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New to ultralite
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Mike Hopkins
(hopkinsmi) - F

Locale: Canada
New to ultralite on 08/16/2009 17:35:13 MDT Print View

I having been backpacking for around 9 years now and over the past few years my goal has been to get my baseweight lighter and lighter. As a university student the majority of my trip time is during 2-3 day weekend trips, but I still do a few week long trips in the summer. I was hoping to get some suggestions on how to improve my gear list and ultimatly lighten my load.

Pack- MEC alpinelite 30L: looking to be replaced with something a bit bigger but lighter, like the ULA conduit or MLD prophet
Sleeping bag- TNF beeline
Pad- Therm-a-rest Prolite 3: looking at getting a neoair
tent- MSR hubba hubba when with my girlfreind, myog bivy and tarp on solo trips
Insulation layer- TNF down sweater
TNF poly pro tee
2 - socks
Arcteryx alpha SL jacket
MSR pocket rocket
cut down spork
1.6 Liter optimus pot
small knife
small first aid kit
MSR hyperflow filter
cut down tooth brush
linear trash bag
rope for bear hang

I feel like I am probably forgetting a few little things but thats pretty much everything I put in my pack for a 2 or 3 day 3 season trip. IE. not including what I am wearing.
My girl freind is coming on more and more trips and as such and I want to replace her old and clunky gear; her pack, sleeping bag and pad specifically. I was thinking a neo air for her aswell, and maybe a montbell light weight bag, and when it comes to a pack I have no idea. She normally only carries her cloths, sleep system and some food and the tent body, if anyone has a suggestion on what packs to look at for her that would be awesome. Thanks very much

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: New to ultralite on 08/16/2009 17:49:37 MDT Print View

"if anyone has a suggestion on what packs to look at for her that would be awesome."

Hi Mike,

The ULA Circuit is worth a look; Also the Gossamer Gear Gorilla and The Osprey Exos series. All light, comfortable, and highly thought of in the UL community. By way of experience I am very high on the Circuit, but lots of other folks swear by the other two. For sleeping bags, Western Mountaineering makes some of the best bags in the game, but they are pricey and require careful handling. Other well thought of bags are made by Montbell and Feathered Friends. A good entry level bag, reasonably priced and well thought of is the REI Sub Kilo. It comes in a womens' version and is backed by the REI no questions asked money back guarantee. More comments will be posted soon, I'm sure, so stay tuned and best of luck.

Jack G
(NomadJack) - F

Locale: Midwest
new to UL on 08/16/2009 19:01:22 MDT Print View

You didn't mention what your budget was which makes a big difference. As a student, if your budget is limited, I would look at replacing the items that are most outdated or the least functional. Your pack is basically a daypack so that should probably be first on your list. ULA is closed until December so that might affect your decision. The MLD prophet isn't much larger than your MEC pack. You would probably be better off with the MLD exodus. Other good pack options were mentioned by PP. Also a Jam 2. It is heavier than the Exodus but would give you more of the comfort and luxuries of an IF pack.

Campsaver had the Osprey Aura 50 pack at 40% off and I bought one for my wife recently. It is very nice and would recommend it for your GF. They are sold-out at campsaver but you might want to keep an eye out. I returned a medium for a small so they might offer the medium that I returned or others that are returned. Link is below.

Mike Hopkins
(hopkinsmi) - F

Locale: Canada
Budget on 08/16/2009 20:27:07 MDT Print View

As far as budget goes I am working and want to have good gear that will work really well and last a long time, so I am willing to pay as much as it takes to have that happen. Also I don't think I need something as big as the Exodus, I can fit all of my gear into a 30 Liter rucksack with out any outside pockets or anywhere to hold little items, thats why I was looking at packs like the Prophet and conduit. The exos 46 L does look promising however. Thanks for all the help!

Jack G
(NomadJack) - F

Locale: Midwest
prophet vs. exodus on 08/16/2009 22:26:43 MDT Print View

Total vol. prophet w/ extension collar = 2900 CI
Total vol. exodus w/ extension collar = 3600 CI
Total vol. ULA conduit w/ extension collar = 3200 CI

The conduit is in-between the prophet and exodus. IMO for the 3 additional ounces and $5 difference in price you are better off going up in size to the exodus. Just my $.02 though.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : New to ultralite on 08/17/2009 00:06:41 MDT Print View

I have the Prophet, Zip(forerunner to the Exodus), and the Conduit.
They are all excellent packs, and you won't go wrong with any of them. The MLD packs are tall and narrow, and suit the 'burrito' method of packing more than the Conduit, in my opinion. This is when your sleeping pad is loosely rolled inside the pack, with your gear inside the 'tube' that is created by the pad. The Conduit is more of a teardrop shape, and works better with a folded sleeping pad against your back, held in position by the partial sleeve.
The pack i choose depends on how much food i'll be carrying for each particular trip.
Both your choices use Dyneema as the fabric, which is very durable, and stands up well to bushwacking and rock scrambling.

Patrick Caulder
(pcaulder) - MLife

Locale: SouthEast
Exodus on 08/17/2009 05:48:18 MDT Print View

I got an Exodus in the mail the other day, and it is awesome. The quality of work that MLD turns out is simply amazing. Keep in mind that the exodus does have to the volume reduction on it. This is the first thing I have bought from them, and I will definitely keep buying from them.

Really though, everything I have bought from the smaller cottage manufacturers has been of amazing quality, but their was just something about that pack that really had me in awe.

Mike Hopkins
(hopkinsmi) - F

Locale: Canada
Looks like I found a pack or two on 08/18/2009 07:04:27 MDT Print View

I think I have decided on an MLD Exodus for me and the Prophet for my girlfriend. They look like excellent packs and seem to get amazing reviews on here, and I like the idea of supporting a small company. Now I just need a new sleeping bag for her, (or maybe just a new quilt for me and let her have my oldish bag) and a couple neoairs, and the beggining of our UL journey will start. I am looking for a sleeping bag for temps around -1C or 30 F. Another option I would consider would be buying a quilt or something close to that, can anyone give me any insight on this. Thanks a lot for all the help.

Jack G
(NomadJack) - F

Locale: Midwest
newbie (UL and women) on 08/18/2009 09:13:07 MDT Print View

guess the exodus was not too large after all ;)

many women prefer a pack with a frame. It transfers the weight to the hips better and is generally more comfortable overall. Your #1 priority for her should be comfort IMO. You can lighten her load as much as necessary to make up for the frame but if she is not comfortable in a frameless pack it doesn't matter how light it is. I would have taken her to a gear shop and let her try on different options. You can always order on the internet once you know what she wants. It sounds like you are making the decisions for her which might be okay when you are ordering dinner but a pack that she is going to carry many miles it is not a good idea. Get her involved and let her make her own decision. She will enjoy the experience much more and in turn so will you.

You are thinking about getting a new quilt for yourself and giving her your old bag? Looks like she has found a real keeper.

Edited by NomadJack on 08/18/2009 09:15:30 MDT.

Mike Hopkins
(hopkinsmi) - F

Locale: Canada
Girl Freind issues, I swear im not a jerk. on 08/18/2009 10:42:06 MDT Print View

Sorry to sound so blunt, we have been talking about all the options a lot, and by no means am I making the decisions for her. We have both been backpacking for 9 years and started togeather in a small group of freinds way back then. Since we started our relationship we have been going on trips togeather and both of us have been trying to make our weight lighter and lighter. As far as packs go she also currently takes the same pack I do, the MEC rucksack I mention in my original post. She has no problem taking a frameless pack, even though I did mention that she might want something with a frame, we talked and she seems to want something frameless. So we concluded the small Prophet would be right for her because I tend to take more of the bulky and heavier items. She also takes a seamy heavy and cheap sleeping bag that has a rating to about 15C, which I tend to sleep in because she gets cold so I let her have my warmer sleeping bag. We talked about options for her sleeping bag, they are as follows: she can take my bag and i will get something else because she loves my bag, and I am a warm sleeper but don't want to hall around her bag anymore, she could get a MEC Merlin -3 bag, she could get a mont bell U.L spiral down hugger #3, or we could get a two person quilt and give that a try(she doesnt seem keen on this, and i am skeptical because we both move around a fair bit and worry about drafts), or there is the option of me trying a quilt. I am sorry if I sounded like a jerk in my previous post. I really am talking with my girl friend through all of these decisions, and don't want to sound like a butt head haha. Oh and Jack your little outline of the capacity of all three packs made me relieze that the exodus was the right choice, especially because of the volume reducers, thanks for that. Thanks for all the help guys!

Edited by hopkinsmi on 08/18/2009 10:57:48 MDT.