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Vapor Trail vs Circuit vs Mariposa Plus
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John G
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
Vapor Trail vs Circuit vs Mariposa Plus on 11/28/2010 07:28:00 MST Print View

I'm looking for the lightest pack capable of "comfortably" carrying 4 liters of water along with lightweight gear (Tarptent Cloudburst, 32 degree synthetic bag, full length Thermarest Prolite, travel pillow, 200 Wt fleece jacket, hat & liner gloves, 1 change of clothes (zip-offs & lightweight baselayer shirt), 1L pot w. cannister & stove inside, sandwich bag of 1st aid, repair & hygene items, poncho, and 3-5 days worth of food).

I'm thinking the minimalistic frame in the Granite Gear Vapor Trail (37oz), ULA Circuit (36oz), or Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus (24oz) may be needed to carry that much gear comfortably. Will one of those deal with the weight and volume of the gear above any better than the others ?


Edited by JohnG10 on 11/28/2010 07:29:30 MST.

Jeffrey McConnell
(Catalyst) - F
how much weight is it? on 11/28/2010 07:40:06 MST Print View

Can't really tell that well without knowing how much the above gear weighs. Have you weighed your gear yet?

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
VT and Circuit on 11/28/2010 09:18:50 MST Print View

I can only comment on the VT and the Circuit. Given the VT is essentially frameless, the Circuit has a superior carry. It is also far more feature rich. Go with ULA between the two and you will not be disappointed.

tommy d
(vinovampire) - F
Re: VT and Circuit on 11/28/2010 09:42:35 MST Print View

It's funny, the things that I like about the Vapor Trail and it's cousins are the lack of a "real" frame and lack of features. It's simple, but still has nice load adjustments.

That's not a recommendation. I think you just need to know what features YOU like in a backpack and the max weight you need to be able to handle. I wouldn't put much over 30 or 32bs in a Vapor Trail-type pack. If you weigh your gear, food, and water and find that you need a pack that can carry more weight, but might be a consideration.

John G
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
Circuit on 11/28/2010 09:46:19 MST Print View

Is the padding on the shoulder straps and hip belt any cushier on the VT than on the Circuit ? Are the shoulder strap and hip belt widths about the same between the 2 packs ? Is the backpanel padding also about the same ?

Also, is the main bag volume of the Circuit really a lot smaller than the VT (3600 vs 2400 cubic inches) - or just a difference in how the manufacturers measure ?


Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
VT v.s. Circuit on 11/28/2010 09:48:33 MST Print View

The shoulder padding and hipbelt on the Circuit is a bit less thick than on the VT (thankfully) but is measurably wider. I also have a Mchale and the shoulder straps are on the Circuit are equally comfortable for weights under 30lbs.

First Last
(snusmumriken) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Maybe you need a beefier pack on 11/28/2010 10:49:55 MST Print View

Your gear should weigh in between 12 and 15 pounds (when every little thing is included probably the higher number.)
Add to that 8 pounds of water and 7 pounds of food and you are up to a thirty pound pack.

If the water weight is a regular thing, I'd opt for a beefier pack. The Ozone, at one pound weight penalty compared to the Vapor, could handle the weight quite comfortably.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Vapor Trail vs Circuit vs Mariposa Plus on 11/28/2010 11:19:36 MST Print View

with the addition of the optional stay I have used my Circuit up to 34lbs comfortably all day. I highly recommend, it is a great pack.

Brian Ahlers
(bahlers7) - F

Locale: Idaho
ULA on 11/28/2010 11:50:48 MST Print View

Also going for the Circuit is you are going to have some of the best customer service you can find. No joke, I've ordered twice from Chris and both times I've called with questions (both times he himself answered the phone within a couple rings) and both times had them answered no problem.

Peter Longobardi
(paintplongo) - F

Locale: Hopefully on the Trail
ULA on 11/28/2010 14:17:15 MST Print View

Started the AT with a Vapor Trail, ended it with a ULA. No question go with the ULA.

Steve Martell
(Steve) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Washington
ULA and Circuit on 11/28/2010 15:43:02 MST Print View

I have to agree--ULA is a great company to work with and the Circuit is an impressive pack.

PS Chris: Please don't paint my pack 'blaze orange' for bragging about your gear again!

Edited by Steve on 11/28/2010 17:24:07 MST.

Aaron Reichow

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Circuit vs VT on 11/28/2010 19:00:46 MST Print View

I've never been a huge fan of the Vapor frame, though it does get more love around here than the Nimbus frame. I'm sort of in between Regular and Long torsos for the Vapor packs and feel like I never get the right fit as a result. I do get an awesome fit with the Nimbus packs thanks to the adjustable torso and swappable shoulder straps, shoulder breadth widget, and hip belts.

VT vs Circuit, I'd go ULA. Circuit vs Nimbus Ozone or Meridian sans lid I'd go Granite Gear if you'll be carrying more than 30 lbs.

I really like the Circuit's hipbelt- less cushy, but very tall. Doesn't work for some folks, but the height of the hipbelt and top-bottom tensioners makes it feel like the pack is velcro'd onto my hips. Also works well for me because the width between shoulder straps is perfect, a fluke I'm very happy with.

Another random VS aspect... The big airy mesh pockets on the Circuit recommend it for summer use, while the compression straps on the pack front and both sides are great for carrying bulky items (CCF foam pad, etc) in the winter.


Michael Fogarty
(mfog1) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Vapor Trail vs Circuit vs Mariposa Plus on 11/28/2010 19:24:48 MST Print View

I'd agree with others,in that if you always intend to hump a gallon of water, then the Nimbus line would be a better choice, especially on those 5 day trips. I do like my Circuit and can carry 35lbs with it, no problem. Anymore weight than this, and I'd rather carry the Nimbus.
(McHale disclaimer) Now that I have my McHale's, my other packs are shelved for the most part. Although, I picked up a Mariposa Plus, during the recent sale, for my ultra-lightweight,short overnight,two night,weekend type trips.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Circuit vs. Mariposa Plus on 11/29/2010 12:00:34 MST Print View

I've not used the VT, but I've done a lot of miles with the other two packs. Both will work for you; at this point I'm using a Circuit, and one factor I'll add in is durability. My hiking partner on the AT this year replaced his ULA pack after about 5000 trail miles, whereas I had maybe 1500 miles on my Mariposa Plus when I replaced it with a ULA Circuit.

Although indeed heavier, I really like the hipbelt pockets on the Circuit, as well as a better ability to adjust the fit --- my Mariposa Plus sometimes tended to hang back away from my upper back, whereas with the Circuit there are straps to adjust that.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Vapor Trail vs Circuit vs Mariposa Plus on 11/29/2010 12:15:57 MST Print View

Mike knows packs. Listen to him.


Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Vapor Trail vs Circuit vs Mariposa Plus on 11/29/2010 13:44:38 MST Print View

An issue with the Circuit was mentioned in an earlier thread where it was noted that "the back panel folds over as it thins near the waist belt opening".

The "solution" was to add another frame sheet.

Is this a packing problem or a design issue?

Is the "delrin suspension hoop" collapsing/flexing (as I see in my Ohm) and letting everything sag?

This seems like a pretty critical issue, and one that would remove it from any comparison with a McHale.

Edited by greg23 on 11/29/2010 13:45:42 MST.