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Adventure Cycling & Cycle Touring

Alpkit Balance Hardshell Jacket Review

Who doesn’t love Alpkit? Purveyors of fine equipment at affordable prices for discernable outdoor lovers. Alpkit have long made great equipment: cookware, excellent headtorches, bivvy bags, mats, dry bags, ropes, harnesses, you name it. And then a couple of years ago they started manufacturing apparel. Their down jackets were particularly good and their first range made a bit of a splash. Now they’ve branched out into hardshells with the Balance, and it’s only £175. Nice.

It’s a pretty basic jacket with none of the superfluous stuff but one that is very light and very versatile. This will be thrown in your backpack on long runs, slow walks, or fun mountain bike rides. It’s particularly good for bikepacking, and in fact this is something Alpkit are really keen on. Their brilliantly designed bikepacking bags and their impressive bikes (which they sell under the brand name Sonder) are just two of the other bits of bikepacking kit that we’ve picked for the Outdoor 100.

“It’s a pretty basic jacket with none of the superfluous stuff, but it’s very light and very versatile.”

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The Balance is a three-layer waterproof jacket with a nylon face fabric. We found it perfectly waterproof and also pretty breathable. The inside of the jacket feels good even against the skin so you could throw it on over a T-shirt when that sharp shower comes overhead.

There are two large pockets that will easily swallow an OS map. Part of the pocket inside is mesh meaning that it also can be used as a vent. The hood is adjustable by cinching around the back of the head, the hem too has a drawcord. It uses YKK water resistant zips, and Velcro cuffs. It also is cut really nicely too.

That’s about it in terms of features, but, frankly, for the sorts of activities we’ve listed here, you really don’t need anything else. Really, with this it’s all about keeping things simple and the price reasonable. Get those two things nailed, like the Alpkit Balance jacket has, and you can’t go too far wrong. We predict they’ll sell loads of these jackets.

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Selected for The Outdoor 100 Winter 2016

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