Hands-on Gear Review

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
By: Libby Sauter  ⋅  Mar 12, 2017
Price:  $145 List
Pros:  Lightweight, lots of length options, gear is adaptable for progression.
Cons:  More complicated set-up than ratchet systems, difficult to rig at full length without help.
Manufacturer:   Balance Community
76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 12
  • Ease of Set-Up - 20% 5
  • Versatility - 20% 8
  • Quality - 20% 9
  • Disassembly - 20% 9
  • Features - 20% 7
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  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Top Pick Award

Our Verdict

The Balance Community Primitive Kit is a traditional slackline set-up with some top of the line modern conveniences. Its use of carabiners, rings and the slackline itself for the tensioning system creates countless possibilities for length and tension, and the components will last through years of progression. The 80 feet of 1-inch nylon webbing, designed specifically for slacklining, allows you to advance to longer lines, which is a bonus. As such, we have awarded this line our Top Pick for Traditional Slacklining. As an added bonus, the rings included in this kit can be used to set up longer and higher lines. Traditional set-ups are a little more involved than other lines, so if you are looking for something simple but with equal growth opportunities, check out the Voodoo Fearless trick line or our Editors' Choice winner, the Slackers Wave Walker.

Update for End of 2016
Balance Community has confirmed a couple changes to their Primitive Kit at the end of 2016.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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Updated Version for 2016


Along with a price increase from $105 to $145, you now get a couple more things with this kit. Check out a picture of the new kit below (left) compared to the older version (right).
BC Primitive Slackline Kit
New additions:
  • Adjustable Length Anchors — This kit now includes adjustable length anchor slings that can be used on a variety of sized trees.
  • Tree Protectors — This kit now comes with two TreeLite tree protectors. They are built to be compatible with the webbing in this kit and protect both your anchor slings and the tree. According to the manufacturer website, they are also designed to hold the anchor in place while you set up your line.
These sound like awesome additions to this kit, but we haven't been able to test out any of these claims with our own hands yet.

Hands-On Review


The Balance Community Primitive Kit is a new release from this small slackline company and only available at balancecommunity.com. It's designed as a beginner slackline that grows with you. It includes two seven foot anchor slings with multiple clip-in points to adjust to different tree diameters, five oval carabiners, two line lockers, a multiplier ring and 80 feet of 1-inch slack spec tubular (nylon) webbing. This kit is best used for walking and static poses, but with some help from friends, it's possible to pull it tight enough for some jumping and dynamic tricks.

1-inch vs. 2-inch lines
Slacklining as a sport originated with 1-inch lines, as this was the type of webbing climbers had available to them. Nowadays, many slackliners use 2-inch lines which are generally stiffer and easier to walk. 1-inch lines are still popular for practicing yoga poses, highlining and longlining, and those looking for the original feel of the sport.

Performance Comparison


The lightweight nature of this kit makes it ideal for travel. Libby Sauter walking a primitive rig highline in Spain.
The lightweight nature of this kit makes it ideal for travel. Libby Sauter walking a primitive rig highline in Spain.

Ease of Set-up


The set-up for the Balance Community Primitive Kit takes some initial practice and we gave this line the lowest rating out of all the models we tested. The step by step instructions are available here. However, once we got the hang of it we were able to get this line up and running in under 10 minutes.


Because the nylon webbing has more stretch, getting the line tight enough to keep you off the ground is a challenge. To help remedy this, there's a tensioning ring included in the kit that lets you increase the mechanical advantage of the tensioning system and pull out more stretch. With the line set up at its longest, we needed the strength of several people pulling on the system in order to get enough tension on it so that we didn't hit the ground when in the middle of the span.

One problem we faced setting up this line that was no different from any of the other models we tested was finding trees that fit the pre-sized anchor slings. Most of our testing took place in the Sierras of California, which are known for their large ponderosa pines and incense cedars. We often struggled to find two trees of adequate distance apart that were small enough to fit the pre-sized anchor slings.

One of the downsides to a traditional setup - we needed three people pulling on the system to get this line to our desired tension.
One of the downsides to a traditional setup - we needed three people pulling on the system to get this line to our desired tension.

Versatility


The Balance Community Primitive Kit is a versatile line; it's possible to set it up super short or up to 55 feet in length, which lets you start small and grow big.


The tensioning ring that's included in the kit also gives you the option to rig the line tighter, which allows you to dabble in dynamic tricks like jumping and butt bounces. If you want more of a challenge, leave the line looser and with more sag.

Robbie Brown enjoying a light stroll in the rain on this line when rigged with moderate tension.
Robbie Brown enjoying a light stroll in the rain on this line when rigged with moderate tension.

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 lowline 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 line for you.

This model is lighter and more compact than any of the ratchet models that we tested, thanks to the smaller width webbing. If you are looking for a line that is more focused on entertaining party guests, check out our review of the Gibbon ClassicLine.

Quality


Another huge plus is the quality of the included components and this kit received the highest score for Quality of any of the models that we tested. The webbing is designed specifically for slacklining, and it's strong and soft underfoot. It has a nice bounce, and didn't show any signs of wear even after repeated set-ups and take downs. Since the webbing is made of nylon, you do need to be careful around heat as it has a low melting point.


The anchor pieces are abrasion resistant and even after many uses looked as good as new. As well, the carabiners and rings included in this kit are standard issue and easy to replace if you happen to lose something.

The woven anchor pieces with multiple clip-in points showed almost no wear even after numerous sessions.
The woven anchor pieces with multiple clip-in points showed almost no wear even after numerous sessions.

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 dramatic and scary POP like most of the other lines we reviewed.


Features


As mentioned above, one of the nice features of this model is the tensioning ring that allows you to get a longer line rigged with less pulling.


Another slick feature of this kit is the anchor slings. There are numerous pockets to clip into, so regardless of the tree's diameter, the line is always set-up nearly flush with the tree. No more losing a few feet of walkable distance because your anchor slings are two big for the tree you've selected (though this was rarely a problem where we tested these lines). Finally, the slack spec webbing is strong and has a nice supple feel for barefoot walkers.

Libby Sauter going barefoot. The soft feel of the webbing makes for a nice traditional slackline experience.
Libby Sauter going barefoot. The soft feel of the webbing makes for a nice traditional slackline experience.

Best Applications


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 get several friends to help you get it tight enough.

Robbie Brown pulls off a tough static trick. The ability to adjust the tension on this line allows the slacker to have various experiences on one line.
Robbie Brown pulls off a tough static trick. The ability to adjust the tension on this line allows the slacker to have various experiences on one line.

Value


The value of this line is its ability to progress with you. While the cost of this line falls right in the middle of all the lines we tested, it's versatility makes it worth the higher price. If you don't expect to want to do more than walk a few feet in a park a couple of times, there are cheaper lines for you like our Best Buy winner, the Slackline Industries Base Line. But if you want a high quality line with various applications that grows with you as you progress in the sport, this line is a must have for any serious slacker.

From sessions in the park to international highlines  this lightweight  versatile kit is worth the price tag.
From sessions in the park to international highlines, this lightweight, versatile kit is worth the price tag.

Conclusion


A traditional slackline like the Balance Community Primitive Kit is one of the founding styles in slacklining and an essential line for any slackline enthusiast. We've given this our Top Pick for Traditional Slacklining thanks to its strong and supple webbing, well-made supplies and versatility. This is a great quality line that will progress with you in the sport.

This "primitive" line gets our Top Pick for Traditional Slacklining award for being a solid line that will grow with you as you progress from beginner to pro.
This "primitive" line gets our Top Pick for Traditional Slacklining award for being a solid line that will grow with you as you progress from beginner to pro.

Other Versions


There are a few other lines available in this series: the Primitive PRO Kit (140 foot longline) and a Custom Primitive Kit (you choose everything in the kit, from the type and length of webbing to the number of carabiners and anchoring systems).

Libby Sauter

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