The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

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
Top Pick Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
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
By Leslie Yedor ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 29, 2019
  • Share this article:
80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 12
  • Ease of Set-Up - 20% 5
  • Versatility - 20% 8
  • Quality - 20% 10
  • Disassembly - 20% 9
  • Features - 20% 8

Our Verdict

The Balance Community Primitive Kit is a traditional slackline setup with some top of the line modern conveniences. It is a bit more involved to set up than a ratcheted line, but the system is easy to learn and comes with some serious advantages. It uses carabiners, rings, and the slackline itself for the tensioning system, which creates a durable and trustworthy anchor with a slew of possibilities for length and tension. This setup is also gentle on the components, including the webbing, which helps it last through years of use. The 80 feet of one-inch nylon webbing, designed specifically for slacklining, allows you to advance to longer lines and has just the right amount of bounce for beginning tricks. We loved this line so much, it was an easy choice to award it our Top Pick for Traditional Slacklining.

This line is suitable for beginner to advanced slackliners, but if you are looking for something that is significantly easier to set up but still offers growth opportunities, check out the Flybold Complete Kit, our Editors' Choice winner. If tricks are your jam, then a line with a bit more bounce, like the Voodoo Gold Trickline, might be a better fit.

Update for 2019
Balance Community honed in the design of the Primitive Kit at the end of 2016 and hasn't seen any recent changes. As they say, don't fix what isn't broken. It is well designed with quality components and well on its way to becoming a classic.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award  
Price $145 List$37.99 at Amazon$54.99 at Amazon$95 List$29.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
80
100
0
92
100
0
80
100
0
74
100
0
72
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Lightweight, lots of length options, gear is adaptable for progression.Beginner friendly, includes a hand line for learning, extra long tree protectorsInexpensive, ergonomic ratchet, extra long webbing, beginner friendlySuper bouncy webbing, easy to set-upInexpensive, beginner-friendly
Cons More complicated set-up than ratchet systems, difficult to rig at full length without help.Not suitable for advanced slacklinersMinimal featuresNot for beginners, ratchet rattlesNot versatile, no overhead hand line
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 great line with ingenious features that will help turn the never-ever into the intermediate slacker.Ideal for beginners and intermediate slackliners; it has a host of features, including an excellent price.This line has soft, trampoline-like webbing and is idea for aerial tricks.A quality beginner's line with no added bells and whistles.
Rating Categories Primitive Kit Flybold Complete Kit Base Line Voodoo Gold Trickline Macaco Classic Line
Ease Of Set Up (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Versatility (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
5
Quality (20%)
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Disassembly (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
Features (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
Specs Primitive Kit Flybold Complete Kit Base Line Voodoo Gold... Macaco Classic Line
Width (inches) 1 in 2 in 2 in 2 in 2 in
Tested Length (feet) 57 ft 85 ft 82 ft 52 ft
Features Tree pro, BC shackle, carabiners, multiplier ring Tree pro, carrying bag, hand line, arm trainer, ratchet cover Tree pro, carrying bag, ratchet Tree pro, carrying bag, extra-large ratchet Tree pro, carrying bag, how to guide, ratchet
Time to Rig (minutes) 10 min 4 min 5 min 5 min 4 min
Tightening System Primitive Rachet Rachet Rachet Rachet
Anchor Length (feet) 8 ft 8.33 ft 8.17 ft 6.42 ft 6.5 ft

Our Analysis and Test Results

IThe 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 setup, 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 highliner, but also provides a great introduction for beginners and will grow with you. It includes two eight-foot anchor slings with multiple clip-in points to adjust to different tree diameters, four oval carabiners, one line-locker ring, a multiplier ring, one stainless steel shackle, and 80 feet of one-inch slack spec tubular (nylon) webbing. This kit is best used for walking and static poses, but with a little help from some friends, it is possible to pull it tight enough for some jumping and dynamic tricks.

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 comfortable and versatile than their wider cousins.

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 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 we gave this line the lowest rating in this metric out of all of the models we tested. Step-by-step instructions are available as a downloadable pdf with pictures and written instructions and in video format here. Once we got the hang of it, it was easy to replicate, and we were able to get this line up and running in under 10 minutes.


This kit comes with 80 feet of nylon 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 remedy the extreme amount of effort it would take to tension this system simply by brute force, a tensioning ring is included in the kit that lets you increase the mechanical advantage of the system and pull out more slack with less muscle. With the line set up at its longest, however, we still 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.

The system looks a bit complicated at first glance  but the step-by-step instructions will make you a rigging pro in no time.
The system looks a bit complicated at first glance, but the step-by-step instructions will make you a rigging pro in no time.

Versatility


The Balance Community Primitive Kit is one of the most versatile lines we tested. You can set it up super short to facilitate learning or to accommodate tight spaces, but it also extends up to 55 feet between trees, which lets you start small and grow big.


The tensioning ring that is included in the kit also helps you rig the line super tight, which allows you to dabble in dynamic tricks like jumping and butt bounces. If you want more of a challenge to your balance, leave the line looser and with more sag. Lines with a ratcheting system are significantly more limited in their range of tension due to the way the line is rolled inside rachet.

Moderate tension allows you to rig this line close to the ground for easy on and off access.
Moderate tension allows you to rig this line close to the ground for easy on and off access.

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.

The only product to outscore this model in its versatility was our Editors' Choice the Flybold Complete Kit, which is fun for the whole family regardless of age or ability level. The Flybold has a ton of beginner-friendly features that makes it a great option to teach your parents to slack but has enough bounce to keep you entertained in the process.

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 strong and soft underfoot. In fact, the line itself was a favorite underfoot for all of our seasoned testers. It has a nice bounce and didn't show any signs of wear even after repeated setups and takedowns. A slight word of caution here; since the webbing is made of nylon, you do need to be careful around heat as it has a low melting point. Make sure to avoid setting up too close to the campfire.


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

From tree protectors  to the carabiners and the webbing  every aspect of this kit is super high quality and resistant to wear and tear.
From tree protectors, to the carabiners and the webbing, every aspect of this kit is super high quality and resistant to wear and tear.

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 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.


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 too big for the tree you've selected. The included tree protectors are also secure and simple to adjust and were easily our favorite design among all the models we tested. 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 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 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 Editor's Choice winner, the Flybold Complete Kit or which offers an 85-foot line. But 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.

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 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 a slight increase in setup time, but if you have an extra five minutes we think it's totally worth it.

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 Balance Community Starter Slackline Kit is a 50-foot version of this line, the Balance Community Prim-30 Kit is a 100-foot longline, and the Balance Community Custom Primitive Kit allows you to choose everything in the kit, from the type and length of webbing to the number of carabiners and anchoring systems.


Leslie Yedor