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  1. #1
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    Default Advice for new pack

    I need some advice for a new pack. I currently use an Osprey EXOS 48. It's a little tight for 3 season hiking and the waist belt just does not seem to carry the load. Load weight averages 22 pounds. This was my first pack and it felt ok in the store but I need more capacity and better load carrying. I have rented an Osprey Areil and it carried wonderfully. My ultimate goal is to be between light and ultralight. I like what I read about ULA circuit and maybe the catalyst if I carry the Exos for warm weather. I mainly day hike and section hike but preparing for a thru hike someday. Any advice would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Trail Miles: 4,400
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  3. #3
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    I bought a ULA Catalyst last year. I used it to haul about 35 pounds, 7 days food and 3 liters of water, on a section of the CDT in Colorado. The pack worked perfectly. I'm a believer in compressing a slightly larger pack instead of over stuffing a smaller pack.
    If you can afford it, talk to the folks at ULA and order both packs. Keep the one that works for you and return the other.
    Good luck.
    Wayne


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  4. #4
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    I carry the Ohm 2.0 and love it. I'll be getting a Circuit at some point for the extra room, primarily for Western hiking. Check out ULA's "Choosing a pack" link under "Products." You'll get a good idea of what each pack is designed to carry weight-wise and perhaps make your decision easier.

  5. #5

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    I have the Catalyst, but once I went dropped my base weight to 12lbs, it was way too much pack. It really is a monster of a pack, good if you have a bulky sleeping bag/set of quilts. I just got the zpacks arc blast and it rides like a dream. Fits me like a glove, lets the breeze on my back keeping it cool, carries the weight really well, and between the cuben material and a pack liner, I never worry about needing a pack cover or the bag itself soaking up water weight. The smaller ULA's are just as nice and almost as light, but won't let your back breathe and is not made of the waterproof cuben material, those are the main differences. Little things are the hip pockets are big on both, but the zpacks ones are much larger. The water bottle pockets are bigger on the ULA, but if ylur just carrying the one water bottle in each side then your good. My 900ml cook pot won't fit in there, but it does fit great in the top side pockets you can add on. I keep my cook pot in one and my water filter setup in the other side.

  6. #6
    Registered User q-tip's Avatar
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    Granite Gear VC - superior pack, 60L, 2.2 lbs. carries 25 lbs easily, only $200.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flummox View Post
    I need some advice for a new pack. I currently use an Osprey EXOS 48. It's a little tight for 3 season hiking and the waist belt just does not seem to carry the load. . .but I need more capacity and better load carrying. I have rented an Osprey Areil and it carried wonderfully. . . .
    First though . . . then buy and carry an Areil. Don't make the same mistake twice.

    That being said, if the hip belt of your Exos isn't carrying the load, it sounds like you may have a fit issue, not a brand/model issue. Although, not having adjustability for torso length, like the Exos doesn't, can be limiting for some people with some torso lengths that are in between sizes. You might find you love the Exos in the next larger size. You might not.

    Of course, if you can get a good size and fit, the Exos does come in a 58L also. . . although, I'm at a bit of a loss as to how someone can pack light enough to be between lightweight and ultra-light for three seasons and need more than 48 L, unless you are carrying 22 lbs of sleeping bag. ;-)

    Lots of good options out there. I highly recommend trying out what you want to buy before you buy it. If you can't test-drive it, there are others out there you can! All the on-line recommendations from all the people in the world don't mean dodo if you don't happen to be just like all those other people doing the recommendations, which, I suspect you are not.

    Good luck.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  8. #8
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    Check out the Granite Gear Lutsen 55L (weighs 48 oz) and the just released Granite Gear Crown 2 (weighs 33 oz). Both can be had for under $200. The Crown 2 is a just released pack that is very similar to the Crown that has been out for a while. Have carried both and love the way they carry. When I bought my pack I really wanted to like the ULA Circuit but it just didn't do it for me. My advice is try some packs on with weight and see what works best for you.

  9. #9

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    If you do this a lot you will buy a lot of packs. My wife and I have at least 6, just bought a new one (Deuter).

  10. #10
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    Wow lots of good advice. I do need to try on some of the packs suggested but nothing close to where I live. Good excuse for a road trip. I am between sizes on the Exo's on torso size but I think I want to try another brand /style. Like RockDoc said I hate to admit it but I bet I will end up with several packs. The crown 2 sounds interesting and I know I like the Ariel so just a matter of trying them.

  11. #11
    In the shadows AfterParty's Avatar
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    I am very fond of my hyperlight mountain gear southwest 3400 55l
    Hiking the AT is “pointless.” What life is not “pointless”? Is it not pointless to work paycheck to paycheck just to conform?.....I want to make my life less ordinary. AWOL

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    Arc blast is good carrying a load - since when?

  13. #13
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    I'm super happy with my new Catalyst. I take a lot but am trying to get weight and bulk down a bit. I am able to have 1 week worth of food and 2L of water in it and keep it at 35 lbs and it carries great. I think that is a reasonable example of light but not ultra light. The bonus is that I got it thinking of it as a summer/shoulder season pack sizing down from Aether 70, but it holds enough volume for me to do a 3-4 day winter hike around here.
    If you just want one arrow in your quiver, I think the Catalyst fits the bill.

  14. #14
    Registered User Maineiac64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImAfraidOfBears View Post
    Arc blast is good carrying a load - since when?
    At the weight/volume the OP is talking the arc haul is a very good option.

  15. #15
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    I have the ULA Ohm. I'm thinking of getting a Circuit for Winter and Western hiking. The Ohm, however, has been my staple so far. For a 22lbs load it would be perfect.

  16. #16
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    I concur (2 lb 2 oz for regular)

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desertdave View Post
    I concur (2 lb 2 oz for regular)
    ....oops....crown VC. And my GF loves her OHM 2. Its the same weight as the VC so I like the extra storage of the VC.

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