Whether I’m toting a load of gear up an elk mountain or slipping slowly toward a whitetail perch, I always have a pack on my back. For this reason, I spend lots of time tinkering and testing new pack designs.

Note: Don’t miss our Daypack Field Test, which will be available in our special annual issue of Bowhunting World that hits newsstands mid-September.

The Badlands Ascent — a prototype — was the first pack I put to the test, and it proved seemingly flawless. I love its new Bow-Wrap Carrier System the company released for 2017. Many packs boast bow-toting capabilities, but so often those packs attach the bow to the pack with standard straps. This causes the straps to rub the strings and cables, and the plastic buckles seem to always be sitting against something they shouldn’t.

To my relieved surprise, this is not the case with the Ascent. As with many Badlands models, the pack boasts a rollout pocket to hold the bottom cam comfortably. But this new design also wraps a padded (pocketed on the front) enclosure around the bow, shown in the video below. This easily adjustable and stretchable enclosure attaches the bow firmly to the pack and eliminates any issues with bow transport on the pack itself.

Related: Is there a point for summer elk scouting?

Another feature I really liked is the easily accessible and prominently labeled rain cover. This system will keep rain out of your pack and away from your gear. Shoulder-, waist- and chest-strap adjustments let you customize the pack to fit your body. In addition, the Ascent features a vented back, is hydration-reservoir compatible, weighs 4.5 pounds and sports a total volume of 2,430 cubic inches.

All in all, the Ascent is truly a joy to tote around the woods. I’m excited to begin testing the other models slated for our field-test series and will be sure to bring you my findings.