I’m glad several folks have already commented on this post, but I was remiss is explaining that Atlas is a BRAND new company, so their site is fairly bare bones at the moment. This will change in time! If you have interest in their bags then send them an email or track them down via social.
Wasn’t sure where I was going to post this. It was either “Creative,” or “Adventure,” and I went with the more woodsy of the two. Why? Well, let me explain. A few short weeks ago I was having a conversation with a friend and fellow photographer who once hiked nearly a thousand miles across Africa, and like you would expect with two photographers, our conversation wound around until we ended up talking about bags. After years of down health I’m finally feeling fairly decent, so I said to my friend, “What I would love to have is a real backpacking pack that actually held my gear, but I don’t want it to look like a photography bag….at all.” We nodded, grumbled, tossed out ideas here and there but left the conversation with our wish list still intact. And then I went to the Palm Springs Photo Festival…….
As I walked up to the event the same photographer came up to me with a mile-wide-smile and said “Hey, go see Atlas Packs.” “They are exactly what we were talking about.” It’s true. My wish list is now my reality list.
First, they are lightweight and built like a true backpacking pack so the waist belt goes way beyond being ornamental. This thing holds the pack on your hips, and off your back, like a real backcountry pack. Also, and this is critical for anyone using the pack in an urban environment, the waist belt comes off entirely, which effectively reduces the size of the bag making it easier for things like overhead compartments or even under the seat. Speaking of under the seat. Even with all my gear the bag is still very thin, even nimble. I’m constantly in a battle with size, weight and displacement, and this bag seems to be just about perfect. I can hold my camera body, three lenses, audio recorder, mics, stands, cables and all the extras and still have plenty of room for my “civilian” stuff like journal, books, Kindle, etc. In addition to the gear hauling ability the front section of the pack is one, giant, open stuff compartment, so perfect for my clothes, food and rain gear when I’m in the wild.(And there is an included rain cover.)
Okay, a few more small things. The zippers are great, as are the zipper pulls which are huge loops. Anyone wearing gloves will know how important this is. Also, the waist belt has small bags that pop out of the front zippers. These small bags are great for anything you need quick access to. My camera gear is very small, so I could even hold lenses in these if I needed.(I’d rather just have a second body and never change lenses.)
I don’t normally do gear reviews, but I think bags are something we all need and obsess over, and the new offerings from Atlas bring something new to the conversation. As with all equipment, NONE of this matters until you actually use the pack, so get out there and make stuff happen. Speaking of getting out. If you have intention of seeing The West you better go now. With what is happening with the all-out-war on public lands The West as we know it is officially going away.
If you want to see these places while there is some semblance of wildness you HAVE to go now. Even finding it now isn’t easy. You have to go further out. I don’t want to get too political here, but read up on today’s ruling by Interior Secretary Zinke and you will know what kind of scum we are dealing with.
Below is my typical “Dispatch” setup. Photography and audio.