Atompacks The Mo custom review

Discussion in 'Reviews & Previews' started by Chris2901, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. Chris2901

    Chris2901 Section Hiker

    Good evening,
    upon request of a certain person with a...buddhistic attitude in his nickname here is my review of my custom Atompacks The Mo.:)

    First of all some data:

    Days of use: 9 + 2 flights with Flybe ;)
    Volume: 65 l
    Max.weight carried: about 17 kgs
    Weight : 1070 g all-in size large
    Fabrics: VX21 BLUE !!!!!!!!!!! + Cordura 500 + stretch,Dyneema X-Grid
    Custom options: extra sizing ,wider shoulder pockets,hip belt pockets,bottom pocket,wider and deeper side pockets to fit a Tarptent SS2 for example, V-strap top

    Price: £235

    After reading some good reviews about Tom and his cottage on the German UL-Forum and of course trek-lite I made contact with him and asked if he could built me a load-hauler for my longer trips with my wife or with heavier gear than on my local walks (of course BECAUSE of my wife:cool:).
    Contact was pretty easy: E-mail via his hp,then an appointment for a phone call.I explained to him my ideas and wishes ,we discussed some details and he immediately gave me the price for the pack.Really cool and friendly guy and I don´t understand some people who claim he is uncommunicative.Even when he was building it,I received some pics of it .AND: Since I "needed" the pack for our Cleveland Way trip he made it much quicker than expected. I do apologize if that caused any trouble with other orders,but I´m not sorry.:biggrin:

    What did I want? I like my HMG 2440 Southwest and I like many details about ÜLA packs but wanted something between Circuit and Catalyst.It has to be sturdy enough for public transport,the toughest fabric competition on earth.
    I didn´t go for the 3400 HMGs because I would want load lifters on a high built pack like these. Also the pricing for Atompacks is far more reasonable and it´s an EU product (well,in a way).

    How was it? It performed very well.Since it was boiling hot in the UK I had to carry 5l of water every day and some food,which meant around 15-17 kg total weight.The load transition was perfect but I think the system was brought to its limit.Tom built it with a thinner back sheet since he got a wrong order and will send me another ,stiffer one .Don´t know if this would make a huge difference.I wouldn´t want to carry 20 kg or more with it.The shoulder straps are perfect,the hip belt (of which I thought it could be beefier in the beginning) worked as it should and the load lifters improved the balance enormously.

    The pack with a SS2 in a side pocket.Loads of space and ÜLA-like
    IMG_1004.JPG

    The side pockets can take 1 1,5l bottle + 1 0,75l bottle
    IMG_1005.JPG

    The mesh pocket offers a lot of space for rain gear , food rations etc.
    IMG_1006.JPG

    The v-strap has an extra buckle for better adjusting and easier handling.Works better than HMG
    Pictures will follow.;)

    The load lifters are excellent
    IMG_1007.JPG


    The shoulder pockets are great for filled bottles, empty ones easily fall out.
    IMG_1008.JPG

    Dpuble-strap hip belt for good adjustment
    IMG_1011.JPG

    The hip belt pockets easily fit an Iphone 6S and muesli bars etc
    IMG_1010.JPG

    The hip belt buckle is quite small,but it works.Interesting will be long time experiences.
    IMG_1012.JPG

    The bottom pocket is quite sturdy.It´s great for bars,a poncho or extra water.
    IMG_1015.JPG


    As I wrote in the original Atompacks thread I would have made some changes.First of all,I would replace the shoulder pockets with elastic cords ÜLA-style..If you have to carry a lot of water,the balance would be better with 4 0,75l bottles in front of you.
    I don´t think I´d go for the bottom pocket again on a pack like this.With loads you usually carry with it you´re always happy to take off the pack during breaks and don´t eat that much "on the run".It makes more sense on a SUL-pack like The Atom,when you´re faster and don´t have no hip belt pockets anyway.But of course this is nothing bad at all.

    I really like this pack and it will be my standard pack for our longer Northern Europe/Scandinavia hikes with more and/or heavier gear.The workmanship is very good ,the service excellent and the details are well-thought and show Tom´s enormous experience.Even though,he´s very open-minded and respects his customer´s opinions and thoughts.Highly recommendable!!!:thumbsup:

    Sh...,I think I have to order a The Atom.:eek:;)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  2. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Thru Hiker

    Nice review. :)
    Chris2901 likes this.
  3. Chris2901

    Chris2901 Section Hiker

    Thanks, @fluffkitten . After your Cleveland Way hike it´s your turn to write an Atom review!:D
  4. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Thru Hiker

    :D :laugh:

    Will say I'm loving it with light overnight loads, so comfortable to carry and well made. Do want a Prospector for winter though. :D
  5. ZenTrekker

    ZenTrekker Ultralighter

    Nice review @Chris2901.

    I called in to see Tom last week (by invitation), while I was in the Lakes. We had previously agreed that my stripped-down Prospector is very much a prototype and needs a bit more work, even though its a good pack and really well made. Tom is hoping that the final product will be a 'new line' for him. So he is going to make another one, hopefully in the next couple of weeks with beefed up cord runners on the side, different back system and conventional load lifters (rather than the over the top kind). The pack-bag was slightly too big for me, I had loads of room to spare, so he is going to look at size/shape. Al in all, excellent service and I echo @Chris2901 comments . . . . .

    "very open-minded and respects his customer´s opinions and thoughts.Highly recommendable"

    There is a bit of an ongoing spat between us about me wanting to make some additional financial contribution but he is being very, very stubborn about this.

    That is what I call going the extra mile for the customer!
    fluffkitten and WilliamC like this.
  6. Foxster

    Foxster Trail Blazer

    I'm uncertain what the difference is between a Mo and a Prospector. Could someone enlighten me?
  7. ZenTrekker

    ZenTrekker Ultralighter

    I'm not entirely sure and my pack seems like a hybrid between the two. I think it maybe something to do with the construction as in, I believe the pack body for the Prospector is a single piece of fabric i.e. no side seams. @Clare or @JKM probably know more than I do.
  8. Clare

    Clare Section Hiker

    No side seams on mine. Other than that I thought it was about size but no idea really, sorry.
  9. JKM

    JKM Thru Hiker

    Prospector also has a band (often coloured) around the base below the pockets. It is narrower at the base and the pockets are slightly higher.

    The base of my prorpector was just 6"*8" which was one of the issues i had with it.
  10. ZenTrekker

    ZenTrekker Ultralighter

    @Foxster If you look at the attached image, you'll see that my pack-bag was made out of 3 pieces (not including the back system). Tom referred to it as a "mo-spector". This is because I wanted side compression cord on each side and I'm guessing that there has to be a seam to attach the tape runners for the cord. I think the standard Prospector is made from a single piece of fabric. Also the Prospector has a fixed hip-belt.

    Attached Files:

  11. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for taking the time to write the review Chris :thumbsup:

    Looks a great pack, love the colour. Sadly I can’t justify buying any more packs for the foreseeable though
  12. Erik Haaland

    Erik Haaland Summit Camper

    I am about to pull the trigger on a MO...or should I go for a Prospector? What are their main differences? Using a Talon 44 today and happy with it except the top lid which is just plan nonsense in as it never stays in place + it is not rain proof and I have to have an additional liner.
    SO - Mo or Prospector?
  13. Chris2901

    Chris2901 Section Hiker

    Geitost or Gammelost? Both cheese, different taste!;)
  14. ZenTrekker

    ZenTrekker Ultralighter

    Difficult question @Erik Haaland

    I have a Prospector, except that its built like a MO and Tom Gale referred to it as a "Mospector". I wanted a pack without any pockets or mesh, just a clean simple pack.

    The standard Prospector, not that there is such a thing as Tom makes all his packs to customer specifications, I believe is made of one single piece of material, like 3/4 of a tube. Obviously the Cordura back and the base are sewn onto this tube. I wanted to have a specific cord system for tightening down my pack (see pictures), which meant that he had to install tape 'runners' down the sides of the pack. The only way he could do this was to make the pack-body in 3 pieces i.e. 2 x sides and a front section (plus Cordura base and back). I think this is how the MO is constructed but he would be able to advise better.

    My pack came in at 790 grams but after changing the foam back padding and replacing the aluminium stay with a strip of carbon fibre composite (original idea by @Enzo and @WilliamC) and cutting off some excess strappage, it now weighs 745 grams.


    Don't know if that helps at all.

    Prospector Front.jpg Prospector Right Side Low Res.jpg
    Dave5791 and Erik Haaland like this.
  15. ZenTrekker

    ZenTrekker Ultralighter

    Sorry meant to say that you would be advised to use a liner with the Atom Pack also. The fabric is waterproof but the seams are not. Tom was experimenting with tape sealing the seams but I believe he had an accident with a hot air gun, which reduced a pack to a blob of plastic. I use a very light Ultra-Sil Sea-To-Summit 35 litre dry bag (45 grams). I put all my water hating stuff inside this and everything else like tent, stove outside of the dry bag.
    Erik Haaland likes this.
  16. JKM

    JKM Thru Hiker

    Prospector is narrower at the base.
    Erik Haaland likes this.
  17. Chris2901

    Chris2901 Section Hiker

    Serious: The Prospector seems to be more "alpine" narrower and higher. The Mo is more a "Just throw everything in" shape , wider but also a bit bulkier...more traditional.
    JKM likes this.
  18. ZenTrekker

    ZenTrekker Ultralighter

    The Prospector has quite a wide opening though
    Prospector Top Opening Low Res.jpg
  19. Erik Haaland

    Erik Haaland Summit Camper

    I just emailed Tom with my THE MO custom order :)
    Chris2901 and fluffkitten like this.
  20. ZenTrekker

    ZenTrekker Ultralighter

    You are going to have to buy a Trekkertent Phreeranger next and then a Stormin' Ti cone stove system, with accessories from Trek-Lite. Then you'll be a real member of the UK cottage industry club!
    Chris2901 likes this.
  21. Erik Haaland

    Erik Haaland Summit Camper

    @ZenTrekker :) Actually I have ordered the Speedster stove set instead of the Stormin this time around.... But it is wonderful to see that there are many choices nowadays, and I do like to support the "outsiders" :)
    ZenTrekker likes this.
  22. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    Or the originators...like Trail Designs
    el manana, WilliamC and Ken T. like this.
  23. Dave5791

    Dave5791 Trail Blazer

    I like that ZenTrekker. How does it carry?
  24. ZenTrekker

    ZenTrekker Ultralighter

    It carries OK, I'm still getting used to it. Today Tom sent me a slightly thicker frame-sheet which seems to be an improvement, I felt that the load was transferred to the hip-belt better. I'm going for a day walk tomorrow with a full backpacking load, so I'll be able to report back after that.

    At some point I will post a full review, otherwise @Chris2901 will be nagging me.
  25. Chris2901

    Chris2901 Section Hiker

    At some point I will post a full review, otherwise @Chris2901 will be nagging me.[/QUOTE]

    Take your time,mate! :yawn:

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