Where to buy aerial equipment & apparatuses

Where to buy aerial apparatuses and rigging equipment

For all you budding aerialists, I know when the circus bug bites it really bites, so it won’t be long before you’re thinking about buying your own silks or trapeze. Today I’m sharing where we buy our equipment and what to look for in each piece.

Spansets or slings are what you wrap around a beam to hang your apparatus. A three foot will wrap around most beams. If you are using a lyra I’d recommend getting a six foot as well unless you want to be right up against the beam.

We buy all our spansets from Sapsis Rigging. The also make spansets with steel inside – this is what we use to rig our equipment for class and rehearsal because it will be left in place for longer periods of time. You’ll want them rated for at least 5000 lbs.

A note on spansets and all rigging equipment – don’t cut off that ugly orange/purple tag. It tells you the rating (how large of a load it can carry) and is your warranty if the equipment breaks. Cut it off and the company will not replace it.

We buy swivels and carabiners from Amazon. I use these gold biners, a Black Diamond swivel and this rescue 8. Aerial Essentials also sells tons of hardware. I prefer screw gate biners over twist lock as they’re easier to unhook when you’re rigging in the air.

Our silks come from Aerial Fabric Acrobatics. When purchasing fabric you’ll want enough to go from the floor, to the ceiling, and back down to the floor with two or three feet of extra fabric on the ground. My red silks are 15 yards (which is about perfect for 18ft ceilings) and my white silks are 18. I usually end up trimming a few inches off the edge to make it a little thinner width-wise. Stretch fabric is a little more bouncy, which is nice for drops but also cinches tighter.

We have a trapeze from Trapeze Rigging and our lyras and chandelyra are from Brett Copes (tell him The Weird Sisters sent you). Brett not only makes custom equipment, but is a professional rigger, so if you’re interested in rigging your own equipment I’d definitely recommend his workshops.

Rosin: I use Easton dry rosin and Cramer grip spray.

Our ginormous 18.5′ freestanding rig is from Trapeze Rigging. Aerial Essentials also sell rigs. The poles on our rig are six ft long and it does magically fit into my little Scion XD.

My trap boots were made by Shannon Maguire and we buy lots of leotards from Dancewear Solutions & Nawty Fox.

You can find more information on how to properly rig, equipment ratings, tying silks, etc at Aerial Essentials.

Any questions?


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  1. Amy K. says

    Awesome! You are the “go to” girl for aerial advise and expertise. I’ll be referencing this post once I can get my boo-tay in the air for more than 60 seconds ;)

  2. Lou says

    Hi !
    Okay so there are no aerial studios (except pole dance studios) where I live. I practice pole dancing, and tried aerial silk few days ago ! and I’m craving for aerial hoop too, but since there is no studio, I’m thinking about buying an aerial hoop and learn by myself with videos and my crash mat. So for a beginner how do you choose the diameter, and what kind of hoop ? and what exactly I need to buy to install one ? I’ve found a few website with bunch of aerial stuff, but I don’t know what I need to put an aerial hoop on.

  3. Tonya says

    Thank you for sharing! Do you have any recommendations for the following?
    1. Do you wrap your hoops? If so, what do you wrap them with and where do you purchase it?
    2. I have 17 foot ceilings so my 6 ft spanset is not even close to being long enough. I currently use wire rope to fill the gap, but it can make some tricks on top of the hoop painful. I would prefer a softer rope, but cannot find an affordable and safe option (need to purchase 5!). Do you know of anything?
    3. Some days I need a hoop high and some days I need it lower. Do you recommend any equipment for making this process easier? Would you suggest daisy chains? Or is there a better option?

    Thank you for reading my questions. I’m looking forward to hearing your input!

  4. Adrianne says

    Thanks for sharing! I am planning on getting my first silks, but still have a few things to figure out to make sure I’m doing the rigging as safely as possible. I have a couple exposed beams I can use (will be putting up and down with each use).

    My plan now is: spanset around beam > carabiner > swivel > carabiner > rescue 8.

    For the spanset, should it be wrapped tightly around the beam or is it ok to have slack?

    Also, I am planning on getting my carabineers and rescue 8 in steel since, unlike aluminum, you can see it deform before it breaks. However, it seems like the standard for swivels are aluminum. Should I be concerned about it breaking on me while I’m in the air? Or are you able to get some sort of warning with swivels?

    Thanks, and happy flying!

    • Sarah Morgan says

      I’ve taken multiple rigging courses and have been told steel and aluminum work equally well for aerial, so I have used both. As long as it’s properly rated for the skills you will be doing, it’s unlikely it will fail. As for how to wrap your spanset around a beam – it will depend on what you will be doing on your silks. Sometimes wrapping it tightly is ok, sometimes it’s not because the weight limit will differ depending on how it’s wrapped. I highly highly highly recommend taking a rigging course. Brett Copes teaches workshops all over the country and is very knowledgeable and open to answering questions https://www.facebook.com/fightorflightentertainment If he’s not coming anywhere near you I’d talk to your instructor about a rigging lesson so you can make sure you’re setting everything up safely. Good luck!

  5. says

    Quick question – do those rescue 8’s you use have a rating on the equipment? I couldn’t tell from the amazon photo!