Badlands has been making packs for around 20 years now, and their 4500 was a flagship pack of the company for years. For the last six years, they have been working on its successor, and the new Summit (4700 c.i.) is their answer. They managed to shave off a few pounds, down to a trim 6.2 lbs. (weighed by us) – one of the lightest in the review.
Frame/suspension: This pack is one of the few in the review that has a true, fixed internal frame; in this case a polycarbonate frame. It doesn’t serve as a separate meat hauler, so meat will have to go in or on the outside of the pack bag. It does come in medium and large frame sizes.
The AirTrack suspension is adjustable via two yellow straps that quickly raise/lower the harness to fit. Padding on the hip belt, lumbar area, and shoulder straps is thinner than most packs in the review.
There is a single vertical compression strap inside the main compartment that can be tightened to the main bag, up and into the frame, helping to control load distribution and influence center of gravity.
Bag: The bag is 900 Denier Ripstop Fabric with Teflon membrane to stay soft and subtle during cold hunts. High-stress areas are reinforced with Hypalon.
The bag is exceptionally well pocketed for organization. The main bag has access through the top and front. It also has a shroud and roll-top buckle, which sits under an adjustable-height lid. Two optics pockets on the sides are there for your spotter and tripod; two hip pockets are there for quickly needed items; and the front compartment is several pockets in one for your smaller items.
Thinner side compression and horizontal compression straps help secure the load. Also, two gear lashing straps at the bottom are there for a sleeping bag, tent, or jacket.
The website implies that there is a rifle boot attachment, though the link didn’t work. Regardless, the rifle could also be carried on the side, using a lower side pocket as a scabbard and the three side compression straps to secure the rifle. A bow can be mounted on the front of the pack.
Color/camo options: Realtree Xtra
Best qualities: 14 total pockets for exceptional organization; lightweight; low profile; 95-oz. hydration bladder.
Could be better: Pack is better served as a good organizational hunting pack than heavy meat/camp hauler; shoulder straps and hip padding could be thicker; little ventilation to back when loaded; few accessory options.
Cost: $399. Contact: www.badlandspacks.com.
Similar Badlands options to consider: Ox (4400 c.i.; built-in meat shelf; external frame; 9 lbs., 11 oz.) – $499; Sacrifice (3800 c.i.; 4 lbs.) – $269.