Had a great time in Florida – played 11 rounds in 7 days – and safely made the trip back to the frozen tundra in The Middle of Nowhere.  After 7 days of 80°F and sunny, 14°F and cloudy is…  different. I take some comfort from the fact that we’re close to the end of February; it won’t be that long until spring.

On a completely unrelated subject:  over the last few months, I’ve been trying out different “seatside” bags – personal carry-ons for electonics, books, boarding passes and the like for an upcoming post, and have somehow cleverly ended up with an extra Patagonia Atom, and have decided to give it to one of my readers.

The Atom I’m giving away to a lucky reader is black; I’ve included the other photo as it shows off the bag’s features a bit more effectively.

This is a smallish daypack with two zippered compartments (3 including a small pocket on the shoulder strap), a waist belt which can be tucked away if desired, and a couple of compression straps for securing a jacket or similar item. Here are a few reviews from the eBags website (the last was written by me):

Date Posted: February 22, 2011
Reviewed By: Anonymous Customer

“This is very practical for everyday use and holds everything that you need!”

Date Posted: February 18, 2011
Reviewed By: Sarah from Hudson, NY 

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
“I love this bag, I bought one for my mother and sister as gifts! It’s extremely handy to throw in my wallet, phone, book, etc. and even for hiking I can fit a water bottle inside!”

Date Posted: February 8, 2011
Reviewed By: Heather from Anchorage, AK 

“I had the previous Atom and loved it but it needed to be replaced. When I received this one I was happy with the material of the bag, the dividers inside the main pouch and the lining of the small zipper pouch. The straps on the front of the bag are annoying and I will never use. It would have been nice to have an option to store them. Great bag, awesome price!!”

Date Posted: January 23, 2011
Reviewed By: Erica from Arvada, CO

“I love the color and style of this bag. It’s the perfect size for my wallet, small make-up bag, phone and coin purse.”

Date Posted: January 3, 2011
Reviewed By: Kevin from Big sky country

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
“I’ve been experimenting with the Atom as a carry-on “personal item.” Believe it or not, it will accommodate an iPad in the larger of its two pockets, but it does require a little coaxing. The other pocket is good for a small paperback and other odds and ends. If you’re not using the waist belt (it tucks away if not needed), you can spin the bag around to easily access its contents. I’m not sure this is my “ultimate” seat-side carry-on (see Bihn Co-Pilot), but this is a good looking, reasonably capable bag at an attractive price. Oh yeah – it’d be great for hiking or biking!”

There’s also a small zippered mesh compartment inside the larger of the two main compartments.  As mentioned in my eBags review, you can put an iPad in that compartment, although the fit is a bit tight.  The smaller of the two main compartments has a plush lining; that pocket is great for a digital camera or music player.

In any event, I’ll give this extra Atom to one lucky readerAll you need to do in order to have a chance of winning is comment on this post; mentioning how you’d use the Atom, or recommending what you feel is the best “on board” or “seatside” bag would be welcomed.

Please comment by midnight on Wednesday, March 2nd in order to be eligible.   I’ll select what I believe to be the best comment, and the winner will be announced on Wednesday.  Good luck!!

P.S.: here’s the Atom at the Patagonia website; it sells for $39 – Patagonia Atom

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24 Comments on I survived Florida, and you can win a Free Patagonia Atom daypack

  1. Mike says:

    The Tom Bihn Co-Pilot (which I learned about from this site) has been a very solid seatside bag for me–just got back from a month in Africa using it. Thanks for that review—hope I can try the Atom too :)


  2. Adrienne says:

    Been looking for a bag to carry my everyday items (netbook, Nook, and iPhone in addition to my wallet and a bottle of water) as I commute to/from work.

    Hopefully I will be the lucky winner!!!


  3. Sunny says:

    I’m working on minimizing what I carry in my daily bag, while still having enough room to add in a lunch or extra sweater when needed. This bag looks like a great option!


  4. Ed Chandler says:

    I’d love the bag as I think it’d be perfect for my wife.

    For me, with camera gear and a netbook to haul, the Lowepro Fastback 250 is my “on board” bag. It fits everything and still fits under the seat.


  5. Kelly says:

    My family & I are planning a trip to Great Britain in May. We will be riding trains and one bagging, besides daypacks. A small backpack is too difficult with a convertible already on your shoulders, so a one strap is the best option.

    This looks like a bag my husband would carry!!! He usually just adds to my bag & then comments on what a large bag I carry. This looks to be the perfect option for him to carry his own water bottle, camera & book!!!


  6. Ben says:

    I’m going to take a look at the co-pilot. I’ve been using my daypack as a personal items bag because it’s one less thing to pack (we have Osprey Daylite’s), but the co-pilot looks like it might fit the things that we and our three year old need (snacks, a couple of paperback picturebooks, an iPod and boarding passes and a sweatshirt) and be easier to get at.

    I can recommend the daylite, though I don’t like the new design (straps don’t fit me well). It’s a nice small, single compartment daypack with a small pocket on the front and a bungee for tying things down on the outside. Also has a couple of mesh pockets for waterbottles or (in our case) soft toys.

    How well do you think the atom would fit some picturebooks without too much bending.


  7. Tracy says:

    I have the Rick Steve’s Civita day pack. My husband and I are going to Italy in April and I have been looking for a second day pack. Given how much the Civita holds, the Atom looks like it would be a nice smaller second bag to carry. And the “black” is perfect. The other would be too flashy for us.


    Kevin Reply:


    Just saw this at the NYT; thought it might be of interest:

    Rome I love renting apartments instead of staying in hotels, but because I usually travel alone, I hadn’t thought of how much you can save by doing this if you’re traveling as a family or group. Isaac Vanaggelen at the RentalInRome.com booth showed me around their site, which lists apartments where a family of four can stay for less than 100 euros. He tells his friends to stay at the Vatican Recreation Apartments building, where a stay for two is as little as 60 euros a night. (Note: most online reviews of the site are good, but I can’t vouch personally.)


  8. Yvette says:

    My best on board bag is the backpack I designed and made just last week! I needed something to fit my belongings for a two day trip, that worked with Virgin Blue Australia’s specifications. So I made a trip to my local fabric store, found some great red, waterproof, bag material, and whipped one up! (Took me about a day.)

    It is fully expandable with an expanding zip so that it will work for me in summer (now) or in winter when I need to take heavier clothing. Inside I have stabilising straps, complete with a mesh panel to really hold things in place. The backpack straps are nicely padded and feel quite comfy. Then I made a very small bag that hangs close to my body, over one shoulder, just for my wallet, boarding pass and phone, in matching fabric, so that I didn’t have to be reaching around to the backpack all the time.

    Very pleased with my bag and myself! :-)


  9. Kevin says:

    I’m planning a trip to Costa Rica soon and this bag would be ideal as a constant companion.

    Thanks for the chance!


  10. Tom Martin says:

    I travel extensively for business, both by airplane and automobile. I’ve yet to hit the Trifecta in the old Steve Martin and John Candy movie, due to the fact that passenger travel on trains isn’t on my employer’s approved methods of travel list. However, the other two modes of travel are my frequent environment.

    As a result, I have quite a few items from gadgets to gear to grooming and more that often necessitate easy and rapid access. Therefore, I’ve long been on a quest for the perfect “personal item” bag to heft around with my single carry-on bag.

    Could the Atom be the end to my long and frustrating search? There’s only one way to find out. Should the bag somehow find its way to my shoulder, I’ll keep you posted. Until then, my quest continues.


  11. Jeff says:

    I will use it on my upcoming trip to NYC….


  12. Maggie says:

    That’s a pretty cute and functional bag. I could use an Atom for conventions like Dragon*Con (Atlanta, Labor Day weekend). I’ve been taking my laptop bag minus the laptop and 10 lbs of peripherals. This looks like it would be handy and comfortable for carrying 2 cameras, iPod, the schedule book, wallet and a snack. I bet it works well at theme parks and for short hikes as well.


  13. John Porter says:

    This would be a contender for my on-going search for the perfect bag. I’m just now significantly downsizing my photo gear and am looking for a possible replacement for my dedicated photo bags.


  14. Eric says:

    I’m an avid traveler and “one bagger.” My current setup is the pre-2009 Patagonia MLC and a REI Flash 18 (http://www.rei.com/product/778466) daypack that I stuff inside the MLC to use as a daypack. The setup is great, but one of the things I don’t like about the Flash 18 is the drawstring closing mechanism. I feel like eventually it’s going to give in and I’d prefer to use a zipper. Another thing that gets annoying sometimes is the fact that it’s a backpack, sometimes I just want easy access into my bag to get something or put something away and having a bag on a sling like the Patagonia Atom seems like it would be perfect for this, so I’d really like to try it out.


  15. matt scarbrough says:

    This looks like a great bag for the items I usually carry on.


  16. Michael W. says:

    The best seatside bag I have so far is the rectangular RedOxx Gator shoulder trunk – if I put it on the floor under the seat in front lengthwise, it fits nicely but still leaves room on the left and right for me to stretch my legs out under the seat. The stiff foam padding on sides, bottom, and portion of endpanels give it good structure. The dual external snap pouches let me keep reading glasses and iPod Touch handy, the slot behind the external snap pouch takes a boarding pass perfectly. Lots of space in the main compartment for a light warm layer (Marmot Windshirt, for example) plus my mission-critical (for sleeping) foam “neck brace” which was originally designed for whiplash injuries and Velcro’s together(nothing holds my neck up better, certainly not those foam bead-filled “neck yokes” that look like they will work but won’t). And a watchcap which rolls down over my eyes, much better than clumsy eyeshades. Plus a water bottle or Platypus 1 pinter, refilled at the gate, and some almonds and Cliff Bars.

    There are three problems with the Gator: the excellent anti-slip shoulder strap (the famous “Claw”) is not very “giving” and can bite into my shoulder when the bag is filled (and hence heavy); the Gator is a tad heavy empty (2.35 pounds) and much heavier with my items; and it is wide, meaning when I spin around in an aisle I thwack people.

    Here is a link to the Gator:

    The Atom looks appealing mainly because you seem to enjoy it and I have come to trust your judgment – not as a final arbiter of functionality, but as one of the best “recommenders.” I haven’t taken it seriously myself before this, because I am not sure it can hold all my essentials (I could survive without the warmlayer but need the neckbrace and water bottle) and I’ve never really taken “single strap” bags seriously. But I’m open to experiment, if the price is right, wink-wink.

    My second best seatside bag is a tall, thin, rectangular as possible daypack (think LLBean junior high-sized book pack). Take your pick but don’t pig-out on the size or you may get challenged. While a daypack doesn’t leave room on the sides for my legs when stuffed under the seat, since most of my truly long distance travel is done in window seats, I just prop the daypack upright, out of the way, against the bulkhead which completely frees the space under the seat for my legs.


  17. Maria says:

    Welcome back! Interesting look for this day pack. I have trouble with traditional back packs as I find them uncomfortable on my boney shoulders and pulls pec-minor muscles in a painful way when both straps are used, and don’t like having my things out of sight behind me. When I have carried a small back pack, I ended up carrying it as a “shoulder bag” – one strap slung over the shoulder, and held with my hand on the strap. So this little Atom is intriguing – just my style for carrying! (Also, black is my favourite colour!)

    I use the Tom Bihn Co-Pilot which is great for organization and holds more than expected. I also carry a small Tom Bihn “Side Effect” for going out and about when I feel the Co-Pilot is too bulky and it holds the bare essentials and then some. This “Atom” appears to be a great middle option and secure too.

    Thank you.


  18. Mary P. says:

    My boyfriend and I have recently taken up walking as a way to get healthy and fit. I would love to have a bag like this to carry the essentials we would need on our longer walks/hikes. I imagine that something like this would be extremely comfortable and lightweight.

    I’m a regular reader of your blog and appreciate the content you’re putting out. Thanks for all your hard work!


  19. MattBH says:

    I’ve been using the Sea-to-Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack. It’s 20L, but has basically no features. What makes it great for seat-side use is that once I get to where I’m going, I can stuff it down to a small pouch that’s smaller than a bunched fist. It only weighs 2.4 ounces.

    Of course, the lack of structure means that it has to be very thoughtfully packed. Having a bag that was still easy to store and not too big once I get to where I’m going (ideally fitting within my carryon suitcase with ease) would be a big plus. This could definitely be a good alternative to my ultra-minimal Sil Day Pack…


  20. Nina says:

    I’m planning on going on a year-long trip this year with my fiance and would love to bring this along! We’re planning to go to Nepal, India, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and Europe on a budget. I’ll have a larger backpack to carry all my things, but will need a daypack for day trips. We’re trying to save up as much money as we can before we stop having an income, so I’d love to be able to get a daypack from you. Thanks!


  21. Dave says:

    Whoa — cool bag. I’m not planning on going around the world — but that would be the perfect size for my weekend trips back home (flying home for the weekend every 1-2 weeks as the family slowly relocates to another state). Hmmm…It has enough easy to access pockets so I can quickly stow my metal contents while in the security line and make sure people behind me are 1) not kept waiting, and 2) shown how denuding oneself of your accessories does not have to take 5 minutes. It will hold everything required for a long casual weekend. It can double as a diaper bag/Hot Wheels transport when needed. It looks like it fits close to the body so I can stop whacking first class folks in the head as I go back to my seat. If only it could stop the guy behind me from coughing at me…


  22. Eric says:

    I’ve been finding your site invaluable in getting prepped for my first international trip this coming summer. My wife and I will be traveling to Italy for 10 days and we really want to travel light. I consider myself an ultralight backpacker and am finding that a lot of those skills are helping me get my travel list down to just the essentials. I went and picked up the Patagonia Crosstown after your review and yes I got a good deal on the “Patagucci”. I also went to my local REI to test out their messenger bags as my around town/camera bag. I settled on the Osprey Veer which is the perfect size for walking through crowds and holds just enough. Not too big that it gets stuffed with stuff. I think the best part is the minimalist waist strap that prevents the bag from being easily snatched. I can also rotate it to the front of my body for even more safety on trains/buses. I’d be interested in the Patagonia Atom for my wife’s bag as it looks like it has many of the same features that brought me to the Veer… and I also have an addition to collecting bags.


  23. Dan says:

    Great looking bag! This would replace my old (from 2002, I believe) North Face Yavapai backpack as my go-to day pack. It basically goes everywhere I do – bringing personal items to and from the office daily, music festivals (so critical to have a daypack there), whatever mountain I happen to be hiking (will be spending lot of time in the White Mountains of New Hampshire this spring)or neatly packed inside my Kelty Redwing 3100 when I’m on longer trips. The Kelty carries everything for an weeklong trip, and the daypack is in there for the day trips on said vacation (obviously).

    The Atom would take over all of those functions; I’ve wanted to switch to a single-shoulder pack for a while now (more stylish and less cumbersome in my opinion.)I just received a Patagonia Torrentshell rain jacket for Christmas, the Atom looks perfect for stuffing that into along with a water bottle and snack for dayhikes!


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