trees when you are slacklining, then this article will guide you regarding all possible ways to do so.

How to Protect Trees When Slacklining? You can go for do-it-yourself techniques like use large foams, mats, towels, thick carpets, paper boards to name a few and apply it on the anchor points before setting up the slacklining gears. You can also use tree protection gears offered by professional companies that are crafted to suit your needs.

In a broader term, slacklining is generally performed on a 1 inch to 3 inches width polyester or nylon rope stretched between 2 trees at a considerable distance which pose as the points of anchoring.

Slacklining is one of the favorite recreational sports as it combines a preparation of strengthening the inner core, maintaining a balance while moving between anchor points, and also exercising complete concentration. The problem lies in how slacklining impacts the barks of the trees.

Before going into the details regarding what can be possibly used to protect the trees, this segment will discuss why it is important to protect them in the first place.

Why is it Crucial to Use Protection Gears While Slacklining?

Protecting the trees marked as anchor points will project you as a responsible environmental citizen who knows the risks involved in doing this activity. Walking the extra mile and using tree protection gears will also keep you away from some overtly concerned cops and environment rangers.

More than any of these reasons, you should use protection gears for the trees while slacklining to keep yourself safe from any dangers. Some of the common risks involved in not using tree protection gears include:

Erosion of Tree Barks

If you are slacklining using 2 particular trees as anchor points once or twice, it might not harm the trees. However, repeated usage of the same trees for the purpose of slacklining can erode the barks and can cause the tree trunks to start chaffing.

Recurring usage of the same location on the tree trunk as anchor spots can impact the bark of the tree and expose the inner layers of the tree to the external environment. Once the inner layers are exposed, the tree becomes susceptible to bacterial infections which aid in decaying the tree trunk. This sets the motion for damaging the entire tree.

The anchor points on the trees are more susceptible to erosion in case the slacklining participant walks quickly or ricochets on the tightrope. This causes friction between the tree and anchor slings which chaffs the trunk and aids in exposing the inner layers to pests and infections.

Hence it is advisable to use tree protection gears if you are a slacklining enthusiast who goes to the same spot to practice every day.

Creating A Dent On The Tree

This happens when the slacklining enthusiasts are not very much aware of the right places to set up their anchoring gears on the trees. Many a time it happens that people use branches or other weaker portions of the tree to set up their anchoring gears to practice. This takes a toll on the branches or other parts of the tree and they start to bend or show some dents.

Hence it is not only essential to use tree protection gears but also it is important to be aware of where to set up the anchoring points on a tree. This move ensures personal as well as environmental safety.

Another nice choice in protecting the trees while slacklining - How to Protect Trees When Slacklining?
Another nice choice in protecting the trees while slacklining

Risk of Endangering Yourself

The tree trunks are generally strong and rugged. Repeated friction generated between the bark and your anchoring gear can cause wear and tear to the rope. The sling rope at the anchor point might become frazzled which can reduce the breaking point of the rope.

This situation will become extremely dangerous for your safety if you do not set the precautions in place. Using tree protection gears will not only save the tree but also save your slacklining anchor gears thereby protecting looking after your well being.

Now that you are aware of the importance of using tree protection gears while slacklining, the next segment will focus on how you can go about securing your equipment as well as the trees.

Learn More

Still Curious? Check out our Slacklining 101 Guide

How to Protect The Trees While Slacklining?

There is multiple methods which can be used to protect the natural habitat to keep the trees thriving. Remember if they fail then you lose out on anchor points t allow you to enjoy slacklining, treat them well and that way they treat you well.

Use The Common Items Present In Your Home

If you are new into the circuit of slacklining and trying it out as a beginner then get your hands on the common things lying around in your house which can be used to protect the trees and your anchoring gears. You can use large towels, foam sheets, old carpets, paper boards, and large mats to get the job done.

Also, make sure you get all the miscellaneous stuff to have your self-made tree protection gears in place. You would require duct tapes and ropes to place your towels or mats on the anchoring points on the trees.

Many slacklining enthusiasts use old carpets as protection gears for trees. They are large and serve the purpose of covering the entire girth of the trees.

As a beginner and an enthusiast who would like to experiment with the beauty of slacklining, using easy-to-get items as protection gear would serve the purpose initially.

Note the nice high quality pads on the trees where the slackline sits - How to Protect Trees When Slacklining?
Note the nice high quality pads on the trees where the slackline sits

Professional Tree Wear Kits

If you are regularly into slacklining and look for opportunities to practice frequently, then it is advisable to go for professional gears. Many companies offer professional tree wear kits which are specially designed to reduce the friction between the tree bark and your anchoring gears.

A lot of time is spent in setting up towels, carpets, or mats around the anchoring points. Applying duct tape or binding them with ropes every day while you practice can be time-consuming. Moreover, there is a fear that the tape or the towel would come off while the pressure is mounted on the tightrope.

Professional tree wear equipment offers the right specifications required in protective gear. They offer ready-made synthetic felts that are according to the appropriate specifications in terms of length and girth of the tree. Many professional tree protection gears also come with a Velcro setting that can tolerate high pressure mounted on the tightrope without coming off.

With professional gears, you need not worry about getting your duct tapes. These gears provide comfortable padding on the tree trunk thereby saving it from erosion as well as protect your slackline instruments.

Using Tree Protection Pads

There might be a possibility that you do not have adequate tree protection gear with you. In such scenarios, you can use thick padding made of foam, cotton, or anything that can help in making it into a sizable flexible pad. You can strategically place these pads around the diameter of the tree and set up the anchoring gear over those pads. This will ensure that the anchoring rope does not directly come in contact with the tree and starts chafing it.

As a slacklining enthusiast, you should seriously consider taking up the responsibility to protect the trees where you mount your gear. This is because the vascular set up of the tree is sensitive and fragile. It is located just beneath the outer layer of the tree trunk. Trees depend heavily upon tissues called xylem and phloem to transport the nutrients from the roots to various parts of the trees. If the bark gets corroded, the slacklining gear will then directly impact the vascular set up of the tree thereby cutting off the nutrients from the roots.

Learn More

Still Curious? Check out our Slacklining 101 Guide

Some Do’s And Don’ts While Practicing Slacklining

Mark those trees as anchor points which have a girth of minimum 12 inches: Thicker trees will give a tautness to your anchoring gear and will ensure that the barks are not easily chaffed. Healthy and rugged trees are conducive for frequently practicing slacklining.

Try to look for trees that do not have any decayed area or cracks around barks and tree trunk. Also, ensure that the tree does not have any void spaces within which you can test by knocking on various parts of the tree trunk.

Ensure that you do not use thin ropes for anchoring your slacklining equipment around the tree: Thin ropes are more susceptible to wear and tear. It is advisable that you go for anchoring slings having a wider diameter.

This helps in neutralizing the pressure on the tree during slacklining. Thin ropes put a lot of pressure on the tree trunks which is detrimental for the vascular set up of the tree present underneath the bark.

Do not keep the slacklining equipment mounted between the trees for a long time: When you are not practicing this activity, ensure that you do not keep the set up mounted for long hours as it might put pressure on the tree trunks and impact your equipment.

You wouldn’t want your equipment to lose its tautness and utility. Please ensure that you set up your slacklining equipment when you feel like practicing and then promptly take it down after you are done.

Learn More

Still Curious? Check out our Slacklining 101 Guide

Final Thoughts On How to Protect Trees When Slacklining

This article is aimed at spreading awareness about the consequences of slacklining on trees and how best they can be protected. So all the slacklining enthusiasts out there, balance, meditate and enjoy this sport as well as take responsibility towards protecting the trees which you are using as anchor points.

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Article written by Josh Koop
I have loved to play outdoor games since I was a little kid, as I grew up I found more games and I also found out about alternate rules. I started Outdoor Diversions with Matt to help get this information out to everyone so they can enjoy these games as much as I do!