ATD1 was truly developed to be that “one bag”. It’s geared to easily handle so many different settings and loads that designing another backpack has not been easy. Even just thinking about the situations to design another pack for was not an easy task. My pre-production ATD1 sample has been my only pack for 4 years now. I used it, and only it, literally everyday, no matter the load or the setting, and it just fit perfectly every time.
Still, even if it compresses like really few packs out there, it is still on the big packs side and customers came in help, as it often happens: one of the most frequent requests I received was to complete ATD Supply’s offer with a smaller pack.
I've been thinking about the ATD2 for years: deeply intrigued by this challenge and at the same time scared by the possibility of a failure. Second product is the most difficult, after all.
I didn't want to simply scale its bigger brother down. Even keeping expandability as a key feature, different size means different uses, problems to solve, settings to use the pack in. I started by thinking about the situations where I, as a user, would have benefited from a smaller pack: daily commutes, EDC, shorter trips, longer trips where I didn't need to carry so much stuff or, on the opposite side, those where a bulky, bigger luggage was needed for some reason but i would still have wanted a compact, yet expandable backpack.
In other words, it had to be compact, conceived for fast use, even more easily accessible. Still, it also had to be durable enough to withstand hardcore traveling in remote areas and expandable enough to cover more situations and be a one bag option itself.
I started from the 11 must-have-points that drove ATD1 development. The pack had to be:
- Durable (therefore sustainable. To survive years of everyday use).
- Comfortable (wearable for hours, even during high exertion activities).
- Compact (carry on size and not too big in an office or around town).
- Spacious (with the best internal volume to external measurements ratio).
- Clever (pockets are enough to store your stuff, not enough to lose it).
- Flexible (its size and volume adapt to every need).
- Protective (it protects belongings from shocks, weather and unwanted access).
- Accessible (it's easy for the user to access frequently used objects, also while worn).
- Discreet (maybe eye-catching amongst carry nuts but it avoids unwanted attention).
- Versatile (never out of place. In other words: travel, work, play, all with one bag).
- Resilient (to withstand challenges, making it easier for you to do the same).
Then, I defined measurements: being 25cm wide, ATD2 is sleek, fast and agile. Height is 45 to 65cm, enough to have room for some serious loads but still fit smaller torsos well. Main compartment depth is 16cm, enough for ATD Cubes (or the majority of cubes out there) plus some extra. Volume goes roughly from 18 to 31l, in order to maintain the operative versatility ATD Supply products are known for. Weight sits at 1.3kg (2,86 lbs)
I kept all features that make the ATD1 a great pack even for the uses I was developing the ATD2 for, and changed the rest in order to optimize the latter for those uses. From its biggest brother, it inherits the lightweight load support of the removable Curv® frame sheet, redesigned to be full height, and the front compartment, which has its own volume and features key leash, pen slots and two easy access pockets.
The internal layout was adapted for the new size but still features loops to hang pouches via Pouch Links (non included) and two double-layered stretch sleeves to keep laptops up to 15 inches and other gear suspended from the ground.
As its predecessor, ATD2 has handles on each side, semi-floating liner for better water resistance, OneWrap Velcro® removable strips for webbing management and a slanted shape that keeps load close to the back no matter the compression applied.
In order to keep the pack accessible and expandable at the same time, while preventing unwanted access to the main compartment when the pack is worn, I kept the coexistence of back panel clamshell opening and roll top, but here comes the first difference: this pack needed an even quicker access to the top and, since it was not intended to be often locked to be checked in, the convenience of one single magnetic Fidlock® buckle, paired with stiffeners to make rolling and unrolling faster as on the ARB Tote, seemed perfect.
Suspension was completely redesigned starting from the overall shape that makes the ATD1 so comfortable but slimmed down: ATD2’s shoulder straps are narrower and shorter, while keeping the same 10mm, closed cells Evazote® padding I have been working with so far.
Back panel was redesigned as well: since ATD2 had to work great paired with other luggage it can accommodate rolling luggage handles in a breeze.
To make commuting and everyday use easier, I traded a bit of abrasion resistance adding two layered stretch side pockets for bottles, tripods or whatever the user wants to put in it.
Side compression straps are fully equipped with aluminum G-hooks, to be quickly deployed, adjusted or even dismissed.
The bottom was simplified compared with ATD1, it has a rounded and more capable shape, less stitches for water to get inside and a wider bottom handle, unnoticed until it’s needed.
To complete the picture, it comes with a removable ambidextrous sternum strap, a removable 1’ webbing Hip Belt and compatibility with our Full size padded belt. Fabric is laser cut to prevent fraying and the construction is completed by the same hidden or clean finished stitches that ATD Supply is known for, to protect skin from friction and threads from wear. The bag is entirely made in Italy by the same hands, with the same meticulous attention to details, involved in the making of the ATD1 backpack and all our products during the last years.
Coming to materials, I chose to keep working with laminated materials and release the ATD2 Backpack in one fabric only: Challenge Sailcloth Ecopak® 600d waterproof laminated, made out of 100% post consumer recycled Polyester. It has great abrasion resistance, comparable to 500d Cordura®, and a thinner X-ply layer compared to other laminates to reduce wear spots, the typical weak point of sails materials. We’ll stick to YKK 10mm coil zipper and Mil-spec 1’ nylon webbing and Paracord as trimming.
As explained after ATD1's last production run, our pricing had to be reviewed too. With ATD1, I was stuck in the the paradox of setting a price that people would have paid for a premium pack intended to cover the need for two or three bags, with long and expensive development, large amounts of laser cut premium fabrics and almost paranoid attention to details but at the same time created by an unknown company to drag less attention while traveling to nasty locations and not be perceived as an expensive luggage by average people.
Now, with positive feedback about our customer service, many returning customers, almost zero returned bags and the really low number of second hand ATD Backpacks sold on the web, I know they are felt as a good purchase. ATD packs should have been priced higher from the beginning but I was scared by people not feeling their value or trusting a new born company, so I just reduced the mark up to a point that was not sustainable anymore, especially now that global supply chain is messed up and raw materials prices skyrocket. This is why ATD backpacks final price has increased: because this way I can keep delivering the same quality, the same attention to details, the same state of the art construction that our customers expect and deserve when they trust the company.
I actually started designing the ATD2 Backpack in 2019 and had the first pattern laser cut just before the COVID-19 pandemic spread in Italy in early 2020. During the first lockdown, I focused on the ARB Tote and small accessories but I kept spending some hours each week sewing it on the home machine I had then. After the pandemic's first wave, I had it finished on industrial machines and started testing it.
2020 and 2021 were life changing years for my personal and professional life. Given the peculiar moment, developing this pack has been a long, emotionally intense process, paved with fears and obstacles. Three versions, some weeks stuck between two solutions and many many COVID and supply chain related delays later, I am now happy to announce that ATD2 Backpack will be launched for pre-orders on our website on Saturday, May 28th at 11.00AM CET. Shipping is expected for the the second week of October (all of our manufacturing partners are shutting in August) to allow close inspections of each production step and our severe QC.
Make sure to save the date and reserve yours quickly!
Pictures are from a pre-production model, minor changes may occur in final product.