Slackers Night Riderz Zipline Kit – Kid’s ‘Best Present Ever’?
(Ideal Ages 3-8 but works for older)
Slackers is known for creating some of the best backyard adventures for kids of all ages.
Certainly one of the hottest items on lots of (including my twin daughters’) is a backyard zipline .
By extending the fun from day into evening with a lit up LED seat, Backyard Joe thinks the Night Riderz Series definitely meets the requisite ‘cool factor’.
How fast will the zipline go?
The speed of the zipline is directly proportionate to the slope of the wire and the quality of the trolley included.
Key Note: this kit does not include any kind of braking system so you need to either:
– leave some ‘slack in the line’ so the trolley slows on its own…
– or, mount the far end low so the rider can drag their feet on the ground.
- *Backyard Joe’s Version*: the two most critical elements for maintaining a safe zipline are:
- the gauge (weight rating) of the zipline cable
- the braking system
- I didn’t like the idea that if left unsupervised, the system did not have a built in braking system……so I added a bungee brake system that could be anchored to stop even the heaviest riders.
But is it really safe? Will it meet with Mom’s Approval?
Backyard Joe is married to a wonderful woman named Sue. But…
…when it comes to building/installing projects for our kids…each project requires a:
‘Safety Sue‘ (my wife) Seal of Approval
With 1/4″ gauge wire (approx. 1100 lb. breaking weight) and a weight rating of up to 250 lbs., the Slackers Night Riderz Zipline Kit seems to meet that mark.
- *Backyard Joe’s Version*: However, I like having a healthy margin for error. Plus, I want to have some fun on this thing too!
So…on our backyard zipline, I decided to step up the thickness of the wire and went with a 5/16″ wire for additional safety margin.
Plus, the cable in this kit is only 100′ and I had a greater distance than that between trees.
What about the environment? Will it hurt the trees?
You will need to attach the zipline cable to two strong endpoints. In most backyards, this will probably be a pair of trees (at least a foot thick).
However, wrapping the cable directly around the tree (that is what comes in the kit) will damage the tree and over time, kill it. Safety Sue and Backyard Joe both said ‘No Way’.
- *Backyard Joe’s Version*: A more environmentally friendly approach is to use tow straps (I used camouflage tow straps) with some type of tree protection that prevents tearing up the bark.
This way, if the zipline is moved or taken down during winter, your tree ‘anchor points’ are nice and healthy and no worse for wear.
How about rider safety gear?
Rule 1: Always have your kids wear their bike helmets or buy them a zipline helmet. You won’t get a second chance to get this decision right.)
Rule 2: There are multiple ways to ride a zipline. Some frankly, are safer than others.
- Trolley Handle only (least safe…for older teens and adults only)
- Trolley Handle + Seat (version that comes with Night Riderz)
- Trolley Handle + Harness (Safest)
*Backyard Joe’s Version*: Since I have older kids, Safety Sue approved the Handle+Seat combo.
– a ‘detachable’ heavy duty trolley for easy removal
– stainless steel ball-bearing rollers for larger riders
– long wear alloy sleeves will last years’ longer
Any special tools needed for installation?
According to the manuals, no. But according to Backyard Joe, YES!
- Cable Puller – ratches to pull slack from zipline cable
- Wire Grip – grips zipline cable during tightening
What others say about the Slackers Night Riderz Zipline Kit
My kids said “Best present ever”. “It looks really cool at night because the seat and stuff lights up. This is the best 100 bucks I’ve spent in years.”
Lights look awesome at night. “We are the hit of the neighborhood. Took my husband and me about an hour to get it put up, lights look awesome at night, will be fun in the summer, but all the kids had fun playing on it in the snow too!”
Makes good alternative to complete DIY. “Wish the kit came with a brake, but otherwise it is complete and was easy to set up. Kids used quickly and yet it will be easy to take down or move to another location temporarily if needed.”
Great fun. Wish a bit easier to install. “My kids love this thing. I followed the installation directions to a T, including exact start and end heights. I installed this alone (34 y/o male), but I think even if you had 3 strong people, you couldn’t get the tension the line needs which is why I’m giving it 4 starts. I ended up buying a cable puller and had it up inside an hour.
A great way to get kids playing outside. “This was a hit, a great way to keep the kids playing outside. It was simple to put up and, although one of the lights didn’t work, I was able to call the number and they told me they would send out the replacement trolley light. Very pleased.
Backyard Joe’s Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
- Quality ‘starter’ zipline primarily for those under 10 yrs. old
- No braking system –> minus 1 star
- LED seat; pegs the COOL DAD meter –> plus 1/2 star
- With suggested safety upgrades, suitable for all ages, all sizes
- Found on multiple selling sites including manufacturer
- I purchased through Amazon.com and found everything I needed (including listed safety upgrades) there
- Amazon Prime means Free 2-Day Shipping on most items
How do I measure the distance between the trees?
When measuring the distance between the trees, measure the distance from tree to tree, and add the measurement around the circumference of each end tree. Remember that this kit has a 5 ft sling cable enclosed and is best used with some type of tree protector.
Is it possible to get a longer cable?
Yes, however the longest KIT cable offered is 95 ft in length made of 3/16″ galvanized steel. However, you can build your own cable of ANY length needed like Backyard Joe by ordering your own cable on a spool.
Can the existing cable be replaced?
Absolutely. The cheapest way to do so is to order it online in a 100 ft. roll.
Can you leave the zipline up in weather? Winter?
You can leave the zipline up however, over time it will rust unless you use all stainless steel materials. Just wipe dry before reusing. Remove the trolley when possible to keep this important component as dry as possible.
What is the purpose of the Bungee Brake Kit? Is it necessary? How does it work?
The purpose of the Bungee Brake Kits (or alternative, zipline spring stop) are to gradually slow down the rider as you approach the end of the zipline. It comes with a brake block, 20′ of bungee cord and hardware for attachment to a tether/ground post/sandbag strap.