Not sure if Badlands Approach camo is worth the switch? See if the “Muley Slayer” can help guide your decision.
Earlier this year, I reported on Badlands’ release of their new Approach camouflage pattern at the ATA Show. Now, with the hunting season upon us, they have released their full line to everyone.
The Approach pattern is singularly well thought out, with a color palette that’s designed to use lighting changes to your advantage. The multiple layers that make it up dissolve your outline against almost any background.
As cool as new patterns can be, jumping to a new style of camouflage can be a big deal, especially to those of us who are creatures of habit, heading out in our usual time-tested patterns.
Since I haven’t used the Approach pattern, I contacted Badlands people for those who have. They put me in touch with the “Muley Slayer” himself, Marc Smith. To date, he has hunted in it more than anyone else, so we met up and talked about the success he’s having with Approach and Badlands’ new apparel lineup.
To start, what does a hunter as versatile as you are look for in a pattern?
“I need something that is going to offer concealment up close and not make me look like a black blob far away,” explained Marc. “Before Approach, I liked the patterns similar to Predator’s Spring Green. The browns and greens offered concealment with up-close encounters, but the dark lines opened the pattern up and melted you from a distance. No one came close to anything near what they have done, until I started using the Approach pattern.”
The Approach pattern certainly does looking pleasing to the eye, but how does it really stand up against different terrain?
“Whether I was hunting hogs and turkeys in the south Texas brush in April or in the mountains of Utah for mule deer in August, everything I sat by, I would take a selfie,” recanted Marc. “I probably looked like an idiot, but I want to know what my camo is doing for me.
When I got in front of some willows and scrub brush, I would pull my mask up and take a picture. I blended right in. I took one in front of a snow white aspen tree, and because of the light portions of the pattern with the dark lines, I was difficult to see. I even took one in front of a big spruce, and the dark lines pulled all the greens out, making me hard to see again. The point is when you take a photograph and the pattern doesn’t pop, that says you have an awesome product that is hard to see no matter what you put it against. For everything I have hunted in Approach, it just flat works.”
It sounds like Approach performs amazingly, but surely it can’t blend in against everything, can it?
“All across the board, it’s the best there is,” said Marc. “I did snap one photo against a really dark green juniper tree I was leaning against one afternoon, and I did stand out. I think against something that dark green, while sitting in front of a single tree, that would be true for just about any pattern, though.”
You seem super happy with what Badlands has created. With all their clothing options, which ones are your favorite to sport the Approach pattern in?
“Their new Algus pants fit me better than any pants I have ever worn,” said Marc. “The material is a little tighter and heavier, but still breathable enough for early season hunting compared to their past stuff. They just wear like a favorite pair of jeans. I also really like the High Uintas vest. After I broke it in, the fit, function, and insulation just makes it an awesome vest. They have a lot of great products, but those two really stand out to me on the hunts I have been on. The whole Badlands line just make me proud to wear things I actually want to wear.”
Badlands seems to have brought their A game this year in all aspects of their business. According to Marc, Approach easily holds its own against even the popular patterns of today.
I’d like to close this interview with some great advice that he volunteered.
“I don’t want to sound like a yes man. I don’t want it to seem like this pattern is the end-all and you just have to have it,” Marc explained. “You need to use whatever pattern is going to work for the time and place you are hunting. Your not going to throw on some Mossy Oak Leafy Green and sit in a hay field. Just because it’s camouflage doesn’t mean it’s going to work.”
I do believe we sometimes get in the mindset of “it’s camouflage so it will just work.” My suggestion? Do like Marc: take photos of yourself in the area you’re hunting. Look for weaknesses and try to correct them, or try a whole new pattern like Approach. Carry multiple styles with you, so you can change patterns if you have to change locations.
After talking with Marc, I personally can’t wait to get a few pieces for myself. Be sure to check out Badlands’ full lineup of packs and apparel in Approach on their website. Also, don’t forget to give Marc a follow on his Facebook or Instagram accounts.
All photos via Marc Smith’s Instagram.