What is a zip line?

What is a zip line?

A zip line is a cable of varying diameter that is strung between to anchor points and tightened using either a ratchet or a turnbuckle. It can be customized in length to be as little as 50 feet or as long as 1000 feet. In regards to backyard zip lines the general length is usually between 100 feet and 200 feet. A zip line consists of several different components:

Cable: Can vary in diameter between 3/16" and 5/16" for backyard use
Cable Clips: Used to secure the zip line cable around the tree. I recommend using at least 3 on each anchor. They must be the same size as the cable for safety reasons and are tightened with a wrench.

Trolley: The triangular steel piece that sits on the zip line cable and usually includes a handle. It almost always uses ball bearings for a smooth ride. Trolleys may have dual ball bearings or single, generally dual ball bearings increase the speed of the ride.
Braking System: Most zip line kits include their own braking system but there are two main types, the zip line brake block and the zip line spring stop. 

Brake Block: The brake block connects on the cable at the end of ride and has a piece of bungee cord that anchors nearby to allow the cord to stretch. Once the trolley makes contact with the brake block the bungee stretches and slows the rider before pushing the rider back towards the center of the ride so that they can dismount.
Spring Stop: The Spring stop works in a similar manner but does not utilize bungee cord as a means to stop. Instead, the spring stop is slipped on the cable during the installation process and sits at the end of the ride. When the trolley makes contact with the spring it compresses it as it slows the rider, once the spring becomes compressed it releases and springs the rider back to the center of the ride so that they are able to dismount.
You can also purchase a variety of attachments for a zip line, some of them include a harness, disc seat, swing set style seat, and also different trolley styles.
Want to check out a zip line kit that includes everything you need to set it up? 
Check out the Alien Flier R100, it comes with everything you need to set it up within a half hour, it's sold a Zip Line Stop.

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