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Favorite Packs of the UL crowd?
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Brian Strong
(bmstrong) - F
Favorite Packs of the UL crowd? on 05/20/2007 14:39:59 MDT Print View

I'm in a buying mood. No particular reason. I'm really not looking for anything particular except for a new backpack. Something about Spring that makes me want some new gear to road test...

If I may? What are some of your favorite UL packs? What are you using currently?

I'll look at anything...

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Favorite Packs of the UL crowd? on 05/20/2007 15:07:14 MDT Print View

IMO, fit and comfort for UL frameless packs are not so widely different from one another. Sure, some straps fit better on some people than others, etc., but pretty much all are designed to carry 20-25 lbs with reasonable comfort.

With that, I like my Z pack. I'm one of those "schizos" who crave UL on the one hand, yet couldn't live without certain features and niceties on the other. Z pack starts out at just 5 ounces or so -- and then they offer a long list of options to please almost everyone. It's UL -- cafeteria style.

Edited by ben2world on 05/20/2007 15:42:37 MDT.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Rivendell Mountain Works Jensen pack on 05/20/2007 16:30:53 MDT Print View

I've decided to take my time machine and backtrack to a Rivendell Mountain Works Jensen pack, strangely unlight but it skiis and climbs well which suits me fine.
There is so much available to the sul crowd, support these cottage industries and the fine people behind them.
RMW was one of the first [in Victor, Idaho] and actually this pack is available for retrogrouches and over-the-hill climbers. Good luck all you suls.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Favorite Packs of the UL crowd? on 05/20/2007 16:50:50 MDT Print View

I love my Starlite pack, it is rated for 35 pounds with the stays. They improved the design for 2007. I did swap the belt for a Granite Gear Vapor Trail Belt (and had the straps that attach to the belt sewn down the middle of the belt to diffuse the weight of the back to more of the belt which made the 9 day Hike I took last year a super breeze and very comfortable. The new design has a better belt system than the 06 design I may not have modified the '07 design. Anyway, the pack is fab. It is as big as the Granite Gear Ozone which I used to own. 4200 cubic inches. Weighs about 1 and a half pounds. The '07 design looks great, but I'm staying with the '06 design which suits me just fine.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
REI UL 60 & UL Cruise on 05/20/2007 17:47:39 MDT Print View

REI's UL Cruise , which has replaced the UL 60 with the substitution ofmore durable Dyneema fabric for the former ripstop Silnylon, is a good UL pack. Size large is 3 lb. 4 oz.

The UL Cruise, like the UL 60, has a 2-stay extruded, riged (for strength /W/ less weight) aluminum frame stays.

The UL 60/UL cruise is easy to fit as the torso length on the shoulder harness is Velcro adjustable. Also the lower nylon webbing shoulder straps are continuous from one side to the other, running through D rings. This permits one shoulder to be raised (as in reaching up) while the webbing slides through the D rings from the other, lower shoulder. Pretty clever.

And the innovations continue with double drawstring load cinching of the main compartment, among other things.


Edited by Danepacker on 05/20/2007 17:48:44 MDT.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
re:Favorite Packs of the UL crowd? on 05/20/2007 19:19:01 MDT Print View

This is a loaded question. I suppose I am UL, but not SUL, so my pack choices reflect my desire to balance gear durability, comfort, and light weight.
In this size range, here are my UL packs;
20 liter range- Patagonia Lightweight travel pack
patagonia lightweight travel pack

40 liter range- Golite Dawn (no longer made, but see similar new models)
Golite Dawn

60 liter range- Pushing the boundaries of UL here.. but if you have to carry 60+ liters of the world's lightest gear, I recommend the Granite Gear Nimbus Meridian; fragile zippers require special care, but other than that, best pack in this size range IMO.
Granite Gear Nimbus Meridian (not mine)

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
UL Packs on 05/20/2007 19:57:51 MDT Print View

Hey Brett:

I too am a proud owner of the 14-ounce-spec'ed-but-actually-15.7-ounce Golite Dawn. I used it on my hike up Mt. Whitney, and it carried 23 lbs. beautifully -- including an Ursack with aluminum liner!

But I recently switched to the 5 ounce Z-Pack, and you know what? They both carry loads below 25 lbs well! I added 2 bottom compression straps, 2 side compression straps, a sternum strap and 2 silnylon hipbelt pouches -- and it's still just 6.6 ounces!

This is your opportunity to shave 65% off the weight of your backpack! You know you need to! :)

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Thanks Ben.. on 05/20/2007 23:38:13 MDT Print View

Im glad that zpack worked out for you.. checked out their website, amazingly light. The Dawn fits my 2 season (6 warmest months) gear well, and seems like it will hold up for the infrequent trips I take. I have what I consider durable light weight gear; and I'm sort of at a loss as to what I will be replacing next, probably not a pack.

After several iterations, I seem to be at a threshold where going lighter will reduce my safety or comfort margins beyond what I am comfortable with. In terminology from other previous posts, I'm at a point of diminishing returns, where most of my gear is the lightest in the world which meets my performance and durability requirements.
I think now I need to rid my gear-wall of most of the previous iterations of gear purchases; 'light', but not part of my current packing list.

Edited by Brett1234 on 05/20/2007 23:38:45 MDT.

Michael Mathisen

Locale: Oregon
Re: Favorite Packs of the UL crowd? on 05/20/2007 23:42:59 MDT Print View

I can't believe this thread had seven respones and none of them mentioned ULA Equipment?

If you are looking for an UL pack be sure to check out ULA. Brian makes great packs. I have the Conduit and I love it. Works great for weekend or week long trips.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
UL Packs on 05/20/2007 23:48:07 MDT Print View

But you see, Brett, the reason it was exciting to swap the Dawn for the Z Pack was because I was able to shave 9 ounces without affecting either safety or comfort! Both packs carried very well. The Z pack isn't bombproof, but then, neither is the Dawn -- so no sacrifice at all in my book. It's rare when one can shave off more than half a pound without giving up anything. :)

Separately, reading Michael's post above, frameless packs -- or packs with easily removable frames -- from Fanatic Fringe, Gossamer Gear, Mountain Laurel Designs, Six Moon Designs, ULA, Z Packs, etc. are all very worthy UL candidates!

Edited by ben2world on 05/20/2007 23:54:43 MDT.

Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
My choice is the GG Mariposa Plus on 05/21/2007 01:44:57 MDT Print View

My recent acquisition is the Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus. So far I've been very satisfied. Maxed out with every option, my large torso with large belt weights 22 ounces.

ULA makes great packs too, but heavier and with more options in the comparable sizes.

Drew Davis
(drewnc2005) - F

Locale: Hillsborough, NC
RE: Packs of the UL Crowd on 05/21/2007 07:22:53 MDT Print View

I love my ULA Circuit. Probably too big for most of my warm season gear now, but I still love it.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
A crowded field of great UL Packs.... on 05/21/2007 08:42:28 MDT Print View

...but my favorite SUL pack is my MLD Prophet. Well made, well designed and super comfortable for my 5# base weight trips. A sternum strap lacking on so many SUL packs makes it a great uber mile crunching SUL load carrier.

I'm expecting great things from the larger, tougher MLD Zip Pack currently being made for me.

And 3 cheers for ULA Packs. I still use and love my old P-1. The new ULA line looks great. So many packs, so little room in my gear closet.

Edited by kdesign on 05/21/2007 09:42:42 MDT.

Colleen Clemens
(tarbubble) - F

Locale: dirtville, CA
Re: Favorite Packs of the UL crowd? on 05/21/2007 09:26:45 MDT Print View

i've tried frameless and i just don't like it. i have the original REI women's UL 45 and my husband has the men's version. we really, really like them, even though my torso is just slightly too long for the women's model. However, when the ULA Ohm is available i will be fighting myself not to buy one. it looked really nice and weighs less than my UL 45. arrrgh, gear mania!

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
One hand clapping on 05/21/2007 09:49:12 MDT Print View

LuxuryLite! The best pack I've ever carried. Bar none. Due to a damaged cervical disk I am unable to carry any weight on my shoulders. This pack does the job. With comfort.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Favorite Packs of the UL crowd? on 05/21/2007 10:17:20 MDT Print View

Granite Gear Vapor Trail and my two ULA's

P-2 and the Conduit. All have a place for me and get used!

Kevin Lutz
(EazyE) - F
Re: Favorite Packs of the UL crowd? on 05/21/2007 10:24:00 MDT Print View

I have been using a Z-pack Z1 and love it. Amazing carrying capacity for the weight and it packs down to nothing if you want to carry it as a summit pack. I think it carries weightbetter than my equinoz katahdin, which always feels a bit sloppy. I also like my ULA catalyst for long trips and my mountainsmith ghost remains a favorite for 3-5 day trips. You can't beat the weight of a z-pack, though.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Favorite Packs of the UL crowd? on 05/21/2007 10:59:13 MDT Print View


Yup, I love my Z pack for UL hikes, and my MS Ghost for longer hikes.

I've always been intrigued by the Equinox Katahdin. Curious, why do you say it "always feels a bit sloppy"? Any other positives or negatives?

Kevin Lutz
(EazyE) - F
Re: Re: Favorite Packs of the UL crowd? on 05/21/2007 12:14:51 MDT Print View

While the katahadin can really cinch to compact its load, the suspension never is able to pull the load tight enough. Even using a ridge rest as barrell frame, I feel like the 35lb. suggested weight limit is seriously overreported, and the weight for load capactity ratio is too heavy, which may be while this pack doesn't get more play in articles and forums. For 20 ounces I would like to carry more than 15- 20 pounds, which is about what I can comfortably carry in it. I can carry the same weight comfortably in my z-1, which is less than half weight.

Pros: The volume is seriusly underreported. I think the packbag could hold 1500 more cubic inches. Given the suspension, however, this would probably have to be cotton balls. The mesh back is a nice idea, but since the area is usually packed with gear, it doesn't greatly improve breathability. This seems counter intuitive, but the hipbelt is pretty robust, but for me that does not translate into better carrying capacity.

There is a great test that is on this site that shows the crush strenght of various ultralight packs that was very illuminating in terms of the kayahdin's weight handling characteristics.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Favorite Packs of the UL crowd? on 05/21/2007 12:58:56 MDT Print View

Thanks, Kevin -- very helpful!