Stuff We Like #1: Patagonia Stealth Atom Sling

May 10th, 2014| No Comments

Patagonia Stealth Atom SlingHaving bought a Patagonia Stealth Atom Sling over a year ago, this post is probably well overdue. On the flip side, that means there’s been plenty of time to put it through its paces in a variety of different environments – saltwater, freshwater, heat, snow, long days and short ones. Extended testing period over, I can confidently say it’s the best day pack I’ve strapped to my person — and I’ve tried a few.

Why We Like It

Small but surprisingly spacious… It’s sufficiently compact that it won’t become an encumbrance when you’re casting or clambering about on rocks, but it carries an impressive amount of gear. The main compartment will comfortably hold a couple of decent-sized fly boxes, a sandwich, a compact camera and plenty more besides. If you scale back on the other stuff, there’s room for a DSLR in here.

Patagonia Stealth Atom Sling

Easy to use, comfy to wear… Obvious, yes, but those are important considerations for a day pack. If I’m wearing a sling all day, I want to a) be able to forget it’s even there, and b) know I can reach anything I want at a moment’s notice. The Atom delivers in both departments. The main strap goes across the shoulder and fixes to the support strap at the front – that means the weight is evenly distributed, and with one click the bag can be swung round and accessed in a flash.

Patagonia Stealth Atom Sling

The flip-down front tray… Possibly my favourite thing about this bag, the fold-away tray is one of those things I now wonder how I lived without. Depending on what type of fishing I’m doing, I’ll have a bunch of different go-to flies or lures (sometimes both) hooked into the foam block. Whenever I need, them, I just unclip the strap, pull the bag into the horizontal position and I’m ready to work away. Not only are the goodies all there, ready for you, but you have convenient workstation to use, with somewhere other than your mouth to put swivels, hooks etc.

Water bottle holder… You don’t always get these on sling packs – the fact that this has one frees up the main compartment for your tackle and gives you the option to stay out longer. It also brings this pack into consideration for flats fishermen who need to keep themselves well watered.

Carefully considered extras… Special mention for the fold-up waterproof compartment squirrelled away inside the main compartment – perfect storage for a compact camera and/or phone, wallet etc. A great idea. There are also innumerable other little clips and widgety things, and places to hang zingers, forceps, tippet spools and whatever else you carry. You can easily do away with the waistcoat if you’re wearing one of these.

Out in the field 

I’ve put this through the mill over the last 12 months and it has taken everything. The day I took these pictures, I’d just been out rock-hopping in south-west Ireland, lure fishing for bass. I can’t think of a better way to carry my gear for sessions like that. As well as my tackle in the main compartment, I carry a quick-change selection of lures in the fold-down tray that allow me to cover most of the depths I’ll be fishing.

I’ve also used it for days out fly-fishing for trout on the chalkstreams of England, lure fishing for pike and perch and even fly-fishing for carp.

The one thing I haven’t done is use it on the flats (if only), but there’s no doubt it would be more than adequate. Of course, sometimes a waistpack is all you need for that (particularly if you’re only intermittently wading from a skiff), but for extended wading sessions when you need a few extras supplies, this would be just the thing.

In summary, you’d have to go a long way to find a better sling pack. And if you do find one, I’d love to hear about it.

Patagonia Stealth Atom Sling

Bonus points

A quick nod to Patagonia for their excellent customer service. When I first found out about the Stealth Atom Sling, I was in London and finding it difficult to locate one. With none available in the UK, the folks at the Patagonia store in London contacted their colleagues in the States to get one shipped over. I then discovered that a friend of mine was going to be in New York for a couple of days around the same time, so Patagonia duly had one delivered to his hotel at no extra cost, and he brought it back for me.

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