View Full Version : ULA Conduit... Thumbs up or down?

10-29-2007, 14:43
I have a Skarab 55. I have my base weight at less than 15 lbs. That includes the three pound Skarab 55. I'm a gear head... duh... Now the ULA Conduit has caught my eye for my upcoming thru hike (08). Not trying to go over board but I'm quickly learning the beauty in simple and light.

So... Good pack, bad pack, who loves it? Who hates it? Should I go with a bigger one? I'm considering bivy/tarp or tarptent camping. So tent bulk and weight are not a problem

10-29-2007, 14:46
Brian makes great packs.

John B
10-29-2007, 15:18
I've heard nothing but good things about ULA.

I'm trying to decide between a Catalyst and a Circuit. I'm pretty sure that I'll be happy with a Circuit except for maybe on those rare times when I get to hike in winter mths. and need a bit of extra space for more clothes.

Note, however, that much of the capacity of the Circuit is from the mesh pockets outside the pack. The interior dimension is 2,400 c.i. No big deal, really, except that if you're like me and currently use a pack with a larger interior dimension (I currently have an Osprey Aether 60, which has 3,600 c.i. internal), you'll need to rethink how you pack.

This same type of external/interal capacity breakdown is also true for the Catalyst and the Conduit.

10-29-2007, 15:39
I've had a ULA Conduit since this past spring. For me, it is useful for trips of 5 days or less. I'm hoping with some more gear adjustments, I'll be able to use it for a full week. It carries to mid 20's very comfortably, but above that things become subjective to the individual. I tried 30lbs in it and for a few hours, I was totally fine, but then my shoulders really started to hurt.

Also as the sleeping bad provides the support, I suspect that some pads support better then others. Some people use a 3/4 length inflatible pad and just add air until the pack seems stiff as these pads are the easiest to fit inside the pad pocket. I personally use a Gossamer Gear Torso pad + a Gossamer Gear Sit pad stuffed into a slippery lightweight stuff sack and slide that into the pad pocket. Without the stuff sack, it is much more difficult to slide the pad in due to friction.

The packs are well made and should hold up. But as a lot of the usable volume is in the external mesh pockets, it does require a different philosophy to packing then my GG Vapor Trail did. I now try to put all the stuff that I will use during the day (including food) in the outside pockets to keep from having to open the pack up. I tried the internal water bladder sleeve, but unless I was just going out on a simple overnighter, there wasn't much room left for the water bladder to fit. I now keep it in one of the external mesh pockets.

The ULA Circuit and Catalyst are much bigger packs with a real suspension so it really comes down to how much room do you need and what is the maximum weight load you will expect.

10-29-2007, 17:16
If it's a ULA, it's a thumbs up. Excellent packs, made really well. I've had mine for about 500 miles and not a stitch out of place. Love my P-2. You can't go wrong with a ULA.

Spirit Walker
10-29-2007, 18:55
Do you know yet when you'll be hiking? If you are hiking in early spring (March-April) or late fall (September-October) you migh want the bigger pack because you will be carrying some winter gear which is bulky.

I used the Catalyst for the CDT and GDT and was very happy with it. It's trashed now, but I got my money's worth. I'm a mid-weight packer - 20-24 lbs base weight, depending on season. We carried some big loads (i.e. 11 day's food on the GDT or a gallon of water on the CDT) and though it was heavy, the load was still comfortable. OTOH - I was able to carry that much food/water only because my husband and I split the gear. He carried the tent and cooking gear - the bulky items - in his P2. If I had to go solo I'd want a bigger pack. The places we go require more gear and/or more food/water weight than the AT in summer.

10-29-2007, 19:07
If it's a ULA, it's a thumbs up. Excellent packs, made really well. I've had mine for about 500 miles and not a stitch out of place. Love my P-2. You can't go wrong with a ULA.
Unless, of course you are winter hiking -- or even spring and fall -- in Maine or similar northern climes. Or have a lot of luck while deciding the dates and possible weather.

No pack is for everyone. It all depends on how cold one wants to be on really cold nights, that happen to almost everyone on an AT thru hike, regardless of season or starting date.

A bit also depends on how willing you are to escape to towns when things get cold.


10-29-2007, 19:11
I just recently got a Conduit. I took it out for the first time last weekend. I like the pack a lot. It was comfortable, and seems sturdy. It is quite small, however, and you'd be hard pressed to get a week's worth of food in there.