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  1. #1
    Registered User
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    11-19-2013
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    Default Switch to ULA Catalyst From Gregory Baltoro 65?

    Has anyone made this switch? I'm interested in how the Catalyst will compare to the Baltoro when carrying about 35lbs. I love the Baltoro except for the weight, and the fact that I can't fit my BV500 sideways.

    I have a few other questions about the Catalyst:

    1. Do the water bottle pockets have anything to keep the water bottle in the pocket? The Baltoro has a little elastic loop, my Acrteryx Altra 35 doesn't, and everytime I take the Altra off the waterbottle falls out of the pocket.

    2. Is there an open space between the hip belt pockets and hip belt on the Catalyst? Currently I hang camera cases off the hip belt of the Baltoro using para chord and carabiners, and it's the most convenient way I've found to carry camera equipment so I'd like to be able to keep doing it. I kind of wish pack makers would start making the hip belt pockets modular, and just put webbing loops there instead - seems simple to me - maybe someday.

  2. #2
    imscotty's Avatar
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    11-13-2011
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    North Reading, MA
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    Re: Catalyst

    1) I find the friction in the water pockets is adequate to keep my water bottles in place. I reuse Gatorade bottles which have ridges on them and maybe that helps. With a little effort I am able to reach back and grab a bottle on the go which is nice. I do wish my arms were one inch longer or the bottle pockets were 1 inch closer, but it is doable.

    2) The pockets are built into, sown into the hip belt (at least in my 2012 model).

    Hope this helps.

    Scott

  3. #3
    Section Hiker
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    01-26-2013
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    Default

    I tried a Catalyst but think I had the wrong size. I think it had some elastic to tighten the water bottle pockets. Mine went back but I am seriously considering trying a smaller size, I really like their packs and so do many, many others. I hear their customer service is great so you could call or email to find out definite answers to your questions. I also would not be surprised if they can customize something for you with the hip belt pockets.


    "Your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.
    "


  4. #4
    Section Hiker
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by imscotty View Post
    Re: Catalyst

    1) I find the friction in the water pockets is adequate to keep my water bottles in place. I reuse Gatorade bottles which have ridges on them and maybe that helps. With a little effort I am able to reach back and grab a bottle on the go which is nice. I do wish my arms were one inch longer or the bottle pockets were 1 inch closer, but it is doable.

    2) The pockets are built into, sown into the hip belt (at least in my 2012 model).

    Hope this helps.

    Scott
    Scott, I retrofitted a Gatorade lid with a camelback tube because I couldn't reach my bottle at all. Drilled a hole, installed a rubber grommet, shoved the end of the camelback tube in, leaving the mouthpiece on the drinking end, and have the best of both worlds! I find I drink more this way too.


    "Your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.
    "


  5. #5
    Registered User
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    07-20-2014
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    Wandering around again
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by stjarvis View Post
    Has anyone made this switch? I'm interested in how the Catalyst will compare to the Baltoro when carrying about 35lbs. I love the Baltoro except for the weight, and the fact that I can't fit my BV500 sideways.

    I too am researching the fit of a Bear canister sideways in mine. I'm thinking that a Garcia can will fit laying on its side but have yet to find one in person to test out.

    I am carrying mine full loaded for testing and weighing it a 43 lbs (8 liters water) and it carries better than any other pack I've carried. I had some older Keltys, A Alps External frame and a gregory that i can't remember the name of. The ULA has been my nicest pack!

    I have a few other questions about the Catalyst:

    1. Do the water bottle pockets have anything to keep the water bottle in the pocket? The Baltoro has a little elastic loop, my Acrteryx Altra 35 doesn't, and everytime I take the Altra off the waterbottle falls out of the pocket.

    Mine doesn't but the elastic keeps my 1 liter Smart bottles fine. When I was testing it on the PCT last month, it held two smart bottles in each side plus one hanging on each side on the front. I use the smart bottles for the slim fit and they stick up better to grab while carrying the pack AND my Sawyer Mini filter screws on them. My current set up is a Platy 2 liter bigZip in the pouch (perfect fit) and two smart bottles that I hang from the front loops on the strap walking but leave in the web pockets while Parked. Then carrying a foldup big mouth 48 oz bottle for them long stretches which works as a pillow also.

    2. Is there an open space between the hip belt pockets and hip belt on the Catalyst? Currently I hang camera cases off the hip belt of the Baltoro using para chord and carabiners, and it's the most convenient way I've found to carry camera equipment so I'd like to be able to keep doing it. I kind of wish pack makers would start making the hip belt pockets modular, and just put webbing loops there instead - seems simple to me - maybe someday.
    No but I have space from the pockets to the buckle which I hang my GPS and there's room there for a camera case I would think. It goes pack>pocket>space (about 4 inches)>buckle on mine. I'm 5'8" 175 lb with a medium hip belt.

    Rolex

  6. #6
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    11-19-2013
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    Default

    I went ahead and bought the Catalyst, it showed up quick. Haven't hiked with it yet, but loaded it up with about 30lbs and wore it around the house a little. It seems like it'll work well for me. I'll be taking it on my 150 mile section starting on 9/6, so I'll write up a review of it after that.

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