CART STATUS: Awaiting Adventure Gear.
1. TORSO FIT
- Standing upright, tilt your chin to your chest.
- Locate your C7 Vertabra—the large lump at the base of your neck.
- With flexible tape, measure down the length and natural curvature of your spine to your iliac crest/ the top of your hipbone.
- This measurement in inches is your torso length.
TIP: If you're between 2 sizes, order the smaller size. Still not sure? Contact us.
2. TORSO CHART
We've found most people in these height ranges fall into these torso/pack sizes. That being said, it is always best to measure your torso using the guide above.
If you have questions, or your torso size doesn’t seem to make sense for your height, please contact us.
3. HIPBELT FIT
Use the following method to determine your hipbelt inches, then head to Step 4 to see the hipbelt size you need.
Pant Waist Size + 2".
CURVY HIPS: Smallest part of your waist + 5".
STRAIGHT HIPS: Smallest part of your waist + 3".
Smallest Part of waist + 2".
4. HIPBELT SIZE CHART
Find the hipbelt measurement you calculated in Step 3 on the chart. That will be your hipbelt size.
TIP: If you are on the outer edge of a size, order the larger size. [ Ex: If you are 38", you will notice 38" is the last number of the Medium Hipbelt and the first number of the Large Hipbelt. You would want to order a Large.]
5. SHOULDER STRAPS
The downward slope of your shoulder profile usually determines strap preference. You can assess your shoulder slope profile by looking in a mirror or having a friend look at the angle of your shoulder from the base of your neck to your shoulder point.
If there is relatively little or no downward slope, you have what is referred to as flat or squared shoulders.
If there is a noticeable downward slope, you have what is referred to as standard or sloping shoulders.
J-straps are the traditional straight straps. They are best suited for people with flat or square shoulders, as their flat shape provides better surface contact and less rub.
S-straps contour body curves. They are best suited for people with standard or sloping shoulders, as their contoured shape better hugs your shoulder slope.
TIP: If you have a short torso but a larger upper body, you may need a slightly longer strap. If you are very large in the upper body, you might need XL shoulder straps. Contact us, and we would be happy to make these customizations so your pack is comfortable and fits well.
MADE IN THE U.S.A.
FREE U.S. DELIVERY
TUNE-UPS & REPAIRS*
The CDT is our lightest, most basic, full-sized backpack. With just over 50 liters of available space, the CDT is the largest of our two frameless packs. Built for those who travel light, the CDT is popular with ultralight thru-hikers, day hikers, and travelers.
The maximum comfort load for the CDT is sub 25 pounds; at these loads, the contoured shoulder straps and pass-through hip belt result in a comfortable carry. If you’re rocking a sub-12-pound base, this pack is for you. Features like the stretch mesh front pocket, adjustable side pockets, and two hipbelt pockets help keep you organized on the trail. The CDT comes standard with a roll-top closure. A removable (and replaceable) foam back panel adds padding and little rigidity to this frameless pack.
NEW! FOR 2022: The CDT’s hipbelt pockets are now larger to accommodate most modern smartphones. We have also made the front shock cord system standard. For those looking to lighten up, the CDT can be purchased without a hip belt [-$20 and -8 oz]. The back panel and shock cord can also be removed for further weight savings.
AT A GLANCE
CDT [WEIGHT BY SIZE | OZ]
VOLUME: 3,370 CU IN | 54 L
MAX LOAD: 25 LBS | 11.34 KG
Built for those who travel light, the CDT is popular with ultralight thru hikers, day hikers, and travelers. If you’re rocking a sub-12-pound base weight, this pack is for you.
- Internal Pad Holster
- Pass Through Hipbelt
- Contoured Shoulder Straps
- Hipbelt Pockets
- Front Mesh Pocket w/ Shock Cord
- Adjustable/Bellowed Side Pockets
- Sternum Strap
- 400d Robic Bottom Panel
- Ice Axe/Pole Retention Loops
- Side/ Top Suspension Straps
- Roll Top Extension Collar
- Foam Pad (1.9 oz)
REC. MAX LOAD: SUB 25 LBS
REC. BASE WEIGHT: SUB 14 LBS
TOTAL VOLUME: 3,370 CU IN | 54 L
BREAKDOWN (CU IN):
- Main Body: 1,750
- Front Mesh Pocket: 400
- Left Side Pocket: 350
- Right Side Pocket: 350
- Extension Collar: 450
- Left Hipbelt Pocket: 100
- Right Hipbelt Pocket: 100
Q: HOW DO I USE MY SLEEPING PAD IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE CDT? WHAT PADS WORK THE BEST?
A: Just about any lightweight pad (foam or inflatable) can be used for additional support and padding inside the CDT. Three quarters and full length pads that can be folded (as opposed to rolled) work the best. If you are using an inflatable mattress, deflate, then fold it into 1/3’s or 1/5’s before inserting. We also supply a ¼ inch piece of open cell foam with the pack that works very well for those of you not carrying a sleeping pad.
Q: CAN ANYTHING BE REMOVED TO SHAVE MORE WEIGHT?
A: Absolutely. The foam back panel can be removed (1.9 oz), as well as the sternum strap (2.0 oz), the webbing can be trimmed to size, and the pack can be worn without a hipbelt (8.0 oz.)
Q: WHAT DOES "RECOMMENDED BASE WEIGHT" MEAN?
A: “Base weight” refers to the total weight of all gear carried — including the weight of your ULA backpack. This weight also includes things like water bottles and food stuff sacks, but not the weight of water and food as this will vary during each trip. Knowing your base weight will help you determine which suspension system will best handle your load on the trail.
Q: CAN A WATER BOTTLE FIT IN THE SIDE POCKETS?
A: Each side pocket can accommodate two 1-Liter ‘Big Slam’ style bottles. In general most people can reach back and retrieve a bottle or drink, and return the bottle to the pocket without removing the pack. The top of the side pockets are angled for easier access.
Q: HOW DOES THE TOP OF THE PACK STAY CLOSED?
A: The top of the pack closes like a dry bag (also known as a rolltop) very similar to what river runners use to create a water resistant seal for their gear bags. The back of the collar is slightly taller than the front. Once you are packed, the collar can be rolled down upon itself to effectively create a barrier to water penetration. Once rolled, each side of the collar can be buckled to the sides of the pack or the two yellow buckles on the top can also be fastened to each other.
As for access, once the collar is rolled and fastened shut, you would need to unbuckle the compression straps and unroll the collar to access the inside of the pack. However, the roll-top only needs to be rolled shut when the weather dictates. If the sky is dry, the collar can simply be folded forward. Vertical compression can still be achieved by buckling the collar to the sides of the pack.
ULA 400 ROBIC
…the toughest standard fabric we’ve ever seen. Highly tear and abbrassion resistant, reinforced with a ripstop weave to increase tear strength and stitch holding capabilities. 100% Robic Nylon fabric with three-pass Teflon DWR and a three-pass PU Coating, making it highly water resistant.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING…
25 reviews for CDT
MORE FROM THE ULA PACK LINE
ULTRALIGHT PACKS FOR EVERY ADVENTURE
London Morehouse (verified owner) –
The updated 2023 CDT is AMAZING. I believe the pass through hip belt was the missing link in cementing the ULA CDT as the best frame less pack available. The pack simply does it all now.
Light weight duffel for travel? Remove the belt, stuff it full and jump on that flight. Backpacking trip? Put the belt back on, adjust for exact torso length, and be amazed. Bear can? Easy. A BV450 rides inside the pack with ease, even with 10 panels of CCF used as a pseudo frame.
Read/watch the sizing guides, if you have a broad chest and sloped shoulders seriously consider the S straps, and most importantly: get out there and explore.
Tom Masters –
I purchased my CDT, 6 years ago. I love this pack. I am an AT section hiker, and I have used it on both one day and multiple day hikes. I have named her Euli which in Greek means “Wolf Queen” I came to this because of the ULA name. This little pack fits me perfectly. When scrambling up rocks or walking on flat trail, she moves with me as if part of me. This is not a pack for heavy loads, but it is ideal when used as recommended.
MC (verified owner) –
Had the CDT for a couple of months now and I love this pack. I have a very long torso and a barrel chest, makes for a tough time finding packs that fit. After emailing ULA for advice, I bought the XL torso and S-straps and I’ve never had a pack fit more comfortably. I’ve used it mostly for long day hikes plus a few one nighters with zero fatigue compared to my old pack. First frameless I’ve used, but the foam it came with holds the shape up pretty well and it was trivial to add another piece to stiffen it up even more.
I’ll be buying a Circuit next for heavier loads, but ULA has earned a fan with their quality and customer service both.
Sunsets (verified owner) –
I purchased the CDT specifically to try out on an Ice Age Trail thru for a possible PCT thru. I customized the CDT with a frame, load-lifters, and XPAC material. After receiving the pack I had a seamstress remove the quite-small pockets as I was going to be wearing a fanny pack and not only were the pockets redundant they were too small for my uses.
My wife and I just completed the 1200 mile Ice Age Trail and the pack performed very well. With the frame stay i was able to load it up to about 25#’s before it became uncomfortable. Those extra pounds will be helpful for long water carries on the PCT.
Overall I liked the pack a lot. This is my third ULA pack having used the Photon on the Camino and the Circuit on the Colorado Trail. The CDT is nowhere near as comfortable as the Circuit, which, while extremely comfortable, has way too much volume for my current kit. The only two small quibbles on the CDT is the aforementioned pockets and the non-removable hip-belt. I have a tendency to lose a lot of weight on long hikes and having to buy two packs because of a fixed belt – especially when the build incurs custom charges – is non-palatable.
Overall this is a great pack for those with a lower base-weight, it is very durable, made well, and carries well on my large frame. It’s a winner for me.
Cooper (verified owner) –
I bought my CDT two years ago and it’s immediately become my go-to for 95% of trips (i.e. anything four days or shorter). This pack is bombproof–after two years of hard use, my I have no issues with holes, fraying, or tears. Design-wise, the pack’s hipbelt pockets are great for small items like snacks or chapstick, but not quite large enough for a phone. The meshy pocket is huge and the material is amazing–super-stretchy but also very durable. I personally don’t use a hydration bladder (and like that the pocket is removable), but I do appreciate a small interior pocket to hold my wallet and car keys while I hike. I would highly recommend this pack to anyone (especially those looking to cut weight). For reference, my baseweight is typically between 10 and 12 pounds, depending on the weather, what gear I’m using, and whether or not I bring my camera.
IMHO the CDT is an outstanding pack that everyone should try. There are cheaper options and there are lighter options that look better on a spreadsheet, but there aren’t many other packs that offer the weight savings, comfort, durability, quality, and affordability of the CDT all in one pack. It also goes without saying that ULA’s customer service is outstanding and will help you with any questions, issues, or concerns.
Daniel Delgadillo (verified owner) –
Just received my pack for a short trip to Zion National Park. I never write reviews but hands down i loved the backpack and what I loved the most was the customer service. Not only where they friendly but top notch. I was worried that I would not receive my pack in time because I ordered it two week prior to the trip. I talked to staff and helped me get my pack on time. The pack worked perfectly for a three day trip. I was able to carry all my equipment in it and did not feel uncomfortable at all. Just be prepared for people to stop and ask you where you got you awesome pack from. Wish i could upload some pictures. Will definitely be doing more business will ULA equipment.
Andrew (verified owner) –
Received my custom CDT.. Took it out for the last 3 days and covered 23 miles of the Uwharrie National Forest. Love it! Super comfortable. Now problems carrying the 18 pound total weight. Works well with my setup!!! My circuit is going to take break for awhile! Thank you again ULA!
Evan McKendry (verified owner) –
I love this pack…I am at roughly a year and a half of trail work, chainsaw work, restoration work, and backpacking with the CDT. I was able to use it for 8 day hitches, as well as to using it day to day on the trail as a day pack. I beat on this thing and it takes it. I’ve probably had 30 lbs. in it carrying grip hoist gear. (not fun) The mesh pocket is the best… still in great condition. Being ultralight in the field makes hiking much easier, especially when carrying tools, gear, etc…
Joel Diller (verified owner) –
I used this pack on my thru hike of the PCT. I used the front elastic straps for my water bottles. 👌🏻 I did switch out packs for the Sierra section cause I carried an instrument. 🎵 with that and other gear,(bear canister, ice axe, ext) It would of been too much. I do suggest getting your base weight down for this pack starting with your shelter and sleep system. This pack was everything I needed! Large side pockets have no problem holding my wet tent. Post hike I can tell you this pack holds up great! Even the mesh on the back! Looking to carry less and feel free? Get this pack!
Rog Wilmers (verified owner) –
The CDT is my first ULA pack and it was everything I was looking for in a simple, streamlined pack. Absolute perfection. Just returned from a week in the Canyonlands and the CDT held everything I needed for a winter trip to the desert! Love the simplicity.
ULA’s customer service is fantastic. I needed a slightly longer belt to accommodate winter layers and Chris had one in the mail and to me in a couple days! Thanks for a great pack!
Seth (verified owner) –
I just did a winter overnight with this bag at 26 pounds total out the door. My poor catalyst might not get out as much as normal
This winter! Very comfortable pack for all seasons if used properly.
eric (verified owner) –
I just finished my first season with the CDT. This was my first frameless pack in a very long time. I believed my base weight to now be low enough to give one a try. This was exactly the type of pack I was looking to try out (something that can hold a lot of light “puffy” type gear for a summer trip while still being able to handle a winter day hike as well. ULA packs seem very durable for a light weight pack, and there’s a lot of thoughtful features (nice hip belt, hand holders, etc.) My only complaints are personal and not the pack’s issues. I still find a frame pack more comfortable with my typical all up summer weight of about 14-16 lbs. Also, I find the top of this pack rest farther back than I would like. Of course, being a frameless pack, there’s no load lifters to correct this, but again just a personal gripe. I love the look and feel of this pack. I love using the pad inside for a sit pad or a layer for my hammock. I prioritize durability and capacity more than most lightweight backpackers I know so this pack is right up my alley. I do think this pack is for a specific type of backpacker, but if you think this would work for you, it’s a great pack.
john (verified owner) –
We purchased the pack to help reduce base weight due to back problems. We used the pack with varying base weights and contents on a 4 day trip in RMNP with a climb of about 3,000 ft.. The pack does “flow through the forest” when loaded correctly. At around 15lbs we didn’t even notice it.. The back panel easily held a lightweight tent and ground cloth. The side panels easily held water and filter (i removed hydration panel). The pack swallowed a bear canister (Garcia) both sideways and vertically but..big static loads (full or empty) defeat the pack. . With the unyielding volume (even limited to under 18lbs), the pack no longer flows through the forest, but hangs like a book bag. The same weight (food + bear canister) in a stuff sack was much more comfortable as it could be compressed into the pack. . This will be my “go to” pack for week long trips (I pack light) as it is comfortable and fits my hiking style well. I But I will likely use a framed pack if I need to carry a bear canister for more than a half day. I am very glad I purchased this pack as a lightweight frame-less pack capable of multi-day trips.
TIMOTHY FINLEY (verified owner) –
I’m gonna keep this short. What an amazing pack! I wanted a simple, minimalist pack with the capabilities of doing long hikes or short hikes. Found it here with the CDT. And it feels indesctructable. Well thought out from top to bottom. Great works from ULA!
I own/have owned 3 different ULA backpacks: the Camino, the Circuit, and the CDT. I am 6′-6″ tall and these packs fit well in the L/XL sizing. I have used many packs since I started outdoor adventuring 43 years ago at the age of 10. With this said, the CDT is my all time favorite! I primarily use it for a ski touring day pack. It is light, strong and fits me well, so it is comfortable. I can carry everything in it in to survive in case I get stuck out overnight. It is a great weight saver to use a foldable z-lite sol as a frame sheet, for it gives the pack rigidity without a heavy, useless frame, and supplies an emergency sleep pad/frozen ground insulation. The specs are correct in that it is a comfortable pack, but don’t exceed 18 Lbs. I usually keep it around 14-16lbs. I can put the Z-lite, extra wool socks, fleece pants, a 800 fill down-tek 30 degree walking mummy bag, 800 down-tek vest, Esbit stove and 600 ml titanium pot, a titanium plate to use as a shovel and stove base, a SOL Escape Bivy, a space blanket and space blanket tube tent, hand warmers, flashlight, matches, Knife, Compass, fire starter, first aid, water bottles, balaclava, extra glasses, food( about 2,000 kcal), ski repair kit, kicker skins(when needed) and a few other emergency supplies–I think I conveyed how much this can carry, yet be lightweight, sturdy and comfortable. If one was to do research, they would find the design is an updated version of German and Swiss WWII era alpine rucks. I highly recommend this rucksack!
Mike Ellis (verified owner) –
I don’t have a ton of miles on my CDT,but the ones I did have were very comfy. This is my second pack from ULA, and it’s even better! A lot of thought went into the design and I have plenty of room for all my stuff. I am adding on some pockets (also great quality) only because I plan to also use this for local search and rescue. I prefer to travel lighter vs. punish my back (and discs). I know I am carrying the weight, but with this pack there were no hot spots or sore areas at all. LOVE it.
Milo Durfee (verified owner) –
I just complied a rigorous one day hike in the mountains of Utah with this pack. Before this trip I re-enforced the 1/4 inch foam pad by gluing a thin and light piece of card board material that was about 1/8 of an inch thick to the front side of the pad. This provided some great support and structure.. My hiking partner was really envious of this pack. He liked the fact that the pack is light before you put stuff into it. I told him if you start with a 3.5 to 4.5 pound pack you already have a heavy pack. That pound or two makes a pretty big difference in overall weight, especially for a 70 year old.. I had more that enough room for 120 ounces of water, two extra layers of clothes, and a lunch. I also had other supplies in the external stretch net pocket. This pack is ideal for one day excursions and could be used for a two hike trip by packing a tent, sleeping bag, and more food. This pack was so comfortable thatI forgot I was wearing it. This pack is well made and I feel it will last for many more trips. I highly recommend it.
Iain Baker (verified owner) –
I am in love with this pack! I use a folding sleeping pad which works great as a back pad and stays neatly in place with the elastics included. With the sleeping pad in place, it transfers weight amazingly well and will stay upright if I take the shoulder straps off. For a frameless pack, that’s awesome. I’ve comfortably carried far more than the recommended weight this way, up to 26 pounds. I removed the included back-pad and water bottle holders to cut down on weight. The front stretch pouch works wonderfully as a pillow when stuffed with clothes. Love the roll top!
I own the original version the conduit. It is the best pack I have ever owned. It held up through a 7 day through hike of the wind rivers. A solo trip from glacier park to Wyoming through Montana. A month long safari in Africa and this has held up. I have had 30lbs in this pack it is not at all I deal but with 260 miles between supply drops in northern Montana sometimes you do what you have too. My friend has the same pack his stretch mesh ripped ula repaired if for free. Awesome awesome.
Dan King (verified owner) –
I got my CDT in the mail the other day. Right away I packed it and went for a hike. Wow! Best pack I have ever owned hands down. Super comfortable and excellent craftsmanship. Thank you so much! See you on the trail.
I’ve had the pack for three years now and I love it. It is the most versatile pack I have. Right now I alternate between the CDT and a NF shadow 30+10. For the CDT I remove the back pad, the internal hydration sleeve, the inside pocket and the bottle cords. This gets the weight down to 20 oz. for the large torso model and I find those items unnecessary. If you pack correctly there’s no need for the back pad and the bottle holsters provide plenty of water storage. I’ve carried weights up to 25 lbs. without a problem. I find the pack to be very comfortable with S curve shoulder straps. I’m 185 lbs 6”2”. For those on the fence I’d say pull the trigger. It’s a great pack. It sometimes requires some creative packing, and you should be ultralight with your gear – 10-13 lbs before your water and food. I have the purple blaze and I think it looks great.
George (verified owner) –
I used this pack to hike from Geneva, Switzerland thru France and then thru the Camino De Santiago in Northern Spain (approximately 1200 miles). It proved to really be the perfect size and weight. I used stuff bags to pack the cdt which was perfect for this frameless pack. Even after 1200 miles this pack is still holding up fine. No rips or tears apart from the upper sowing on the shoulder straps where my shoulders sit wearing out a bit (not the part attached to back of the pack but just below). The only issue I have with my pack is that the shoulder straps are not sewn to the exact same spot on both sides. As I don’t know which side would be “right” I can’t say which side was wrong. They are just not on the same spot (about an inch off) so I had to compensate through adjusting the tightening straps differently on each side. All in all I still loved this pack and would definately buy it again or recommend it to others. I got the roll top cover and the camo color. Really love the look of the pack as well. People were giving me compliments.
Greg from BC –
I seldom write reviews, but I have to say I’m so impressed with my CDT, I felt the need to share my opinion. I’ve traveled to Sri Lanka, Africa, and Patagonia using this as my carry on and day pack on shorter hikes. I’m kind of a back pack hoarder , and this by far is my favorite. Still looks new after several years of heavy use. Build quality is awesome.
Mark Weidinger –
Another top notch piece of gear by ULA!
This is my second ULA pack (Catalyst is other) and I just received it 2 days ago. I got the CDT to replace my old Lowe Alpine Contour 40, mainly for use as a larger, day backcountry ski pack with extra room for bivy stuff and/or Ham radio gear. Another great pack from ULA, I love it, it carried great with about 16lbs today on a short ski trip and feels like I could easily load it up more if need be. More than enough room. So far the back pad that comes with it works fine, just pack your stuff with care. Plenty of front and side pocket space. I had them add the roll top and a bungee. Thanks again ULA!
Anonymous Person –
Just received the pack in time for her maiden voyage in the woods of Michigan with my winter gear. Pack this thing right and it will wrap you in its loving embrace and float along the trail with you like it’s not even there. The craftsmanship on this beaut is top notch and seems amazingly durable for its weight. I swapped out the 1/4 inch back pad for a 1/2 inch piece of blue foam pad which gave it even more structure. Buy this glorious pack. Now.