Hopefully you read the Press Release about Badlands’ New Apparel. I was intrigued by the technological advances in this line and asked Badlands if they’d be willing to do an interview so my readers could learn more.
A huge “Thank You” to Blake Van Tussenbrook for taking the time out to answer some questions about their great new line of hunting clothing.
1. That’s a whole bunch of technology-based features! How important is it to integrate technology with clothing?
In our many years of doing research about different technologies when it comes to building packs and designing clothing we’ve found that we simply can’t ignore that there are some really amazing technological advances in the world. From innovative fabrics that breathe and resist moisture to linings that reflect heat and use perspiration to your advantage – we simply look for the most functional tech out there and put it to work for hunters everywhere. We feel that if we aren’t bringing technology to our clothing line then there’s really no reason for anyone to look at our product over another.
2. When designing clothing, do you seek the technology you desire, and then try to integrate it, or do you just take what’s known and available and utilize it?
When designing clothing we first think about what we want each particular piece to do. Are we designing a hot weather shirt? Are we designing a 3-layer waterproof piece? Are we making a new bib for tree stand hunters that absolutely has to be warm? After we know what we want, we search for the best technology available. What sets Badlands apart is we often look to other industries and think outside the box for our tech. For example, the black Hypalon material we use at all stress points on our backpacks originally came from industrial gaskets. We knew it was an extremely strong material so we used it in packs. It’s the same with our apparel. The best technology we could find for cooling the body came from something NASA developed for cooling space suits under extreme heat. We’ve built that CoolTouch tech into our Algus Series of clothing for hot weather. There are a lot of really great companies outside of the hunting world pushing the limits when it comes to technology and we often bring a lot of those things to hunters for the first time. It’s all about thinking outside of the box for us.
3. Technology shifts the price-point; can you have too much technology?
There is definitely such a thing as over-engineering a piece of clothing or equipment. Nobody needs the “Badlands Commuter Pack – featuring built-in coffee maker and Wi-Fi signal.” One of our main focuses is providing the technology needed to have a functional and long-lasting piece of equipment while still keeping the piece affordable for the average person. When it comes to price-point we also offer the most iron-clad unconditional lifetime warranty in the industry so we feel consumers are getting a lot of bang for their buck. Yes, you might be making a sizable investment initially but keep in mind it will be the last gear you really ever have to buy.
4. How has the new pattern been received?
Badlands Approach camo is off to a blazing start. Everywhere we’ve taken the pattern from tradeshows to hunt camps to now having it available online, the response is always the same, “wow, that really works!” When people are able to see firsthand how Approach breaks up the human form and how the neutral color palette blends extremely well in many different types of terrain it really blows them away. Our main goal in designing Approach from the ground up was coming up with the most versatile pattern available and so far that’s been exactly the feedback we are getting. We just can’t wait to get more of it out into the hills, mountains, trees and woods.
5. What has been the biggest challenge in designing this line?
The biggest challenge has been the wait. This pattern has been 5 years in the making and has changed forms so many times that it’s truly been a labor of love. Everyone at Badlands has had a hand in developing this pattern and it feels like our baby in a way. We knew we had to not only design a pattern but design a whole bunch of groundbreaking new products to go along with it so that definitely took time, patience and a lot of man hours to accomplish. Now that the wait is over and Approach is here the work is only increasing to fill the demand for the new line. It’s a great feeling to get the pattern out into the world but we’re already thinking ahead to the next big thing!
6. How do you balance utilization of new, cutting edge technology with making sure the technology is proven and reliable?
It all comes down to design, test, repeat. That is our mantra around here. The design team knocks something out that is awesome – we get a sample made by our talented staff – then it becomes all about the field test. We’re lucky to be about 10 minutes from the mountains here at Badlands headquarters. We can literally have gear up on the mountain and being put through the ringer within minutes. You can read about technology all you want but until you really try it out for yourself you won’t know if it’s legit or just sales fodder. Luckily for the Badlands faithful we test everything extensively before it ever gets released. The only way to test our new CoolTouch line of apparel was to go out and sweat in the hot hot heat. The only way to test our Heatwave technology was to wait for the cold and get out there. Once we know for certain that a piece of technology will do what it says it will do, then we begin working it into a Badlands product.
7. With this new line, what are you most proud of?
We’re extremely proud to put our name and logo on what we know is the best apparel we’ve ever released. Like anything else in life, we’ve learned from past mistakes and for us it’s all about improvement. To see a project that has been over 5 years in the making come to fruition in the form of nearly 30 new products is a proud moment for us. The sweetest and most rewarding moments however will come when we start seeing photos and video of the gear being put to the ultimate test. It feels good to have absolute confidence that the gear we’ve made will indeed exceed expectations and keep hunters going in the field.
Thanks again to Blake and the good folks at Badlands!