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Zip Line Cable Basics - What Size Cable?

When talking about zip line cable it can be a little confusing especially if you don't know much about cable size or thickness.  What size cable is perfect for a zip line in my backyard? It needs to be strong enough to hold up a human, yet flexible for some needed bend.  If you are looking to install zip line wire in your backyard, you need to have cable that will be durable, safe and resistant to the weather. We carry heavy duty zip line cable specifically meant for zip lining.

Galvanized Steel Aircraft Zipline Cable


  • We only carry Galvanized Steel Aircraft Cables
  • 7x19 construction (7 groups of wires, with 19 wires per group) or 7x7
  • Works for back yards and for commercial applications


For backyard zip lining, a variety of sizes will work. We specifically carry four sizes: 3/16", 1/4", 5/16", 3/8". What is the difference between all of these? Essentially it's the cable thickness and cable diameter. 3/8" cable can hold the most weight, but it really isn't that necessary as it's primarily for zip lines over 1000 feet! 

For example, our Alien Flier zip line kits use 3/16" or 1/4" diameter galvanized steel cable which can withstand weights of up to 250 lbs. Our ZLP specialty kits all use 5/16" which can withstand weight of over 350 lbs!


Want to know more about cable? We tend to underestimate the load bearing capabilities of the cable, check out our zip line cable size chart to help you along: 

Gauge Breaking Strength Zip Line Size Weight
3/16" Cable 3,700 lb Min Breaking Strength Zip Lines Up To 200 FT .06 Per FT
1/4" Cable 7,000 lb Min Breaking Strength Zip Lines Up To 200 FT 0.11 Per FT
5/16" Cable 9,800 lb Min Breaking Strength Zip Lines Up To 500 FT 0.17 Per FT
3/8" Cable 14,400 lb Min Breaking Strength Zip Lines Up To 1,000 FT 0.243 Per FT


What is a Cable Swage?

A cable swage is a secured loop at the end of the cable that helps to attach cable or other attachments at a stronger breaking strength. When you buy zip line cable from us you can either choose to have raw or a swage at the end. 


Are you thinking of buying cable separately? All you need is 6 wire rope clips, and a zip line turnbuckle that is the same size as your cable and maybe some tree protector blocks. It is that simple! You just loop that cable around your anchor and secure it with the clips. 

If you'd like more information on the how to build a zip line or how to tighten a zip line cable, email me at



  • I want to buy 3/8" galvanized aircraft cable of 1000 ft . What will be cost of it so pls tell me.

  • What kind of cable would I need to install a zip line that’s 400m long. Many thanks

    ross graham
  • I think there is a typographical error.

    Stated at the top is:
    “while or 150 ft zip line kits and 200 ft kits use 1/8” diameter cable"

    Comparing the other kits in that paragraph, it looks like that should be 1/4" cable. Also, clicking on the link shows a 1/4" cable.

  • for a 3280 feet zipline what diammeter cable and wich one i must use..?

  • What if we only have one tree? what can be used for stopping point ? Eave of the house?


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