This thread has been helpful in narrowing winter pack choices for my wife and me. Based on our requirements, do you think we'll do better with a Golite Odyssey, Golite Quest, ULA Catalyst or other pack? Leaning for now toward the Odyssey.
1)Will the Odyssey work well on backcountry skis - will the larger size throw off balance and ski control? I've heard the pack is narrow which is good for skiing.
2) I've read the top of the Odyssey and Quest keeps you from tilting your head back when traveling up hill. If you ever tried these packs, could this be remedied with a strap sewn into the top inside of the bag which pulls that space behind the head back and forms a head space, like the head space on Dana Design and Mystery Ranch packs?
3) Would you recommend the Catalyst for us for winter packs? See requirements below. Seems like we could make it for short trips but I think the lower volume of the Catalyst main bag would be a problem for me compared with the more generous volume of the Odyssey. Also don’t think it can handle skis. Anyone see one modded for ski carry or a winter pack like it from ULA?
4) Any other winter/backcountry ski packs for mostly 3 day trips and the once-in-a-season 5-7 day trip you'd recommend in the 4500-5000 cu in. range, in the same weight range as the Odyssey?
5) Read nice comments about the ULA/BPL Arctic Drybag, don't know if still available, not as large volume, about twice price Odyssey is available for. Anyone have good experience with it for backcountry ski trips?
Will R told me the Golite Quest works well for short igloo camping trips but he finds the Odyssey is better for winter tent camping because of the extra volume for bulky insulation. So we’re leaning toward the Odyssey for now.
- I'd characterize us as lightweight not ultralight backpackers/hikers, but we could never imagine carrying monster heavy weight with the pack. It's more about bulk in winter.
-95% of our winter trips will be weekend 2-3 day trips. Maybe one 4-7 day trip once/season.
-We also will be on backcountry skis or snowshoes, so the pack needs to be able to carry skis and snowshoes without easily getting destroyed. Would be great if pack could carry both A-frame and diagonally, but the Golite Odyssey and Quest are only setup for A frame carry (diagonal straps I’m sure could be added by us). Don’t think the Catalyst can handle skis.
-Travel mostly in the Sierra Nevada of Northern California
-Prefer to carry everything that will go in our pack inside our pack, and not have a lot of junk hanging all over the pack.
-Note my insulation layers are bulkier than my wife's because the clothes are sized larger, and I'll be carrying some of her stuff. I'm 6 ft 185 lbs and she's 5 ft 6 135 lbs.
-We have the Exos 58 pack for 3 season backpacking, and love it, but we could use a little more volume for winter and I can't imagine the Exos handling skis/shovel - it's a great pack but the material probably couldn’t stand up to metal-edged skis and no way the thin compression straps could handle skis. Also someone mentioned snow building up in the back space behind the mesh back support and about people feeling cold in the winter because of this "air conditioned" area which works great for 3 season weather.
-I used to have a Dana Designs Alpine (about 5000 cu. in. plus without side pockets) which I sold years ago – carried so comfortably but it was heavy and you don't need a pack that heavy to haul what we have, which is more bulky than it is heavy. However the volume was very good for winter.
-After reading reviews and checking one out, and reading the BPL Editor's Roundtable on lightweight packs for larger/heavier loads, I think the ULA Catalyst is a fantastic pack but I worry that it might be a tight squeeze for winter volume, especially for me.