May 20, 2007 at 1:39 pm #1223310
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…May 20, 2007 at 2:07 pm #1389718
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.May 20, 2007 at 3:30 pm #1389724
@pyeyoLocale: pacific northwest
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.May 20, 2007 at 3:50 pm #1389727
Roleigh MartinBPL Member
@marti124Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
I love my Sixmoondesigns.com 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.May 20, 2007 at 4:47 pm #1389731
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
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.
EricMay 20, 2007 at 6:19 pm #1389740
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
40 liter range- Golite Dawn (no longer made, but see similar new models)
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.
May 20, 2007 at 6:57 pm #1389746
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! :)May 20, 2007 at 10:38 pm #1389768
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.May 20, 2007 at 10:42 pm #1389770
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.May 20, 2007 at 10:48 pm #1389771
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!May 21, 2007 at 12:44 am #1389773
Jason BrinkmanBPL Member
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.May 21, 2007 at 6:22 am #1389783
Drew DavisBPL Member
@drewnc2005Locale: Greensboro, NC
I love my ULA Circuit. Probably too big for most of my warm season gear now, but I still love it.May 21, 2007 at 7:42 am #1389791
@kdesignLocale: Mythical State of Jefferson
…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.May 21, 2007 at 8:26 am #1389795
@tarbubbleLocale: dirtville, CA
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!May 21, 2007 at 8:49 am #1389797
Denis HazlewoodBPL Member
@redleaderLocale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
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.May 21, 2007 at 9:17 am #1389802
Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Granite Gear Vapor Trail and my two ULA's
P-2 and the Conduit. All have a place for me and get used!May 21, 2007 at 9:24 am #1389803
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.May 21, 2007 at 9:59 am #1389807
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?May 21, 2007 at 11:14 am #1389810
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.May 21, 2007 at 11:58 am #1389812
Thanks, Kevin — very helpful!May 21, 2007 at 5:05 pm #1389838
Doug JohnsonBPL Member
@djohnsonLocale: Washington State
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.May 21, 2007 at 5:46 pm #1389842
jim baileyBPL Member
@florigenLocale: South East
Nice line up Doug! currently using the following:
SUL – MLD Prophet
UL/colder trips – old school Jam
Winter – PinnacleMay 21, 2007 at 7:31 pm #1389851
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……..May 21, 2007 at 7:50 pm #1389855
Sam HaraldsonBPL Member
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
Overnight/Weekends – Gossamer Gear Whisper Uberlight Pack
Long Distance – ULA Conduit (modified)
Winter – Granite Gear Virga (modified)May 21, 2007 at 9:42 pm #1389866
Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
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.
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