I remember the first time that I laid my eyes on a Badlands pack in a Cabela’s store. I was impressed with the build quality and materials, but even more amazed by the design – the pockets were the right sizes, and in the right places. The packs were quiet, comfortable, durable, and quite frankly, ingenious. Badlands won me over that day, and I have purchased several of their packs since.
For the past couple of years I have heard about a Badlands clothing line that was in the works; as a fan of their packs, I couldn’t help but be excited. Well folks, the much anticipated Badlands clothing line is now a reality. The full line is scheduled to launch in July, but I was lucky enough to get my hands on an exclusive first look at the new Badlands “Velocity” soft shell jacket.
This post isn’t about soft shell jackets in general, but about the Badlands Velocity in particular. That said, if you aren’t familiar with the benefits of a soft shell jacket, then I highly recommend that you check out this article from Backcountry.com.
[Click any photo to enlarge.]
I had a lot of questions about the Badlands clothing line. Could a pack company really develop great clothes? Could they bring the ingenuity and durability from their packs and translate it into garments? Would they take the time to think through all the special little details that make their packs so great? I have found the answers to be yes, yes, and yes!
The Velocity jacket features a good array of pockets – two traditional fleece-lined hand pockets on the front of the jacket, one pocket on the right sleeve, one left-side chest pocket, and one interior pocket. All of the pockets are zippered. All exposed zippers on the jacket, including on the pockets, feature a sealed zipper system to keep water out and keep the zipper channel clean and moving freely.
I love Badlands products because they execute the little details so well. As you can see above, the main zipper zips up into a ‘zipper garage’. I love this detail! One of the Under Armour jackets that I used last year drove me crazy because the zipper was constantly ripping whiskers out of my neck and chin. This ‘zipper garage’ is a little detail, but I know it will improve the comfort of the jacket for me.
Below you can see a zoomed-in shot of the interior of the jacket. The red ‘Badlands’ strip is actually a grippy lining used in the bottom of the jacket so that the jacket will ‘grab’ onto your pants and prevent the jacket from riding up. Simple. Brilliant.
The interior of the Badlands Velocity jacket is lined with two types of fleece – a lighter Hex-Lite™ fleece, and a longer/heavier fleece for the side panels. The Hex-Lite™ fleece keeps the weight and bulk of the jacket down, while still providing warmth, and the heavier fleece is used in strategic positions where the body needs the extra insulation.
The Velocity jacket should be a great option for bowhunters. I found the jacket to be quiet and easy to shoot in. The fit is ‘athletic’ without being restrictive or uncomfortable. The size Large jacket fit me well; it felt nice and trim, but I still had room to layer underneath of it for the really cold days.
I obviously haven’t had the chance to test this jacket in a hunting situation, or see how it performs in the cool of fall, but I must say that so far, I am impressed.
Badlands no doubt knows how to build a pack, and if the Velocity jacket is any sign of how their full line of clothing will be, then I think it is safe to say they know now to build some killer hunting apparel as well. I like the Velocity jacket for the same reasons that I like Badlands packs – they are quiet, durable, and they have the little details right where they should be.
Check out BadlandsPacks.com to see the full line of clothing, and be sure to check out my buddy Al’s first impressions of the Badlands Ion pants, as well as my buddy Ryan’s first look at the Badlands Inferno jacket.
I will be sure to post more about the Badlands clothing line as I get a chance to take a look at other items, as well as test them in the field.