Thursday, January 26, 2012

Product Review: Badlands Hybrid Pack
The Outdoor Blogger Network turned one back in October and as part of the celebration they, along with the sponsors, had abundant giveaways. One of the highly sought after items was a Badlands Hybrid Pack. Now imagine sitting in a treestand during the slow part of a hunt and getting an email (via cell phone)  informing you that you won said giveaway. When I opened the email informing me that The SoCal Bowhunter was the winner of the pack I about dropped the phone in my excitement!

As soon as I could, I looked up the Hybrid specs on the Badlands website:
  • WEIGHT : 4 lbs 2 oz
  • DIMENSIONS : 20" x 12" x 11"
  • CAPACITY : 1980 ci
  • COMPARTMENTS : Infinite plus 1
  • POCKETS : Too Many
  • BOW : YES
  • CAMO : Max-1 & AP

The Badlands Hybrid pack is built for a day hunt or even two days if you plan carefully. I tested mine out in different ways. I took it out scouting and I took it to Disneyland. Yepper. D-land, with a capital D. Why? It's a great testing ground. I pack plenty of clothes and snacks for the family and I am always on the hunt for the big animals that roam the park. You know, the ones with giant ears.
If you are obsessive about what goes in your pack and wanting to keep it organized, then this is the pack for you. The Hybrid has numerous pockets to store your gear. How many? Let's just say I lost count. I like the fact that you can keep everything very organized and this pack is great for that. The pack also has a mesh pocket for a hydration bladder, which I utilized. It functions very well and it was very easy to place the bladder inside and also remove.

When I completed my initial once-over, I thought my pack had been sewn incorrectly because I couldn't get the front pocket open. Come to find out, it's magnetic! I am not a big fan of magnets on my gear, but it's better than Velcro. I packed up the amenities for the day trip to Disneyland and hit the road with the family. The pack felt great on my back! I was able to lug everything with ease, but that pocket kept popping open. Yes, the one with the magnet to keep it closed. I just had too much stuff in the pack or it was in a pocket that wouldn't hold it well. After moving some stuff around, I quickly realized that this pack is not meant to be crammed with gear like a Badlands 2200 is. This one is definitely designed for shorter day trips and that front pocket is meant to hold small items, such as a map, or items you need quickly. While I may not be a total fan of the magnetic pocket, it functions well and is a good feature on the pack. Well done, Badlands!

Detail showing the magnetic pocket as it is opened.

Along with that, the entire pack is waterproof. The magnetic hold closing the pocket was tight enough that it is also waterproof. This I know because I dumped water over it when it was closed. I even let it sit in a small pool of water to see if it soaked through the bottom. Result: Dry as a bone inside and that was very pleasing!

One of the features of the pack that I really think works for a small pack is the bow/rifle holder. There are a few packs out there that have this feature and Badlands has it on many of their packs, but they seem to own it.  It was easy to lock the bow in and not worry about it. My bow stayed locked in place the entire scouting trip.

Everything about this pack is balanced whether it's loaded up or not. When it's full the shoulder straps distribute the weight evenly and they never dig into your shoulders. In fact, it is so comfortable to have on your back you will almost forget it's there. I wore it all day, fully-loaded at Disneyland and scouting and I didn't think twice about it. I even put 30 lbs. inside and lugged that around. It still felt comfortable and balanced.

The Badlands Hybrid has a price point between $180-$200 in most stores, so it's not cheap. You WILL get what you pay for and that is quality, comfort and durability. For anyone who doesn't know about Badlands, they also have the best warranty in the business. If it loses a zipper or gets a tear in it, you send it back and they fix it. You will have to cover the cost of return shipping, but that is a small price to pay for service like that. 


Disclaimer: The reviews on The SoCal Bowhunter are solely my honest opinions.  I receive no monetary compensation in exchange for these reviews. I received the Badlands Hybrid Pack free of charge and agreed  to provide a review in exchange.  The SoCal Bowhunter is not sponsored by or associated with Badlands and is accepting no other compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review.  My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.


  1. Sounds like a good deal for the price. I like the review, nice job.

  2. Good review, Al! I have a couple of Badlands items with the magnetic enclosures, which I tend to really like. It provides much quicker access than a zipper, and much quieter access than velcro. I can see how it wouldn't work well for large items though. Does the Hybrid accept a standard Camelbak shaped bladder (long/skinny), or use what my 2800 has, which is a proprietary square shaped bladder?

  3. Thanks, Rick.

    Mark, it will actually take the long, slender Camelback style bladders which I love. I should have mentioned that. I know with my 2200 I have to have my water bladder outside of the pocket, which I hate, but you make do.

  4. Great review. Thanks for answering questions concerning the bladder shape.