Atlas Athlete Pack - Features and Updates Detailed – AtlasPacks

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Atlas Athlete Pack - Features and Updates Detailed

What makes the Athlete Pack so unique? It's all the wrinkles you see in the photos. It's because this one pack can be setup and sized anywhere between 20 and 40 liters.

The Athlete Pack shown above, I've packed about 25 liters worth of gear. That's plenty for a day trip be it city or trails. At this size, the Athlete Pack is just 7" / 18cm deep on the outside and the hip belt can easily be removed and stowed.

Atlas Athlete Pack - Features and Updates Detailed

Let's get into the details...

Let's deep dive into the features for each of the pack. Think about the feature set and usage relative to your needs. My goal here is to be factual and helpful and have spared you the marketing nonsense.

This first section includes all of the pack specific features. Common features and functions and detailed in the section below.

*this page is under-development


Provide a complete list of features

+ Overbuilt shoulder harness with load lifters

+ Removable frame / stay

+ MOLLE Loops (numerous spots)

+ Front loops for cross carry

+ Sleeping bag loops

+ Ice Axe Loops

+ Incredible weight distribution and support

+ Removable proper hiking hip belt

+ Single-fold Origami Camera Core (TM)

+ 10mm thick dividers that secure gear

+ Weatherproof 240 Double Rip Stop shell

+ Dedicated water bladder pocket

+ Velcro hang-tag and tube slot

+ Holds skinny and long 2L bladders

+ Bigger bladders can be hung outside pocket

+ x2 stretch side pockets (fits 48oz nalgene)

+ x2 hidden dump pouches (fits 48oz nalgene)

+ YKK Buckles and Zippers

+ Plus many many more...

Pack History and Info

Looking to nerd out a bit about the history and background. Here are the details about the Atlas Athlete Pack. The first copies are early prototypes, this Athlete Pack has an ORIGAMI CAMERA CORE (TM) rated for Leica, micro 4/3 and mirrorless systems circa 2015-2017. Production was very small, limited to just 300 units and
they were not sold to the public or available online. You had to find us at a camera trade show or festival and be personally fitted to purchase one of these early editions. Fast forward to 2017 and the launch of

This is when we started to sell an Athlete Pack with an updated ORIGAMI CAMERA CORE (TM). This generation Athlete Packs is rated for non-gripped DSLR's and mirrorless bodies, L-size and GM glass placed flat as well as systems like micro 4/3 and Leica.

Over a 5+ year period we made numerous small incremental updates and improvements based on customer feedback with one exception. When asked to increase the depth we always pushed back... Why?

The short answer is... There was not enough of the right types of camera gear out
in the market to justify the change in design. Keep in mind most consumer are not upgrading to the latest and greatest no matter what message boards say. It takes a while for everyone to catch-up and that time happening now.

Camera gear is the heaviest, expensive and most fragile item you will carry on your back and the key to the success of the Athlete Pack is how well it keeps all that precious weight close to your body. National Geographic said the Athlete Pack is "one of the best camera bags for travelers", Ski Magazine said, "best camera bag
for skiers" and Outside Magazine said, "best photography gear for 2020" amongst many other awards and accolades ;). With the release of this new generation, the Athlete will continue to be the pack that leads the way.

Working with our partners at Sony and Canon we are granted access to camera and video gear before the public. We test and spec'd every imaginable combination and with purpose and precision have designed the new generation of Athlete Packs for your next generation of camera and camping gear.

Details on all of the updates and features are below. Of note: Smaller gear sets like APS-sensors, Leica and Micro 4/3 size kits all still fit great; it's just that the new
bodies and grips, tall GM and RF wides and long telephotos now fit too :)

Get into details regarding the Origami Camera Core (TM)

Inspired by the Japanese art of paper folding, we invented and patented a new type of camera core. Unlike camera bag that need to be stuffed with ICU's or camera cubes, at Atlas Packs we design our packs with a sewn-in camera core. In the Athlete Pack, the top section of the camera core has movable fold that can easily be positioned and in doing so, space shifts between the back and front sections of the pack.

The Origami Camera Core (TM) is a much better system when compared to camera bags and ICU systems:

+ It's safer for camera gear
+ Distributes weight better
+ Holds more gear per/liter
+ Allows for non-camera gear
+ Can be resized on the fly


With an Athlete Pack, your camera gear is snug and secure and easily accessible without having to cinch the pack down. Said another way, the non-camera section is fully independent from the camera side and can be expanded and compressed down as needed.

And unlike camera bags, there are no camera-cores or inserts that go inside. These systems are expensive and poorly designed. All of your heavy camera gear is detached from the structure of the bag and the zippers keep the inserts in place
via a "pressure fit".

We invented and patented our own method and instead of pressure, we use "friction". Friction is a key ingredient to the way our Origami Camera Core (TM) functions. Be sure to test out just how much pop and snap your the pocket has. We made significant improvements to friction and structure with new types of foam, the
shaping of the foam (also called "skiving") as well as all the outer fabrics that connect everything to the pack and frame.

The Athlete Pack is designed for gear up to about 6" tall. Let's breakout the specifications and measurements for camera gear.  The Origami Camera Core (TM) allows you to shift space into and away from the camera section. The first photo includes the full storage capacity. The second photo shows how the top fold has been pulled in and this space is no longer accessible for camera gear. 

What about the logo, how much does it stand out?

The ATLAS logo on the front of the pack has been updated from the original design. The updated logo is both smaller and the colorway is tonal. You can expect the logo to fade out in the shadows and be somewhat visible in direct light.

What about shoulder straps shaped specifically for women?

Curved shoulder harness systems for women are recommend when hip belts are not adequate to support the load. When you have a properly sized pack and hip belt a straight shoulder harness works perfectly.

When does the updated version come out?

Features and functions and updates are made over time. There is no 'new' version of the pack coming next year. There will be new features and functions added over time based on customer feedback and usage.

Is there really a difference between packs and bags?

The difference is in the design. Bags are designed to hang on shoulders. Backpacks are designed to hang on hips. This simple difference makes a huge difference and why Atlas Packs are so comfortable and easy to carry.

There are so many problems with camera bags it's hard to know where to start. First, they come in fixed liter increments, who packs the exact amount every time! Next, they are floppy and lack structure and need to be filled with smaller bags or inserts just to stand up. All this extra adds weight and drives up costs and limits access to camera gear. And finding a camera bag that properly fits, good luck. Camera bags are sized based on liters, not torso length or waist size. That's because camera bags are designed to hang on your shoulders while packs are designed to hang on your hips.

Let's get into details on the features and functions specific to this pack.


The Athlete Pack includes our single-fold Origami Camera Core (TM) that shifts approx. 3 liters of space between the front and back of the pack.


Designed down to the millimeter to fit gripped bodies with batteries. Keep the weight super close to your body.


Carry on all day long with the Athlete Pack. Sized for domestic and international travel. Easily fits under the seat!


Tucked under all the wrinkles is a 40 liters 210D Double Rip Stock Weatherproof Shell. The top of the Athlete Pack includes a cinch sack top with draw-string closure.


Packing camera gear for transport means a secure 4-way fit from top to bottom and side to side.


A new top access (on the inside of the pack) allows for access to the water bladder chamber in addition to zipper access from the side.


Lap sleeve as shown on a reversed out Athlete Pack | For 2022 the material have been updated to a softer felt on both the inside and outside of the sleeve. Fits laptops up to 16" wide and 1" deep. No change to the size or location of the laptop sleeve. If you come up with a better spot for the laptop LMK! 


A new side zipper (YKK Aqua Guard with sealed seams) has been added on the right side of the pack. When open, this zipper provides the user with full access to the CAMPING side of the pack. More details to come.

*New for 2022


Only available on the large size Athlete Pack. A smaller set of frame flaps for an optional travel frame to bring the height of the down approx. 2" / 5cm.


The standard set of dividers now includes a new "mid-lense" size and there is an optional full-length divider. Great for big glass like the 200-600.


Removing the frame allows for an even smaller setup should you need. Especially helpful if you need to squeeze your pack in to a tight area.


The construction of the frame sleeve has been changed to allow for the connection of accessories such as the Origami Insert (as shown here)


For 2022 the Athlete Pack in medium still does not have the pass-through zipper between the camera and camping. Sorry but just not enough room about the ATLAS logo.


Only the large size Athlete Pack has the pass-through zipper between the camera and camping sections of the pack.


The 2024 Athlete Pack is available in a total of three colorways. A new gray-gray colorway in additional to the prior black and yellow colorways with small updates.


All Pack Features and Functionality

Each pack includes a number of distinct features and functions and both packs share a lot. This section covers what the packs have in common.


Both packs (Athlete shown above) expand to double in size. The front section will expand out and up without much impact on width. The expansion is where non-camera gear is stored.


The ATLAS logo on the front has been updated from the GEN1 Packs. The updated logo is both smaller and the colorway is tonal. You can expect the logo to fade out in the shadows and be somewhat visible in direct light.


One of the best features about the Adventure Pack are the handles. The big style grab bag handle makes the pack so much easier to grab. And if need be, the heat shrink on the outside can be reheated and repaired. Over time you will find it may get some scratch or even gouges that can be smoothed out with a little flame!


In addition to the new fabrics, the stretch side pockets also have grommets for drainage.


The Adventure Pack is a rear-access camera bag. Incredibly safe and secure.
For 2022 we've updated the pullers to the latest and greatest from YKK.


Easily the best dividers on the market. Designed to spoon your camera gear and distribute the weight.
A full set of 15 dividers is included as part of the purchase of your pack.


In addition to the MOLLE loops on the hip belt, a set of loops has been included to the top lid.


A full set of loops for connecting ice axes, skis, snow shoes, runs down the front of the pack. On the Adventure Pack this feature is new to the GEN2 packs.


The size of the Adventure Pack raincover has been increased for the GEN2 packs and is larger by 25%. This better accommodates the coverage of tripods when the pack is loaded out.


The side pockets (used for water bottles and tripods) have undergone a significant updates. The bottom 1/3 of the pocket has a split layer that reinforces and protects against wear and tear from both inside and outside the pocket. It's important to note that there is a slight loss in flexibility due to the change in design, however users can expect the usage to be much improved.


Tucked away in the side pouches that connect the belt to the pack are a set of dump pouches. For the GEN2 packs the much requested elastic draw-string has been added.


Loops have been added along the inside of the pack to allow for the 
attachment of a new line of accessories for both Athlete and Adventure GEN2 Packs. The Athlete Pack is shown in the photo above.


The front of the Adventure Pack now includes a set of lash loops that run the full length of the pack.