Back in April, CamelBak invited Field Mag to visit the Marin Headlands in Sausalito, California for a sneak peak at the company's new line of backpacks. In Marin, we joined folks from all over the outdoor space—climbers, writers, creators—to learn how to make our own recycled clothing with designer Nicole McLaughlin and to get a look at a concise new of line of backpacks dubbed A.T.P. for Adventure Travel Packs. The line is now available to the masses, and it's well worth a closer look. So let's dive in.
Included in the new line are two daypack-sized bags—the A.T.P. 26 Backpack ($180) and A.T.P. 20 Backpack ($160)—each outfitted with all the features needed for the type of trip that might involve town time, trail time, and any other mixture of multi-disciplinary wandering.
Both the 20-liter and 26-liter packs are made of 100% recycled material and un-dyed fabrics available in either white or black. The bags are (and feel) incredibly durable, being made of Cordura fabric that’s recycled from old auto airbags. Both are sleek enough for daily use, regardless of setting. Though over the past several months I’ve done a majority of my trips and commuting with the 26L bag, which offers just a bit more room for essentials.
There’s a minimal aesthetic to the bags but hey still have enough pockets in the right places—on the exterior, one side of the pack has a water bottle pocket while the other side features a zipper pocket with a key ring holder, some straps for pens and a net pocket for storage. There's also a nice fabric lined pocket on the top for sunglasses.
On the 26L Backpack, the main storage compartment is accessible via a latch-down flap and a central zipper that lets you splay the thing wide open, a feature that leads to easy access as well as the ability to overstuff the bag (which, admittedly, I’ve done). There are more organizational sleeves and loops in here too, including a removable laptop sleeve that makes it a solid commuter pack when you need it to be.
After the experience in Marin, CamelBak lent me bag samples for testing for a few weeks. However, when I didn't hear from them about mailing the bags back I kept quiet because I loved them so much. Since that warm April day, the bags have been with me to Japan, El Salvador, New York, and Philadelphia and have joined me on dozens of bicycle commutes to my Bay Area studio.
CamelBak's goal was to create a bag that works well for traveling, hiking, and commuting and working—varying targets with only a small overlap between them. After weeks with both sizes of the bags, I think the A.T.P. line checks enough boxes in each category to call it a success and doesn’t leave much to desire. One critique: the shoulder straps on the pack are fairly thin, which may not be the best for wearing the bag for extended periods of time, especially fully loaded. With that said, I don’t think they designed the bag with that in mind; this is a daypack, not an overnighter.
The quality of the bags feels top notch, so much so it's easy to forget that they're almost entirely recycled. Sometimes when you hear “recycled,” it evokes a thought that some corners were cut (no pun intended) and some quality was sacrificed in order to use those materials, but that's not the case with the A.T.P. bags.
Somehow, they have it all and can do it all.