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ULA Circuit with cuben hydrid fabric.
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Alex Wallace
(FeetFirst) - F

Locale: Northern California
sittin' pretty on 02/20/2013 11:24:03 MST Print View

Nice looking pack, Kyle.

Your side profile picture with the pack on is one of the very few I've seen where the Circuit looks like it's actually fitted and riding correctly. Most of the photos online, and what I've seen on the trail, the pack appears to be slumped below the user's shoulders with the load "lifter" straps angled straight across or even downward from the shoulders. This is actually what has put me off of trying one.

Have you had a chance to put some miles on it yet?

Kyle Meyer

Locale: Portland, OR
Re: sittin' pretty on 02/20/2013 11:39:23 MST Print View

It's been out on two overnight snow camping trips so far—only about 15 trail miles all told. That said, I was carrying quite a bit more weight than I typically do and it carried really well.

Here's a photo I took of myself on the first trip with about 30 pounds on my back. It's hard to see but the load lifters are still being used properly:

Alex Wallace
(FeetFirst) - F

Locale: Northern California
thanks, Kyle on 02/20/2013 15:48:52 MST Print View

Thanks for the feedback. The pack looks good and more importantly, it looks like you're having a good time.

One more question if you don't mind: how do you like the hipbelt? Specifically, it looks pretty dang wide. Much wider than any other hipbelt I've ever used, including traditional non-lightweight packs (e.g. Osprey Aether). Does it cause any binding or restriction of movement like high leg lifts while scrambling?

Everything about the Circuit seems great, but I'd really like to try one on before I buy, which is why I have so many questions. I may just have to accept the return shipping costs and order one to try it out.

Thanks again.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Wide belt on 02/20/2013 15:54:31 MST Print View

Using the same belt on the Ohm and Catalyst, I find it to be very comfortable. Definitely not restrictive or binding. The best thing about it is that the buckle has straps leading to both the bottom and top of the belt. This seems to make the belt cradle the hip bones comfortably and securely. Best hipbelt I've used in 40 years of backpacking!

Kyle Meyer

Locale: Portland, OR
Re: Wide belt on 02/20/2013 16:41:30 MST Print View

Agreed. ULA's belts are amazing. I don't have a single issue with them, and the hip belt pockets are amazing.

Alex Wallace
(FeetFirst) - F

Locale: Northern California
good to hear on 02/20/2013 16:48:24 MST Print View

Okay, that's good to hear. Thanks guys.

Now to see if ULA is willing to replace the silnylon used on the pack with their 210 "Robic" and if so, how much will it cost.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: good to hear on 02/20/2013 18:48:48 MST Print View


ULA usually charges a $50 fee for custom work, and then whatever the fabric up charge is. Going from Robic 210/Sil to all Cuben hybrid is $50 for example.


Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Custom options on 02/20/2013 20:07:59 MST Print View

"Going from Robic 210/Sil to all Cuben hybrid is $50 for example."
It's $80 these days.

I imagine simply replacing the (70D?) upper nylon bit with Robic would be much less however.

Edited by dandydan on 02/20/2013 20:14:11 MST.

Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Re: Custom options on 03/06/2013 10:32:22 MST Print View

Looks like a beautiful pack. I know the main benefits of Cuben over Robic are weight and water resistance. Are there other benefits?

Michael Ttrafton
(mtrafton) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
ULA Circuit with cuben hybred fabric. on 03/10/2013 12:26:31 MDT Print View

I saw the post and ordered one myself, only I decided to get the Air-X. With Cuben and removing most of the extras the weigh should be under 30oz. I'll try to post some pictures when it comes in.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

ULA Catalyst Cuben Hybrid on 03/15/2013 20:39:20 MDT Print View

I got my cuben hybrid Catalyst from ULA this week. It's sort of a pale grey/green/blue cuben hybrid. It's actually dark green cuben inside and sorta white polyester on the outside. It takes away the brightness of the pure white cuben hybrid which is all I wanted. Aside from the fabric, it's got extra straps on the bottom and no hydration ports (to decrease water influx during packrafting).

Catalyst 1

The bottoms of the side pockets are cordura. The rest of the pocket is 210D ripstop nylon and then the body is 1.5oz cuben + wov.32 polyester hybrid (3.3oz). Same stuff as HMG.
Catalyst II

ULA made all the little accents the same cuben hybrid fabric for a cohesive look. Great attention to detail as with all ULA packs.
Catalyst III

For better scale, here's a 2400 HMG Windrider and a ULA Ohm (1.0). It's a nice size step up from my Ohm - large without being enormous.
Catalyst IV

As an aside, Roman Dial's "packraft fold" is easily the best way to pack a raft. There are some nuances to it though, so watch Roman's video and PM me if you're having trouble making it work. Here's a rolled raft in the Alpacka sack (which is hard to get it into) versus the packraft fold which is much more easily accomplished:
Packraft fold

Here's two folded packrafts, easily stored side by side in the pack:

And the obligatory picture of me wearing the pack. I don't look as thrilled as Kyle, but he got outside with his. I'm slaving away at university for another 4 weeks. The pack is pretty much right on 40oz right now with maybe 1oz of strap trimming in its future. The pack fits well and should be great for its intended use (+7 day hiking trips or packrafting trips)
:Catalyst V

Edited by dandydan on 03/15/2013 21:15:41 MDT.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Circuit vs ohm...I want more cuben gear!!!! on 03/15/2013 21:15:05 MDT Print View

Chris at ULA said he thought the ohm would likely be too small for a JMT (and hopefully?!!) a PCT thru if I carried a bearikade weekender. Dan, looking at all those packs side by side makes me a) sooooo want one of them and b) think the circuit is an awful lot of pack.

My non-bear canister 3 season base weight is 9 pounds.

Would I be unhappy trying to carry an ohm with a canister and possibly 8 days of food/fuel?

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Ohm on 03/15/2013 21:23:01 MDT Print View

You're probably aware, but just to be clear my new pack shown above is a Catalyst - one size larger than Mike's Circuit. So imagine the Circuit fitting between the the Ohm and Catalyst in my lineup picture. I think it's about the same height but narrower.

I've carried an Ohm and a bear canister on a few occasions. The longest was 4 days, but I had most of the food for two so it was close to an 8 day supply (no it didn't all fit in the canister, does it ever?). The trouble with an Ohm and a bear canister is that most (all?) bear canisters have that ridge in the middle. The ohm has a thin back pack (1/4"?) so this ridge pokes/rubs on your back and there's really no way to pack it so it doesn't.

I personally don't think the Ohm is that bad at 35 lbs - and that's the regular Ohm, not the cushier Ohm 2.0. So the weight of 8 days of food and a bear canister can work if you've got a high-ish discomfort tolerance and it's not a long term situation. Almost regardless of packweight, I find the ridge on the canisters to be more of an issue. I usually get a little spot rubbed red on my back from it, so I pack the pack differently each day so it rubs in different spots. So for occasional bear canister use the Ohm is fine, but if you're using a canister regularly then I'd look at getting a canister without a ridge (if they exist) or getting a different pack.

Edited by dandydan on 03/15/2013 21:25:01 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Circuit vs ohm...I want more cuben gear!!!! on 03/15/2013 21:29:36 MDT Print View

Jennifer, you could always look at the HMG Windrider 3400, which has the beefier shoulder straps and belt from the Porter. It will be more than big enough. You can put your food inside your pack while hiking and strap the bear canister to the top "Y" strap, empty of course. At camp, put the food in the canister.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Ohm on 03/15/2013 21:30:14 MDT Print View

"but if you're using a canister regularly then I'd look at getting a canister without a ridge (if they exist) or getting a different pack."

Could you file the ridge down without compromising the structural integrity of the canister?

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Canister on 03/15/2013 21:50:52 MDT Print View

It looks like there are some better canister options out there. I've only used this canister, which has a rather large ridge:


Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Ridge gone on 03/15/2013 22:06:48 MDT Print View

The Bearicades do not have that ridge.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Dan on 03/16/2013 11:31:53 MDT Print View

Dan, that looks great!

Thanks for the pictures, especially the one with two packrafts.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: the details on 03/16/2013 12:26:24 MDT Print View

Dan, that looks really nice. Nothing against Kyle's pack, but seeing ULA do all the detailing with the hybrid material makes a big difference aesthetically.

I'm really interested to see where they go developing there packs with this material--especially as they move beyond just doing their current models to really take advantage of some of the differences in the fabric properties.

It looks like they may be giving HMG a run for their money. This is what I like to see--two fantastic companies spurring innovation in each other.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Oh it's a CATALYST!!! on 03/16/2013 12:29:30 MDT Print View

Actually Dan, I missed that because I was so blinded by all that cuben wonderousness!!!!

That little nugget of info actually helps quite a bit (you'd think I'd have better reading comprehension at this stage of my life/career...). To me it looked like holy-crap-that-circuit-is-huge!!

So I really need to just stop whining and go buy some packs (thanks Dave for adding yet ANOTHER one to consider!) early and start trying to carry my bear canister unnecessarily on my weekend trips to see what I think.

Thank you everyone for listening to me not be able to make a decision.