For those who don’t know Badlands BackPacks is a new line just 7 years old but not a new company. The parent Corp is Vortex packs, if your climbing Kilimanjaro you wear a Vortex pack, in fact I believe their pack has been to the summit more than any other. So the company has a solid reputation of making top of the line gear.
Good thing for us we don’t hunt Elk and Deer at 20,000 feet so we just don’t need to pack in so much on our backs. The Badlands brand is targeted toward hunters specifically and the 2800 Badlands pack is a prime example of that thinking in practice. I approached this review with caution, as I get tired of companies slapping Camouflage on products and calling it hunting gear. I don’t like to replace my gear every year. When I buy a piece of gear I will pay extra for it,but only if I truly believe I can get 10 years of service out of that gear. My gear always have to pull double and triple duty as Spring Camping gear, Summer cook outs, vacations, plus be in top shape for the hunts when I will beat on it the hardest. I currently use a Madden Mountaineering 4500 (The numbers are the number of ci, cubic inches) That backpack has been doing its job since the late 80’s and I can say its never had a single problem, but it is designed more toward Sherpa duty than general hunting gear. It’s really a big duffel bag with extra pockets. Russi Mountaineering has bought Madden and it doesn’t even appear that they currently make the pack I use.
badlands 2800 openSo how are the Badlands 2800 different? First of all I must honestly say that when I first saw this pack I was a bit confused. My empty pack didn’t look anything like the pictures I swore there was something missing. That’s because the backpack is a Split Pack and I just hadn’t ever seen anything like it before. The pack takes a normal 2800 cc back pack and breaks it into 4 compartments with a total of 7 pockets. Then it adds in a tension and weight dispersing strap design that allows you to carry heavy material centered on your back for balance: I.E. Elk Quarters. A design obviously thought up by someone who has lost their gear stashing it under a tree while they packed out meat. As most know losing a good backpack is terrible but ALL YOUR GEAR in that pack is a hunt ruining experience.
The two side compartments have two pocket each and inside and outside pocket. The Outside pocket was not only the perfect shape but size for a full size pistol. The zippers were covered with a large molded rubber grip making it easy to open the pockets quickly even with thick gloves on. They used a yellow Aramid thread on all the seams and stress points of the pack. Aramid thread is normally used for bedding down fire barriers or high end upholstery, Aramid is a 110 lb test thread, this allows them to build stronger seams without having to build huge anchor points which make a pack look bad with stitch seams running all over hell and back.
kx032 fabricThe entire pack is made from a material Badlands calls KX032, its more of blend of materials to get a designed effect. There are 3 layers of material that make up KX032 The first is a Waterproof Urethane shell. This breathable material so if you stick something in there that is damp moisture gets out but it doesn’t get in, helps prevent mold from developing in your pack during the off-season. As some readers may of experienced pulling their backpacks out of the closet in the southern states where we use swamp coolers, the basements of midwestern states, or even the garage just about anywhere. Urethane is great for this but its just not tough so they combined it with the second layer, which is a Nylon. The Nylon has been around forever, it seems and when you want something to be strong Nylon is the way to go but the problem for hunters is Nylon sounds like your wearing a pair of corduroy pants on the hunt. Every preformed belts for backpacksmovement, every branch all attempts to snag and makes a scratching noise as you pass by. So Badlands added a third material that is wind proof, waterproof and feels like a soft felt. It absorbs noise well and is hard to making a scratching sound on. I raked a blade across the fabric several times the fabric fairly smooth and very hard to get traction to begin to slice into the top layer. The first 4 –5 rakes didn’t even damage the Real Tree Hardwood camouflage print on the outer layer. Satisfied that the pack wasn’t going to get ripped to shreds amongst the rocks and trees we moved on to a comfort and function test.
comfortable backpackThe size of this pack is perfect for strapping to the front of the 4-wheeler while I head up the mountain for a day or two walk. It didn’t hang over the edge and strapped nicely to our Kawasaki 4-wheeler’s both big and small. The top of the pack has a huge over sown handle built in for to make packing the pack easier or if your dragging it through an Airport it doesn’t have to be on your back to carry it comfortably. The Badlands backpacks have a built in back brace and a preformed back arch support that has not only thick but comfortable padding. The padding is not soft which means the nylon winds up cutting into you anyway on other backpacks, nor is it hard its just a nice shock absorbing pad that holds the shape of your body, which according to them allows better blood flow. Supposedly that is important I will just have to take their word on it as we have no way of proving that fact. I found the pack to be very comfortable even when heavily loaded. We stuck 200 lbs of steel in the pack and I strapped it on and could easily move my arms and didn’t have a feeling of being pulled back or toppling. I believe its rated at 80lbs in case you were wondering.
I found one thing that I would like to see improved on the pack that was the extra D rings sewn to the sides on the front of the backpack. I would of like to see these made out of aluminum or steel. For no other reason than I wanted to cinch a holster to it that requires me to twist the gun to draw and I was afraid eventually I was going to break them using them for something they were not designed for.
Frankly there was not one area design, technology, durability and usability that I didn’t find that this pack exceeded every competitor I have seen or heard of. The company kind of threw a slap of the glove to us to find something wrong with their product as they seem to take great pride in their business and it shows. They are the only company with a “No Fault” lifetime warranty. That means had a seam ripped out when we loaded it with 200lbs of metal. They still fix it for Free. The Pack just has to be fixable. There just isn’t much you can do to cloth that can’t be fixed. I picked on the D-rings for my own personal use but for what they were intended for they would last a lifetime. I know that this backpack will last guy who treats his gear terribly a lifetime, and those who don’t, never need to fear any type of problems. Truly an excellent hunting backpack I would recommend that Stores Call Badlands for Dealer prices. If you would like to just buy one of these great packs ask a local outdoor dealer why he doesn’t stock one for you. Just Click here to find a Badlands 2800 online dealer.