Rating: 5 / 5
A lot of superlatives have been already said in the above reviews and I don't have a lot to add, other comments about the pad sleeve. It was clearly designed to accept self inflating 3/4 length pads. Foam pads are somewhat difficult to fit in the sleeve without some modification to either the sleeve or the pad itself. Necessity being the mother of invention, I have discovered a work around for both the Thermarest Z Lite 3/4 and the Gossamer Gear Nightlight torso pad.
The Z Lite doesn't fit in the sleeve at all without cutting some of the sections off. It's just too bulky. I placed the pad against the packbag's backpanel and it stayed in place, with no shifting of the pad at all. The Z Lite provided excellent support and load transfer.
The Nightlight torso pad will fit in the sleeve, albeit very tightly. I found it fairly easy to slip the pad into the sleeve by folding the pad as normal, then rolling it in a tight semi-circle before inserting it in the sleeve. The fit is still tight but its certainly a field-workable solution for inserting the pad. The Nightlight provided less support than the Z Lite (since the material of the GG pad isn't as dense as the Thermarest) but still more support than a self-inflating pad.
Other than making the pad sleeve more adaptable (Velcro to attach the sleeve to the packbag?) I really can't think of much that could improve this impressive backpack. Hats off to ULA.
Update, 05/08: Having used the Conduit almost exclusively for all of 2007, I decided to sell the 07 model and upgrade to the 08. Brian has angled the shoulder strap attachment points at the top of the packbag to allow the straps to wrap more effectively around the wearer's shoulders. While I never had an issue with the previous straps, this does seem to produce an even better fit and carry. He's also changed the internal pad sleeve to a new, simpler twin strap system to hold a sleeping pad in place. This is a big upgrade in my book. The new pad holder straps work better with closed cell foam pads and make it much easier to secure thicker pads in place. My scale shows the new pack to be an ounce lighter than my previous pack- possibly due to the new pad holder?
After using the '07 Conduit for maybe about 500 miles carrying between 10-30+ lb. loads, I couldn't be more pleased. The pack showed almost no signs of wear (and I don't really baby my gear), even when I put it to the test with loads over 30 lbs. As a gearhead, I'm always tempted to buy something new but I just can't seem to find a reason to buy a different pack. The Conduit is everything I need a pack to be.