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Favorite Packs of the UL crowd?
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Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Favorite Packs of the UL crowd? on 05/21/2007 18:05:28 MDT Print View

My current favs:

SUL- Mountain Laurel Designs Revelation

LW shoulder season trips- Gossamer Gear Whisper Uberlight (more volume than the Revelation)

Winter/mountaineering- Golite Gust (now the Pinnacle- also excellent)

But for general UL backpacking it's the Gossamer Gear Mariposa. Had mine for years and it's going strong. Carries weight well, brilliant design, super functional and modular.

jim bailey
(florigen) - F - M

Locale: South East
current pack line up on 05/21/2007 18:46:04 MDT Print View

Nice line up Doug! currently using the following:
SUL - MLD Prophet
UL/colder trips - old school Jam
Winter - Pinnacle

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Favorite Packs of the UL crowd? on 05/21/2007 20:31:13 MDT Print View

I'm surprised to see so many 3+ pound packs in the "UL" categtory. I've often looked at anything over 2 pounds as being in the lightweight, but not UL, category.

For example, I like the REI Cruise UL. I work for REI, and I am ecstatic to see REI make a strong quality lightweight pack at a great price. But at 3 lb, 3 oz, it is well beyond what UL'ers would consider ultralight. It is lightweight, but you would be somewhat challenged be stay below the 10-pound cieling when starting with a nearly 3 1/4-pound pack.

With this in mind, none of my current packs, the Gregory Z-55, REI Quick UL 45, or ULA Catalyst would qualify as an ultralight pack.

But then, my base weight is usually between 13-17 pounds anyway, so I don't consider myself an ultralighter, just a lightweighter. Thus my lightweight packs work just fine for me.

Now when the ULA Ohm comes out, I will likely take this plunge........

Edited by Bearpaw on 05/21/2007 20:32:22 MDT.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Favorite Packs of the UL crowd? on 05/21/2007 20:50:14 MDT Print View

Overnight/Weekends - Gossamer Gear Whisper Uberlight Pack
Long Distance - ULA Conduit (modified)
Winter - Granite Gear Virga (modified)

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Favorite Packs of the UL crowd? on 05/21/2007 22:42:29 MDT Print View

I keep finding myself going back to the granite gear vapor trail. There are lighter packs, there are more convenient packs, there are more comfortable packs when it comes to carrying heavier weights or ventilating my back. But I haven't found a pack that brings together the same combination of carry comfort, weight (2lb or less), and an appropriate right volume for me.

Periodically I take SUL trips. I have been using a Gossamer Gear G6 because it's very light and just the right size for me. There are a number of other bags which would most likely be just as good such as the packs from MLD.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"FRAMLESS" backpacks on 05/22/2007 00:33:25 MDT Print View

From my experience W/ frameless backpacks (only a little)I'd have to say internal frames are a MUST for any load over 20 lbs.

So-called "frameless" backpacks, even ones that utilize closed cell sleeping pads, usually end up sagging around one's hips after a few miles "shakedown" of equipment.

The very minimal weight of internal stays in a well designed pack pays off in miles of (relative) comfort compared to framless packs.

That said I'm sure someone will soon come along with inflatable tube "frames" and turn pack suspension in a new direction. It's already happened with tents.


Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Details on 05/22/2007 01:26:44 MDT Print View

My favorite answer to people that asked me "what is the best camera? " was always "you would not like it !" I would wait for their jaw to drop, turn around and pick up the top of the line , for example a Canon EOS 1 mark 27, and inevitably the "oh, that is too big/heavy/complex" comment would follow. Next, I would ask them what they wanted the camera for...

Never mind what we like...
What is your size, height and weight ?
What volume do you need ?
What weight do you expect to carry and for how long ?
Do you prefer comfort or weight saving ?

Don't expect an answer from me, because I know very little about packs.( not that that has stopped me before)

Here is an example of a loaded question ?
" Considering that most here use or would like to use a pack from Brian Frankle, that great guy from ULA, what pack would you suggest ? "
This is a standard, but not particularly ethical, technique used by TV interviewers and usually un-noticed by the viewers.


Edited by Franco on 05/22/2007 01:28:12 MDT.

Brian Strong
(bmstrong) - F
MANY THANKS! on 05/22/2007 15:49:16 MDT Print View

Thanks for all of the comments. Keep them rolling!

>>Brian. Never mind what we like...
What is your size, height and weight ?
What volume do you need ?
What weight do you expect to carry and for how long ?
Do you prefer comfort or weight saving ?

None of that matters at this point. I'm just looking for a broad "pimp" of what everybody loves/uses. I'll take it further if something catches my eye. (And a couple packs have, many thanks.)

Edited by bmstrong on 05/22/2007 15:52:59 MDT.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: MANY THANKS! on 05/23/2007 11:40:37 MDT Print View

I love my SMD Starlite. It's a 2005 model, and I use it year-round. I replaced the hip belt with the ULA belt for the pockets and the extra stiffness, so the whole thing weighs 30 ounces now (with the 2 stays).

John Rowling II
(jrowling) - F - MLife

Locale: Great Lakes Area
Backpack on 05/23/2007 14:52:48 MDT Print View

Golite Jam2 and Pinnacle

Jen Schwartz

Locale: Upper Left
Favorite Packs of the UL crowd - for women? on 06/06/2007 15:11:16 MDT Print View

How about top picks for women? I am 5'4", 140#. Transitioned from a traditional/heavy Gregory Whitney to a used Gregory G Pack, but it's falling apart and a bit too long in the torso for me. 2-4 days, three-season, Seattle area, UL but not SUL. Primary gear is BS Evolution 2P, Feathered Friends down bag, POE women's max mountain pad, Jetboil, insulating clothes. I don't know the weight of my gear (which tells you something!), and I'm guessing I'd need approx. 3000 ci. Trying hard to carry less weight with every trip, but will never be a SUL fanatic. Will probably always sleep in a tent and bring along a few unnecessaries like wine (in a platypus). Love features (belt pockets, easy access, etc.) Suggestions?


Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Favorite Packs of the UL crowd - for women? on 06/06/2007 16:24:45 MDT Print View

Jen I would look at ULA packs. Many great options to chose from and their hipbelt pockets are great.

For me I use a Gossamer Gear G-4 on SUL
my ULA Conduit for relaxed overnighters and my
Grantie Gear Vapor Trail for multi days and for ski touring I use my old ULA P-2 which has great volume for loads.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Favorite Packs of the UL crowd - for women? on 06/06/2007 17:37:57 MDT Print View

Hi Jen,

Good options above for sure.

My wife has a new Golite Pinnacle and she loves it. It's a great pack to use as you step into lighter weight gear. 4000 ci, the important features, durable, and it carries weight well. It also handles smaller loads beautifully.

The Golite Jam2 is very similar and 2800 ci. Another excellent choice. Both are sized for womens' torsos.

The Gossamer Gear Mariposa (or Mariposa Plus for extra durability) is another fantastic choice. And then you get a truly cottage pack and even more trail cred. :-)

All these packs are marvelous.

Best of luck!

Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Favorite Pack on 06/06/2007 17:47:38 MDT Print View

MLD Prophet for shorter trips/weekends and GG Mariposa!! Have not done any winter camping/hiking yet (I ususally hit the slopes) so I am not sure whether both of these packs would cut it given additional weight of gear/clothing (?)

Jen Schwartz

Locale: Upper Left
Re: Re: Favorite Packs of the UL crowd - for women? on 06/06/2007 17:54:00 MDT Print View

Thank you Ken, Doug and Sven. The ones I've been looking at are SMD Starlight and GG Vapor Ki. After Ken's comment, I looked at the ULA Circuit as well. All three seem similarly priced with roughly similar features. I will now also look at the GoLight Pinnacle, GG Mariposa, and the MLD Prophet, as I am unfamiliar with all of those. I really appreciate the input.

Henry Liu
(henryliu) - F
durable on 06/06/2007 18:00:43 MDT Print View

Are there any packs that hold up to better durability during rough conditions? I need to carry about 20kgs (45#s) on some 8000m peak trips. Any suggestions?

Ernie Elkins

Locale: North Carolina
Re: Favorite Packs of the UL crowd? on 06/06/2007 18:37:39 MDT Print View

I'll add my vote for the Golite Pinnacle. It's my first frameless pack, and I've been very impressed with it so far. I use a synthetic sleeping bag and like to stuff it loosely, so the Pinnacle's huge volume is a real plus for me. I don't think durability is going to be a concern either -- it's emerged unscathed from quite a few briar patches and dense rhodendron thickets.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: durable on 06/06/2007 19:00:04 MDT Print View

The LuxuryLite pack can carry the weight you want to carry, I would consider a back support belt to wear underneath the stock LuxuryLite belt though if you are carrying 45 pounds.

Home Depot sells such back support belts, I used a knife to cut off the suspenders from the belt though.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Zpacks Z1 on 06/06/2007 19:13:11 MDT Print View

Amazingly light and all my gear fits well.

High quality construction. Looks great, too.

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Favorite Packs on 06/06/2007 19:21:45 MDT Print View

Re: "I need to carry about 20kgs (45#s) on some 8000m peak trips."
There are only 14 8,000 m peaks on the planet, and although I'm no expert, I would guess that if you can afford trips to 8,000 m peaks, you can afford custom packs from McHale.