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Balance Community Primitive Kit Review

This model uses a traditional rigging technique to achieve a 1-inch line that will help you progress into more advanced slacklining disciplines like longlining and highlining.
BC Primitive Slackline Kit
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $145 List
Pros:  Lightweight, lots of length options, gear is adaptable for progression
Cons:  More complicated set-up than ratchet systems
Manufacturer:   Balance Community
By Adam Paashaus & Leslie Yedor  ⋅  Sep 20, 2019
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84
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 11
  • Ease of Set-Up - 20% 5
  • Versatility - 20% 10
  • Quality - 20% 9
  • Disassembly - 20% 9
  • Features - 20% 9

Our Verdict

The newly updated Balance Community Primitive Kit is a traditional slackline with modern slackline specific components. Setting up this line is more involved than a modern ratchet-based rig, but the process is straightforward to learn. Instead of using ratchets, this kit uses carabiners, steel rings and the slackline itself as the tensioning system which creates a durable and trustworthy anchor with a wide range of possibilities for length and tension. The versatility of the Balance Community Primitive Kit allows it to excel at a number of slackline disciplines. As with most traditional slacklines, this line is best suited for walking and static poses. But because of its long length, webbing, and tensioning ring, you can use this line to challenge yourself on loose rodeo lines, longer stretchy lines, or even with some dynamic tricks if you rig it tight enough.

Update for Fall 2019
Balance Comunity recently joined forces with Pure Slacklines meaning there are some new updates. They now use their Lift Webbing, which has a softer knit and great elasticity for tricks and surfing. Another new addition to this kit is slackline specific carabiners instead of basic ovals. Now one side of the carabiner is flatter to allow the webbing to glide smoother when tensioning.


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Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $145 List$152.00 at Amazon$48.95 at Amazon$49.99 at Amazon$70.72 at Amazon
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Pros Lightweight, lots of length options, gear is adaptable for progressionLong length, dynamic webbing, safety backups, heavy duty ratchet, slow release mechanismAttractive package, beginner friendlyInexpensive, long length, beginner friendlyEasy to set-up, challenging, long
Cons More complicated set-up than ratchet systemsExpensive, Involved set up process, HeavyRed dyeMinimal featuresNot great for beginners
Bottom Line This model uses a traditional rigging technique to achieve a 1-inch line that will help you progress into more advanced slacklining disciplines like longlining and highlining.A powerhouse of a slackline that can be anything from a learning line for a beginner to a 100 foot x 2 inch trampoline!A great complete package that has all the features to get you walking the line.This affordable slackline is perfect for those wanting to start walking longer lines.This simple to set-up 1-inch line is great for your first foray into the art of longlining.
Rating Categories Primitive Kit Boss Line Kit Zen Monkey Complete Kit Base Line Gibbon Flowline
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Specs Primitive Kit Boss Line Kit Zen Monkey... Base Line Gibbon Flowline
Width 1 in 2 in 2 in 2 in 1 in
Features Tree pro w/ loops, independent anchor slings, BC shackle, webbing specific carabiners, multiplier ring, BC line locker Dual Rachets w/ leverage extension, Anchor slings, back-up lines, Shackles, Slow Roll, storage bag. Overhead training line & ratchet, Arm Trainer, Tree protectors w/ loops, Cloth carry bag Tree pro, carry bag, ratchet cover Two rachet anchors
Time to Rig 10-15 minutes 10-15 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes 5-10 minutes
Tightening System Primitive Rachet Rachet Rachet Rachet
Anchor Length 8 ft 6 ft, 9 ft 8.08 ft

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Balance Community Primitive Kit is a modern adaptation of the traditional slacklining setup. It uses static components and the line itself to build the tensioning system instead of the now popular rachet method. While slightly more involved to set up, the system is easy to learn. This product is well suited for a wide range of ability levels. It's a great home setup for the avid high-liner, but also provides a great introduction for beginners. It includes two anchor slings, four oval carabiners, one line-locker ring, a multiplier ring, one stainless steel shackle, and seventy-five feet of one-inch slackline specific webbing. This kit is best used for walking and static poses, but it is possible to pull it tight enough for some jumping and dynamic tricks with the new webbing.

One-Inch vs. Two-Inch Lines
Don't write this product off just because a one-inch line sounds intimidating. Slacklining, as a sport, originated with one-inch lines, as this was the type of webbing climbers had available to them. Nowadays, many slackliners use two-inch lines that are generally stiffer and a tad bit easier to walk on. But half the size doesn't mean it makes balancing twice as difficult. One-inch lines are still popular for practicing yoga poses, highlining, and longlining, and can be more versatile than their wider cousins.

Performance Comparison


The stretchy webbing is great for playing on and the tensioning ring allows you to get a nice tight set-up.
The stretchy webbing is great for playing on and the tensioning ring allows you to get a nice tight set-up.

Ease of Setup


As it says, right in the name, the setup for the Balance Community Primitive Kit is a bit more primitive than the fancy new ratcheted models. It takes some practice to learn the method and because of that we gave this line the lowest rating in this metric out of all of the models we tested. Step-by-step instructions are available both as a downloadable pdf with written instruction and pictures, and in video format here, though some included directions would be a welcome addition. Once we got the hang of the set-up process, it was easy to replicate, and we were able to get this line up and running in under 10 minutes.


This kit comes with 75 feet of dynamic webbing. This material is pretty stretchy, so getting the line tight enough to keep you off the ground can present a physical challenge. To help reduce the amount of effort needed to tension this system, a tensioning ring is included in the kit that lets you increase the mechanical advantage and pull out more slack with less muscle.

Tensioning this line without the tensioning ring is adequate for shorter lines  but when the lines get long  it becomes necessary without the help of some friends.
Tensioning this line without the tensioning ring is adequate for shorter lines, but when the lines get long, it becomes necessary without the help of some friends.

Versatility


The Balance Community Primitive Kit is one of the most versatile lines we tested. If you are looking to learn, set it up short, but the long length of this kit allows you to progress through the sport to walking long-lines. The webbing is 75', and when you account for line lost in the tensioning system and the tree anchors etc, this line can span a gap of almost 70 feet. If 70 feet isn't quite long enough for you, Balance Community offers longer kits and components to customize your own.


The tensioning ring included in the kit allows one person to get a full-length set-up tight enough that it doesn't hit the ground in the center and it also helps rig the line super tight, for when you want to dabble in dynamic tricks. Or, if you want more of a challenge to your balance, leave the line looser and with more sag. Surfing this line, set up at full length, is a great challenge that is super fun.

Every time we set this line up we were amazed at the feel of the webbing.
Every time we set this line up we were amazed at the feel of the webbing.

Perhaps the biggest bonus to this kit is the multi-use aspect of the included gear. If you have goals of progressing to longer or higher lines, the equipment provided accompanies you on that journey. The rings and webbing included have many uses outside of a primitive low line kit. So, if you are serious about progressing in the sport but also looking for a basic, traditional line with lots of bang for its buck, this is a good fit for you.

This model is lighter and more compact than any of the ratchet models that we tested, thanks to the smaller width webbing and the thinner components. This makes it ideal for traveling or carrying it to more remote places.

Quality


Every single component in this kit is exceptionally high-quality, which earned the Primitive Kit the highest score in this metric of any of the models that we tested. The webbing is designed specifically for slacklining and is both soft underfoot and has a nice bounce. Because of the soft release of this style set-up, the webbing didn't show any signs of wear even after repeated setups and takedowns.

The tree protection in this kit had the best craftmanship, but lost a few points for not being as protective as the other, more run-of-the-mill Tree pads. However, they also gain points for being the most useful pads and though the padding is thin, it still protects the trees just fine.

Disassembly


The Balance Community Primitive Kit is easy to disassemble safely. With no ratchet to release, all you have to do is slip some webbing out from underneath itself and the line is down. No anticipating the dramatic and scary POP like most of the other lines we reviewed.


Features


As mentioned above, one of the best features of this model is the tensioning ring that allows you to get a longer line rigged using less pulling. Mechanical advantage allows you to rely on physics instead of brawn to get this kit rigged.

Using the tensioning ring  rigging additional mechanical advantage is a piece of cake.
Using the tensioning ring, rigging additional mechanical advantage is a piece of cake.


The Tree protection that is included in this kit was not only the longest by far at 65 inches, but also the most functional. They include long straps with a buckle so you can wrap the pro around the tree, and buckle it, so it stays put. Not only that, but the tree pro also has sewn loops that hold the slackline and ratchet webbing in place while you set up and tension the line.

While the tree pro was a great design  it lacked padding when compared to other tree pads.
While the tree pro was a great design, it lacked padding when compared to other tree pads.

At a longest length of about sixty-five feet  it falls short of a proper long-line  but Balance Comunity makes longer kits and sells items separately as well to build your own ideal kit.
At a longest length of about sixty-five feet, it falls short of a proper long-line, but Balance Comunity makes longer kits and sells items separately as well to build your own ideal kit.

Value


The value of this line is in its ability to progress with you. While the cost of this line falls right in the middle of all the lines we tested, its versatility makes it worth the higher price. If you want a high-quality line with various applications that will grow with you as you progress in the sport, this line is a must-have for any serious slacker.

Conclusion


We've given this our Editors' Choice Award thanks to strong and supple webbing, well-made components and its versatility. This is a great quality line that will progress with you in the sport and was a favorite among our testers. The only real drawback was the more involved set-up taking longer, but once you get the hang of it it doesn't actually take much more time than a typical ratchet based system.


Adam Paashaus & Leslie Yedor