Product Review: Patagonia Atom Bag

Over at Something Wagging This Way Comes I outed myself as something of a gear-head. Which isn’t entirely true; it’s all really my husband. He’s an engineer, what can I say? He likes to read technical specs for things, and to decide exactly what model of, say, rain parka or hiking boots or technical fleece jacket is the best one out there. He also likes to make me crazy in the process. “How much more would you pay for something fifty grams lighter” is the kind of question that comes at me from behind his laptop.

I get the trickle-down benefits of this. (And annoyances. We won’t talk about the Valentine’s Day hiking boots incident.) We own nifty, practical clothes and bags.

Since we got Silas, my favorite has been this one:

Patagonia Atom Bag

The Patagonia Atom Bag.

I don’t need a treat dispenser so much when we’re outside–if Silas is outdoors, he is almost certainly above his threshold for eating. We have to rely more on Premack style rewards, like running around. That doesn’t mean I don’t need to carry stuff, though. My usual load is a water bottle for Silas, an extra leash, a few toys, poop bags, my keys and wallet and phone, the emergency carbiner and flashlight, and some treats just in case. Since I only wear a coat two months a year or so since we moved here, I really don’t have that many pockets.

Enter the Atom bag. We already had one of these that my husband had carried to work before he started needing to take a computer, but it’s been fantastically repurposed for dog walking. It has a small pocket that sits closest to my back, which is where I put the clean poop bags and my phone, and then a large catch-all pocket. There’s also a pocket that sits near my collar bone on the shoulder strap, which can hold a few little things. Our model is a few years old, so instead of the cinch straps in the image it has a mesh water bottle pocket. I really wish they hadn’t discontinued that feature, since it’s my favorite thing. Because the pack is angled ergonomically on your back, it’s really easy to put the water bottle in and out without having to move the pack. There’s also a super-dorky waist strap that I only use when I’m going to be running. It does do a nice job at holding the pack still, but, super dorky. Like every Patagonia thing we’ve ever owned (umm, a lot), it is showing zero wear and tear after four or five years.

The only downside of this thing is that, like a lot of higher end outdoor gear, it is not lady friendly. You may notice that while Patagonia models it on a woman, they don’t show it from the front. There is just not a really flattering way to put a two inch wide strap diagonally across a female chest, if you follow my meaning.

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