Nov 26, 2006 at 9:59 pm #1220415
Here’s a stupid newbie question – what’s wrong with these? You never hear about them, or read any reviews, yet they seem fairly light, and reasonably priced.Nov 26, 2006 at 10:43 pm #1368450
Joe, I owned the REI UL 45 (similar to the 60), so I will give you my opinion.
The ‘sack’ portion of the bag is ideal! It has just what I wanted, a big lid, two big side pockets, and a brilliant “Internal Compression System” which cinches the contents of the pack uniformly and neatly along the entire length of the pack without any external compression straps. It also used light (not SUL) material, and comes with REIs lifetime return policy!
Unfortunately, I made use of that return policy because the suspension system design is just as bad, as the sack design is good.
1. The “Torso Length Control” where the harness adjusts along the center stay, is held on with velcro, which tore loose a little (separated hook from tooth) each time I picked up a heavy pack. Why such easy torso adjustment? How often does your Torso length change? Better to use a semi-permanent adjustment system like GraniteGear does.
2. The “Active Motion Suspension” (AMS) seemed like a good idea, but I discovered that with a normal pack, I make small adjustments to the ‘ride’ of the pack by shifting my hips or giving a little tug to one shoulder strap, thus shifting the pack weight back to the center of my back. With AMS my hip-shift, or strap tug was useless, it just shortened the opposite side’s strap, adding strap tension inequality to the problem of the pack being off center. I thought about sewing the strap center in an unmovable position, but for the next point..
3. The shoulder straps were thin, narrow, and very uncomfortable. They use single density foam which is much too slight for the requirement. This constantly bothered me, and the pack was therefore uncomfortable. Every step I was thinking ‘strap’.. ‘strap’..
4. One good thing, the included waist belt pouch was a great feature; I miss that.(but GG sells one)
So, I went with the Granite Gear (GG) Nimbus Ozone with an optional lid. If I had to do it again I would get the GG Vapor Trail with the optional lid. The pack is only 2 lbs.
Bottom line IMO; REI UL packs have a bad suspension. Maybe you will like all the features #1-4 I mentioned, and just love the pack? As they say here, your milage may vary YMMV.
But, in my opinion, if you only buy one UL pack, get the Vapor Trail; those packs are extremely comfortable, and light. For me, I just don’t want a 2 oz cuben fiber pack; the pack is something I will be wearing all day; Ill suffer the 2 lbs of weight (for the Vapor Trail for example), for a pack so comfortable I literally forget I’m wearing it; and just enjoy my day.
Incidently, after I bought the GG, I loaded both packs and tried them on; the REI felt like a board on my back compared to the conformal foam GG uses!
By the way, I did keep the REI UL Flash; it is a great UL pack for day hikes.
Here are some commercial packs sorted by weight; might help in your decision.Nov 27, 2006 at 4:41 am #1368463
It’s worth noting the UL 60 has a different suspension system from the UL 45 and 30. The 60 uses two stays and has a much wider velcro, so the connection is much more solid than on the earlier models. My girlfriend loves hers. I’ve tried both the 45 and 60 and found the 60 to be far superior for load support.
The UL 60 actually won an award from Outside Magazine this past Spring, I think for the “best buy” category. (Still, Outside is equivalent to an SUV ad among the lightweight hiking community.) The reason you won’t likely hear much about it around this site is it’s among the heavier packs of the lighter weight range.
However, there is a newer line of UL Packs coming out late winter/early spring, and I hear from a couple of folks that were in on the test phase that these are superior to the current UL line. I’d wait. Either you’ll be able to grab a UL 60 on clearance or you may like the new UL’s better.Nov 27, 2006 at 5:21 am #1368467
Shawn, thanks for the insider knowledge. Any other gossip about new REI branded products? They get more of my paycheck than anyone except the IRS.. Montbell’s a close third.Nov 27, 2006 at 6:17 am #1368470
@fperkinsLocale: North East
>4. One good thing, the included waist belt pouch was a great feature; I miss that.(but GG sells one)
Do you have a link? I can’t seem to find anything on their website.
ThanksNov 27, 2006 at 6:32 am #1368472
Backpacker magazine is supposed to be posting a review of the new packs very soon. One of the differences is the nylon of the bag is heavier, but by removing of the the extras on the early packs, they weigh about the same. I don’thave hard numbers, just a bit of word of mouth, but I’m looking forward to seeing what the spring holds.Nov 27, 2006 at 8:29 am #1368478
Frank, here you go,
For my Nimbus Ozone I have the optional lid but not the pouch yet.Nov 27, 2006 at 8:42 am #1368481
@fperkinsLocale: North East
Ahh, ok, thanks. I thought GG was gosamer gear ;-)Nov 27, 2006 at 11:20 am #1368497
Thanks for the replies. I’d been looking at GG, but the REI price looked so good in comparison. I may wait.Nov 27, 2006 at 3:06 pm #1368511
The best price that I found for the Vapor Trail was at Backpacking Deals $110
And they have free shipping.Nov 27, 2006 at 4:54 pm #1368521
Aaaaghh! I could sell my Nimbus Ozone, shave a pound off my pack weight, and carry the smaller size; no.. must.. keep.. card.. in.. wallet..Nov 28, 2006 at 5:28 pm #1368631
@bdavisLocale: Mt. Lassen - Shasta, N. Cal.
I had the same problems as an above commentator until I took my REI UL 45 back to the store — a young man with years of experience in Montana, where he spent the school years fit me with a Medium instead of a large.
That was the first big difference, taking the pressure off the velcro dealy that sets the spine height adjustment.
Then, he showed me how to set the belt up higher than I thought it should be almost over or above my hips and then snug it.
Once that was done the shoulder straps had to be adjusted to the same length and the chest strap fit so that it didn’t pull them in or let them out too much. That alleviated any feeling the straps were narrow or tight.
Finally the load straps at the top were released, then loosely pulled — BINGO the problems described above were gone and the pack shifted with my body, not against it. Ultimately I don’t think this design is intended to carry over 25 lbs. I never would want to carry all that weight anyway so I love the UL 45 size. I carry from 10 – 22 lbs. for my partner and I, she carries her own sleeping bag and enough clothes to choke a WalMart exec, I carry tent, sleeping bag for me, food for both, etc.
After the adjustments and right sizing, with a rational load weight the pack felt like it was hugging my back without shifting even when I tested crawling through brush, crossing rocky terrain that was really lumpy, going down steep trails with a lot of volcanic boulders to negotiate here on Mt. Lassen AND best of all sneaking under downed trees — which I can never do with other packs. I can even pick up a dropped item from the ground with absolutely no loss of balance or sway.
So it is a pack that has to be fit right and adjusted right to work — and it CANNOT be overloaded otherwise it is as described above and defeats the purpose of a semi-UL pack.
For $74 at present on sale I just bought another one in case they ever stop making them and I need a replacement.Nov 28, 2006 at 7:45 pm #1368648
I got the February 2007 Bacpacker Magazine toady and found the review I mentioned earlier (p. 91). It’s called the REI Cruise UL. It appears to be very similar to the existing UL 60, with the key difference being it uses a slightly heavier denier ripstop nylon, versus thelighter nylon of the original UL line. It appears to have lost two of its daisy chains, perhaps to offset the heavier fabric. It’s 3 ounces more than the older pack (3 lbs, 3 oz), but $5 less (now $130).
All in all it gets a very favorable review.Nov 28, 2006 at 8:27 pm #1368655
William, thats great the REI pack worked out for you; I am a big fan of REI and its products. I am certain I was overloading the UL 45 I had; like you, I carry a lot of stuff for my hiking partner. I am curious to see the new REI pack when I visit the states in January.Nov 29, 2006 at 9:09 am #1368703
Douglas FrickBPL Member
>I had the same problems as an above commentator until I took my REI UL 45 back to the store…
I bought a REI Women’s Small UL 45 for my 12-year-old nephew. We loaded it up and spent about 20 minutes adjusting it, concentrating on getting the torso length just right. I didn’t hear a single complaint about pack fit on the 35-mile trip. I’m still considering the REI UL 60 as a winter pack for myself. (My REI Flash is a great day pack, and has been comfortable with loads up to 17 pounds.)Dec 6, 2006 at 3:13 pm #1369724
I own the UL 60 and took it out on two short trips with about a 30lb load. It is very uncomfortable. I let a friend try it and he had a similar reaction. Normally I can adjust just about any pack to not bother me for a while, but this pack was uncomfortable in the first five minutes. Others have stated that other REI UL packs are more comfortable which may be true, but I am not buying any more of their packs for quite a while. The hip belt is comfortable, but not supportive and the shoulder straps range from uncomfortable to painful depending on load and configuration.
I should note that I have very broad shoulders as does my friend which may be the reason the straps do not fit well. Also, I own ULA Catalyst, older REI Mars and a couple Gregory packs that I find comfortable to varying degrees.Dec 6, 2006 at 5:03 pm #1369733
Ben 2 WorldBPL Member
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
OK, here’s a non-technical POV against the UL 60: to me anyway, a “black/white AND green/orange” color combo is just plain ugly.Dec 6, 2006 at 6:08 pm #1369745
@eaglembLocale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
http://www.rei.com Search REI UL 60
Camping & Hiking > Backpacking — Internal Frame > Weekend Trip Packs > REI UL 60 Pack
We’re sorry, the REI UL 60 Pack is unavailable.
Gee, and I liked the orange / green!Jan 17, 2007 at 8:55 am #1374679
>The best price that I found for the Vapor Trail was at
>Backpacking Deals $110
Has anyone purchased from this company? That's a very good price.Jan 20, 2007 at 2:21 pm #1375006
They are ugly. But someone needs to buy one, and let everyone know how it is.
The original UL 60 is still on sale at REI-Outlet.com. It shows the Cruise 60 is only 1 oz more than the original. I guess if I was only going to get a 3# 3oz pack, I should just stick with my Kelty 50th Anniversary. It is comfy.Jan 20, 2007 at 10:55 pm #1375047
Hello light packing groupies,
This summer, starting in late June, I'm setting off on a long walk from Manhattan to Montreal, about 600 miles by backroads and trails, so every ounce will count for me more than on any previous 4 day or 7 day trip. I'll be heading north for 6-8 weeks.
In light of this journey and a new round of carefully chosen gear, I was just in REI today (in Austin) looking at the old and new models of the UL packs. For fans of the original UL 60, it is, as of mid-January, available at the REI-outlet.com website on sale for a bit less than $80, surely a bargain. But having handled them both, I do like the new Cruise version of the UL 60 more and will be buying the new '07 model at $130. If you use the 15-20% off coupon that comes with your dividend and get a dividend on the remainder, the price of the new one could come down to under $100, probably worth the dif. Either pack can be shipped free to an REI store, saving more. I think the Cruise is better than the Gregory Z Pack, which is lighter but simply too flimsy for the wear and tear of the real world. The Cruise is worth the extra half pound or so, and the large torso model is a full 65 liters, just shy of 4000 cu. in. and so probably has enough space to go the distance.
Now as to which tent to take…
Happy trails! Lawrence WalkerJan 21, 2007 at 1:21 am #1375053
@rlmckayLocale: Wanaka NZ
Joe – have a look at Brian's packs at ULA – the Circuit or Conduit would be worth investigating for your needs – I have two of his packs – The P2 (no longer in production) and the Conduit . Brian does a great job on weight to quality ratio.Jan 21, 2007 at 2:39 pm #1375128
William McAlpineBPL Member
Steve, I bought a small Vapor Trail from backpackingdeals.com. It shipped in a week with the free shipping (TN to NC). The torso length was to short so I called and asked if I could switch it for a medium. Customer service was friendly and they are going to switch it. The mediums are currently on backorder though and should be available within the next few weeks.Jan 21, 2007 at 3:19 pm #1375133
William, thanks for the update. From what I've read the Vapor Trail will be a great pack for you. I'll probably end up with one from them as well.
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