A rope swing is a swing attached to a single length of rope. Classically, a rope swing is located by a river or lake, so that people can swing on it and then jump into the water. In this instance, the rope swing is usually attached to a tree, but rope swings can also be suspended from a framework, like more conventional swings. Many people associate rope swings with the summertime, and childhood. Generally, a rope swing is designed to allow people to stand or sit, depending on personal preference.
A sturdy rope is chosen for the core of a rope swing. Typically, multiple knots are made in the rope so that someone sitting on the swing has something to grab on to. The upper portion of the rope is knotted over a strong tree branch, and the bottom stops short of the ground so that people swinging do not run into the ground. In the most basic type of rope swing, the seat is merely a larger knot.
More complex rope swings use more recognizable seats. A plank seat might be knotted into the rope, or the rope might be attached to a tire, creating a tire swing. A sturdy stick can be used for improvisational rope swing makers, or a disc made from wood or plastic can be attached. In all cases, the seat should be tested by someone keeping his or her feet on the ground until it has been established that the seat is safe to use.
When positioned near a body of water, it is important to ensure that the water under the rope swing is deep enough to jump into and that it is also free of debris. If a rope swing is hung over the ground, it is advisable to ensure that the area under the rope swing is free of sharp and potentially painful objects. The integrity of the rope swing should be checked regularly, as the elements will eventually wear away at the rope.
If people intend to come back to the same rope swing year after year, they may also have to dig out the ground under the rope swing periodically, to remove silt and detritus left by stormy weather conditions. Another option is to install a rope swing seasonally, taking it down every year and putting it into storage. This allows the rope swing to be moved to take advantage of changing terrain, and also ensures that the rope will degrade less quickly, because it will not be exposed to rainy winter weather.