Kite flying is a popular hobby that many people enjoy, but it can be difficult to find the right line for it. When buying kite building kits or pre-made kites online, you may notice a lack of choice in kite lines-often these are inexpensive twisted nylon and often only suitable for recreational flyers.
The line you use should be appropriate for your kite and wind conditions. Line weight and material are important factors in choosing the best kite line. Different materials have different strengths and weaknesses, and this should be taken into account when deciding on the type of line. Bigger kites require stronger lines; combined with strong winds, if you are not careful or use a lightweight line, the line can break and your kite will likely drift away with the wind. We recommend that your kite line be made of polyester (aka spandex) for ease of use and ease of use. It is available in a variety of weights and strengths, providing options for kites of different weights, sizes and flight conditions. The braided version is also less tangled and easier to untangle from the braided polyester thread.
There are basically three types of threads commonly used for kite flying: cotton, nylon and polyester. The type of line you will use will depend on the quality and purpose of your kite flying and the conditions under which you regularly fly your kite. These lines have different characteristics and costs, so you will need to determine your kite flying priorities to make the best choice for your kite.
In the early days of kite flying, the Chinese used silk to fly kites, while the Japanese used cotton or hand-woven hemp thread to make kite lines. In India, nine strands of woven cotton thread were made and then coated with glue embedded with wool glass. These are often used on kites in kite competitions to cut through the threads of other kite flyers.
The choice of line is important and will affect the type of kite you fly and the type of kite you engage in. Different line types have different characteristics that make them suitable or unsuitable for certain kites and certain flight patterns.
The most common lines used for kites include the following.
Cotton thread. Cotton thread is the original thread used on kites and can be either single thread or braided cotton thread. This line is often sold with low-cost kites or children's kites. Although this line was inexpensive, it had some disadvantages and lost popularity in the kite flying community. Many kite stores no longer stock cotton thread for kite flying. The cotton thread is strong, which is a plus for this type of line, and it is not expensive. The downside to this type of line is that it can be heavy and tangle easily compared to other types of line.
Nylon line. This line is common among kite flyers and is usually used for flying smaller single-line kites. It is also relatively inexpensive and strong and durable. The disadvantage of twisted nylon line is that it will unravel over time and it tends to knot. The tangles can become messy and difficult to untangle. You can braid this thread to reduce the tendency of tangling.
Polyester thread. This thread can be braided or twisted and is more expensive than the other two options. Dacron is the brand name that offers this thread, and you will hear this brand synonymous with this type of thread. If you are not careful, the thread can get tangled, but the tangles are much easier to untangle. One advantage of braided thread is that it is flat when it unravels, rather than wanting to form easily tangled loops.
The advantage of nylon and polyester threads is that they come in different weights, thicknesses and strengths. This makes them versatile because you can adjust the line size and break strain depending on the size and type of kite you are flying.
What is the best line for kite flying?
The best line for kites is to use the line that best suits your type of kite. While this may not sound helpful, it makes no sense to add top quality, expensive line to an entry-level kite when a basic nylon line will do the job
So if you have an entry-level kite that is just getting started and usually flies in moderate winds, then nylon line is sufficient for your needs. Even though it tangles easily, it's not until you have to untangle the kite line from the crow's nest that you earn your stripes as a kite flyer!
However, if you want to choose the best kite flying line, then braided polyester line is the line of choice. Polyester lines are available in a variety of weights and diameters to choose the right line for your kite.
From a strength-to-weight ratio and versatility standpoint, braided polyester line is the best line for kite flying. Although this line is a bit expensive, the better quality line is worth it because this line is also abrasion and stretch resistant and will last a long time.
Is your line breaking or snapping while your kite is in the air? I have, and it can be a scary feeling to watch your kite drift away, never to be found again. Line break load is the amount of weight the line can hold before it breaks - a high break load allows you to fly a larger kite in stronger winds with less chance of the line breaking.
In the picture above, you can see "100# x 500′" - this means there is a 500′ line in the package that has a break load of 100lb (pounds). When looking for a kite line, be sure to check the break load of the line to meet your needs.
We also recommend that you choose a kite line for kite flying! This will help you adapt to any changes in wind conditions; if you choose to fly a larger kite than you originally planned, you can also switch the line to something with a higher breaking load point.
Kite lines/line lengths
Different lengths of kite line will change the performance of the kite. For example, longer lines create more drag than shorter lines, causing your kite to feel sluggish or unresponsive. Turning with a longer line also requires longer and more space to complete. The speed of your kite will also appear slower on a longer line during the turn. This is because your kite will fly longer arcs on longer lines than on shorter lines.
To see this in action, take a foot of string and tie it to a cork. As you spin above your head, you will notice the cork spinning at high speed. However, if you extend the length of the string to 5 feet, the cork will move much slower, but will cover more distance. This is due to the difference in the arc created by a short string and a long string.
People who are chasing altitude records or who want to fly bigger kites use longer strings. In moderate winds, using a longer line will allow your kite to float longer in the wind because it has a higher chance of catching the breeze to keep it in the air. In strong winds, a shorter line allows for better control of larger kites.
As mentioned earlier, a shorter line improves the kite's responsiveness and performance. This is often the reason why stunt kite flyers prefer to use shorter lines. In the case of cork and string, for example, a shorter line allows for faster turns in a smaller area.
Many of the factors that determine which line length and break load to obtain are the kite you are flying and the wind conditions you will be flying in.
How to attach a rope or line to the kite
As mentioned earlier, pre-made kites come with a kite line in a reel or package; your kite will also have a line extending from it to which you can attach the kite line - this is called a rein. Either way, these lines usually have loops at the end of the line. These loops allow you to easily connect and disconnect the line from the kite or reel, so there is no need to constantly tie and untie knots to attach and detach the kite.
These loops are designed for use with Lark's Head knots, which are perfect for use with your lines because they are so easy to tie and remove. To untie the knot, simply pull. Some knots are more complex and may be challenging for the beginning kite flyer.
Sleeves and Knots
You may ask, "Can I connect 2 kite lines with a knot?" Or, "Can I use a knot to connect items to my kite line for line art?" The short answer is no, because a knot on a kite line can reduce the overall strength of the line by as much as 50%. Remember: the strength of your kite line depends on its weakest link; in this case, the weakest link is the knot.
If you need to tie a knot in your kite line, it is most important to make sure that the line is not twisted and that the ends of the line are always placed side by side and do not cross each other throughout the knot.
Spool and winding handle
Grabbing fine kite lines can be difficult and dangerous, especially in strong winds. Advanced kite flyers who prefer to handle the line by hand often wear fingerless gloves to prevent "rope burn". However, if you are a beginner kite flyer, we recommend using a spool or wrapped handle.
Spools / Reels
Spools or reels remind me of old sewing machines with large spools of thread to keep all the threads neat and tidy. The same concept is used for kite flying. The spool allows you to slowly release your kite string while keeping the rest of it neatly wrapped around the middle. Kite flying spools often have handles on both ends to make them easier to handle.
When using the spool, be sure to wrap the line evenly around the center to prevent the line from building up on either side of the spool and spreading out in the center under tension. It can then be wound into a bird's nest.
As you can see, winding handles look very different from spools or reels, but they do the same job, albeit in a more compact way. Winding handles are very popular because they make it easier to wind the thread in. They are also constructed so that the thread can be wound from one side to the other and kept neatly. Wrap handles are also easy for children to grasp, as shown in the photo above.
Good winding handles often have locks to prevent the line from releasing once the kite has reached its intended height. Some winding handles are mounted on a sturdy frame that looks like the handle of a shovel. The frame is supported on your body and has a handle that allows you to tighten or release the kite line from the side.
In an extreme case, if you are flying a lightweight kite, you can even use a pencil or stick as a reel - remember, if the wind decides to pull the kite out of your hands, you can still lose it! On the other hand, there are electric reels designed for larger kites or for people who like to kite fish.
Remember, never wrap the line around your fingers while the kite to which it is attached is flying. Use the "right" factors (i.e. wind conditions, kite size, line diameter and material) and you could lose that finger. It's better to be safe than sorry.
Take care of your kite line
Kite lines can suddenly and unexpectedly break - sometimes due to wind conditions or turbulence, sometimes due to a small cut or weak spot in the line, such as a knot or a little wear. Even if the line is brand new, it's always good to be prepared. Prevention is always better than cure!
Our advice is to check your kite line for wear, knots and line stretching before and after each kite launch. If you are flying for a long period of time, it is best to retrieve your kite after 2 or 3 hours of flying and check that everything is in order.
To check your kite line for stretching or fraying.
Use a kite anchor or a long object to secure your line to one end.
After making sure that the two lines are equal at the release end, move to the other end of the line and pull firmly on both lines.
If they are not stretched evenly (i.e., one is longer or shorter than the other), check the longer one for line stretch or abrasion and the shorter one for knots.
If you have one thread shorter than the other, you can untie the knot on the longer thread and loop and retie the knot before cutting the remaining thread. Remember to leave enough thread to tie the knot.
Wear and tear of the kite line is inevitable through normal use. Always pay attention to the kite line when releasing or retrieving it. What you need to look for are
Spots of wear
Obvious kinks - when a part of the line is not straight but bent at an angle and does not seem to straighten out.
Small nicks or cuts
Wear on the reins and on the end of the kite line attached to the reins
Any other abnormalities that may indicate damage to your line
Cut off these damaged areas and add line with blood knots. This is one reason why you should have a small pair of sharp scissors in your kite flying gear. A cheap lighter will also help to melt and shorten the original end of the knot. Remember to replace frayed line before it breaks.
Dangerous types of kite string materials
Yes, we've mentioned that nylon fishing line is a common kite line material; it's also dangerous because it sits back when it breaks. This can cause injury not only to yourself, but also to those around you.
Steel wire and piano wire should also be avoided. In addition to the fact that they are metal and can conduct electricity, they can also act as razors in times of tension. Not only can these types of lines easily cut through other kite lines, but they can also easily cut through flesh and should never be used for kite flying. You can also read more about how dangerous kite lines can be here.
Some tips on kite lines
Many people overlook the lines on their kites and think that any old line will do. If you want to make the most of your kite, using the right line will enhance the performance of your kite and make it safer and more fun to fly!
Kite lines stretch and fray over time, so it's worth checking your lines regularly for signs of wear. Lines that show signs of wear or abrasion should be replaced as soon as possible. This applies not only to the line itself, but also to the reins on the kite that are connected to the main line.
Knots are a weak point in the line. The knot can be strengthened by using a polyester sleeve over the knot and also helps to stop the knot from sliding up and down the line.
Tight kite lines can become dangerous because these lines can be subject to tension, especially in windy conditions. This line can cut your hand or cut someone nearby. Always keep your kite away from crowds and consider wearing gloves to protect your hands from the line.
Finally: We recommend our butterfly kite. 55" x 28" with 55" tail, lifelike butterflies, beautiful high resolution pictures, really amazing in flight.