September 27, 2010

Badlands Ox In the Field

Returning from the backcountry of Colorado I wanted to follow up on my earlier post, The Ox, First Impressions. As stated, this trip without a doubt put it to the test. It was packed, repacked, dropped, swung, thrown, pulled, and in short.....abused. The results? Smack dab between awesome and excellent and just north of best pack period.

Leaving home bag fully packed I was pushing just short of 54lbs. Upon arrival in CO and before leaving he trail head pops and I rearranged a few things and my final weight ended up being somewhere around 63-65lbs for the 9+ mile trek into the backcountry.

During the voyage it became clear to me that one of the design points to this pack was working just as described....."the Ox is designed in such a way that pushes the frame back (which is light) and the pack forward (which is heavy) to provide the user with a sense of balance only dreamed of three years ago." Dead on....I knew I was carrying the weight, but it didn't feel like I was carrying the weight. It really did carry like a dream.

Packing the Ox was a breeze, all compartments were well located and just made sense. I had no problem fitting all my items plus some addition's in its 9 pockets and 7 compartments. Straps and zippers were strong. I piled and pushed and fit in more items than should be and never once did a strap or zipper bust, break, or even budge.

All in all I would sum up my first experience with the Ox as a great one. Over the years going into the backcountry there are a few choice items that I refuse to leave home without and the Ox by Badlands was just added to the top. Full story on the elk hunt coming soon....see you on the trail.

September 8, 2010

The Ox...First Impressions

When the folks at Badlands decided to throw on the label of "The Ox", they did so because this pack, after 2 years in the design room, is built to as they say....take a lickin' and keep on tickin'.

The Ox is an external frame pack that without question raises the bar weighing in at a mere 9lb, 3oz. The pack boasts the lightest (1lb, 9oz), and strongest (T-6 aluminum, zero welds/zero weak spots) external frame built and can operate solo by simply separating from the pack bag. Once separated, the frame can be broken down and stowed, used as a hauling sled, or placed on your back to transform you into a meat hauling machine.
The Ox boasts 4400ci of storage in the form of 9 compartments and 7 pockets that all function with zipper closure. A bow/rifle holder, left or right spotting scope pocket, and 96oz. hydration bladder pocket are all features incorporated in the design.

The Ox is new from Badlands and to be honest has a lot to live up to when compared to the slightly larger, internal frame pack in the 4500. Both the 4500 and The Ox are logical choices when planning to be out more than 4-5 days. To this point, I have had a very long, devoted, wholesome relationship with my's been a rock, a classic, a legend. Two years ago coming out of the backcountry I piled in over 110lbs of meat in that sucker and all it could do was say thank you sir may I have another.
The Ox (key features)
*Removable pack bag
*Molded foam suspension
*Integrated meat shelf
*Superior center of gravity
*Ultra light, zero weld aluminum frame
*4400 ci (27"x16"x9")
*16 pockets (7 compartments/9 pockets)
*9lbs 3oz
*Max 1 or Realtree AP

The real test with me is going to come in a matter of 2 days when I shoulder it up and head 12 miles into the backcountry. With trips like this, quality, tough, failure is not an option gear is essential. It's always a tight schedule with big expectations and I simply cannot budget the time/energy worrying about my gear. Like anything I have ever owned from Badlands this pack is built rock solid, which by the way, is just like the reputation of the company. I'm very anxious to put to it to the test and see just what this pack is made of. Full performance report when I return.....see you on the trail...