|By David Stallman
Dec 31, 2011
I've done quite a bit of slack lining and high lining and have used all the things you're asking about, and there are some definite advantages between them.
The SMC pulleys are great, and so are the SBI. I would go with the SBI pulleys for most lines due to the integrated brake and high strength. The SMC ones will need a rigging plate and a brake. I've used grigris, petzl ID's, and the petzl rig. My favorite is the ID, it's a little beefier than the rig, and way beefier than the grigri. The grigri or a cinch would work just fine, and I've even seen an atc-guide used. The ID is much nicer than the rig for de-tensioning, as the can be the scariest and fastest parts of the whole show if done carelessly.
But back to the SBI, they're compact, and while the brake can be a little Slow to engage, I've never had it slip, and if a beefier brake is required for a longer line, it can easily be added to the system. The main difference between the SBI and the SMC are pulley diameter, which can make a noticeable difference when tightening the line, larger the better, SMC wins, but it's noticeable for short lines or if you have more than 2 people pulling. You can also easily add a multiplier to either system to make it waaaay easier. Best multiplier is a small BD pulley (aluminum with plastic pulley) attached to the line with a ropeman 2 or tibloc.
As for line locker, the gibbon and similar are super great, and allow you to remove slack in the line before you start to tension it, an impossible task with rings. Also, as you make longer lines, the gibbon's higher strength and larger bend radius can help prevent your line from snapping.
As for purchasing, our can obviously hunt and gather, but balancecommunity.com offers a pretty great one stop shopping. Also forum.slackline.com has a pretty good forum to buy gear and ask advice.
Tl;dr go with SBI and rings for park lines or SMC and line lock for long lines.