CHOOSING THE RIGHT BACKPACK

scenic southwestern mountain canyon

WHICH BACKPACK IS BEST FOR ME?

Jarbidge Wilderness and Humboldt National Forest Sign with Mountain view

The question we often get is "what pack is best for me", so here are some guidelines for you. If you have further questions please donʼt hesitate to call Chris at 435-753-5191, or email me: chris@ula-equipment.com. We love to talk packs, you arenʼt bothering us, and maybe weʼll give you something new to think about.

Consideration #1

Do you live in California or plan to do a lot of hiking there? If so look no further than the Catalyst or the Circuit. As you may or may not know, bear canisters are required almost everywhere youʼll want to hike in CA, and only these 2 packs will haul a bear can and still give you room for your other gear. The Catalyst will hold a can the size of the BV500 horizontally or vertically, and the Circuit will carry it vertically. These canisters will fit in the other packs but take up much of the pack body and will limit your ability to carry the rest of your gear. The smaller canisters like the BV450 will fit in all of our packs, but because of their diameter you will have to be careful to pack around them or you might feel it poking you in the back.

Consideration #2

Will you want to use this pack to travel with, maybe to check as luggage on a plane, or to get tossed on a bus in Nepal? If so be aware that the frames on the Circuit and the Ohm 2.0 can break if a suitcase or crate of chickens gets tossed on them, so you will need to be aware of that and protect it. The Catalyst, Epic and CDT will take a lot more abuse, but always remember, these are light weight packs and were made to be carried, not to be dropped , kicked and have things thrown on them.

Consideration #3

How much weight will you realistically be carrying? Be honest here and count everything, then maybe add a few pounds.

  • If your weight is generally thirty pounds or more, the Catalyst is your choice, yes, itʼs a bit heavier, but lightness comes with a cost and that price is usually comfort. Doesnʼt it make sense to have a slightly heavier pack that hauls the load you will be carrying more comfortably? Yes, it does.
  • If you are usually under thirty pounds, but occasionally up to thirty five you are probably a good candidate for a Circuit. This is our most popular pack and with good reason. If you have your pack weight down to these levels the Circuit will perform like no other pack.
  • If your weight almost always under twenty five pounds, you might want to consider the Ohm 2.0. This much improved version of the original Ohm offers the same hipbelt and shoulder straps as our larger packs, and also has a few inches of torso adjustment so you can get the fit dialed in perfectly. The body of the Ohm 2.0 is narrower than the larger packs so it moves with you like no other pack we have. I find that after a few miles carrying 20 pounds with this pack I tend to forget itʼs even on my back.
  • If your normal load is fifteen pounds or less, occasionally up to twenty. then the CDT might be what you are looking for. The CDT is a basic rucksack, no frame, and no load lifters, You will probably want to use your sleeping pad for support and rigidity, and like all other packs of this type you realize that the weight transfer to the hips will be minimal but accept this in order to be light and fast. I also find this to be a great pack for hut to hut type hiking where you typically donʼt carry much gear. The CDT will withstand a fair amount of plane or bus abuse compared to our other packs as there is no frame to break when the airline guys toss a sixty pound suitcase on your beloved pack.
  • The Epic... You plan to get wet, possibly very wet and would like to carry a pack raft on your journey. With exceptional load carrying ability, load control and amazing versatility the EPIC is the choice for adventure racers, expeditions involving water and even total off trail bushwhacking. The Epic will carry forty pounds comfortably, and while itʼs maybe not the ideal choice for an everyday backpack, it will carry any bear canister we know of and even a small kid or a dog if need be.