I came across an awesome piece of gear, and had to get my hands on it. Those of you that are members and avid readers of SGPT know that we love to ruck here. But that poses a problem.
While getting out in nature to get after it is one of the best ways to burn calories and also to train for selection (or whatever else comes your way), using sandbags, bricks or gear and centering it can get tiresome and annoying. Enter the Atlas Trainer. This bad boy takes all of that away, and makes it easier to train for a GORUCK, selection, hunting, or just being an all around BAMF.
The frame itself is plastic, but plenty sturdy so far. The frame is also rated for 90lbs, but we’ve tested it with mainly a 45lb bumper, as I don’t have many steel plates, but plenty of bumpers. Now to the fit and finish now that you get the use and idea. The frame may be plastic, but is very well made. Just some minor adjustments – a cinch here, a pull there – and this fit my body like a glove. You have ample lower back padding, and plenty of padding on the back and shoulders. There are more cinch straps than I personally need, but I’m sure you could tweak it to be perfectly outlined with your body. One caveat, stand the pack up and load it; as if you lay it down and drop plates on it, it will flex. It won’t break, but in the interest of longevity, load it while standing.
The column for plates is knurled somewhat aggressively, and bolted solidly onto the frame, as you can see. It has plenty of secure points to the pack frame, and when loaded with a 45lb plate, you hardly notice how much weight you have on until you shoulder or unshoulder it. The kidney pads and frame keep the large portion of the load on your hips, with the rest of it distributed on your shoulders.
The pack frame also has lash points, which as you can see, I used to secure my PxHero JAFO II Trauma Kit while in the woods. Moreover, you can attach other gear with some simple MOLLE webbing. As you can see in the picture to the left, it may be plastic, but this polymer is strong yet flexes, and has multiple strap attachments. Also, the knurled weight post is perfectly centered. I would recommend using a different clamp like an OSO collar, and even told Outdoorsmans my idea. If you haven’t messed with OSO’s, you should. They make awesome barbell clamps that hold fast.
Overall, we love this product. From the concept to the execution, it’s solid. It can help you train for GORUCKs, MIL selection, hunting, or just life. It’s a solid apparatus that checks a lot of boxes. Lightweight, check. Versatile, check. Compatibility with other training aids, check. Comfortable (well relatively, considering I tested this over several 5-7 mile hikes in the humid GA mountains), check.
Pros, what we like: Innovative product that takes easily accessible Olympic plates to use for ruck training. You don’t need to use gear or sandbags, and you can train packing out meat or a comrade with the 90lb load rating. Moreover, the frame itself is very sturdy and comfortable, while still being lightweight. A solid training tool if you’re working up for selection, hunting season, or to be ready for the unknown.
Cons, what we don’t like: The collar leaves much to be desired, but that’s an easy fix. Other than that, no issues whatsoever.
UPDATE 9.18.17 They will be including OSO Collars with their orders shortly!! They’re a great company that listens to feedback!
Alex Castiglione lives in Atlanta, and is an avid outdoorsman and competitive shooter.
Where-abouts include getting after it in his garage gym, practicing martial arts, hitting the trails, or running CrossFit and Strongman competitions for his non-profit, Barbells for Bullies, which holds fundraiser fitness competitions dedicated to aiding Bully breed rescues, dog rescues, or other non-profits with similar missions.