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Patagonia - Stealth Atom Sling
Patagonia - Stealth Atom Sling
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Default Patagonia - Stealth Atom Sling

I gave this pack a try out recently when visiting a small trout stream nestled deep in the Surrey hills. The sort of location where you want to keep mobile and don't need to be carrying a fully loaded bag or backpack around yet still need to have enough gear to make changes when necessary.

The Stealth Atom Sling comfortably took a large fly box plus my bulky SLR camera in the main pocket, plus another fly box in the fold down panel in the front. If I was more organized I could have transferred my favored fly patterns to the foam panel located on the inside of the panel to save weight and bulk. Inside both the main pocket and the fold down panel there are several elasticated pockets for organizing leaders, tippet spools and other bits and bobs, and on the outside of the pack there and plenty of attachment points for all sorts of tools and accessories with the assistance of a few zingers and/or lanyards.

A fleece-lined pocket on the shoulder strap, which is nicely padded by the way and distributes the weight well, is perfect for quick access to your phone or a slim digital camera but my sunglasses would not fit. No problem as they could go in the main pocket instead. Inside the main pocket there is also a fully waterproof and welded pocket to keep your valuables and electronics safe from a deluge or should you take a step too far. The pack itself is constructed using Patagonia's durable water repellant ("DWR") coating and is advertised therefore as "highly water repellant" but not waterproof just to be clear.

The real beauty of the sling design that goes diagonally across your body is that with a quick unclip of one of the straps you can rotate the whole pack around your body to bring it in front of you for easy access without having to take it off. This is great news when you are trying to keep mobile and when you are wading of course as you can just grab what you need while everything else stays secure. Rotate it around to your back when done and re-attach the retaining strap with its snap-clip and that's it!

There is the requisite external pocket also for a water bottle or small thermos but it also has a bungy cord that goes around the neck of the bottle which can then be cinched down tight to keep it in place until required so it can't bounce or drop out while you are on the move.

By the end of several hours fishing I was just starting to feel the effect of all the weight on one shoulder but I believe that was largely thanks to my heavy camera which is not really what it was designed for carrying anyway. With a lighter load and a compact camera I truly believe I would not have noticed it at all and look forward to using this pack much more over the months to come. I truly hope there will be a fully waterproof version to come in the future along the lines of the Stormfront backpack range - it would be perfect for wading the rivers and flats with 100% security for the contents.

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