Balance [Mens] waterproof jacket
- Full Description
- Features At A Glance
- Care & Environmental Advice
- Size Guide
- Customer Reviews
The quest for the perfect waterproof... a jacket so comfortable you won’t avoid wearing it, light enough that you won’t avoid packing it, and tough enough that you won’t wear through it. A jacket for slogging across the furthest reaches and over the highest-tops of our rain-blighted isles.
That’s why we created the Balance: performance, durability and low weight in perfect equilibrium. Using the best technical fabrics and an uncomplicated design, it’s your go-to jacket for everything from hillwalking to mountain biking.
With a breathability of 30K MVTR and waterproofing of 20K HH, the Balance packs a significant punch, pumping out sweat and beating off rain to keep you warm and dry. A 3-layer construction sandwiching a PU membrane provides reliable waterproof and breathable performance.
We’ve used a permanently wicking knit-backer for the inner layer, drastically improving next-to-skin comfort. The outer fabric is a durable nylon ripstop: hardwearing under rucksack straps and for scraping up scrambles, but supple enough to not feel like a fully rigid hard-shell and to easily stuff into packs.
We’ve been disciplined with the features to maintain a comparatively low weight, including all the essentials but with no unnecessary add-ons. A fully adjustable hood with a stiffened and wired peak, water resistant zips and an internal storm-flap and chin guard on the main zip allow you to batten down the hatches when it’s really blowing a hoolie outside.
There are two map-sized hand pockets, placed high enough to clear rucksack hip belts, that double-up as vents by using a mesh lining. Semi-elasticated velcro cuffs can also be pushed up over the arms for extra temperature control, avoiding the faff of constant layering and delayering.
"Balance is a near flawless lightweight all rounder. Sub-300g weight, very breathable, good hood and thorough all-round design and build quality" - Outdoors Magic
Approved by Trail Magazine
Read the review in the Spring 18 edition.
- Reliable 3 layer construction using highly breathable and waterproof fabric (30K MVTR and 20K HH), keeping you dry for high effort activities in wet weather
- Comfortable to wear with a supple fabric and a permanently wicking tricot knit backer that’s softer next to the skin
- 30 denier ripstop outer fabric is hardwearing without the weight or feel of a hard shell, packing easily into rucksacks
- Fully adjustable hood (rear and side adjusters) with a stiffened and wired peak to protect the face
- Two map-sized hand pockets, placed to sit above rucksack waist straps, and with mesh liners to double up as vents
- Semi-elasticated and velcro cuffs fit over or under gloves and can be pushed up over the arms to cool down
- YKK Aquaguard water resistant zips and a storm guard protected main zip
- 3 Year Alpine Bond
Fabric: 3-layer 92 gsm
Outer: Nylon ripstop face 30d x 30d ripstop
Membrane: PU membrane
Inner: Bi-component nylon knit backer with permanent wicking function
PFOA Free C6 Type 80/20 DWR
Hydrostatic Head: 20,000 mm
Moisture Vapour Transfer Rate: 30,000 g/sqm/24hrs
S: 310 g; M: 339 g; L: 355 g; XL: 370 g; XXL: 388 g
We treat all our waterproofs with PFOA-free DWRs, cutting out some pretty nasty chemicals. Unlike our insulation and sleeping bag ranges, our waterproofs are not yet PFC-free. We’re still looking for a PFC-free DWR that’ll provide the same long-lasting performance for waterproofs, but we are working on it!
We make gear you’ll love for longer: gear that lasts; gear you’ll use, repair, re-use and pass onto someone else when you’ve finished with it. That’s why all our products have a three-year Alpine Bond warranty as minimum. We’ve always thought that the most environmentally friendly product we can make is the one that gets used the most and lasts the longest. So that’s what we do - it’s pretty simple really.
Product Care Information
The better you look after this jacket, the better (and longer) it’ll look after you. Well, when we say ‘look after you’... it’s not gonna make you cups of tea or bring you breakfast in bed, but it will keep you nice n’ dry. And the good news is: it’s dead easy to do.
1) After you’ve finished going nice places and doing good things, treat your jacket to a wash at 30°C with either a dedicated Tech Wash (like Grangers and Nikwax) or pure soap. This keeps your jacket breathable by stopping the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating from getting clogged up with dirt and skin oils. No one likes a sweaty, clammy jacket.
2) If it’s stopped beading (rain soaking in rather than forming droplets), you can reactivate the factory-applied DWR by sticking it in the tumble drier on a low setting or applying a cool iron to it (under a tea towel).
3) To keep your jacket beading, you’ll probably need to top up the DWR once or twice a year using a Grangers or Nikwax re-proofer. You can find out more about why this is important here.
If you’re still a bit unsure about washing your jacket, you can also take it/send it to our Ambleside store’s waterproof washing service and we’ll sort it all out for you.
What You Say: Customer Reviews and Comments
Used this product?Write a review
4 years down the line: a survivor
I received this jacket second hand working as a glacier guide in Iceland 3 years ago. For such a light and simple piece of kit, it's lasted a lot of bashing (Sub-zero ice caps, Dripping ice-caves, Never-ending rain, and all the weather British hills has thrown at it.) I'm L size and the jacket is M , but still the off-fit didn't put me off. The only down side is that the water repellency has been difficult to restore (as expected as the fabric is fraying a bit). I regularly wash it with Nikwax, but recently learnt the Nikwax spray is better for hard-shells anyway (?). I recommend a light jacket like balance as I found it more breathable, and get's less saturated than 3 layer gore tex pro.
On holiday recently in the peak District and decided to buy a new waterproof jacket,visited many stores and eventually popped not the alpkit store in hathersage.very helpful chap explained lot about the jacket and it's benefits so popped back next day and purchased the orange one.
Walked Burbage rocks in the rain and jacket was excellent and recently at home along the north Norfolk coast ...again jacket was superb against the wind and wet stuff.
Would thoroughly recommend.
I'd been looking at a few other jackets before I bought this and questioned whether I'd made the right choice. I have.
I've lots of Alpkit gear and this jacket is like all the rest, superb.
I can't believe how light it is and fantastically breathable. Not been in any major storms yet but so far has shed everything that I've encountered.
Great bit of kit
Just took delivery of one of the Balance jackets and have to say it is excellent and arrived just in time for the latest downpour.
Simple, yet apparently very effective design.
In the past I have been wary of wearing a hooded jacket when on the bike, but the adjustment on the hood on this jacket is excellent - one quick and easy adjustment and no more obstruction to my peripheral vision (whilst still keeping rain out of my face!)
Bought my Balance jacket earlier in the year for a cadet adventurous training camp but with glorious sunshine all week it stayed in the rucksack. Four months later, it made its debut on a Navigation course on Kinder Scout. The jacket performed admirably in high winds and heavy rain together with my parallax over-trousers. While others moaned that "no jacket is completely waterproof", I stayed perfectly dry and protected from the wind. Good fit with big pockets for an OS map, nice colour, (Lego), elasticated sleeves (good for gloves) and tough but lightweight fabric. Excellent choice for hill walking
Not tested to the max...
I’ve been fortunate enough to have only had light showers but have had some windy conditions so far. The jacket feels solid and provided excellent wind proofing and no water ingress. I’m more than happy with my purchased (in the sale too) The fit (large) is great, I’m 6’3 and slim build. Another quality Alpkit item added to my collection!
Having owned this jacket for over a year now and having it used in a variety of conditions, I'm very happy with it. I find that the DWR lasts longer than other Alpkit jackets like Gravitas (maybe this is reasonable given that it is bulkier?) so great for long trips.
Best value for money jacket I’ve owned
I’ve owned a balance jacket for 6 months now and it has been through some horrendous weather with me. It endured over 6 hours of non stop torrential rain and gale force winds on an assessment in Snowdonia. To say I was dry would be a lie, but this jacket was solid for a good 4 hours before I started to get a bit moist! Other participants had waterproofs in the £500+ price range and they were wet long before I was. Even after 4 hours I wasn’t soaked, just a few damp spots and that is the only time it has let any water in. Completely windproof, lightweight and highly breathable. I’ve had many waterproofs over the years that have cost me a lot more than the balance and so far it has been the best waterproof I’ve owned. The only thing this jacket is lacking in my opinion is a chest pocket for quick access with harness/rucksack on and maybe underarm taped zips for extra breathability in warm wet weather.
Great all rounder
I wanted a light, wind proof and water proof jacket and it's all 3. I used in winter on fells ( with other layers) and Rat Race coast to coast in pouring rain and kept me dry. I use for hiking, running and cycling . Great all rounder for UK . Def recommend.
Passed My ‘Extreme’ Test! ;)
I own quite a few waterproof jackets from the likes of Rab, Mountain Equipment, Mammut and OMM.
When this was on offer at £140 I had to give it a try!...
So I had a cold shower in it with a white tshirt underneath...completely bone dry even after 5 mins of what would be a torrential downpour or standing under a waterfall!ha!
Amazing product!! Don’t hesitate...forget the big brands and jackets twice the price, get this you won’t regret it!
Just about perfect
Its light. Its breathable. Its waterproof. And it's very good at all three of those.
If I was to change one thing it would be to make it 1" or so longer. It tends to ride up a little and leave the nether regions uncovered. You'll see this in some of Alpkit's pictures of the jacket in use.
Great jacket - great breathability
I bought these Jacket in black and Size M. For me (186cm / 73 kg / normal build) it fits perfectly. I use it for biking and the arm length is long enough. Today at 8 degree celsius I rode downtown fast and no moisture in the jacket - really impressed with the breathability. Packs down small and it´s light. Colour and style works also for business and leisure for me. All in all a great jacket. Longtime durability still open.
The Balance is light, it’ll role up into its hood and pack down small in your bag. The cut is athletic. I’m just over 6 foot, fairly slim build and I’m wearing a medium which fits close to the body but isn’t restrictive. You can comfortably wear a few layers underneath.
My favourite feature is the liner, it’s easily twice as comfortable on the skin than a cheaper jacket and the breathability is the stand out feature.
The hood is the only part I’d change given the choice. I like to be able to achieve that letter box opening and shut out all the wind but I appreciate that many prefer a more low profile hood without the extra material. It’s a compromise that I can easily live with given the otherwise excellent performance.
Bought this from the store in Hathersage, the chaps in there were full of advice and willing to help. Took it out next day on a mountain bike ride and put it on when the sky turned grey.
The fit is great, I bought an XL as I'm 6ft with broad shoulders.
It didn't rain in the end but even whilst working hard the Jacket never felt sweaty or uncomfortable. I was able to push the arms up when it got warm too.
Looking forward to taking this out walking and keeping dry! Thanks.
Waterproof, light and good fit
Packs down well, always keeps me dry, good fit for walking, running and riding. A simple and no nonsense jacket which is all I need when I need to stay dry.
Bought this a while back on sale, but would pay full price again in a heartbeat. Superb jacket. Comfy, light and waterproof, the fit and cut are ideal and the design and build quality are really good - it just feels like a much more expensive jacket in your hand. Little details like the hood adjustment are just right too.
I am 6'3' and have an XL for a bit of extra room over layers, a large woould be fine for a trimmer, athletic fit at that height I think.
The only jacket you'll need.
Used the balance on a recent walking trip to Scotland. In two weeks we had about 8 hours of sunshine so the jacket certainly had a good test, and passed with flying colours. Excellent fit (maybe a tad long in the arms for me in a small size), and the hood just as good as the reviews say. Stood up to all the rain we could throw at it, but was never sweaty or clammy. Quite possibly the perfect jacket for 99% of use.
On my first use of the jacket i took it up kinder scout where it happend to start raining then moved to thunder and lightning with a splash of hail. I stayed bone dry and did not get to hot. Best jacket i have ever used good job to the alpkit team for make such a good jacket.
So Far So Good.
Only used it for a few weeks so far.
but stood up to some light showers.
we`ll see come the Autumn time, when the going gets more wintry.
love the chilly red colour.....more bight colours please Altkip ?
Bought my Balance a few weeks ago but am only wearing it now due to all the dry weather we've had. Today has been a tester and wow it has passed with flying colours. Not in the hills , just normal walking but rain is rain and I haven't felt a drop where it shouldn't be. I bought a men's small as Female cut doesn't tend to fit me well as I am thin and straight up and down! The size is great have a light mid layer on too. Yip really good jacket, might buy another as spare tho I think I have most of the other Alpkit outerlayers too. Tremendous company , great outdoor wear at a good price.
Lives up to the hype
I haven't bought a waterproof jacket with a membrane since the 1990's as they didn't live up to the hype for me. I tend to run hot and even the best membranes made me boil in the bag. Nowadays though, every once counts and my Paramo jackets are heavy.
I read the spec and the hype and decided to order a Balance in Blue, size Large. When it arrived I was amazed how small and light it was.
It's an athletic cut, just about enough room underneath for two thin layers, but little excess fabric to catch the wind. Sleeves are a good length but I find I could do with a just a little more room in the underarm area. The hood is a perfect fit with volume adjustment and a wired peak. The pockets are a good size and sit above a hip belt. But its the performance of the fabric which really matters to me.
First outing was on Bowfell in early April. Wore it all day over a Laika top (used as a base layer). Started off in wind and heavy rain. Climbing up the rain stopped but the wind got much stronger and colder. On the descent the wind dropped, the sun came out and it was hot. So I had all seasons in a day. Was I kept dry - totally. Was it windproof - yes. Did I boil in the bag - No. The jacket was bone dry on the inside when I took it off in the car park. That was a big, big surprise.
I wouldn't rate it as an out and out 4-season, throw anything at it in any conditions jacket but the performance you get at this pricing point is amazing. Brilliant job Alpkit.
Top class jacket
I'm just back from a weekend in the Lakes where this got a good test. Excellently waterproof, breathable and with an well thought out design. While it lacks some features like pit-zips for venting it more than makes up for it with the light weight and small pack size. Two stand-out features that I liked were the cut of the hood, which moved naturally with my head, and the ability to push the sleeves up which stayed there without being restrictive. I would thoroughly recommend this jacket.
Hits just the spot.
Fantastic cut, on par with jackets twice the price. Having broad shoulders, still fit's snug, but not tight. A pairing with the Filoment Jacket, and it works like a beauty without being constricting.
Breathability for someone who warms very quickly was awesome, no claggyness, so no unnecessary sweating.
Bought this jacket as a Christmas present for myself, well no one else was going too. Firstly, the fit is perfect. I'm a small and I'm using this for mountain biking and hiking and it's nice and snug, so no flapping which is just how I like it. The blue is an amazing colour, like really amazing, like really, really amazing. Love the hood, proper old school fit so it fits properly and snugly. My last jacket (B'haus) had a fancy hood design and it was pants so it's nice to have a draw cord at the back and two at the sides. Works beautifully. Finally, and this may sound weird it feels amazing, kinda soft. So love this jacket so much. Actually like it that much I've just bought another for mountain biking and using this for hiking, traveling, living in. Thanks Alpkit I love you :o)
I bought this jacket on the introductory offer when Balance was first released. I have used it as a general day-to-day jacket, in the rain on the Lakeland Fells, as a x-country/ enduro MTB jacket and on my daily 10-mile cycle commute.
Durability? Save for the small oil on the front (sorry Alpkit) it looks like new!
I paid £145 for this jacket. Would I pay £175? Without hesitation!
Conclusion: Fantastic! Alpdudes, feel free to allow yourselves some smug grins!
Great Balance Jacket
I have used the Balance jacket for several months. It's been used throughout Oct doing DofE on Bodmin moor and Dartmoor, the 2016 OMM and running on the North Cornish coast. It breaths really well, during fast paced runs in warm wet conditions you don't feel like "you are boiling in a bag" or generating excessive moisture. The material feels ok next to skin (not sticky or clammy) and the pockets are very effective at managing the temperature. The hood fits well and the material is quiet next to the ears. The medium fits my slim build really well. This has turned into my go to jacket for outdoor activities in poor weather.
Just everything i wanted, no more.
I got this jacket a few weeks ago, so this is more a review of the cut, features and design than the long term performance. That said, it's light and nice to wear and very breathable in heavy rain at the moment (at least while the DWR is new..). The fabric (whatever it is) seems high quality and nice to wear.
The cut is perfect, although small really is small (for once) so don't get caught out. The hood is spacious and benefits from having both a wire and a plastic former. The two main pockets are OS map sized and in the right place for use with a harness. The cut is long enough to not ride up, but short enough to not get in the way. None of this sounds like rocket science, but i've not found another jacket that has all these things right. There's nothing unnecessary, it's functional, stylish enough and cheap.. For a first iteration design it's kind of unbelievable!
Well done Alpkit.
Had the coat for about a month now and have tried and tested it in a range of conditions from low to high energy activities - it's kept my dry and comfortable throughout. Very happy and would thoroughly recommend.
A bit about the fit - I went for a size medium and am 6ft with an athletic build, the fit is snug but not too tight, with enough space for a fleece midlayer. I have quite long arms and often struggle to find a medium sized coat which properly fits, I'm happy to report that the Balance does and the handy elasticated cuffs mean I can roll them up if I get a bit toasty.
great coat, great price
never owned a coat so good, light and waterproof
Got my balance jacket about two weeks ago. Used it for first time on the waterfall walk at Pontneddfecan, rained all all day and was very humid. The balance performed well and kept me dry and comfy.
Bought this about 2 weeks ago and wore it scrambling on Tryfan the other day. The weather was horrible- driving rain and wind but still quite warm. Jacket performed brilliantly, kept me dry and breathed really well. Defiantly the best hard shell I have owned.
Better than average Jacket
Had this for three years now. Ist year it took on a lands and to John a groats cycle with some serious rain. Jacket was Brilliant in every way. water resistant and breathable. Its also a great cut and easily accommodates a helmet. I run hot, so for me not to overheat while riding means this really is breathable. Since then its done trips to Norway, Iceland, Scotland and lots of dog walks in between. My experience is, of a really good versatile jacket. What I have found is that it responds well to some TLC. Regular washing and at least annual reproofing are essential if you want to get the best out of it.
A great rain shell
I’ve had my Balance (in Blaze flavour) for about 2 years now, so coming up on its third winter. It’s a great cut and fits me well, with two large map pockets that are easily accessible when wearing a rucksack. The hood fits well and is easily secured in place with the adjustable chords. The DWR Is really durable and the jacket still beads nicely when it’s dry. It packs down really small too. Doesn’t rustle when you’re moving in it. Hem draw chords keep the draughts out of your midriff and lower back. If I could suggest any room rod improvement, it would be that the material stops being waterproof after 3 hours of continuous rain, and eventually starts wicking into your midlayers. Also, in windy conditions, cinching down the draw chords on the hood puts a strain on your neck, which can cause aches after a few hours. The peak on the hood could be a smidge longer too, to keep rain out of the eyes. But I’m nitpicking here and would highly recommend this jacket. Oh, one last ask AlpKit - can we get this in kelp some day??
Had the jacket now for about 5 months. Went for the mens version as I prefer more room around the shoulders and found it to be a good fit. Using it primarily for walking trips and my cycle commute.
Just got back from a 600 mile walk across northern Spain and was delighted with the performance of the jacket. Coped well with days of endless rain, and some heavy snow. What impressed me most was the breathability. The best waterproof I've had for dealing with rain on warm days - I never felt too hot with the jacket on. It's also comfortable against skin and has excellent flexibility.
At first I wasn't sure about the pockets/vents. I've always gone for pit vents, but I've been pleasantly surprised with the venting performance - it works particularly well when carrying a rucksack (when I've found pit vents become less useful). What would be handy is one more pocket - maybe internal and more waterproof to put keys/phone etc so that you can vent in the rain and still have somewhere to store important things.
I've had this a couple of months now and have mainly worn it for dog walking. It is very breathable and so far has not even suggested it will let any rain in. It is not warm per se but it certainly keeps the wind off and works very well with layers. I skied in it recently in -10 degrees with 2 or 3 layers and it was great. I also tried it with a thermal t-shirt and my Heiko which worked very well. I've taken a star off as it really would benefit from a internal valuables pocket but this is nit-picking really as it's a fantastic bit of kit at a great price.
Really lightweight, packs down very small.
Have now worn this out in driving rain several times and been bone dry, even after extended spells.
Packs down really small. Only negative is that the hood wire will bend out of shape when packed down, I'd prefer to see the method that mountain equipment use, where the entire peak is plyable, but returns to its original shape after bending.
New V`s Old.
Thought I`d give a up-date to the review I posted awhile ago.
with plenty of wet weather around. did the balance jkt better my
old jkt approaching the end of its second decade of use.
what I have found out, there are limits to its performance. prolonged heavy rain on the hills. I started to feel damp & chilly.
taking off the jacket I notices my Heiko was damp. from rain coming
up the cuff`s, shoulders damp spots and the front suffered from
my old jacket is 100% breathable due to the soft material & inner lining. with the jacket being heavy and thicker it stands up to the rain better.
that`s not to say the balance doesn`t have some pluses. its light weight, packs down well. I like its no thrills simple styling to.
so to sum up. for the really filthily wet wintry cold weather I`ll keep my old jacket to tattle the elements.
come spring to summer time, with the " warmer rain "...we hope !
when the rain is warmer the balance will come out to play, to fend off the lighter rain & milder weather. hopefully staying in my bag for
the majority of the time...because it wont be needed.
OK for light rain; not reliable for more challenging conditions
I've owned this jacket for a little over a year, and have been pretty happy with it for bikepacking, although never really tested it in constant or heavy downpours. That all changed on a recent bikepacking tour across Argyll and Bute, where it rained solidly for 2 days: unfortunately, the jacket let me down badly, and I was soaked to the core on both days - the waterproofing just seemed to give out completely at a certain point (and fairly quickly, too). This was not sweat or condensation - my base layer was absolutely dripping wet. Fortunately, the temperature was mild and I was carrying dry clothes to change into at the end of the day when bivvying out. I definitely would not rely on this is jacket on a trip in colder, wet conditions - too risky. The jacket has always been regularly cleaned and reproofed and only with Nikwax products. Now thinking of buying a Gore wear H5 for my Winter bikepacking trips.
Wet and disappointed
I’m a huge fan of Alpkit, love their stuff. I’ve owned this jacket for a while but have been very lucky that i’ve never encountered any significant rain in that time. Well today the inevitable happened and it was one of those days of persistent but only moderately heavy rain and sadly the jacket failed me. Within three or four hours I was soaked along the arms, the neck and right down the front. It made for a very miserable walk. The cost is a fantastic cut and design and totally cuts out the wind but sadly it’s let me down when I needed to keep dry.
Hi Andrew, thank you for your honest review. I have just dropped you an email to see if we can get the jacket back for testing as the Balance should be more than capable of handling a few hours of torrential rain. Many thanks, Ashleigh - Alpkit Customer Support
Sorry bad review
Had this jacket for a year now. No issues to start with and I've looked after it but the other day I was caught in a Scottish thunderstorm and from the first big rain drop I knew my jacket was leaking. 2 hours later and I was completely soaked and not very happy. I know you'll ask did I proof it, iron it etc which I have. It had sat in my bag for a while which is the only reason I can give for it being faulty but I've had gore tex jackets in the past which have performed for longer without re proofing. Thought I was onto a good thing here but sadly disappointed.
All good until.....
This jacket was great until I washed it (using nickwax) now it lets in water like a sieve.... I should have let it stay stinky :-(
We got rockbottom’s jacket back and found that it had a defect in the membrane. We replaced his jacket with a new one. - Alpkit
Not fit for purpose in heavy rain.
I purchased this jacket as I love Alpkit clothing and have purchased loads in the past. I spend a lot of time outdoors mountain biking and hiking in the mountains. The reviews were great and I was after a waterproof jacket which could withstand the outdoors and the Snowdonia weather. Very surprised and disappointed! I have worn this twice once at Cannock Chase for a walk and today up the Rydd Du Trail, Snowdon. Both times I have been wet through to my base. I am very surprised as all my other Alpkit clothing has been great! Not very impressed with this jacket, especially with the great reviews and specification. May be I have a dud! But only telling the truth. Complete waste of money :( and feeling a bit disappointed.
“We have contacted Marc, and hope to get the jacket back to us soon as it doesn’t appear to be performing to the standard that other customers have experienced.”