The latest generation of the Atlas Athlete on the left and the prior generation on the right. The new bag is a large and the older version is a medium, hence the difference in height.
This post straddles the “Creative” tab and the “Adventure” tab, but I went with Adventure for an important reason. When I see someone wearing one of these packs, in my experience, they turn out to be adventurous people who live truly interesting lives. I like this about my pack and my pack community. I feel like if I was broken down in the backcountry and an Atlas Pack user was driving by and saw MY Atlas Pack they would stop, help, tow me, dig me out, bandage my head, splint my fractured leg or maybe even perform an emergency tracheotomy with a spork. You know what I mean. Atlas is about lifestyle, adventure, community and practical application. Not everyone needs a pack like this, but those who do know a good one when they see it.
The front of the older version with grey panel.
The front of the new version, in black.
So far I’ve used this pack in a multitude of ways. I’ve traveled with it domestically for Blurb, carrying laptop, iPad, full Fuji system, clothes, books, etc. It works well, handles well and is comfortable with all that weight even during long airport slogs or when the BART is broken and I’m hoofing it through the wilds of inner Oakland. Also fits under the seat. I’ve also used it during contract work which had me making short films, doing interviews, etc. This required me to add my audio rig to the pack, which it handled easily. Remember, the backside of the pack holds the gear while the front side is a fully open, fully stuffable top loader with laptop sleeve. I’ve always loved top loader bags because of their capacity, and this one is no different.
The zippers on the new version are as smooth and effortless as any bag I’ve ever had. One handed operation to zip and unzip.
My other adventures with Atlas all revolve around adventure. I’ve hiked Santa Fe Baldy carrying my equipment, food, rain gear and a random assortment of binoculars, archeology stuff and even my shortwave radio, just for fun. Add to this list of adventures both Anza Borrego and Death Valley where I’m using the pack to transport my gear to a specific valley where my new project lives. Uber hot, exposed, craggy and as dusty as any place I’ve ever been. The Fuji system, WATER, food, emergency supplies, police radio, binoculars, etc. all humped up and over those hilltops.
The new version has a deeper gear well, so my beloved XT2’s have space above and below.
My only issue with these packs, and I have both the Athlete and the Adventure, is that I don’t get as much time to use them as I’d like. I keep a spare Atlas in my truck to remind me that I should be OUT doing MORE. As for wear and tear, my packs look brand new, even after their adventures, mud, dust, rain and damage that only the brutal backwoods of Newport Beach can summon up.
Small Atlas pocket allows me to access the front side of the bag.
Being the good photographer that I am I’ve already pestered the Atlas crew about making something else. A daypack. Yep, I want MORE. I carry a backpack every single day. All day. I no longer carry a shoulder bag as I find it hurts my back, so the backpack it is, and I have demands. Carry two mirrorless bodies, with lenses, and ONE extra lens. Batteries, charger, journal, book, flashlight, pens, phone, etc. The usual suspects. Small, light, streamline. A guy can dream right? If you are someone who “goes out” then you need to take the time to investigate Atlas Packs. As you know, I don’t spend a lot of time writing about equipment, but I like these packs which have helped me get done what I need to get done.
The “Origami Camera Core” is changeable allowing for resizing of internal layout. I used to have the front side of the bag as the main compartment, but after buying my 50mm-140mm 2.8 I now use the full potential of the camera core.
Additional list of features from the Atlas site.
Origami camera core can be reconfigured between camera core and non-camera section of pack.
Dedicated pocket for a 15″ laptop
30 liter expansion shell
The ultimate in comfort. Air vented mesh backpanel, overbuilt harness and suspension system.
Internal frame backpack (removable)
Removable hip belt
Room for two tripods (one on each size of pack).
Built in water hydration pocket with dedicated tube routing through back of pack.
Quickdraw hip pockets hidden into sides of waistbelt.
You saw this image before, but this is my last outing with the pack.