We all love an obstacle course. Nothing creates memories, laughter and bonds us with our children more than an adventure. Whether your kids have been watching Ninja warriors on television or have visited a ninja obstacle course. It might have inspired them to want to try out their own backyard obstacle course. In the past you had to visit an adventure park to enjoy an obstacle course.
Now it’s possible to buy a slack line obstacle course for your backyard. This means your children can have fun again and again and really master the skills required to complete an obstacle course.
If you are in a hurry then check out the Slackers Extreme Ninja line on amazon, it’s our best choice.
There are a few decisions that you need to make before buying a backyard obstacle course.
- Where will I attach the backyard obstacle course ?
- Which one should I choose? Spoiler: see above.
- How do I know what all these cool attachments are?
To make these decisions easier for you we have included a buying guide below. In the comparison chart below you can see our top three choices. If you’d like to look at each slack line obstacle course in more detail you can see reviews later in the article.
Slackline obstacle course comparison table
What is a backyard obstacle course ?
A backyard obstacle course is a new kind of playground for your backyard. This isn’t a permanent standing structure like you might find at the playground. Instead it’s a slack line rope attached between 2 trees, with obstacles dangling from it. Kids have to move from one end to the other by swinging on monkey bars, gymnastics rings and other fun attachments.
The idea for these obstacles courses is inspired by the Ninja warrior TV show and they offer kids ( and you if you are brave enough and choose a course suitable for adults too) an exciting challenge.
—— Buying Guide ——
Here are some considerations that will help you decide which backyard obstacle course is best for you. You need to think carefully about the size of your backyard, where you will be able to attach the line and what materials the slack line is made of. It’s also important to make sure the weight limit is correct and that you attach the ninja line safely to posts or trees.
— Length of slackline —
Choosing the right length slack line for your obstacle course is really important. The slack line that the obstacles attach onto is fastened onto a tree or post at each end of the course. First you need to figure out where you are going to attach the slack line so you can measure the distance and check the line is long enough.
Be sure to include the distance around the tree or post you will be attaching the line to because it has to be long enough to wrap around the supporting tree or post and for the slack to be tightened using a ratchet that will be included with your Slackline obstacle course kit.
We know that most people don’t know how long their garden is. It’s a good idea to measure it first but if you don’t have much time, we did some research for you to help you choose the right length. SWNS Digital estimated that the average garden length in the UK is 50 ft long. Taking into account that garden in the US are usually bigger, most of your yards are likely to be at least 50 ft long.
Gibbons slacklines suggest the tree you attach the slackline onto must have at least a 15cm diameter for it to be safe to support a slackline. Be sure to measure the diameter of any trees you will attach the line onto in order to make sure they are thick enough.
You will also need to take this into account when choosing your Ninja line length because if the Ninja line is 30 ft long and the diameter of each tree is 2 ft then you’ll have to minus 4 ft in total from the 30ft line, meaning you have only 26 ft distance between the 2 trees.
Some ninja lines come with an anchor line. If this is the case then you might have a slackline which is 30ft long for attaching obstacle onto and then an additional 5 ft on each end to attach to the tree.
— Obstacle course attachments —
Slackline obstacle courses come with lots of different attachments you can attach onto the line. Here is a list of some of the most popular attachments included with ninja obstacle courses. You should always look for a backyard obstacle course that offers at least 3 different attachments and more than one of each if possible.
Monkey bars are a popular obstacle that you’ll find on most backyard playground and ninja warrior courses on television. Monkey bars attach to the slack line in 2 places making them stable and easier to navigate than other attachments.
The only difficult with a monkey bar is that you often have to turn and face away from the direction you are going so you have to twist sideways to move along the course to the next attachment. We have written about indoor monkey bars and monkey bars for your backyard recently, if you are looking for a set of monkey bars.
The gymnastics ring attachment is included in most of these ninja courses. What makes the gymnastics ring fun is that it’s much less stable than a monkey bar. Grip onto it and you’ll start to twist and spin around. Hold tight and use your core strength to turn it to face the right direction and swing your arm onto the next attachment.
Using a gymnastics ring successful can require some abdominal muscles to help stabilise the motion and arm strength because for a short time you will be holding yourself on with one arm while you use momentum to shift to the next section of the course. Gymnastics ring attachments offer an upper body workout with all the fun that comes with swinging back and forth.
Rope ball Knot
The rope knot attachment is a challenging obstacle because you have to grip onto the rope. This means your children will have to grip more tightly to hold on and the rougher surface is more challenging to hold onto. Sometimes the rope knot attachments are replaced with plastic or rubber ball attachments which are more comfortable to hold your body weight on.
Spinning Ninja wheel
The Slackers Ninja line and Sports trail include a spinning ninja wheel. This is basically a rope connected to a tubular wheel made of either plastic or rubber. You can grip onto the wheel all the way around and once you have 2 hands on it the rope above will spin around quickly. Most ninja wheels spin very fast, which in my opinions makes them exciting but difficult to get past.
A rope ladder attachment is great for getting up onto the line. Most of the ninja lines are 7 1/2 ft above the ground and even when obstacles dangle lower than this they can be out of reach of children. Having a rope ladder attachment is a great way for children to climb up onto the obstacle course. Some kits also include tree climbing holds, which strap around the tree at one end of the line and can be used to climb up onto the course.
Obstacle courses have to hold our body weight. They have to be able to stay in place and take a lot of force. The force of our weight places pressure on the length in different directions. Most importantly the slackline your obstacles are attached onto has to be fastened tight enough using the ratchet. If it is too slack there will be a lot of unwanted movement that may place more pressure on the trees either side. A very loose line will also make it much more difficult for your kids to use because it will be moving up and down a lot.
Best backyard obstacle courses
There are a lot of Backyard obstacle courses to choose from. To help you find one and make your decision easier we have narrowed down 3 of our favourite choices and categorised them as follows:
- Best choice slack line for kids – Slackers Extreme Ninjaline
- Best course for adults and children – Sportstrail Ninjaline
- Best value choice – Flybold Slackline obstacle course
In our 3 reviews below we compare the backyard obstacle courses against the criteria we set out in the buyers guide above. In the conclusion we will compare all 3 brands so you can decide which you like best.
Slackers extreme Ninjaline kit – Best choice for Kids
Click the image to view Ninja line on Amazon
- Length: 30ft or 50ft (6ft ratchet line also included so total length is 36 or 56ft )
- Weight limit: 250lb
- Attachments: Ninja ring, 3 nylon rope knots, 2 16″ long monkey bar holds, 2 steel gym rings, tree climbers and climbing rope.
The Slackers Ninja line is our top choice for kids because it meets the requirements in our buyers guide above. Slackers include the option to choose a 30ft or 50ft line, making finding the right length ninja line for your backyard much easier. We think the size of the attachments, especially the rope knot and ninja ring, are the right size for a child to grip onto comfortably.
The 250lb limit is lower than a lot of Ninja lines but it’s perfect for children, it doesn’t try to be suitable for adults too, it’s an exciting children’s toy and Slackers Ninja line doesn’t try to do too much, it does exactly what children want from it, which is a ninja obstacle course that’s colourful and fun.
You have the choice of buying the 30ft or 50ft length of nylon rope and both come with a 6ft ratchet line and ratchet with TAR handles. The sewn pockets are positioned along the line spaced out in 14 different positions so you can choose where the carabener attachments fasten onto it and then the attachments strap on.
- There is one 10″ nylon ball shaped rope attachments that are small but they are strong and feel soft to grip onto.
- There are two 16″ long monkey bar attachment that are made from birch wood. The wooden bar hangs from two pieces of rope and is long enough to grip onto with two hands. Over time this is the attachment most likely to wear if left outside.
- 2 steel gymnastic rings that have an ABS grip that does a pretty good job of stopping your hands slipping off. If you want extra grip read our article about gloves that are for monkey bars.
Using the two gymnastics rings feels comfortable and they are heavy enough so that they swing in a realistic way that allows you to use your core strength to bring them under control and give yourself a tough body weight workout.
The slackers ninja line is well made, making use of nylon, steel and wood materials not to different from those used to pass safety requirements by other obstacle course manufacturers. There are a lot of attachments we think are suitable for children.
Some of the packages available from Slackers include a cargo net, please be aware that this is often quite long and might take up a lot more of your line space than you expect. This will leave less room for attachments so make sure you read the small print to see what you are getting.
Comparison with buyers guide expectations
The weight limit is 250lbs which meets the criteria we set out above.
The slackers Line is available in 30ft and 50ft lengths. We think this is good because it gives you more options when finding the right trees to attach the line to.
There are a good variety of attachments but the only downside is that if you buy the 50ft line the attachments can only be attached onto 30ft of the line. The remaining line has no holes for the carabeners to slot into and is no use other than to wrap around the trees at either end.
- You can buy additional attachments if you want to expand the course.
- The attachments, line and ratchet are all heavy duty.
- There are a lot of attachments included and they offer a lot of variety.
- Be sure to attach the carabiner attachments before tightening the line otherwise it will be very difficult to fit them in place.
- The Cannonball shaped knotted grips are a little small for an adults hand to grip comfortably.
- If you want a slack line for walking or balancing along with your feet this isn’t a good option for that purpose.
- The Birch wood monkey bar attachments will wear if left outside all the time.
- If you attach a cargo line to the course, it will take up a lot of space and less attachments will fit onto the line.
- The nylon rope grip balls are a little difficult to grip onto and very challenging for younger kids.
SportsTrail Monkey Line –
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We have chosen the Sports Trail monkey line because this is a quality piece of kit that can be adjusted to attach between two trees, posts or pillars and has 7 interchangeable obstacle attachments, including monkey bars. The object of this challenging course is to make your way from one end to the other using your arms to grip, swing and support you as you travel along the rope line.
If you don’t already know what a slack line is, it’s a line of strong rope that you attach between two objects and balance your way across it. With this monkey line the obstacles hang from the line so you are going to have to attach it high up using the strong steel ratchet so your feet don’t touch the floor.
The attachments include knotted ropes for gripping onto in order to swing across to the next challenge, trapeze bars, a pair of gymnastic rings like acrobats use and a climbing rope. I like the knots but gripping onto them is tough and takes some getting used to, Sports trail could improve their monkey line by making the knots a little more comfortable to hold onto.
Each attachment connects using a carabiner and a buckle set that can easily be removed and fastened in a different position along the rope. Transferring from a rope attachment onto the trapeze bar is tricky because you have to swing from a forward facing position into a sideways position.
You really need to practice and think your way around the course so you can figure out the best technique to swing between the different attachments.
We love that this kit, which can be up to 30 ft long can be folded into a small bag, slung over your shoulder and carried to your nearest park, for a camping trip into the countryside or a friends house. The main downside we found is that it can take a little while to put up and adjust in order to make sure the line is tight because otherwise the line can become bouncy and much more difficult to navigate across.
Also, for younger children, be aware that to navigate all the way to the end of the course will require some strength and practice but it is still a lot of fun even if you only swing on the trapeze bar or gymnastic rings.
If you purchase the sport trail monkey line be sure to check that the ratchet attachment buckles aren’t welded together and are one solid piece. Older versions of this monkey line used to include buckles that weren’t as secure as the non-welded buckles in newer versions.
- Includes 7 attachments as standard and more options available to purchase.
- The high 225 lb weight limit is suitable for both adults and kids to use.
- Obstacles can be removed if you want to try using the rope line without attachments.
- 30 ft long.
- Completing the whole ninja course will take some practice and require a little patience.
- Younger kids might not have the strength required to complete all the obstacles.
- Line flexes a lot so consider raising the height you attach the line.
Flybold Ninja Backyard Obstacle line
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Flybold have created a great looking ninja line that is a massive 40 ft long and holds up to 300lbs so it is suitable for both adult and children to attempt to cross. One of the best features of the Flybold line is that when attached correctly it doesn’t sag very much at all and the twin ratchet gear makes fastening and moving the fun attachments easy.
We love the design of the soft green colour line that attaches to the adjustable buckles on one end and combines with the blue ropes that attach to the carabiner on the other end. The buckle system allows you to adjust the position of each attachment and move them closer together or further away depending on how challenging you would like the course to be.
Because of the included ratchet system, with a couple of pulls on the lever you can fasten the buckle adjustments once you’ve positioned the attachment where you would like it.
To attach the slack line itself, the design compliments the use of the wide tree protectors to fasten the rope safely around a tree and protect the tree while doing so. If you want to attach the Flybold rope to another surface it is possible to attach it to a strong post of some kind but we can’t really advise on this, we would just suggest you make sure it is attached to something that is strong and will hold you securely.
- 4 gymnastic rings which will have you swinging back and forth like a gymnast while trying to navigate and shift your swing sideways onto the next challenge.
- 2 Fist holds which are basically big thick knots which are tied at the bottom of a piece of rope so you can grip onto it and swing along. This is very similar to just gripping onto a climbing rope but the knot makes the surface area a little bigger and easier to hold onto.
- 2 monkey bars – The monkey bar attachments can be gripped onto with two hands but unlike monkey bars you might find at your local park, they are attach by a rope on each end and will swing. Controlling this swing using core strength to change the momentum is key to passing this stage of the course and twisting yourself to face sideways requires practice in order to get the grip position right
- High quality nylon rope line that has dual use as a slackline for balancing along like a tightrope walker and 8 adjustable attachments.
- Three extra buckle straps included if you want to add more attachments later.
- The 40 ft length includes the whole nylon rope so when you fasten it around a tree, depending upon how thick the tree is you will lose some of that overall distance, maybe even up to 5 ft.
FAQ – Ninja backyard obstacle courses
How much does a backyard ninja warrior course cost?
The prices of Backyard Ninja courses usually range from between $50 and $150. For $50 you can expect a basic ninja line that is most likely no longer than 30ft and a set of attachments that are made from cheaper plastic or lower quality materials that are less comfortable to grip onto.
A cheaper priced rope line will often sag a lot more than the better quality expensive nylon lines of the higher priced options. This is often because the ratchet line and ratchet are not strong enough to tighten the line with enough tension so that it stays at a good height above the ground.
The closer to $100 you pay the more likely you are to receive a strong nylon slack line with a heavy duty ratchet system. A heavy duty ratchet with a strong ratchet line will tighten the line and allow you to hang many obstacle attachments from the line without it sagging and drooping towards the ground. Attachments at the higher price range usually have rubber grip attachments or are made of wood and sealed to make them last longer in their fight against bad weather if left outside.
Final Thoughts – Which is the best backyard obstacle course
There are so many exciting Ninja courses for kids that it can be difficult to choose one. Flybold, Slackers and Sportstrail are products I’d recommend for the reasons listed above.
Your little monkeys are going to have a lot of fun competing and turning into little ninjas racing along these courses in your garden. Be sure to choose the right length rope and attachments that are suitable for your kids to safely use and have the strength to navigate their way across.
If you want an exciting ninja obstacle course with lots of attachments, including monkey bars, monkey bar holds, gymnastic rings and rope knots that really test your upper body strength then the Slackers Ninjaline is colourful and fun.
If you prefer a simpler experience that also gives you chance to practice and learn to balance your way along a slackline then the Flybold ninja line is a good choice. It also blends into your garden with its green colour. Keep in mind the buyers guide criteria above. This information will help you make sure you have the right length and weight slack line course.