AtomPacks is a relatively new British company: 4 years old at the time of writing this. Tom and his team hand make the packs to order, so they can be made in a standard configuration or customised and made to measure for your back length. The Prospector model is very lightweight, starting from 650g depending on the size and extras added.
About 2 years ago I had a 60-litre bespoke AtomPacks Prospector rucksack made with waterproof fabric, side pockets, roll-top entry, front mesh pocket, top and side compression straps. sternum strap, ice axe loop, shoulder strap pockets, bottom pocket, load lifters and removable hip belt pockets.
Weight: 60L = 1050g with all the extras.
Main body fabric: VX21 as standard, or optional VX07 for 28g weight saving.
Bullet mesh front pocket.
Side pocket fabric: VX21 as standard, or optional VX07 for 12g weight saving.
Base fabric: VX21.
Body back panel: soft and quiet 500D cordura.
Frame: 1mm HDPE sheet with removable and mouldable aluminium rod.
Foam: 10mm closed cell foam.
Since buying my pack, other material options have become available on AtomPacks website.
My Prospector weighs 1050g with all the extras, which is very light weight for its size. The back frame has a plastic frame sheet and two alloy rods. It’s well padded and successfully transfers the weight to the hip belt.
The optional hip belt pockets are accessed with a zip that runs across the top and are roomy enough to hold snacks, gloves, etc. They are easily removable but a little more fiddly to reattach, as they are held on with fairly small toggles and bungee cord.
The optional bottom snack pocket can be accessed whilst wearing the pack, and I find it perfect for tucking in maps and gloves. It is made of a stretchy, fine mesh and seems tougher than it looks, it’s wearing well so far.
I particularly like the mesh front pocket for stowing away my wet tent. This means I don’t need to open my pack to access it. I can completely pack and unpack in the dry, inside the tent. It also makes the tent easy to get at to dry it on a lunch break etc. The pocket would be ideal for storing odds and ends, needed during the day too, if not used for the tent.
I use the bungee cords on the side of the pack to store my waterproofs, and sit mat, which then gives me easy access to them without having to open the main pack.
The optional shoulder strap pockets are the perfect size to store a mobile phone or 350ml drink bottles. Note the custom extra elastic loops under these pockets to hold gloves etc.
The Prospector is very well constructed with a tough, waterproof fabric which looks great. The seems are not taped so the pack is not fully waterproof; however, there are very few seams to let water in. I would always use a waterproof pack liner or dry bags inside my pack anyway, so the untapped seams aren’t a problem for me.
Because the pack is so light weight I have used it as a day pack on occasion, and it works really well.
I used my Prospector for a month-long trip on the TGO Challenge coast-to-coast across Scotland, and a number of other hikes including the Austrian Alps. I was easily able to carry a week’s food and all my camping gear and found the pack comfortable up to about 15kgs. Above this weight, I got slight shoulder pain after long periods carrying the pack.
I feel that the AtomPacks Prospector is a very good rucksack, especially as you can have it made exactly how you want it. It is made with quality materials and should last well.
I think the rucksack was good value for money, but as they are made to order, delivery could be a while depending on AtomPacks’ workload. Mine took nearly 2 months to arrive, but it was well worth the wait.