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Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
ULA pack volumes on 03/11/2013 18:14:45 MDT Print View

Can anyone comment on the actual volumes of the latest versions of the ULA packs??

I'm looking for something slightly bigger than my gorilla for a possible thru next year and have been dreaming about a ULA pack for a while. From the specs the CDT is actually bigger, but so many reviews here and elsewhere say it is actually way under spec volume wise and that it isn't really any different from my gorilla.

Seems like the circuit is overkill, but wow do people like that pack.

So...any comments on ULA's volume specs??

Edited by Jenmitol on 03/11/2013 18:16:02 MDT.

George Davis
(nsiderbam) - F

Locale: mid-Atlantic
Not an exact measurement, but... on 03/11/2013 18:46:09 MDT Print View

I have a CDT, Jam, and REI Flash 45, and the CDT is definitely larger than the other two by maybe ten liters or so. I haven't seen a Gorilla in person so I can't really give that comparison.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: ULA pack volumes on 03/11/2013 18:48:32 MDT Print View

In my experience, if you take take the 'main body' plus the 'extension collar' numbers and add them, you'll get the right volume with respect to comparisons against other packs. It works out to about 45L for the Circuit, 42L for the Ohm and 35L for the CDT.

I've tried the Circuit and Ohm side-by-side with a Talon 44, Deuter 40 and a Golite Peak. The Circuit (which I ended up buying) fit my gear very much like the Talon 44. The Ohm was only slightly less volume and closer to the Deuter. Both were more than the Peak. I've never tried the CDT but I'm guessing it's closer to the Peak.

Count me in as one of those who love the Circuit.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
ULA on 03/11/2013 20:19:36 MDT Print View

When the Circuit pack body is full, its hard to get very much in the front mesh pocket.

For that reason, I swear I can put more in my Ohm, even though its supposed to be 300 cuin smaller or so. The stretchy pocket lets you put really bulky items in with the pack full.

The Elemental Horizons Kalais, is supposed to be a great pack, a little smaller than circuit. It has some design features Id like to see as Circuit options too.

Edited by livingontheroad on 03/11/2013 20:26:37 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
ULA on 03/11/2013 20:42:54 MDT Print View

I believe there's been a few "Ohm vs. Gorilla" threads on here in the past, the consensus is that the Ohm is bigger. It's probably got that extra 10-20% that you're after, and the rear pocket is super stretchy/accommodating for those times it doesn't all quite fit. I've done 8 day trips with an Ohm carrying most of the food for 2 people (40 lbs). With a compact UL gearlist, 12 days could be done in a Ohm.

I've really been impressed with my Ohm (1.0, not 2.0). The compression system is awesome, the side pockets are perfection (you can fit 2 x 1qt if you want) and the frame hoop works awesome for it's 1.9oz weight. Only real downside is that the rear pocket isn't that durable. Mine's got some cuts after a couple years of regular use. The other downside is that it's not truly waterproof. If you want that, ULA will make you one in cuben hybrid for +$50-80.

Edited by dandydan on 03/11/2013 20:45:35 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: ULA pack volumes on 03/11/2013 20:44:39 MDT Print View

Sumi, your dimensions were also confirmed by BPL testing.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: ULA on 03/12/2013 07:56:08 MDT Print View

"When the Circuit pack body is full, its hard to get very much in the front mesh pocket.

For that reason, I swear I can put more in my Ohm, even though its supposed to be 300 cuin smaller or so. The stretchy pocket lets you put really bulky items in with the pack full."


I had a stock Circuit and a stock Ohm, and saw several features that I liked on each pack. When ULA offered some custom colors a couple of years ago, I got a new Circuit but with the drawstring top closure and the stretchy front pocket from the Ohm. ULA were very nice to work with and the custom charge was ridiculously low.

That stretchy front pocket is much more capacious than it looks at first glance.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Does anyone NOT like the circuit? on 03/12/2013 08:50:39 MDT Print View

I am sooooo much happier since I gave up the osprey frame (which I thought I liked) and started carrying the Gorilla. I have a 9 pound base and don't really see that changing all that much if I did a thru (maybe a 12 max?) and can't believe I'd be happy with what seems to be the bulkiness of the pack and the frame.

But...I've never actually seen one in person, just online.

The recent thread on the "best pack for a thru" (ha!) had me questioning whether or not my gorilla would be up to the task. Ill be using it on the JMT this year, and if I can get my act together would love to do the PCT in 2014. So I'm thinking this is my excuse (does one need one?) to try ULA. Just not sure I want all that pack that the circuit has to offer...

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Does anyone NOT like the circuit? on 03/12/2013 09:04:52 MDT Print View

Back when Brian Frankle owned ULA, he would provide the accessories as options which for many of us, is the preferred choice. Many of the options provided would not be used by most of us and are removed anyway. The standardization makes it easier to sell packs, I suspect.

The Circuit has gained weight over the past few years. When the Circuit first came out (not the P-1, but the Circuit) it was a 2 lb wonder pack. Now with heavier materials and options it is comfortably over 2.5 lbs. Not a huge change but in my opinion, the extra weight doesn't improve performance at all except reduce warranty claims.

Having said all that, the Circuit is an excellent pack! It is adjustable in torso length, customizable to a point, and has excellent long term durability for the weight. It carries very well. The only negative I found was the shape. It is narrow at the bottom and wider at the top. I never found this to be an issue with the carry, however. Just a packing issue.

But to be frank, the original Circuit does still exist. It is called the OHM 2.0 and is the better UL pack.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Thanks Dave on 03/12/2013 09:10:29 MDT Print View

That's kind of what I was hoping to hear, as the Ohm 2.0 (and the CDT) were the ones I was really looking at, except for so many people pointing towards the Circuit.

And the volumes are so odd, because ULA's listed specs have the CDT being a 50L and the circuit at 69L!! Obviously that is not the case, but I wasn't sure if the newer versions were any different. The CDT review here is from a few years ago.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Thanks Dave on 03/12/2013 09:20:39 MDT Print View

Jennifer,

have a look at this:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/lw_internal_frame_packs_part_2.html

Roger breaks down the volume of the ULA packs nicely, except the CDT. From my recollection when using the CDT, which by the way is head and shoulders above the Jam, it has a similar sized main compartment as the Circuit with maybe slightly less in the extension collar.

I think you are on the right track in your thinking. If you don't mind spending a little more cash, the OHM is the way to go. It IS bigger than the CDT (main bag) and carries a lot better with the delron hoop frame. The belt is also better and you get the same adjustability in torso size as the Circuit. The compression is excellent. All this for not much weight difference and you can see where the additional weight comes from - all of it useful.

Just my 2c.

Aaron Reichow
(areichow)

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Re: Does anyone NOT like the circuit? on 03/12/2013 09:25:39 MDT Print View

I love my 2010 Circuit. It stopped my string of pack buying and selling. It's not the lightest thing in the world- 39-43 oz- but it's incredibly comfortable and useful in a lot of different settings. I'm a weekender rather than a through hiker (one day!), so my needs and compromises are probably different. Next pack will probably be an Ohm 2.0, or whatever it is called when my Circuit falls apart.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
ULA packs on 03/12/2013 09:55:51 MDT Print View

Jennifer,
Dave's linked chart is a good start but be aware, I think the data is wrong for the circuit on that chart. The prices are also wrong. I'm pretty sure the data was flip-flopped for the Catalyst and the Circuit...there is no way the catalyst's measured volume is smaller than the circuit's.

With that said, I would strongly recommend the Circuit for the JMT and the like. I had a similar base weight as you (12lbs with bear canister). Keep in mind, after resupplying at MTR, your total weight will likely rocket up to 30lbs because you'll be carrying that much more weight in food, unless you plan on going off trail and resupplying at some point after MTR. For me, the total weight before MTR always floated around 15-20lbs. I carried all this in a catalyst, which was probably a bit overkill, but much appreciated on the heavier days. But I had zero days of discomfort/hip bruising/sore shoulders--something unseen with my lighter packs.

I saw a ton of circuits on the JMT and everyone said they loved it. A few commented that they wished they had the catalyst because of volume. Specifically the Bear Canister is a beast of burden and takes up almost all the room making bag packing a task that requires a bit more attention/thought.

Personally, I think the support of the gorilla is a bit under-built for the task...especially at 30lbs. I'd rather suck up the extra oz and enjoy the cush of the circuit's suspension. The Ohm/circuit/catalyst all share what is probably the most comfortable UL hipbelt found on any cottage pack...this can be attested to by many who have put hundreds of miles on these designs.

While I'm positive a gorilla will get the job done, I don't think you'll be as comfortable as you would with a beefier pack. And on a thru-hike of something as amazing as the JMT, I would hate for you to be diverting any of your attention from the beautiful scenery because of slight pack discomfort. For that reason also, I would rule the CDT out. You will suffer with anything greater than 20lbs in a frameless pack for an extended period of time.

IMO, the better measurement of volume is to look at the main pack bag volume and ignore the pocket volumes. You can factor in the extension roll top, but keep in mind not all of it can be used because the drybag style top of the catalyst/circuit require you to roll the top at least 2-3 times for a proper seal.

Edited by Konrad1013 on 03/12/2013 10:03:35 MDT.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: ULA packs on 03/12/2013 10:30:56 MDT Print View

FWIW, I have a 2011 Circuit, size 'small' with a 'medium' hipbelt (I'm a 5'2" woman, 17.5in torso, 35in hips.) I've removed the hydration sleeve, internal pocket, and hand loops from mine (they just clip on/off, so no need to cut anything) and it weighs 34oz. I can't see it weighing 2.5lb unless you need one of the large torso/large hipbelt sizes.

I prefer my pack to be as low-profile as possible, so I use the front pocket for convenience but don't count on it to carry much of my gear. I also don't like really tall packs behind my head, so I prefered the way the Circuit packed vs the Ohm, which packed a little narrower but taller.

I think that the single aluminum stay in the Circuit does make a difference in carrying comfort. My base weight is 10-11 lb but I sometimes need to carry extra water. At around 30lb total packweight, I started to really notice the differences in the packs I was considering.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
So then...how about the ohm 2.0?? on 03/12/2013 10:35:00 MDT Print View

I'm glad Dave mentioned that one...also seems to have a lot of love.

Any comments on how that carries? Would a bearikade weekender feel ok in such a narrow pack? Does it really stick up that far over your head like an old school AT expedition pack??

I so wish I could try these on!!!!!!!
A friend did get a circuit, but he's in Patagonia right now. I'll check that one out when he gets back.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: So then...how about the ohm 2.0?? on 03/12/2013 10:39:59 MDT Print View

I've got an Ohm that was modified to be a 2.0. If you want to pay for shipping I'd send it out to you to try on. Medium/medium.

I've also got an SMD Starlite I could send as well for you to try on. It's a great pack.

Edited by idester on 03/12/2013 10:41:23 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: So then...how about the ohm 2.0?? on 03/12/2013 11:14:22 MDT Print View

What an offer! (not surprised).

Jennifer, you could then order the Circuit with the intention of sending one back. Only suffer the shipping costs.

I think most of us have done that before. Again, and again. And Again.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Brilliant!!! on 03/12/2013 11:30:20 MDT Print View

Thanks!!!!

That's a brilliant idea...thanks so much for the try-on offer! That would at least give me an idea of how much volume I'd have to work with, as well as how tall it really is.

I'm away until next week, so ill PM my info later. You can also PM me your PayPal stuff for the shipping. This will be very helpful :)

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: So then...how about the ohm 2.0?? on 03/12/2013 11:30:40 MDT Print View

>> I so wish I could try these on!!!!!!!

This is JMO but I found it worth plunking down the funds to buy one and have it shipped to me to try. I bought one, talked to Chris, and he sent me the other one, so that I had a Circuit and Ohm to try at home, with my gear. He then ended up sending me a different hipbelt. In the end, I kept one pack+hipbelt and shipped everything back in one box, so the process cost me an extra $15. I found ULA a GREAT company to work with.

In trying on packs, I found that trying on the wrong size really didn't do much good. I'd go to stores and find that they only stocked the typical 6' 195lb guy-size pack and only a few stores were willing to bring in multiple packs of the right size for me to try on (they wanted me to choose one pack and they'd bring in the right size...) So I just gave up and ordered the packs I wanted to try, took them home and compared them side-by-side with the same set of gear. Returning the ones I didn't want wasn't as painful as I thought it would be, so it was a worthwhile exercise, imo.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
ULA pack dimensions on 03/12/2013 13:14:00 MDT Print View

You can order two or three at once, try them on (with your gear) and promptly send back the ones you don't want. All it takes is a little attention to your credit card billing cutoff dates (assuming, of course, that you pay off the card each month so there are no interest charges). Order the day after the billing cutoff date and make your decision within a couple of days after receipt. That way the credit for the return will hit the same month as the original billing and you are out only the shipping charges. As pointed out, if you put the returns all in one box, shipping will be cheaper.