What a pleasure to chat with Tom Gale from Atom Packs for this podcast.
The instigator behind the UK’s only lightweight, bespoke, pack manufacture for the lightweight hiker. Designed by him and manufactured with his team of four, he produces solid, quality lightweight products based on his experience of the long distance hiking, completing the triple crown, several mountain qualifications and the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand.
All tough trails and the best possible training for someone who has put experience and knowledge into a pack that will perform as you wish, but last for the duration of your adventure and more.
In his own words he describes the journey his pack design has taken to get where he is today.
Every pack I have tested over several thousand miles is still usable. The grey pack you see pictured is the one used on the CDT in ‘17 and, bar a few holes in the not-durable-enough mesh that I used, I have no doubt that I could set it off on the same journey again tomorrow and the materials or workmanship would not fail. With thru hiking as a proving ground I now am positive that what I make can last the miles and more and with the same methods and materials used to make rugged mountaineering bags employed to make the super-light Atom, there is no reason why a lightweight pack shouldn’t last a few years solid service.
As with anything, if you treat your gear well it will repay you in longevity. On the CDT I was actively trying to break my pack – it was constantly full to the brim and overloaded and I always picked it up just by the shoulder strap to see if the stitching would fail, I sat on it daily, I threw it about, dragged it off trucks and glissaded on it in the San Juans and, still, the only damage was caused by cacti in the desert, a salt hungry porcupine and my ice axe in the San Juans.
I believe in what I do and I stand by what we make. It has been a mad journey to get to where we are and I am crazy proud of what my team and I are creating. In developing this range, I had packs being tested on Glaciers in NZ, on 10,000 miles of thru hikes in the US and on the backs of some of the most hungry climbers I know and the number one bit of feedback that I get is “Damn, this thing is tough”