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.
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TUNE-UPS & REPAIRS*
The Photon is the little brother of the CDT. With nearly 35 liters of available space, the Photon is our smallest frameless pack. It’s perfect for dayhikes, backcountry forays, and travel where you’ve got a tight kit and your base weight is sub-12-pounds.
As a frameless pack, the maximum comfort load for the Photon is sub 25 pounds. At these loads, the contoured shoulder straps and pass through hip-belt result in a comfortable carry. Stretch mesh front pocket, adjustable side pockets, and two hipbelt pockets help keep you organized on the trail. The Photon’s hipbelt pockets are large enough to accommodate most modern smartphones. The Photon comes standard with a roll top. A removable (and replaceable) foam back panel adds padding a little rigidity to this frameless pack.
For those looking to lighten up, the Photon can be purchased without a hipbelt [-$20 and -8 oz]. The back panel and shock cord can also be removed for further weight savings.
AT A GLANCE
PHOTON [WEIGHT BY SIZE | OZ]
VOLUME: 2,150 CU IN | 35 L
MAX LOAD: 25 LBS | 11.34 KG
The little brother of the CDT, the Photon is perfect for day hikes and backcountry forays. If you’re rocking a tight kit with 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
- 400 Robic Adjustable Side Pockets
- Roll Top Extension Collar
- Adjustable/Bellowed Side Pockets
- 400d Robic Bottom Panel
- Ice Axe/Pole Retention Loops
- Side/ Top Suspension Straps
- ULA 400 Robic
- Foam Pad (1.9 oz)
- Sternum Strap
REC. MAX LOAD: SUB 25 LBS
REC. BASE WEIGHT: SUB 14 LBS
TOTAL VOLUME: 2,150 CU IN | 35 L
BREAKDOWN (CU IN):
- Main Body: 1,225
- Front Mesh Pocket: 225
- Left Side Pocket: 115
- Right Side Pocket: 115
- Extension Collar: 400
- Left Hipbelt Pocket: 60
- Right Hipbelt Pocket: 60
Q: HOW DO I USE MY SLEEPING PAD IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE PHOTON? WHAT PADS WORK THE BEST?
A: Just about any lightweight pad (foam or inflatable) can be used for additional support and padding inside the Photon. 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 front shock cord (0.6 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, 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…
10 reviews for Photon
MORE FROM THE ULA PACK LINE
ULTRALIGHT PACKS FOR EVERY ADVENTURE
Jason Schneider (verified owner) –
Awesome little pack, I recommend using for longer trips if you can pack small. I was able to do 8 days on the JMT last September with this pack. I was able to fit four days worth of food in a BV450 inside the pack along with my hammock gear. As long as it is under 20lb it is very comfortable to carry for 20 mile+ days.
Shawn Housley (verified owner) –
Excellent customer service experience all around. I purchased a Photon and a Circuit, both arrived very quickly. The fit and finish looks great. I was a little hesitant not seeing either pack in person prior to ordering but both are exactly what I was looking for.
I have only test fit at home so far, but very excited to get the Photon out this weekend for its maiden voyage. Thank you.
Donald Stephens –
This is my go to day pack. Light. Bushwhacking worthy. Carry’s 3L in a Osprey semi rigid hydration bladder which also adds some structural support. Can’t pack heavy, but extra layers, food, poles, survival stuff fit easily. Works great as a weekend travel bag. I was able to stuff a suit, dress shoes, laptop, iPad, and some other stuff in it. If I don’t need to pack a lot, it compacts down well. Great customer service. Nitpicks are the following. I would like shock cord for the attachment loops. My ULA shoulder holster would squeak, so I sewed it on. I love this pack.
Don T (verified owner) –
Just received my new ULA Photon. Took it on a six miler this morning and it was great. I added the shoulder strap water bottle holder and pocket. I recommend them both. Quality and finish is top notch. Customer service was great. I received several followup emails from Peter to verify sizing.
Jon B –
My favorite piece of gear. I got one of these baby’s a year and a half ago in xpac and I haven’t even thought about getting another pack since. I have over 500 miles of short thruhikes with this little guy and I’m still ecstatic about it. It’s said that it can carry up to 18 lbs comfortably, so inevitably I lightened my kit to make it work, however I’ve carried 25 lbs at least and have never found it uncomfortable. Frankly I don’t notice it’s there and I don’t even have a hip belt on it. Highly recommend.
Robbie (verified owner) –
I ordered it without a hip belt for a daypack and it is so comfy loaded up that I am going to take it for some overnighters (or more) this summer. I love it. It’s incredibly well made, as is everything by ULA.
Rog Wilmers (verified owner) –
Just received my custom Photon. CDT pockets and a one inch webbing belt make this the perfect small pack. I like it so much I see a CDT with the simple belt and roll-top closure in my near future. Thanks Chris for taking custom orders. I couldn’t be happier!
Julia Young (verified owner) –
I ordered a pack on March 13, 2019 and express that I needed the package by Friday I was amazed that when I went to check the mail this morning, the package was there. top-notch customer service top-notch quality packs
S Hill (verified owner) –
Walked the Camino de Santiago for 500 miles. Great everyday pack for everything I needed and was still able to take as a “carry on bag” on airplane. Would definitely recommend.
K Bizzle (verified owner) –
This pack replaced an Osprey hydration pack that was beyond uncomfortable. This pack is my Jam. I take it on day hikes. I have been using it for over a year and it is still going strong. Holds everything I need it to for a family of five and still has plenty of space for more. Would definitely recommend.