It’s really a difficult process for me to find an everyday carry pack that I feel fits the bill. An EDC bag first and foremost, in my mind, needs to not look the least bit tactical, it should be robust, discreet, and minimalist in design. Well after some thorough research, I came across Patagonia’s Atom 8L sling pack. A small, 8 liter, cross-body bag that looks great but is completely functional for a bag designed to hook you up when you need to carry a little more than your pockets are prepared to handle.
The bag itself features a main compartment of ample storage, paired with a small exterior pocket and a smaller pocket on the strap, all of it composed of abrasion resistant material. While not waterproof the Atom is extremely water-resistant and I would not worry about my electronics during a rainy day outing. The stitching on the seems is reinforced well and I don’t expect there will be much fraying or tearing during hard use, but I also don’t expect to put the bag through much of that either personally. The strap is wide and distributes the weight well, plus it and the back panel of the bag are lined with a mesh padding for comfort and breath-ability. The UTX Flex buckles used on all the straps are durable and, as their name implies, just as flexible, which is an undervalued aspect of packs and their buckles; the more flexible, the longer they last. Two external horizontal cinch straps on the pack’s exterior make compression easy and provide a convenient means of extra storage for jackets or what ever you can imagine. Lastly the Zippers are a captured, double stitched nylon coil that not only are protected from external wear and tear but provide a sturdy but flexible seal on the pockets.
As I said previously I do not desire to own a “tactical” pack for day-to-day use, however the Patagonia Atom is more than capable of catering to smaller tactical needs. The pocket on the main strap can easily accommodate several chemlights, flashlights or a spare magazine for quick access items. I like to imagine that it would make an excellent “Breacher” sack, it could definitely hold a couple different prefab charges plus all the extra stuff such as clackers, command wire, detonators, etc. The external top pocket will fit a large cellphone or paperback book at the most and has a small clip for keys and such. I don’t mind this actually because it makes up for the space with the main pocket and I don’t believe the front pocket should be designed for an abundance of/or for larger items, just things that may be needed quickly. The main compartment has a small internal pouch with a soft fabric lining that will fit a full-size handgun nicely plus a good amount of space outside of that pocket too. A small laptop or tablet could be carried inside or a bunch of smaller items such as a large water bottle and extra garments or if you’re like me, a power bank and some basic things I like to have for an extended outing.
I opted for the bag in black but was also considering getting it in grey with orange lettering for that casual appearance. If that’s not your style, then the Atom is also available in a wide variety of other bland to fluorescent colors. The pack is incredibly functional, stylish and above all it is well made. At a retail price around $50-$60 dollars, it’s a great option for an EDC or similar purpose bag that isn’t going to force you to go for broke. On top of that, you get to rock your gear like a Division agent and that’s pretty cool too.