Updated: December 2017

Skywalker Trampoline Review:

My kid have been harassing me for years to get a trampoline in our yard. The problem has always been space. Our yard is the typical west coast yard with very little room for more than grass, a bbq, and a patio table. Now that the kids are 10 and 6, they had outgrown the outdoor playhouse, sandbox, and water toys. Maybe not the 6 year old, but he agreed to swap out all that stuff in exchange for a big trampoline. We have a perfect 12 x 12 square area in one section of the yard and that is where the trampoline was to go. I measured carefully and knew that the 12' round trampoline should fit (more or less). Several of my neighbors have trampolines so I asked them their opinion on size, assembly, and overall sturdiness to see which one(s) they recommended. A 12 foot trampoline is plenty they said and one guy actually bought a larger one only to return it after building it and seeing how "huge" it seemed in his yard. I had the choice of buying online or going to a store like Walmart.

Choosing a Trampoline - At first I thought "oh, I'll just buy it at Walmart and save money on shipping and having to wait". Well, eventhough we are in season, the trampolines were not in stock at the store. Back to square one I thought. This time I looked at Amazon.com and then over at Walmart.com. The same trampoline was cheaper at Walmart so I placed the order. I bought the Skywalker 12' Round Trampoline & Safety Enclosure Combo for $239. The trampoline would need to be deliverd to the local Walmart store from their main distribution center, but I could pick it up in a week or so. I have a Chevy Tahoe so the pickup wasn't a concern, but if you have a smaller car you may want to pay the extra for delivery right to your house. The top features of the Skywalker are things like:

* Rust-resistant galvanized steel frame for durability * Six W-shaped legs for added stability * interlocking T-bracket technology for extra strength at each joint * Stay-Put Safety Enclosure Net is designed to attach at each spring, eliminating gaps between the mat and net * Interlocking T-bracket technology adds strength at each joint and prevents the frame from twisting

The trampoline arrived first at the store (they ship the enclosure separately) so I figured I would get a head start, pick it up, and start putting that together while I waited for the enclosure. The only problem is that once I got to step #3, you needed to have the enclosure on hand to continue. I will get into more details of the assembly down below. The biggest concern we had with the owning a trampoline was the liability on our home insurance. Much like a swimming pool, most home insurance companies want to know if you own a trampoline. They are dangerous and every year 1000's of people wind up in hospitals due to injuries. We have already had a few bloody noses on ours. We limit the amount of kids that are allowed on it at each time and try to say no "extreme" jumping like flips. The enclosure certainly helps keep them safe. I am amazed when I a see a trampoline in someones yard with no safety enclosure.

Assembling the Trampoline:

Assembly - When you open up the box it mentions having 2 people to assemble the trampoline. The first few steps I could myself starting with the base. The hardest part was getting the actual trampoline surface installed to the edges with all the springs. It definitely helps to have 2 people so you can stretch the mat as you go around the circle putting in the springs. Also, getting the enclosure net on the correct side of the outer ring is just as important. If you forget this step, you will have to undo a bunch of stuff to get it right. I would say the assembly took me about 1 hour. Having a ladder to reach up to the highest section of the enclosure net helps. I used a power drill on the base screws and the rest was rather easy to install. So far no problems and all the rings are holding up. One of my neighbors has had his trampoline (same model) for a few years and he says a few of the springs have gone bad. There are no extras in the box so you have to order a new set if that happens. I also periodically check the basic structure to make sure it's as solid as when I first built it. For safety purposes, always use an enclosure and shut the opening with the zipper when you are using the trampoline.

Buying the Trampoline:

The Skywalker Trampolines 12' Round Trampoline and Enclosure is sold at online retailer Amazon.com but the price varies and it can be over $500 compared to the same model offered at Walmart.com for much cheaper. Check inventory and pricing before you buy. At the time of this article we found the trampoline for $239 at Walmart. Check it out at http://www.walmart.com/ip/Skywalker-Round-Trampoline-Enclosure-Combo/10055732. Reviews for this particular model are positive and owners say the trampoline holds up well - even in bad weather climates. We get plenty of rain in Portland but it hasn't effected the trampoline at all. I would recommend putting it over a dirt or tanbark area since having it over a lawn would eventually ruin that section of lawn.