ULA Backpacks from the US
Hi all - Im not a lightweight fiend but I am currently on a bit of a mission to get my gear weight & size down (balancing weight with durability and being sensible overall). Plus I am sick of the fact that my Macpac pack weights 3kg. I dont really want to get into a debate about the pros and cons of making your gear lighter - but am more interested in if anyone has bought, or knows people that have bought a ULA pack from the states. They seem to me to be a great balance between weight, comfort, durability and capacity. Their customer service is reputedly very good and Chris from ULA emailed me to say that they regularly send packs to NZ, so people here are buying them. None of the packs that I am looking at locally have the features I want. The only problem with the ULA packs is getting them into NZ will end up being over the $400 GST threshold. See the packs here (no affiliation by the way): https://www.ula-equipment.com/product/catalyst/#reviews
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Yeah, those Ospreys are so damn comfortable. The hip bands get heat-softened to be a moulded fit before you walk out of American stores. My experience with Bivouac has been "it'll better fit over time". Looked at the Exped from a couple of on-site ravers, but it was a no-go from the first fit. That low hip-pad was effin unbearable. Still, Si-dog feels the other way. Exped has it's fans. Each to his own. Good luck !. Good thread :)
cant remember where i saw it, there was a survey of peoples gear, the ultralight gear polarises people. people use it because primarily its light but its not ascomfortable, and you have to pack the packs properly when theres not much in the back for padding.... i think this was it, theres a most disliked gear section https://www.halfwayanywhere.com/trails/pacific-crest-trail/pct-gear-guide-2018/
What store did you get your Sea to Summit micro sleeping bag from Si-dog?
Thanks all - looks like I will need to give the Ospreys another try - my comments are based on trying out one of their smaller packs. Andrew - luckily enough I stumbled across the micro for a great price. Note that its currently reduced at Bivouac - but see this ozzie site has it for NZD$70 less than even that price - free shipping to NZ! If you get in quick they may have more in stock. Note that its the micro II, not the III (whatever the difference is.....) https://www.wildfiresports.com.au/sea-to-summit-micro-ii-sleeping-bag-regular-left-z
ultralight gear comes from places where the weather is reasonably stable in summer and you can get away with carrying very little gear or just sit out the bad weather when it comes through. NZers carry more gear than a lot of people comeing from parts of the states where the weather is better in summer , here NZers are equipped to keep tramping in all but the very worst weather. so bigger packs, more elaborate to make them more comfortable carrying the weight. americans complain the packs are too heavy, but if you've tramped in some of our worst summers, you'd start to understand why we have so much more gear
My exped lightning is 60lt. 1kg. Bloody Great frame. I'd get that if I was you.
I would certainly give the Osprey Exos 58 a look. They weigh in at 1.25kgs and carry well up to about 15kgs.
I have a ULA Circuit, Granite Gear Crown2, I've also been a product tester for Gregory Mountain Products, Arc'Teryx, Dana Design and Granite Gear. I would say without hesitation that ULA makes the best all around 'light' pack out there. They are basic, no frills, made very well, durable materials and the lack of pockets and bullshit features makes them incredibly simple and light. The issue of course is not being able to be 'fit' to the pack and having to rely on your own judgement, which in my 10 years of pack fitting experience is usually a bad thing as most people have no clue how to measure their torso and are routinely off by 4-5 cms, and always too long. But if you can get a good torso measurement and you're an average build I think you would be happy with the performance of a ULA. I know you mentioned they don't have the features you want but that's the choice you need to make, do you carry a pack for features or comfort? For me it's always comfort. To each their own.
I tried the Exped and it had a nice tight hip support but I cant get over the lack of top pocket or side areas to stow stuff in. So I also tried an Osprey Exos - and have pulled the trigger on that. I used to be the only one in my tramping club with a (really really heavy) Macpac pack, and everyone else had Osprey, now Im joining their ranks. Cheers all!
I imported a Catalyst about two years ago. Bets pack I've ever had, it's huge. I do miss having a true top pocket but not that much.
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