Alternative Tensioning Techniques
Pulleys, primitive systems and ratchets are not the end of the road when it comes to tensioning slacklines. This article will introduce a variety of techniques used in modern slackline rigging. Many were created to reduce the amount of gear needed to tension highlines in addition to speeding up the overall rigging process. One piece of hardware that becomes essential when using these methods is the LineGrip. We have mentioned it in previous articles but these techniques rely heavily on this wonderful piece of hardware.
We have previously mentioned softpointing, but because this article relies heavily on the LineGrip device, we figured it would be a good idea to touch on it again. Simply put, softpointing is when you remove your tensioning system from a rigged slackline. It basically works by transferring the load from the tensioning system to the slackline itself. This is a great method if you want to set up multiple slacklines or if your pulley system has a low WLL and you do not want to subject it to cyclic loading. The benefit of using a pulley system with a lower WLL is that it allows you to use smaller, lighter pulleys.
When softpointing with a LineGrip you must attach the device to your pulley system, where the weblock would typically go. You must also create an additional anchor point for the tensioning system and anchor it independent from your slackline. To do this you can pass an additional sling around the tree, attach your pulley system to the RamLock with a soft connector or use a rigging plate like a masterpoint to rig both points from. The latter options require you to bring less bulky gear.
The LineGrip clamps onto the webbing when placed under the slightest bit of tension. As you increase tension, the clamping force gets stronger. While tensioning you can start pulling the slack through the webbing anchor (we call this tending the slack) to avoid a large degree of extension if anything were to fail while tensioning. When you’ve reached the desired tension you can slowly release the pulleys and transfer the tension to the webbing anchor.