I decided for 2008 that I wanted to take a slightly different approach to some of my hunting. I have a lot of fantastic areas that I have not hunted hard in the past simply because they require long hikes. These are the kind of spots where you can’t necessarily hang a stand before hand, because of this they also see little to no pressure. Knowing a lot of these areas are well over a mile hike in, I needed some gear that would enable me to get aggressive with walking in long distances, setting up, and hunting all in the same day.
I am notorious for packing WAY too much stuff into the field. I can’t help it, I have lots of gadgets that I barely use, and I feel naked without them. I have a decent pack that I normally use for all the junk that I never actually need but carry anyhow. With that said, I wanted a new pack for 2008 that I could use specifically for these longer hikes that would pack more comfortably, allow me to bring my gadgets, and also be easy to use with a climbing stand on my back. The previous pack I had was comfortable and allowed me to carry more than enough gear, but during long hikes it became uncomfortable, and when a climber needed to be on your back there was no good place for the pack. It was way too bulky to put the stand over, so I would end up strapping the pack to the stand. This wasn’t a great solution, because the load never balanced well, it was loud, and difficult to take off when you got to your destination. I decided that whatever new pack I chose had to be a fanny pack style that would allow me to put the stand on over the pack. The new pack would also need to have room for my endless gadgets. Most importantly, it had to be rugged. I really am the kind of guy to put my gear through a good workout, and I wanted a pack that would take the abuse I will most certainly dish out.
After evaluating several packs online, one detail out of them all stood out to me. The warranty statement on the Badlands website that reads as follows.
The Legendary Badlands Unconditional Warranty
“We don’t care what happened, or whose fault it was, we will fix it for free forever. We could care less if you bought it at a garage sale or a gear swap, as long as it says Badlands on the pack it’s covered. All we ask is that you use and abuse your pack as much as possible so we can learn how to make better products”
That warranty caught my attention. A few other things also caught my attention. The pack has a Delron support rod that circles the pack to keep it from sagging, and helps to keep it put on your back where you want it. The pack was also hydration bladder compatible. It has adjustable shoulder straps to keep the load balanced between your waist and your shoulders, and has a generous 1100 cubic inch carrying capacity split between 5 pockets. After reviewing several other packs, this seemed to be the top pick.
There are several things I really like about this pack now that I have put it through the paces. Probably the biggest thing, is that it packs so well. One week after receiving the pack, I did a several mile hike with it and my new Lone Wolf Alpha Sit & Climb on my back while scouting a new property. In the pack I carried 3 bottles of water (it was hot out!), a dozen steel tree steps, limb saw, range finder, digital camera, and a small handful of other things. After several miles, I can easily say it packs better than any other pack I have owned. It also stays out of the way when you have a climber on your back. You can adjust the shoulder straps so that the main bag compartment is low and out of the way. I love the thick padding on the waist belt too, it really just helps to keep you fresh after a long hike.
Pictures showing how the pack is positioned, and the shoulder straps in use. Keep in mind, this picture was taken with a good 10lbs of gear in the pack, you can see how the pack doesn’t collapse or sag because of that Delron rod support.
The zippers are good quality. I haven’t gotten a full season on it quite yet but from what I see they seem to be good enough to handle anything I throw at them. I love the big tags that hang off the zippers; they should make it easy to open when I have gloves on. I also like the compression straps that hang off the bottom of the pack, and on top of the pack so that on those chilly mornings I can pack in my jacket or vest, and then unstrap and put it on at my destination.
Zippers open on multiple pockets, and you can see the large tags that hang off them to make it easy to open/close with gloves on.
Things I would like to see slightly changed on the pack would be to add more separate pockets for items that any serious bowhunter will always have on them. I would love to see a grunt call specific pocket and a compact flashlight specific pocket. I would also like to see a variety of smaller pockets inside the main compartment for those little gadgets that we all like to carry and float around in the bottom loose. Since the pack comes with a pocket you can unzip and insert a hydration bladder, it would be nice to see the bladder included. The only other minor criticism I have is that the material picks up burrs while in the field, not as bad as some materials I have seen, but it would be nice to see this addressed. I went through some pretty thick brush while freshening posted signs a few weeks ago. The pack went with me to carry a spare staple gun, a roll of signs, a water bottle, and lots of extra staples. When I got home, it was covered in burrs. They came out pretty easily by hand, but a fabric type that didn’t pick them up at all would be nice.
This picture shows the inside of the main storage compartment. This is the area I would like to see multiple small gadget specific pockets to prevent those smaller things from floating around in the bottom of the pack.
Overall I have to give the pack 2 thumbs up. I’m confident that this pack will handle everything I can throw at it, and if not, I’m sure they will back it up with their warranty claim. I would like to see them add a few more pockets inside for specific gadgets, but I still think it’s a great value and certainly the best fanny pack I have personally laid hands on and seen in person. If you are interested in trying one out yourself, they are available right here at Bowhunting.com.