I hadn't looked at any of the ULA packs before. The CDT looks like a great deal at $115, considering it comes with a lot of things that would be custom options with other manufacturers (adding hipbelt pouches to a zpack is $20 - to a MLD pack $40, for instance). I'm definitely leaning toward the heavier fabric options for my pack, rather than cuben/sil/spinnaker, mostly because I'm planning a thru hike attempt next year and it would be nice not to have to replace *all* my gear at the end of it :). I'm not quite a "starving" college student, but I am occassionally hungry, so I don't mind carrying something slightly heavier if I save some cash.
So far the contenders are:
- ULA CDT $115... needs pretty much no alteration. Slightly heavy, but not ridiculously so.
- Zpacks $? I think a completely custom pack could be a very dangerous place to go with my wallet :) Restraint is not my greatest strength.
- MLD Burn $135 is not excessively out of my price range. The pack is lighter than the CDT, but smaller, and to get the same options (padding in the hip belt, removable belt pouches) that I like on the CDT, I'd need another $40+
- GG Murmer $90 - great price, very light, no padded hipbelt again. Made of silnylon.
Am I off base on the durability issue for sil &/or cuben? I don't mind it in other pieces of gear, but to be honest I'm just not into the idea of babying my pack, and I'd like it to last.
Oh, and I like having a belt because I hate having a beltless pack flop around everywhere, especially if I decide to pick up the pace a bit (need to run and catch my dog, for instance). And then once I have a belt, I want it padded - maybe it's because I'm a girl, but I just prefer it that way.