Atlas Packs Haenisch hip belt review
Atlas Packs are expanding. Not just the offices if you follow the Instagram account @AtlasPacks will know about the regular updates. The line-up and accessories available to the Atlas Packs in particular is expanding, not long ago we saw the launch of Shock cord and attachment points for your Atlas Athlete Pack and Atlas Adventure Pack, giving you more flexibility as to what you can strap to the exterior of the packs.
It’s not new, news as such as the development and look of the new Haenisch hip belt has featured on Atlas Packs Instagram stories. The idea behind the Atlas Packs Haenisch hip belt is to be lighter, more packable and travel friendly compared against the original larger, padded hip belts which come with the Atlas Packs.
Even the first note of development for this belt got me excited! Anything lighter and less bulk to make my beloved Atlas Pack lighter and further travel friendly sounded like a wonderful idea. The concept is simple, keep the tough exterior of the padded belts and remove the padding inside to give a soft, flexible and folded hip belt which can be strapped in as you would with the previous hip belt and Velcro tabs, utilise the hip belts pull out bottle holders and continue to get support around the waist, without compromising the quality and efficiencies of taking heavier loads from the pack.
After all, as photographers, even my tiny Micro Four Thirds system comes in weighing 3kg before adding any camping/hiking kit. Anyone using a full frame or DSLR telephoto lens will be pushing easily 6kg-10kg with no extra kit inside.
So, it is crucial this new Atlas Packs hip belt not only is comfortable and can take the weight but also offers a lighter weight option for those travelling and flying. The obvious is how compact and flexible the belt is. It can be rolled up and stuffed inside your trouser pocket its that compact! When it comes to storing, clearly isn’t going to be an issue. Should you need to remove the hip belt for boarding flights.
Weight is coming in a mere 100g, which compared to the original Atlas Athlete Pack which weighs in at 250g so weight saving is clearly an obvious win for the Atlas Packs Haenisch hip belt but comfort. The biggest question that needs answering! Is it comfortable?
So far, so good as they say. I haven’t used my original padded hip belt for a few months now and opted to keep the very packable, Haenisch hip belt attached. It can be tucked behind my back or in to the rear for storage. Or, if I do need to remove the belt I have tucked it inside the top of the lid for quick and easy access. When it came to using the Haenisch hip belt with water bottles I found no issues with sagging, off-weight and rubbing for the load of the 2 lite bottles in the pouches.
Finally leading on to the overall comfort when it came to walking, scrambling and general wear. It’s not as comfortable to wear, compared to the larger padded belt. On long distance and multi day trips where I know I need to wear the pack for 10+ hours a day, I will use the padded everytime. For short, quick trips or weekend wanders the Haenisch belt will be the choice everytime. I didn’t experience any rubbing or issues with the hip belt directly and despite being a pre-production model and its possible some changes could come about before the official release.
I’m not sure what as its seems pretty spot on in my opinion.
With a full Atlas Athlete Pack, filled to the brim with camping equipment, camera kit and food. The Athlete Pack came in weighing around 12kg with my summer set up. In no means is this to heavy nor lightweight for that matter. As I was hiking about the Welsh mountains, enjoying some scrambling and darting across the Glyderau tops I didn’t notice the weight of the pack. Taking the pack on and off was easy too and the new hip belt clip was just as quick and easy to adjust. I do like the new two pronged clip, other the three. It’s unusual and as aesthetics go, it matches the lightweight belt to a tee.
Heading away from home and the usual comforts of climbing mountains in Wales.
We head abroad to Montenegro for an outdoor/adventure week in the National Park.
Wishing to take a camera and hiking kit, the obvious choice was the Atlas Athlete Pack as the bag has been designed to be used as a carry-on option when boarding flights.
Despite the rigid, Ryanair guidelines I kept the frame inside my pack which made it 57cm in height when the limit is 55cm.
I was never stopped or questioned as to the contents or size of the rucksack. In addition, keeping the pack cinched down to its 20L sizing helped this. The total weight of the bag and contents was 8kg with the limit being 10kg carry-on.
Again, an easy weight to handle and with the Haenisch hip belt designed to be just as lightweight, compact and small when needed for such occasions, it was a match made in heaven and comes highly recommended for anyone with the Atlas Athlete pack and travels a lot and using flights to get about.
With this new compact hip belt you can still have the full support of the rucksack with a 10kg load on your back and not have your shoulders take the load. Giving full support and comfort without the need to leave kit behind, in this instances the hip belt to make the Athlete Pack smaller and further compact.
Although the belt can't slip inside the pockets used to fold away the exterior bottle holders of the belt, they can be tucked away with ease and lie flat on the top and not cause the Athlete pack to bulge out. Which helps getting the rucksack through security and in the overhead compartments on the planes.
Outside of the airport and back on foot, the belt continues to perform and provide excellent support climbing the 2000m plus mountains of Montenegro. 20°c heat, alpine forest, blue skies and a 10kg rucksack for the day full with food, water, clothes and camera gear.
I experienced no discomfort or rubbing with the belt or concerns with the straps against my shoulder. I know 10kg isn't a heavy load but it's still a sizeable weight to carry up a mountain and on your back for 10 hours.
The extra I like about the belt is even when unclipped you can still use the bottle holders and they balance nicely next to your hip. Of course don't over load the pockets with multiple litres but storing two 500ml water bottles was plenty and fast to grab.
Now, when the belt is needed it's easy and small enough to fold flat and store in the lid of the rucksack or keep safe at home without taking up loads of space should you need the larger, padded hip belt.
I whole heartedly believe every Atlas Athlete Pack owner will need one of these for those lighter travel days and boarding flights. The Haenisch hip belt is the perfect compliment with the standard hip belt and makes a great all-round travelling photographic rucksack to tackle any hike, climb, mountain or flight.
Disclosure: This Atlas Athlete Pack is my personal rucksack and purchased by myself. I have not received any monetary gain, discounts or commission for this review or for any sales. The Haenisch hip belt has been gifted to me for the purpose of this review and marketing content.