Badlands Diablo Backpack Review


Introduction:
Even though I had a closet full of backpacks, I picked up the Badlands Diablo  thinking it would make a nice summer scouting backpack, or a ‘half day’ pack for early archery hunts where I wouldn’t be straying far from the truck.

This pack had originally caught my eye due to its size, the number of pockets, and its light weight. The biggest feature that caught my attention was the ‘Hypervent’ suspension.  The Hypervent suspension allows air to flow freely between a person’s back and the pack, keeping them cooler.  I was very pleased with this feature and it was one of the things I liked most about the Diablo. 

Pack Description:
The Diablo pack is a panel loading pack built off of Badlands’ Hypervent suspension.  This is one of the lightest packs I’ve owned, if not the lightest.  The Diablo has 6 pockets or compartments.  This pack has an internal water bladder sleeve in the main compartment (1). The next largest pocket (2) is on the outside and holds a pair of 15x56 binos perfectly with easy access to them. There is a smaller pocket (3) on the flap of pocket #2. This pocket is good for snacks, maps, or other small non-bulky items. Under that is another small pocket (4) that can hold a small first aid kit, gloves, or other small items. On the bottom of the pack is the ‘glove box’ pocket (5 and 6) which when unzipped has two mesh zipped pockets inside. There are ‘bed-roll’ straps on the bottom of the pack that are useful to carry a glassing pad, jackets, or a tripod. There are two mesh pockets on either side (1 per side) that fit a small water bottle or hold the bottom of a tripod or shooting sticks. Above the mesh pockets are zig-zagged compression straps that can reach to the opposite sides of the pack to attach a bow to the back of the pack.  Even though the straps did work to carry a bow, it didn’t feel very secure.

On the back of the pack on pocket #2 there is a daisy chain where additional items can be strapped to the pack. The hipbelt lacks any attachment points, but I fashioned my own using zip ties and/or cord through the ventilation holes. Through these I attached bow hooks and camera cases.

Badlands claims that this pack “weighs less than 3 lbs but can sustain loads of 45 pounds plus.” I’ve loaded this pack up to where it felt very heavy picking it up, but once on and adjusted, it actually felt lighter than it was. After one hike with it I weighed it when I got home and it weighed in at 28 pounds. It carried that weight wonderfully. I have read others complain about feeling the metal frame bar at the bottom of the pack pressing into their lower back, but I haven’t noticed this when the pack is adjusted properly.

I was somewhat concerned that due to the Hypervent suspension the pack would feel like it was pulling away from me due to the space between my back and the pack. That was never the case at all. The pack moved very well with me and never adversely affected my balance at all.

The shoulder straps are contoured and have perforated padding. The perforated foam in the hip belt is comfortable and supported the loads I carried very well. The same perforated foam makes up the top of the back padding below the shoulder straps.

A couple of the Badlands packs I’ve previously tried on had too large of a hip belt and even when tightened all the way was too loose except for when I had bulky clothes on. This wasn’t the case for this hip belt on my 33-34” waist. The Diablo is streamlined and allowed me to shoot my bow while wearing it with no clearance issues.


Pros:
  • Light weight
  • Hypervent suspension
  • Carried up to about 30+ lbs pretty comfortably

Cons:
  • Suspension not adjustable
  • Could have better compression straps that would allow a bow to be carried more securely
  • Frame sometimes squeaked, but barely noticeable

Uses and experiences with pack:
I used the Diablo pack on archery deer hunts in January, archery javelina hunts in January, predator/shed hunting in March, summer scouting and shed hunting in June and July, and during early season archery deer and elk hunts in August and September.  Overall, this pack is a joy to carry when you want to go light and fast.  This was my go to pack for my 2010 September archery elk hunt.  It performed great for the preseason scouting and chasing down bugles. 

When loading the Diablo for my January pig and deer hunts, I had the pack loaded full with everything I’d need for a day afield, as well as extra clothes to throw on once I reached my glassing position. The pack carried everything I’d asked of it, but had I shot anything while carrying this pack, I definitely would have had to make a couple of trips to the truck to pack out a javelina or deer.

During spring and summer (scouting) trips when I didn’t have to carry as much clothing and equipment, the pack had more than enough room. This was the primary reason I purchased this pack and it did the job wonderfully.

Function and Activity Matrices:
(For a description of the rankings and the pack matrices, click here.)


Summary and Recommendations:
Overall, this is a great scouting and early season hunting pack. As I stated above, the hip belt doesn’t have any attachment points for gps, radio, camera case or bow hooks. A solid piece of webbing or a couple of daisy chain type pieces of webbing would be a nice addition on the pack belt for this. The only other possible addition I would make would be to have a couple of straps similar to the Super Day or the Ultra Day that go across the back of the pack for attaching jackets or a bow more securely while still having the side compression/attachment straps. For me, the above proposed changes are pretty minor compared to the good points of the pack.  

Overall, I am glad I purchased this pack. The hypervent suspension appealed to me and it really works! The quality of the pack is very good, although I did have one zipper pull come off. I prefer a larger pack for December/January archery deer and late season rifle hunts, but this pack excels when it is warm.  I consider this pack more of a specialty pack versus a pack that will do it all.  For the early season archer who wants to move go fast and light and isn’t straying too far from his truck I’d give this pack a grade of B. 



Pack in Action Pictures:
 
 
 
 

Badlands carry all magnetic pouch attached to the Diablo hip belt.
 

Comments

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  2. Nice review guys- What water bladder/hose cover are you using??

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had my wife make me the bladder hose cover out of an old l/s t-shirt sleeve. It works pretty well.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi! really informative post about hunting bag/pack.thanks for information.can you suggest me any best color of bag pack?

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