When getting ready for adventure a year ago I decided I needed a new pack. Much to the dismay of my family, i store everything in their house. I have an uncountable number of packs at home from Arcteryx, to Lowe Alpine, to Macpac in varying sizes and layouts. More than ample. But nothing truly lightweight, or suited to the purpose of thru hiking. I destroyed a Lowe Alpine Eclipse 45 a couple of years ago on the CDT, within a week the waist belt was ripping free from the pack and required a bit of ingenuity to keep it going . So for a better start this time, I started the search for an appropriate pack. I stumbled upon AtomPacks, a relatively new cottage company making Ultra Light Kit in the UK. After contacting them and describing what I wanted, they said they could tweek one of their packs to my spec. Great!
A couple of weeks later a parcel came to the house that felt , well, a bit light. I opened it and to my relief found a shiny new pack. It weighed in at about 700 grams and was cavernous. The spec- side pockets to accommodate a particular size bottle , large mesh pouch on the front of the pack to cram in my tarp, waterproofs or what ever I fancied. Roll top closure for water resistance, somewhere to string an ice axe and a decent weight transfer to the hips. The back panel was even custom made to my size.
A year on Im still psyched by it. its hiked 1000s of miles, its been used in winter, its been to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, to the summit of Middle Teton on an alpine day and countless 14ers and trail miles in Colorado, along the Wind River High Route, and on to Volcanoes in Central America and climbing trips in Colombia. I have been hurling abuse at this pack. Its now on route back towards the states with me for some more winter action. Its still going strong. I guess the best sign I like this pack is the fact i don’t notice it while hiking. One less thing to worry about.
I had a custom mesh suspension system with carbon rods on the back for ventilation which has been a life saver through Central America and Colombia (I despise a sweaty back). (also on winter days keeping me dry while climbing and post holing. The volume fits everything I need for multi day trips. For alpine days I have stripped down removing the waist belt (i don’t think they ever intended for this use but its ood for me), and main compartment compresses in using the side bungy cords to be almost flat. The narrow design has proved great both for climbing and bushwacking (catches way less).
Signs of wear
Any pack will take abuse and this is no exception. The materials its made from are strong but dumb ideas be stronger. A few weeks ago I did manage to put a rip in the large mesh pouch after ducking under a barbed wire fence. I still need to stich this up. The waterproofing tape over some stitching inside the pack (pole attachment point on center of pack) has delaminated due to the heat in Central America and Colombia. I count this as a non issue as I never expect any pack to be waterproof (drybags people, you know the drill). The craftsmanship has been good and all the stitching is still strong.
I would definitely buy another but for now this one is going strong.