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ULA CDT, OHM, or Circuit
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Brad Keen
(bradkeen) - F
ULA CDT, OHM, or Circuit on 05/25/2013 14:52:38 MDT Print View


I'm new to this site, but not to backpacking. I've been hiking for years, but never with a concern for weight. My current pack is an Osprey Aether 70. I have a small msr steel cookset, a snow peak folding stove, a steripen adventurer water filter, and a Marmot Pinnacle 15 sleeping bag.

The last year or so I haven't done as much hiking because my knees can hurt so much after and during a hike. (I'm only 30, but it's probably a patella tracking issue that was initiated during college while jogging and just won't heal.)

Anyhow, after a 15 mile (10/5) on the AT last weekend, the knees were just painful and I decided that maybe it was time to start paying serious attention to pack weight.

With that in mind, I ordered a new bag (ZPacks 20F) and started looking at new packs to help me cut weight.

ULA was recommended to me by a friend, so I've mostly been checking out those bags. I started looking solely at weight and thought that the CDT was it. But, I'm not sure if I totally understand the ramifications of a frameless bag.

I think that I can get my pack weight down pretty low. So I think I can use the CDT, but I figured I would look for suggestions here.

My hikes will mostly be overnight hikes in Spring/Fall/Summer. So winter clothes won't often be an issue and I'll typically be on the AT or on hikes where I don't have to pack a tent/shelter. But I'll want the ability to go on longer (2-3 night) hikes.

Any thoughts? I wish I could list a total gear weight, but I'm working on upgrading things, so that's not really possible right now.

Thanks for all of your help.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
ULA Ohm 2.0 on 05/25/2013 16:08:15 MDT Print View

I just received mine and took it out to the woods for the first time last weekend. Absolutely love this pack and it carries the weight well. It's bigger than what I was expecting which is nice for the times when I need to carry gear for my kids or wife. The compression systems works great to keep the load close to the back. While I haven't owned it long enough to give it a proper review, it is living up to its stellar reputation and I have no regrets with this purchase.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: ULA CDT, OHM, or Circuit on 05/25/2013 16:45:42 MDT Print View

"I wish I could list a total gear weight, but I'm working on upgrading things, so that's not really possible right now."

If I were you, I'd finish my initial round of upgrading, then order both the OHM and Circuit, see if you can get all your gear in the OHM, if not then try the Circuit, and take the smallest one that works for you. You can then return the one you won't be using. My recommendation would be the OHM, which I've been using ever since it was introduced, if you can get all your gear into it. Prior to that, I used the Circuit for several years. Both are great packs, but the OHM is the better of the two, IMO, for loads up to ~25 pounds if your gear will fit.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: ULA CDT, OHM, or Circuit on 05/25/2013 17:41:58 MDT Print View

Best of luck in your search. Not trying to invade your thread, but you don't have PM's set up yet.

I love the CDT (I have used the Conduit, which was the CDT prior to the name change), but need a Large torso.

Should you decide to go the CDT/Conduit route, here's a link to one I have for sale:


Edited by funnymoney on 05/25/2013 17:42:48 MDT.

Jeffrey McConnell
Ohm on 05/25/2013 18:15:31 MDT Print View

Tom's advice is good. If I had to guess I'd say the ohm would probably serve you great. I have an ohm I use for most trips and a circuit when I need a bear canister.

Brad Keen
(bradkeen) - F
Re: Re: ULA CDT, OHM, or Circuit on 05/26/2013 05:27:16 MDT Print View


Is there a reason you don't suggest the CDT?

Edited by bradkeen on 05/26/2013 05:49:26 MDT.

Brad Keen
(bradkeen) - F
Re: Re: ULA CDT, OHM, or Circuit on 05/26/2013 05:29:23 MDT Print View


No worries. If I got the CDT, it would sadly be a L/M. I wish yours would work.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re: ULA CDT, OHM, or Circuit on 05/26/2013 08:38:59 MDT Print View


I'm not Tom, but I have owned an Ohm and a CDT. My opinion - The CDT is a great pack, however the Ohm's side pockets and compression system are so much better. Literally, the best in the business. If you are going to be carrying more than about 20 lbs the Ohm will also carry much better with its beefier hipbelt and "frame".

Yes. I am a fan of the Ohm. :)


Edited by ViolentGreen on 05/26/2013 08:48:36 MDT.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: ULA CDT, OHM, or Circuit on 05/26/2013 08:57:53 MDT Print View

Going to a frameless pack is for when you have your total pack weight down to very low numbers. I would not recommend it until you know from experience (and a scale!) that your numbers are way low.

Tom's advice is the best offered, and you'll probably eventually find that you want a couple of lightweight packs - something like the Ohm or Circuit for normal hikes, a smaller frameless for those short SUL trips when everything aligns so you don't need any extra gear for rain, snow, etc., and maybe something like a Catalyst when you have to pack extra gear for kids or noobie backpackers!

As a fellow sufferer of bad knees and back, going light weight has kept me in the mountains!

packs on 05/26/2013 09:44:11 MDT Print View

If have reasonable light base, ~10 lbs or so, and want ONE great all around pack that will serve just about every conceivable use, get the Circuit. It will serve you summer, winter, short trips, and 10day trips, and carry a bear can well. That is why it is such a popular pack.

If the couple oz difference really makes a difference to you,(it shouldnt) you can get the Ohm. Realize the materials are lighter , more lighter nylon used on the pack sides, the mesh on back snags easily, etc. It is not as durable, that is a tradeoff. My Ohm has a couple of places where the thin black nylon has abraded "almost" thru (can see spot of light thru material) from hard objects in the pack or side pockets.

Honestly, with the stretchy back pocket I can fit as much in my Ohm as in my Circuit. But the Circuit carries it better.

If you have to ask if a frameless pack is right for you, it isnt.

Any pack can be made frameless by removing the frame as well. You can remove the foam and stays from both the Ohm and the Circuit to save a couple oz if you want. What you will find, is that they are worth the weight. It makes packing easier, and more comfortable.

The only reason to have a smaller, lighter , pack is that you just want to shave 1 lb. Dont stuff your sleeping bag, Dont put gear in outside pockets, and either the Ohm or Circuit is suitable for any load, no matter how small.

Edited by livingontheroad on 05/26/2013 09:49:23 MDT.

Brad Keen
(bradkeen) - F
Re: Re: ULA CDT, OHM, or Circuit on 05/28/2013 11:37:31 MDT Print View


What sleeping pad did you use with your CDT? Did you leave the original foam pad in?

Do you know what pads work best with it?


Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: Re: Re: ULA CDT, OHM, or Circuit on 05/28/2013 21:05:34 MDT Print View

I'm not Todd, but I use a Montbell UL 90 pad with my Conduit, and my husband uses a MB UL 120 with his Ohm, and they work very well. We don't use the stock back pad at all.

Robin McKay
(rlmckay) - M

Locale: Auckland NZ
Re: ULA CDT, OHM, or Circuit on 05/29/2013 03:04:56 MDT Print View

Brad - stick with Zpacks - If you are mainly under 3/4 days go for the Blast22 in heavier cuben and with stays. I suggest you get the hip pockets. This pack is the bomb - If looking for 5 days plus the Arc Blast is the ultimate choice. I am a NZ hiker with over 45 years hiking experience and the latter is my go to pack! Also order the Zpacks cuben pack liner. Tell Joe Rob recommend you - you won't get a discount, but Joe will love me more!
You made a wise choice re Zpack bag

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
ULA CDT, OHM, or Circuit on 05/29/2013 04:33:46 MDT Print View

I find the CDT(Counduit) to be the perfect size for me on 3 season trips.
I do not pack super light, maybe around 11 lbs base weight, but maybe my gear is more compact than most.

My trips usually require less than 5 days between resupplies and carrying two liters of water. The CDT is perfectly comfortable and the compactness has many benefits. I have carried 5 days food and 4 liters of water on a dry ridge hike with reasonable comfort.

If I thought I was going doing a lot of long remote hikes without resupply and/or need a lot more water then I'd consider one of the bigger packs, maybe even a framed pack, but I don't miss having a frame as long as I pack carefully and tighten the straps.