The “Red Bull” Legacy – by Benjamin Allen
The “Red Bull” Legacy
I was raised in the mountains of North Idaho in a hunting family that always held camaraderie and unity in high esteem. As my brothers and I grew up, we had the benefit of learning and growing together, building off of each other’s successes and failures. Most of these successes and failures were fairly insignificant, impacting our group’s gear decision for a year or two until the next big thing came out; but on rare occasion, we would discover something timeless – something that would become part of who we were as a group and stick with us season after season, developing its own legacy as we built ours. One of these successes dates back almost fifteen years and I like to think of it as the beginning of the Red Bull Legacy.
I was a mere twelve years old when I saw my first Badlands pack. It had been lying in an open pasture where horses, for whatever reason, decided to make a meal of it. By the time we got to it, it was tattered almost beyond repair. Nonetheless, something about it caught our eye. It wielded the head of a bull on the back in bright red, a brand none of us had ever seen, so we snatched it up and took it home; partially because we were picking up litter out of the field, but in part because we were curious about this red bull brand.
In the months following, my older brothers (both much older than myself) began doing research into the brand. One thing led to another and somewhere along the way, they were told that if they sent the pack back to the manufacturer, it would be repaired. I think the hesitation which followed was caused by a juxtaposition between their curiosity to see what would happen if they did indeed put this pack in the mail and the feeling of unjust enrichment that would come if a functional pack were ever to arrive in return. At the end of the day, the curiosity ultimately won out and the tattered bag was packaged up in a box and taken to the post office. I was too young to remember vividly how it returned – whether my older brothers got a new pack or whether the horse-chewed pack was repaired – but I do recall that sometime later a big box arrived at the house and excitement spread among us three.
Over the next few years, my brothers and I would fight after every successful hunt over who got to haul out meat using the Badlands. We tried increasing the amount of weight that would be loaded into the Badlands and decreasing that in the rest of the packs, in an attempt to balance the incentive, but the same fight still ensued. When I continually found myself on the losing end of this battle (likely because I was still in high school and they were both now adults), I decided I needed to have a red bull of my own.
That summer, after begging and pleading with everyone in my family to “chip-in” and help the poor high school kid, I was the proud owner of a Badlands 2200. From that point forward, my Badlands made every hunt with me, from quick shed-hunting excursions after school to overnight backpack trips. Within two years, the pack had hauled elk, deer, bear, turkeys, and even football gear. However, even with all of this, the greatest success of this pack was what it did for those around me. Every hunt I made, I was eager to show my Badlands off and gladly gave it up to whomever I was hunting with. In part, I knew that I had found a hidden key to success that would allow me to hike longer and further than ever before, and I wanted everyone I hunted with to have that same success. Before long, this second red bull in the family turned into three, then four, then five…
It has now been a few years since the days of saving up lawn-mowing money and begging family to help me put my first Badlands pack on my back. This past year, I took my original 2200 off the shelf and gave it to an old family friend and state Hunter Education instructor, knowing the influence he would have on young hunters and his ability to share this hidden gem with them once he discovered it for himself. Since the day we first stumbled across that tattered pack in the horse pasture, nearly every piece of my family’s hunting gear has changed, from the boots we wear to the camouflage patterns we prefer, but the one thing that has never faded is the red bull on our backs. Today, between my brothers, their wives, and their children, there are now 17 Badlands packs between us. In my mind, it takes something special to withstand the test of time, to stay at the top of an industry inflated with fads and trends that change faster than the seasons, and to embrace technological advancement to produce the next best product one step ahead of the rest, but if it does, it can truly be called a legacy. Badlands is a legacy. This is our Red Bull Legacy.
– By Benjamin Allen