By: Blake VanTussenbrook
The story of how Badlands came to be is like a winding, treacherous road, riddled with Frankensteined machines, fanatical ideas, weird science and an unwillingness to ever give up the dream of producing the absolute best gear in the world. Started in a storage shed 20 years ago with minimal equipment and even less money, the only way Badlands was to succeed was by its innovative designs and uncompromising quality.
The first packs to come out of “The Shed” were built for mountaineering as those were the guys pushing the extremes of what was needed in a pack. The focus was on building suspensions that had never been seen before and actually worked WITH the human body instead of against it. The weird science referenced earlier came through studying physics and quantum mechanics to best understand how to pack maximum weight with minimum effort. Materials and technologies were used that had never been utilized in backpacks before. Polycarbonate and Delron frames, new threads and fabrics, pneumatic fitting devices and magnets…there was no end to the new technology being put into the packs in the earliest days and that tradition continues today.
The packs won awards and accolades from some of the top mountaineering publications in the world. The product was revolutionary and people were recognizing that. After an upgrade from the storage shed to an old furniture warehouse, things got interesting. The financial struggles of any new business continued but fate was lurking in the neighborhood of Badlands and would soon knock on the door. The event that shaped the next 20 years for Badlands came in the form of an employee spray painting camouflage onto his pack while simultaneously contaminating the entire warehouse with noxious fumes. He explained that after using the innovative equipment he’d been making and using it seemed silly to not use it during hunting season.
The rest as they say is history. Orders were sought out while the innovation continued but now in a camouflage shell. The now famous unconditional lifetime warranty was concocted to ensure that customers knew they were making a lifelong investment with Badlands. People are great at recognizing quality, originality and most of all superior service. Badlands has become an industry leading giant by continuing that focus every single day. Unconditional.
For 2014, Badlands is very excited about several new products.
- The Supernova Jacket is the most technologically advanced down jacket to hit the market. Badlands used twice the amount of 800 fill white goose down as typical jackets, HyperDry™ water resistant technology, Thermodown™ body heat amplifying technology and a DuPont DWR oil repelling coating.
- The new for 2014 Badlands Tactical line will offer three new pack designs and two accessories in two different solid color options. Made with nearly indestructible Kevlar and Cordura blended fabrics, the packs are extremely tough while still being light and mobile. All of the tactical pieces are blanketed with multiple molle straps for accessory attachment and will be available in grey or coyote brown. Rifle and bow attachment capability makes the tactical line a great option for whatever hunt or event you have where camouflage is not needed or desired.
- A continued product focus for 2014 is on our new 4X apparel line. With the addition of the Supernova Jacket, the line will contain six jackets and five pants to cover all conditions a hunter may encounter. The 4X Scent Containment Process developed by Badlands utilizes a double coating of silver, bio-mapping technology to accurately discover the body’s natural “hot spots” and lastly adding odor-killing gaskets at all of the garment’s exit points. Utilizing natural bamboo and coffee blended fabrics, Badlands has been able to produce the most effective scent eliminating clothing on the market with the 4X apparel line.
The future for Badlands, much like the past, is going to be filled with innovation, risks, excitement and everything else Badlands has come to be known for. Badlands’ roots will always be in pack technology and that is what gets us excited each and every day. We plan to continue adding to the pack lineup consistently while also adding additional items that our fans are putting inside and on top of their packs. We have a rich history of finding and using the latest fabrics, frames, and fills so we’re taking that to the next level. Items our everyday customers are using consistently such as tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads and other products will soon carry the infamous Badlands bull skull and the excellence that comes with it.
As a company, we feel lucky to be a part of such an amazing industry that appreciates quality and progression in its gear. We’ve built our entire reputation on the backs of hunters worldwide and will continue to focus on making the best hunting packs in the world. We are excited to be able to bring other offerings to an industry we love while always providing our unconditional lifetime warranty on everything that carries the Badlands name. As we celebrate 20 years, we can’t help but smirk about the past, revel in the present, and focus on the future. Here’s to another 20 unconditional years.
For the best in rugged clothing and packs please go to: Badlands