Bespoke ultralight packs handmade in the Lake District.

This review is part of our New Brands Gear Guide.

By Chris Townsend

Atom Packs are made in the Lake District by long-distance hiker Tom Gale who has tested them on the Continental Divide and Pacific Crest Trails. He gives an entertaining and informative account of how he came to make packs on the Atom Packs website. It’s not every designer who will admit that their first attempt resulted in “a monster, a hideous creation of indescribable horror” or that his follow-up packs were “stupid-light”. He persevered and learnt the skills needed to make packs that both performed well and lasted and now has a range of four models. Because they’re made to order, all of them can be customised and come with different options.

The packs are mostly made from VX fabrics, which are laminates of different materials and are light and tough. Of the four models, I particularly like the look of the Prospector, available in 40, 50 and 60 litre sizes. This has an internal frame, side, front and hipbelt stretch mesh pockets and a rolltop. The 45-litre one weighs 680g stripped back and 880g fully featured. It’s designed to carry up to 20kg. The Mo also looks good. The design is similar but it’s designed to be tougher.

Tom Gale makes all the packs himself – “when you buy an Atom Pack, you are buying me: after you place an order, it will be me that receives it, cuts it, sews it, finishes it and mails it so if you want something weird, please let me know!” This is a great service, ideal for anyone who wants a custom pack. The packs are quite expensive but less so than you might expect. The Prospector is £195 upwards depending on size and features.

Since this piece was originally published in May 2018, Atom Packs have expanded – bigger premises, more staff.

atompacks.co.uk.