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Easiest Way to Attach a Zip Line to a Tree

When installing a zip line in your backyard, one of the first things that come up is how does a zip line attach to a tree? Most people will have a rough idea but we want to show you examples to put your mind at ease. There are only two recommended methods and they are actually really simple once you can visualize it. We will also go through a few ways you can protect the trees you are attaching a zip line to. 

Zip line Basics

Before we go any further, I want to make sure you are being safe. This starts with the quality of your anchors, or trees, in this case. Your tree must have a 12-inch diameter to be considered safe. It also shouldn't be a dead tree, or rooted in loose soil. Only attach your zip line around to the trunk of the tree, not a branch. You can also use wooden/steel posts in the same manner, but use common sense or talk to an engineer! Check out how to install a zip line for a more in-depth guide.

Cable Sling

The most common way to attach a zip line to a tree is via cable sling. What is a cable sling? It is designed to wrap around the backside of a tree with the two loops connecting to a turnbuckle or the rest of the zip line cable. 

cable sling

Refer to the charts below to find out the correct length/gauge for your tree!


Choose based on tree diameter.

Tree Diameter     Sling Length
2 Feet 8 Feet
2 1/2 Feet 10 Feet
3 Feet 12 Feet


Match to gauge of main zip line cable.

Sling Size     Basket Strength
1/4" 14,000 lb.
5/16" 19,600 lb.
3/8" 25,000 lb.


Cable Loop or Swage

The second way is to utilize just the zip line cable itself. As long as the end of the zip line cable has a swage end, or a loop, feed the rest of the cable through it. With enough tension, the zip line cable will stay up.

cable swage loop

Tree Savers

Tree savers are necessary because having a steel wire wrapped around a tree with sideways and downwards tension will scrape the tree bark. Thankfully there are two cheap and effective ways you can go about making sure your tree remains in pristine condition. After all, the trees are at the core of providing you and your family hours of fun. 

The easiest way to obtain tree savers is to purchase them here. They have designated cable grooves and the plastic will survive harsh weather conditions. If you use a cable sling or feed the cable through a swage, the tree savers will be in between the cable and the tree. tree savers

The second method is a lot more cheaper, but will require some work. Take some 2x4 wood blocks, nail them into the tree and have the nail be where your zip line cable sits. Space the tree saver wood blocks evenly around the tree, ensuring equal pressure.

tree saver wood blocks




Now you know how to attach a zip line to a tree as well as the safest way to preserve your tree. In the end, a zip line installation for your home is straight forward. Be sure to explore the rest of our website for zip line kits!

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