Badlands Hypervent Backpack Review
If you are the type of hunter that likes to throw on a pack and hike to your destination, you have probably spent time evaluating packs. One downside to an early season hunt is that it can be warm and with the heat comes sweat. Most day packs have a cloth backing that rides against your back, which traps heat and after a few hours your back side can be drenched. External frame packs offer relief by moving the weight to the frame and keeping it off your back. The downside is that bulky external frame packs do not tend to be as convenient as a daypack.
Badlands Hypervent Pack side view.
The Badlands Hypervent Pack, introduced in 2006, attempts to marry the two worlds of daypacks and external frames. The Hypervent achieves this goal by placing the aluminum frame internal to the back, which pushes the pack away from your back. In between your back and the frame is the "vent" or baffle that allows air to flow between the pack and your back.
To a certain extent the Hypervent is similar to their popular Badlands Superday pack. In a way you can think of the Hypervent as a Superday with baffle and modifications. The Hypervent offers slightly more storage space, 2050 cubic inches (ci), versus the 1950 ci of the Superday. The Hypervent weighs in at 3 lbs 4 ounces while the Superday is 11 ounces heavier. Both are equipped with the ability to add a hydration system, which typically includes a water bladder, tube, and bite valve. The Hypervent can take a 110 oz bladder while the Superday takes 100 oz., although neither includes a hydration system. The redesigned 2007 Superday offers a drop down pouch at the rear of the pack that makes it easy to set a rifle or bow into. The Hypervent does not have the drop down pouch but it does have a dedicated spotting scope pouch. Both packs are offered in either Real Tree Hardwoods or Max-1 pattern. Max-1 is better for western hunting, while Hardwoods is more appropriate for eastern or timber hunting. Both packs are also made of water resistant material, that will keep it dry with modest amounts of dew or rain, although its not going to stay dry in a downpour.
Inside view of the pack.
Lower lumbar strap pockets.
The Hypervent is quick to fit to your body, both the shoulder strap and lower lumbar support have quick set straps that are easy to pull tight or loosen by applying proper pressure to the strap lock.
The hydration system is also easy to install with a separate integral pouch for the bladder and a grommet that you run the tube through taking it from inside the pack to right in line with your shoulder strap. The hydration tube can be further secured to the left shoulder strap by a piece of elastic near the top of the strap.
Internal view showing the hydration system installed.
Hydration system is not included.
Hydration tube installed along the left shoulder strap.
The pack is fairly quiet although it does take a while to break it in and silence the squeaks. If you're used to using a shoulder strap pack, you may want to consider using a pack that offers lower lumbar support like the Hypervent and most packs in their line up. The lower strap takes some of the riding weight of the pack and helps reduce back pain, although there is no substitute for getting in shape and strengthening your back prior to your hiking hunting adventure. Badlands straps, whether on the lumbar region or on the shoulders are particularly well padded and comfortable. For those who like to carry a handgun while hunting, you can store a commander length 1911 or smaller without issue in the side pouches at the lower back, longer handguns will be a problem.
The vent baffle works as advertised. While you will still collect some wetness where the support runs along your spine and lower back, by and large it is nothing like wearing a traditional pack. This has a few advantages, first of which is it reduces the amount you sweat and thus the need to replenish from the stores you're carrying on your back. The second is that you're not as wet so you don't get as chilled when the hot day turns to a cool clear chilling night.
Internal baffle or Hypervent Suspension.
Most sweat would collect along the midline of the back, but the sides were dry.
Badlands offers a simple warranty policy that lasts for the lifetime of the pack. If the problem is the owner's fault they will repair it to the best of their ability at no charge. If it's their fault they will replace it at no charge. Our test unit had no problems, nor was it abused so we'll just have to take the warranty at face value. The warranty does come at a price though, Badlands packs tend to me more expensive, for instance the Hypervent comes in at around $170. If price is a factor you might consider Vortex Outdoors (Badlands parent company) Black Ridge series. The Black Ridge packs are similar, about half the cost, but have no warranty. There currently is not a model in the Black Ridge line that has an internal frame.
There are some downsides to the pack. Because of the frame the pack does stick off your back a ways further than a traditional pack, it would be nice to have a roll down back flap that you can attach orange to (or simply have blaze orange on the flap) if you intend to use the pack during rifle or muzzleloader season. You also might find the internal frame a bit cumbersome when trying to store items in the main pack pouch, that is the trade off though of an internal frame.
The spotting scope pouch is a bit of a rub because it takes up a considerable portion of the pack and really can only be used for a spotting scope or something of similar tubular nature. If you use a spotting scope be sure to get an inline style as opposed to one with an angle, for instance the Swarovski STS versus ATS series. Angled spotting scopes may fit but not as well as an inline, due to the size of the pouch. If you don't use a spotting scope, you may find the pouch to be annoying since it takes up space as it is not easily used by none tubular objects.
Rear view showing the tubular spotting scope pouch.
In conclusion the Hypervent is a well thought out and quality product if you want the added support of an internal frame and want to cut down on the sweat on long humps. If this is irrelevant to you, you might be happier with the aforementioned Black Ridge packs or a Superday pack. For more information about Badlands backpacks visit www.badlandspacks.com.