2024 Ultra Catalyst

(3 customer reviews)

$399.99

What Size Pack Do I Need? View Size Chart.
ULA Torso Measurement Guide
ULA Hipbelt Measurement Guide
ULA Hipbelt Measurement Guide
S v J Strap Comparison

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're between sizes and you are getting a FRAMED pack, we recommend you size DOWN!

If you're between sizes and you are getting a FRAMELESS pack, we recommend you size UP!

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.

MEN

Pant Waist Size + 2".

WOMEN

CURVY HIPS: Smallest part of your waist + 5".
STRAIGHT HIPS: Smallest part of your waist + 3".

KIDS

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

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

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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MADE IN THE U.S.A.


FREE U.S. DELIVERY


LIFETIME WARRANTY*


TUNE-UPS & REPAIRS*

DESCRIPTION

NEW FOR 2024: At ULA, we understand every trip is different, and your pack and gear needs can change with each trip, so we've updated the ULA pack line to be more versatile than ever to keep up with how you adventure. What's new? Combination ice axe/trekking pole loops are now a standard feature; the weather is unpredictable, and we believe your pack should be able to adapt as fast as you can. We've also added low-profile loops to the top and bottom of these packs to accommodate removable top Y-strap and/or bottom straps. Purchase an ultra-light strap kit for your pack and be able to instantly add the capacity to strap larger items (tent, food storage, or sleeping pads) to the top or bottom of your pack as your gear needs change. And while we were at it, we made them prettier.

The same Catalyst you know and love, only stronger and lighter than ever. Purposefully constructed of Ultra 400X in high abrasion areas and Ultra 200X in low abrasion areas, we've selected a fabric matrix that maximizes durability while keeping the pack ultralight! At only 40.1 ounces, it's a full 5.3 ounces lighter than a Robic Catalyst!* (* Based on a medium torso w/ medium hipbelt.)

In our commitment to making quality, durable backpacks that last a lifetime, we've been hesitant to build packs out of many popular ultralight fabrics. Why Ultra? 15x stronger than steel by weight, twice as abrasion resistant as standard 420D nylon, and waterproof to 200 psi, we've finally found an ultralight fabric that matches our high standards. Front pocket is ULTRA StretchMesh for added abrasion resistance. Note that to maximize water resistance of the ULTRA Catalyst, these packs do not have bladder hose ports.

The Ultra Catalyst was built to carry loads of up to 40 pounds; it will haul a bear canister horizontally or fit your fishing, climbing, or photo gear. An internal frame with a twin stay framesheet, comfy padded hipbelt, and contoured shoulder straps make for all-day comfort even when loaded down. Front mesh pocket, dual hipbelt pockets, and Ultra 400X adjustable side pockets make it easy to stay organized whether you're on a thru or just out for the weekend. It can even be checked as baggage on a plane! No wonder the Catalyst has consistently been among the top 5 most popular packs on the Pacific Crest and Appalachian Trails!

MATERIAL: ULTRA™ X
COLOR(S): Grey

AT A GLANCE

WEIGHT: 40.1 OZ | 1,136.8 GM
VOLUME: 4,700 CU IN | 75 L
MAX LOAD: 40 LBS | 18 KG

The Ultra Catalyst was built to carry loads of up to 40 pounds; it will haul a bear canister horizontally or fit your fishing, climbing, or photo gear.

FEATURES

  •  NEW! Ice Axe/Trekking Pole Loops
  • NEW! Low Profile Loops for Removable External Straps
  • Standard Top Strap
  • ULTRA 400X + ULTRA 200X Fabric
  • ULTRA Hipbelt Pockets w/ YKK Waterproof Zippers
  • Adjustable ULTRA Side Pockets
  • UltraStretch™ Mesh Front Pocket
  • Twin Stay Framesheet
  • Rolltop Closure
  • Side Compression Straps
  • Sternum Strap
  • Contoured Shoulder Straps
  • Front Shock Cord
  • NO Water Hose Port for Max Water Resistance
  • Removable & Height Adjustable Pass-through Hipbelt
  • Internal Frame

CAPACITY

REC. MAX LOAD: SUB 40 LBS

PACK VOLUME

TOTAL VOLUME: 4,700 CI | 75 L

BREAKDOWN:

  • Main Body: 2,600 CI | 42.6 L
  • Front Mesh Pocket: 600 CI | 9.8 L
  • Left Side Pocket: 350 CI | 5.7 L
  • Right Side Pocket: 350 CI | 5.7 L
  • Extension Collar: 600 CI | 9.8 L
  • Left Hipbelt Pocket: 100 CI | 1.6 L
  • Right Hipbelt Pocket: 100 CI | 1.6 L
ULA 2024 Ultra Catalyst: With Top Y-Strap and Bottom Straps Attached

FAQ’S

Q: WHY ULTRA™?

A: ULTRA is 15x stronger than steel by weight, twice as abrasion resistant as standard 420D nylon, and waterproof to 200 psi. Ultra is the ultimate in ultralight fabric, with the strength to go the distance in the harshest environments.

ULTRA fabric lasts longer, absorbs 80% less moisture, and has better UV resistance and color retention than traditional laminated nylon.

ULTRA is the only durable, waterproof pack fabric made from 100% recycled polyester! Every yard contains over 20 plastic bottles and saves over one pound of carbon emissions compared to standard pack fabric.

Q: WHAT IS UltraStretch™ MESH?

A: UltraStretch™ Mesh is built for maximum abrasion and cut resistance. A technical fabric, UltraStretch™ Mesh is a 4-way stretch mesh woven with the highest quality fibers for performance and longevity.

Q: WHAT IS THE ‘TWIN STAY’ FRAMESHEET?

A: The standard framesheet is comprised of a very dense piece of foam and two ½ aluminum stays which are positioned in a ‘V’ shape. The stays can be bent to give the framesheet a specific contour to your spinal curve. The standard, twin stay framesheet is ideal for loads between 32-40 lbs. It offers plenty of stability and load control within that load range and is well suited for on or off trail hiking.

Q: CAN A BEAR CANISTER FIT IN THE CATALYST?

A: Yes. Every bear canister on the market other than the Bearikade Expedition will fit into the Catalyst horizontally. Keep in mind it is best to pack something between the hard sided canister and the bottom of the pack.

To see a chart showing what bear cans fit in what ULA packs (and how),  visit our blog post “Bears! Everything You Need to Know About Backpacking in Bear Country.

Q: WHERE DO I STRAP MY SLEEPING PAD?

A: A foam pad can easily be secured to the top of the pack by adding a Top Y-strap Kit to your order, to the bottom of the pack by adding a Bottom Strap Kit, or get Both and keep your options open! 

If you’re using an inflatable pad, we recommend storing it in the pack’s interior to avoid punctures.

Q: CAN A WATER BOTTLE FIT IN THE SIDE POCKETS?

A: Each side pocket can accommodate two 1-Liter ‘Big Slam’ style bottles. A Nalgene-style bottle will also fit, but in your quest to lighten up, that should have been replaced a long time ago! 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, and adjust singlehandedly with a cord lock and internal bungee to open and close.

Q: HOW DOES THE TOP OF THE PACK STAY CLOSED?

A: The top of the Catalyst 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.

TECHNICAL FABRICS

ULTRA™ is the ultimate in ultralight pack fabric, with the strength to go the distance in the most demanding environments, and it’s waterproof to 200 psi.

ULTRA™ 200X

ULTRA 200X is constructed with a 200d face Ultra-PE blended with high-tenacity polyester, an Ultra-PE CrossPly, and a 0.75 mil film backing. Weight: 3.9oz/yd² Tear Strength: Warp: 103.1 lb / Fill 133.2 lb. Abrasion Resistance: 4,400 cycles.

ULTRA™ 400X

A high modulus pack fabric, ULTRA 400, is constructed of a 400d Ultra PE blended with hight-tenancy polyester, Ultra-PE Cross-Ply, and a 0.75 mil film backing. It is 20% lighter and four times as abrasion-resistant than other 400d U-PE fabrics. Weight: 5.25 oz/yd², 178 gsm. Tear Strength: Warp: 187.7 lb/ Fill 161.1 lb. Abrasion Resistance: 8,800 cycles.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING…

3 reviews for 2024 Ultra Catalyst

  1. Tim (verified owner)

    I waited several months for the release of the Catalyst in Ultra and am thrilled with its weight, design, build quality, and performance. ULA’s customer service was and is outstanding. Although my maximum load for four- to- five days hovers around thirty pounds, the forty- pound load capacity of the Catalyst frame sheet nimbly transfers this weight to the superbly designed hip belt for a super-comfortable carry with little weight being distributed to the shoulders-which is a performance essential. I love that my Bearikade bear cannister fits horizontally perfectly in the lumbar region of the pack, where I prefer to carry it. Do note that while ULA rates the total volume of the pack at 75L, the main compartment volume is comparable to my previous packs. The mesh Dyneema outer pocket is cavernous as are the two site pockets. The Ultra fabric renders the pack practically waterproof which in the rainy conditions I frequently encounter, is far superior over the performance of my wet weather packing protocol used with my previous packs.This legendary pack for good reason and the Ultra fabric makes it even better. Thank you, ULA for such an outstanding product!

  2. Travis Mattila (verified owner)

    The ULTRA CATALYST has been tested on a 1/2 mile Bush walk through North Eastern Minnesotas shrub brush forest. And nothing could touch it. Not even a scrape on the pack. The ULTRA CATALYST is bullet proof. The stiching of the pack is flawless. The pack is as light as an owls feather. The hip belt pockets are spacious and very sleek. The packs design is very simple. And we all know in the backpacking community, less is more.
    I would highly recommend this pack.

  3. Kimber Sterling

    I LOVE this backpack. I bought the wrong size initially and had my brother reach out to Peter and team for a replacement (bigger size) while I was on the PCT. The order went in Friday and Peter had it expedited to go out Monday. I’m 6’4″ with average body/leg ratios and needed the XL. This beast is a workhorse! I bet the XL probably holds at least 75 litres and while my gear is mostly ultralight, it’s awesome to be able to load up for a long water carry, or throw in a couple big bags of chips at resupply. The Ultra 24 Catalyst is every bit as comfortable as the 5+ pound traditional pack I replaced it for, and will carry more than the 40 pounds it’s rated for comfortably when the resupply happens to coincide with a long water carry. Such a great pack and super service. Thanks ULA!

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