Zip lines have become a popular recreational activity. Building your own zip line is not a difficult task. Riding a zip line is an enjoyable activity, especially when the line ends over the water. But you don't have to be near a body of water to build your own zip line. You can construct a zip line in your backyard that the whole family, adults and children, can enjoy any time of year.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Tree trimmer
- 2 wood or metal poles
- Eye bolts
- Stainless steel cord
- Dowel or handle
- 2 turnbuckles
- Ladder or platform
Select the location where you want your zip line to run. If you plan on using poles to anchor the line, drive them into the ground at the predetermined location in your backyard. Tie a piece of rope from pole to pole to see if there is anything blocking the zip line's path. If you plan on anchoring your line to two trees, tie a rope between the two trees to determine if anything needs to be cleared from the swing's path.
Use your tree trimmer to clear away any debris--plants, bushes, shrubs or low-hanging tree branches. At the foot of each pole, or tree, use your shovel to make a dirt patch that radiates four feet in a circle from the base of the pole or the tree's trunk. This dirt patch will act as your "landing zone."
Attach the stainless steel cord to both poles or trees. Tie the lines tight enough to support the weight of whomever is riding the zip line. You can drill holes in each tree or pole and attach the line with eye bolts to ensure they are secure. One end of the line should be higher than the other to allow the zip line to work properly and use gravity as its driving force.
Make your zip line as tight as possible. Attach a turnbuckle to each end of the stainless steel cord. Tighten the line using your ratchet. After the zip line is secure, test its stability. Go to the highest end of the cable and hang on it with both hands, raising your feet off the ground. This process will help you determine if the line is tight enough. If there is too much give in the line, riders will bottom out on their way across the backyard. Tighten the line more if necessary. Test its durability again by hanging from the line at the highest end. Continue this process until the zip line is as tight as possible.
Attach the pulley to your zip line. Drill a hole in the centre of your dowel. Thread a piece of rope through the hole and tie the loose end into a knot large enough to cover the hole. This knot will keep the handle from sliding off during use. Attach the other end of the rope from the handle to the pulley, making sure to firmly tie a knot underneath the pulley.
Place your ladder, or platform, at the foot of the pole or tree on the high end of the zip line. Climb onto the ladder or platform. Jump forward in the direction of the line to take a test run. As long as there are no hitches in the way the zip line performs, you are finished. If you notice any problems, adjust the line. Test the line again before you let anyone ride your new zip line.
Tips and warnings
- For extra security, place an old mattress at the foot of the pole or tree at the end of your zip line for an easy, comfortable landing.
- If you don't feel comfortable building a zip line from scratch, there are kits available to purchase from many online sources. Fun Ride Super Z, Deluxe Fun Ride Zip Line Kit and Supreme Zip Line Kit are good choices.
- You can add a plastic seat to your zip line by extending the rope down from the handle, drilling a hole through the middle of the seat and tying a knot underneath.
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