Kids love zip lines. They are fun, easy to create and provide hours of entertainment for children of all ages. If you have a large backyard or even just enough land to attach a line between some sturdy trees, then setting up the steel cable is fairly inexpensive. And if your kids don’t like swinging on it after you build it, then you can use it as a clothesline or tow line for your car.
When buying cable for your zip line, make sure to get enough steel wire rope and pulleys to extend at least 50 feet (15 meters). Don’t skimp on cheap materials as the components of the zip line will need to be strong enough to support your weight and that of several children hanging on it at the same time.
Price should be between $100-500. Wire rope cable is around $1 per foot while pulleys are about $20 each for small ones, increasing to about $50 for larger pulleys. Also pick up some other miscellaneous hardware like nuts, bolts, screws, carabiners and anchors at a hardware store.
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You will need the following tools
• A saw for cutting wood
• A level to make sure your line is straight
• Pliers or vice grips for tightening nuts and bolts
• A drill with various bits for drilling pilot holes in wood, plus one for driving in bolts
• A hammer to pound in anchors
Zip line kits
Zip line kits are available online. However, these are often expensive and do not usually come with the steel cable you will need. Just google “zip line” or “swing set hardware kit” for buying guides and look for one that has the following things: 2 pulleys, 1 aluminum trolley with handle, 2 carabiners and enough steel cable to make a 50-foot (15 meter) line.
A zip line consists of two or three pulleys that are anchored to trees at both ends of the desired path; there should be no downward slope to avoid serious injury. The trolley runs on two parallel lines that are strung above the ground on posts, trees or other support structures.
The steel cable is routed through the pulleys at each end of the line and secured with carabiners to form an “S” shape so that it goes up over one support structure and back down to another before continuing in a loop. The kids sit in the trolley which is either suspended from a central support structure or held by children on each end. They simply pull themselves along as they slide down the cable, gaining momentum as it goes.
To create a straight line that can accommodate different numbers of children at various speeds without tangling, you should use triangle shaped supports on each side and angle them slightly toward the center. This will widen the arc on one end of the line and narrow it near the opposite end, allowing kids to pull themselves along at different speeds.
A single straight support is all that’s needed if there are only 2 or 3 children on your zip line; this will prevent tangling problems. But for larger groups, you can attach 2 or 3 supports at one end.
Again, make sure the steel wire is long enough for you to create an S-shape with a few loops in it that can accommodate 2-3 kids at once without tangling.
Thirty feet (10 meters) is the minimum for beginning riders. If you want to double that length then add another 10-15 feet (3-5 meters); of course, children will be able to go faster and further the more cable you use.
One of the things zip line enthusiasts like about this new trend is that they can construct their own. There are no limitations to the imagination, and new designs are coming out all the time.
If you really get into it, you can build your own pulleys or even make your own steel wire rope. A lot of people buy used clothesline wire rope for this purpose because it has more bounce than other types of cable, making it more fun.
Can a 4 year old zipline?
Absolutely. A beginning rider will be able to go up to 30 feet (10 meters) if the pulleys are set at the right angle; they can only go about 20 feet (6 meters) on a straight line.
How do you zip line a backyard for kids?
You can go to a local hardware store and buy steel cable which you then attach to two strong trees using clamps. The cable is what the kids will grab onto as they zip across (just like on a roller coaster).
For added safety, place an anchor at either end where the child grabs hold; this will keep them from bouncing around too much as they go.
The line should be about 30 feet (10 meters) long to begin with, and if you want it longer, just add more cable. Of course, the faster kids go the more fun they will have because of the speed factor.
How much does a zipline kit cost?
Zip line kits can cost from $40 up to $200, depending on the quality of the pulleys. It is really a matter of personal preference and what you want in terms of durability and weight limits.
If you plan to use this for an extended period, your best bet is probably going to be steel cable with galvanized support posts.
Are backyard ziplines safe?
Studies show that they are safer than riding a bike down the street. With a zipline there is no chance of falling off or getting hit by a car, and most injuries occur from hitting obstacles along the way (rocks, branches, etc.).
To enhance safety even more you can purchase protective clothing for your riders, such as helmets and gloves.
Zip lines are a fantastic way to get children outside and active while encouraging development of a variety of skills. They don’t have to be expensive or complicated either – you can easily build your own on a budget with just a little time, effort and inspiration.
How do you install a zipline at home?
The first thing you need to think about is where you’ll be placing the zip line. It needs to be strung between two strong trees so it can support the weight of several children at once.
Once you have decided on the location, attach a pulley to each tree using clamps so you can hang onto it when someone is on the line.
The next step is to attach another pulley to one end of your steel wire; this will hold the weight of the children as they take off. At the other end, secure a support post so you can fix it around waist height when the children come back in.
Your zip line is now ready for use!