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REPOST: TED FR ULA CDT Pack

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  • Edward
    For your editing pleasure (revised version, partially rewritten): See http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/TED-ULA%20CDT%20FR/ FIELD REPORT FIELD
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 3, 2010
    • 0 Attachment
      For your editing pleasure (revised version, partially rewritten):

      See

      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/TED-ULA%20CDT%20FR/

      FIELD REPORT

      FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
      I have used the ULA CDT pack on two overnight trips over the Field Test period. It would have been more, but the pack was damaged on the second trip and I am presently awaiting its return from ULA. The first trip was a simple on-trail overnighter on a local peak. The second was in large part a rigorous solo bushwhack off-trail, with an on-trail return. All pack use was in the Catskill Mountains of New York, to elevations of about 4000 ft (1220 m), on mountainous terrain. Daytime temperatures were at maximum 75 F (24 C) or more, and nighttime temperatures fell to a minimum of 45 F (7 C), with (on the first trip), strong, gusty winds. The weather on both trips was fine and dry, as has been much of our late summer.

      PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
      How the CDT loads

      As noted in the Initial Report, this pack is intended to carry a maximum weight of 25 pounds (11 kg). In addition, the ULA website indicates a recommended base weight (i.e. the weight of pack and equipment before food and water is included) of 12 pounds or less (5 kg). On the first trip, my base weight was below the recommended minimum, as I was carrying a tarp shelter, which helped keep the weight low, but as I was making a dry camp I carried about a gallon of water in two 2 L Platypuses. With food, that raised my starting weight to about 22 lb (10 kg). I used a standard canister stove, not an alcohol stove,

      On the second trip I chose a more substantial shelter, a two-person Tarptent Double Rainbow whose weight is around 3 lb (1.4 kg). This gave me a higher base weight, just a little over the recommended minimum. I could probably have shaved off an extra pound by leaving out a few oddments, but chose not to do so. I was carrying less water than the first trip (less than I could ideally have used, as it turned out, as I failed to find a spring that was supposed to be the vicinity of my campsite), so my starting weight was still a moderate 20 lb (9 kg). Neither load could be called ultra-light, but my intention was to carry a load close to that for which the pack was designed. In general, on short trips, I don't go for the bare minimum.

      On both of these overnights, I used a full length Z-Rest; the pack is designed to be used with a sleeping pad to give it structure. I folded this to create a back panel. On the second trip I placed my shelter poles diagonally within the folded pad for added firmness and to facilitate weight transfer. The Z-Rest, placed in the pack, is held in place at the top under the diagonal elastics built into the CDT, and I secured it in position with the bulk of my sleeping bag placed in the base of the pack. This was a lightweight bag (Valandre Mirage) rated to 23 F, -5 C, weight 25 oz (0.7 kg), housed loosely compressed in a lightweight silnylon drybag. I could have gone for a significanly lighter bag with a rating of 35 F (2 C), but on the first trip I expected strong nighttime winds (and was not disappointed). In a tarp shelter, winds can make for cool sleeping. I felt the sleeping bag was the right choice on both trips. More to the point, it demonstrated that despite the CDT's limits of recommended minimum weight, perfectly adequate comfort can be achieved, for a three season trip at least, with the right choice of gear. I would have been comfortable at a significantly lower nighttime minimum temperature than I experienced.

      In both cases, I carried my shelter in one of the side pockets. Here's the setup for my first trip:

      That's my tarp and its folded pole in the left mesh pocket; one of my two water containers, a lightweight inflatable torso pad and a few other odds and end in the right mesh pocket; and a silnylon poncho to serve as a groundsheet and rain wear (together a windshirt and a lighweight jacket for evenings) in the rear mesh pocket. Munchies and a GPS unit are in the two small pockets on the waistbelt. Everything was cinched in carefully with the pack side straps (I wouldn't recommend carrying water in this fashion for an off-trail hike; though I didn't have problems, I felt it was held in place a little precariously).

      Inside the pack is more water, the rest of my gear, and my food. I even had gloves and a hat packed in there, just in case (total overkill, but I've needed them in summer before now). The bottom line is that fully loaded, with a spare night of food and loads of water, the pack easily carries all one could reasonably require.

      How the CDT carries

      I put my headlamp in the supplied mesh wallet for easy access, along with my ID and some cash for the trip home, as I expected to set up camp after dark (I did so on both trips). The wallet, which is at the top of the pack, below the collar, is a very nice addition to this pack's features. It is easily detachable. I didn't use the hydration sleeve on either trip, but I will at least once for the long-term report (I am not a big fan of hydration tubes, as a general rule). At the trailhead I loosened all the straps, put the pack on, and cinched in the waistbelt and adjusted everything just so, starting with the waistband and then the shoulder straps. I then hit the trail. No fuss, no muss, all very straighforward—I especially like the way that the waist adjusts, with the pull straps situated away from the main buckle. I was interested to find (and I noted that this was consistently the case) that I didn't really need the sternum strap. I have slightly narrow shoulders, and find this strap almost essential with many packs, so this was a pleasing discovery. The only time I really felt it essential to have it fastened was during a brief third-class climb during the second trip, as I wanted the pack to hug my back without any possible side-to-side slop while I climbed steeply a couple of hundred feet or so on some narrow and rather exposed ledge systems.

      The pack's waiststrap seems very well designed, spreading the load to the hips well, and even fully laden it is remarkably comfortable to carry the CDT at weights near the suggested maximum load or less. As my levels of food and water declined, I sensed that the true "sweet spot" was around fifteen to eighteen pounds (7 to 8 kg), but this pack certainly isn't at all uncomfortable fully laden. It is constructed without load-lifter straps, but on a pack intended for these weights I certainly didn't feel their absence. It's fairly snug, in a good way, a good pack for precarious perches, handy for one who likes a little non-technical climbing on a hike. Perhaps because of this snugness, as it has no back panel it can feel a bit sweaty, but the same's true with most packs I use, panel or no. It's also light enough to carry briefly over one shoulder for ventilation. I do feel that the torso length (medium/large) is just right for me.

      I did use the handloops on trail for a while. Though I knew ULA packs had them as an option, I have no other pack with them, so they were a new feature to me. I like them, and they do seem to slightly change the way the pack carries. It seems to me that some load is taken by my hands when they are in use, and that perhaps they act slightly like load-lifters. The downside is that the loops can't easily be used with hiking poles, so those have to be strapped on using the retention loops, adding load to the pack.

      A minor disaster

      On my second trip, I began a long ridgeline ascent to the highpoint of my route. This is a bushwhack I've taken several times in the past, though not recently, and my recollection was that it was not too dense. The hard climb (in terms of verticality, not elevation) was at the beginning of the day, when I ascended the summit of the peak below which I had slept, and I was looking forward to hitting the trail and beginning the descent to the car. Unfortunately, either I had forgotten them, or i was away from my usual line. My route took me through some very dense spruce-fir growth, common at higher elevations in the Catskills. This is rough stuff on body and gear alike, and I found myself crawling under the close-packed trees to get through (and getting scratched up, as usual). Finally, I hit the trail, and unshouldered the pack to get some food and the remains of my water. It was then that I saw the spruce had taken its toll.


      A large hole had been opened in the rear mesh pocket, probably by a protruding branch. The tear seemed to have run from the point of the initial puncture. Fortunately, no gear had escaped, nor was any damaged. While I have had small snags to mesh pockets on packs when bushwhacking, this is the only time in many years of thrashing through the woods that I have had a major tear to a pack; the damge is usually to myself or my clothing. The body of the pack was entirely unaffected, but the rather soft, stretchy mesh of the pocket had suffered badly. I called ULA the following week, and arranged for a repair, and I have shipped the pack off. At present I eagerly await its return so that I may continue the test. The initial response from ULA was exemplary.

      SUMMARY

      Despite this misadventure, I am very taken with ULA's CDT pack. It carries well, and is perfect to my needs for three-season backpacking, though perhaps not off-trail. The body of the pack is made of strong stuff (I have had Dyneema packs before), but the pockets are a bit more vulnerable. In future, I will need to exercise greater care.

      My thanks go to ULA and BacpackGearTest for this testing opportunity. This report was created in part with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
    • Edward
      I have just now received the repaired pack back from ULS, and I have changed the wording to accomodate my response For your editing pleasure (revised version,
      Message 2 of 5 , Oct 5, 2010
      • 0 Attachment
        I have just now received the repaired pack back from ULS, and I have changed the wording to accomodate my response

        For your editing pleasure (revised version, partially rewritten):

        http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/TED-ULA%20CDT%20FR/

        FIELD REPORT

        FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
        I have used the ULA CDT pack on two overnight trips over the Field Test period. It would have been more, but the pack was damaged on the second trip and I am presently awaiting its return from ULA. The first trip was a simple on-trail overnighter on a local peak. The second was in large part a rigorous solo bushwhack off-trail, with an on-trail return. All pack use was in the Catskill Mountains of New York, to elevations of about 4000 ft (1220 m), on mountainous terrain. Daytime temperatures were at maximum 75 F (24 C) or more, and nighttime temperatures fell to a minimum of 45 F (7 C), with (on the first trip), strong, gusty winds. The weather on both trips was fine and dry, as has been much of our late summer.

        PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
        How the CDT loads

        As noted in the Initial Report, this pack is intended to carry a maximum weight of 25 pounds (11 kg). In addition, the ULA website indicates a recommended base weight (i.e. the weight of pack and equipment before food and water is included) of 12 pounds or less (5 kg). On the first trip, my base weight was below the recommended minimum, as I was carrying a tarp shelter, which helped keep the weight low, but as I was making a dry camp I carried about a gallon of water in two 2 L Platypuses. With food, that raised my starting weight to about 22 lb (10 kg). I used a standard canister stove, not an alcohol stove,

        On the second trip I chose a more substantial shelter, a two-person Tarptent Double Rainbow whose weight is around 3 lb (1.4 kg). This gave me a higher base weight, just a little over the recommended minimum. I could probably have shaved off an extra pound by leaving out a few oddments, but chose not to do so. I was carrying less water than the first trip (less than I could ideally have used, as it turned out, as I failed to find a spring that was supposed to be the vicinity of my campsite), so my starting weight was still a moderate 20 lb (9 kg). Neither load could be called ultra-light, but my intention was to carry a load close to that for which the pack was designed. In general, on short trips, I don't go for the bare minimum.

        On both of these overnights, I used a full length Z-Rest; the pack is designed to be used with a sleeping pad to give it structure. I folded this to create a back panel. On the second trip I placed my shelter poles diagonally within the folded pad for added firmness and to facilitate weight transfer. The Z-Rest, placed in the pack, is held in place at the top under the diagonal elastics built into the CDT, and I secured it in position with the bulk of my sleeping bag placed in the base of the pack. This was a lightweight bag (Valandre Mirage) rated to 23 F, -5 C, weight 25 oz (0.7 kg), housed loosely compressed in a lightweight silnylon drybag. I could have gone for a significanly lighter bag with a rating of 35 F (2 C), but on the first trip I expected strong nighttime winds (and was not disappointed). In a tarp shelter, winds can make for cool sleeping. I felt the sleeping bag was the right choice on both trips. More to the point, it demonstrated that despite the CDT's limits of recommended minimum weight, perfectly adequate comfort can be achieved, for a three season trip at least, with the right choice of gear. I would have been comfortable at a significantly lower nighttime minimum temperature than I experienced.

        In both cases, I carried my shelter in one of the side pockets. Here's the setup for my first trip:

        Water bottle holster
        The full pack, ash-tree bolete in the foreground

        That's my tarp and its folded pole in the left mesh pocket; one of my two water containers, a lightweight inflatable torso pad and a few other odds and end in the right mesh pocket; and a silnylon poncho to serve as a groundsheet and rain wear (together a windshirt and a lighweight jacket for evenings) in the rear mesh pocket. Munchies and a GPS unit are in the two small pockets on the waistbelt. Everything was cinched in carefully with the pack side straps (I wouldn't recommend carrying water in this fashion for an off-trail hike; though I didn't have problems, I felt it was held in place a little precariously).

        Inside the pack is more water, the rest of my gear, and my food. I even had gloves and a hat packed in there, just in case (total overkill, but I've needed them in summer before now). The bottom line is that fully loaded, with a spare night of food and loads of water, the pack easily carries all one could reasonably require.

        How the CDT carries

        I put my headlamp in the supplied mesh wallet for easy access, along with my ID and some cash for the trip home, as I expected to set up camp after dark (I did so on both trips). The wallet, which is at the top of the pack, below the collar, is a very nice addition to this pack's features. It is easily detachable. I didn't use the hydration sleeve on either trip, but I will at least once for the long-term report (I am not a big fan of hydration tubes, as a general rule). At the trailhead I loosened all the straps, put the pack on, and cinched in the waistbelt and adjusted everything just so, starting with the waistband and then the shoulder straps. I then hit the trail. No fuss, no muss, all very straighforward—I especially like the way that the waist adjusts, with the pull straps situated away from the main buckle. I was interested to find (and I noted that this was consistently the case) that I didn't really need the sternum strap. I have slightly narrow shoulders, and find this strap almost essential with many packs, so this was a pleasing discovery. The only time I really felt it essential to have it fastened was during a brief third-class climb during the second trip, as I wanted the pack to hug my back without any possible side-to-side slop while I climbed steeply a couple of hundred feet or so on some narrow and rather exposed ledge systems.

        The pack's waiststrap seems very well designed, spreading the load to the hips well, and even fully laden it is remarkably comfortable to carry the CDT at weights near the suggested maximum load or less. As my levels of food and water declined, I sensed that the true "sweet spot" was around fifteen to eighteen pounds (7 to 8 kg), but this pack certainly isn't at all uncomfortable fully laden. It is constructed without load-lifter straps, but on a pack intended for these weights I certainly didn't feel their absence. It's fairly snug, in a good way, a good pack for precarious perches, handy for one who likes a little non-technical climbing on a hike. Perhaps because of this snugness, as it has no back panel it can feel a bit sweaty, but the same's true with most packs I use, panel or no. It's also light enough to carry briefly over one shoulder for ventilation. I do feel that the torso length (medium/large) is just right for me.

        I did use the handloops on trail for a while. Though I knew ULA packs had them as an option, I have no other pack with them, so they were a new feature to me. I like them, and they do seem to slightly change the way the pack carries. It seems to me that some load is taken by my hands when they are in use, and that perhaps they act slightly like load-lifters. The downside is that the loops can't easily be used with hiking poles, so those have to be strapped on using the retention loops, adding load to the pack.

        A minor disaster

        On my second trip, I began a long ridgeline ascent to the highpoint of my route. This is a bushwhack I've taken several times in the past, though not recently, and my recollection was that it was not too dense. The hard climb (in terms of verticality, not elevation) was at the beginning of the day, when I ascended the summit of the peak below which I had slept, and I was looking forward to hitting the trail and beginning the descent to the car. Unfortunately, either I had forgotten them, or i was away from my usual line. My route took me through some very dense spruce-fir growth, common at higher elevations in the Catskills. This is rough stuff on body and gear alike, and I found myself crawling under the close-packed trees to get through (and getting scratched up, as usual). Finally, I hit the trail, and unshouldered the pack to get some food and the remains of my water. It was then that I saw the spruce had taken its toll.

        Hole in pack
        The tear

        A large hole had been opened in the rear mesh pocket, probably by a protruding branch. The tear seemed to have run from the point of the initial puncture. Fortunately, no gear had escaped, nor was any damaged. While I have had small snags to mesh pockets on packs when bushwhacking, this is the only time in many years of thrashing through the woods that I have had a major tear to a pack; the damge is usually to myself or my clothing. The body of the pack was entirely unaffected, but the rather soft, stretchy mesh of the pocket had suffered badly.

        I called ULA the following week, arranged for a repair, and shipped the pack off. The response from ULA was exemplary. I have just received the pack back (about two weeks later) flawlessly repaired. Initially I thought it had been entirely replaced, but a careful examination (a spruce needle tucked away in some waistband padding) indicates that this is one and the same. The craftsmanship of the repair seems impeccable. I am very impressed, both by the turnaround time and the quality of the work.

        SUMMARY

        Despite this misadventure, I am very taken with ULA's CDT pack. It carries well, and is perfect to my needs for three-season backpacking, though perhaps not off-trail. The body of the pack is made of strong stuff (I have had Dyneema packs before), but the pockets are a bit more vulnerable. In future, I will need to exercise greater care.

        My thanks go to ULA and BacpackGearTest for this testing opportunity. This report was created in part with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
      • Mark McLauchlin
        Hi Ed, Few for you then you are good to go, shame about that damage to the pack. EDIT: and nighttime temperatures ... please leave. EDIT: have gone for a
        Message 3 of 5 , Oct 7, 2010
        • 0 Attachment
          Hi Ed,



          Few for you then you are good to go, shame about that damage to the pack.



          EDIT: and nighttime temperatures

          >>and night time temperatures.

          >>there are a few places where you have done this, if it is a US thing then
          please leave.



          EDIT: have gone for a significanly lighter

          >>have gone for a significantly lighter



          EDIT: ,all very straighforward

          >>all very straightforward





          EDIT: the damge is
          >>the damage is







          From: backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com
          [mailto:backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Edward
          Sent: Wednesday, 6 October 2010 7:08 AM
          To: backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [backpackgeartesters] REPOST II: TED FR ULA CDT PACK





          I have just now received the repaired pack back from ULS, and I have changed
          the wording to accomodate my response

          For your editing pleasure (revised version, partially rewritten):

          http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/TED-ULA%20CDT%20FR/

          FIELD REPORT

          FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
          I have used the ULA CDT pack on two overnight trips over the Field Test
          period. It would have been more, but the pack was damaged on the second trip
          and I am presently awaiting its return from ULA. The first trip was a simple
          on-trail overnighter on a local peak. The second was in large part a
          rigorous solo bushwhack off-trail, with an on-trail return. All pack use was
          in the Catskill Mountains of New York, to elevations of about 4000 ft (1220
          m), on mountainous terrain. Daytime temperatures were at maximum 75 F (24 C)
          or more, and nighttime temperatures fell to a minimum of 45 F (7 C), with
          (on the first trip), strong, gusty winds. The weather on both trips was fine
          and dry, as has been much of our late summer.

          PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
          How the CDT loads

          As noted in the Initial Report, this pack is intended to carry a maximum
          weight of 25 pounds (11 kg). In addition, the ULA website indicates a
          recommended base weight (i.e. the weight of pack and equipment before food
          and water is included) of 12 pounds or less (5 kg). On the first trip, my
          base weight was below the recommended minimum, as I was carrying a tarp
          shelter, which helped keep the weight low, but as I was making a dry camp I
          carried about a gallon of water in two 2 L Platypuses. With food, that
          raised my starting weight to about 22 lb (10 kg). I used a standard canister
          stove, not an alcohol stove,

          On the second trip I chose a more substantial shelter, a two-person Tarptent
          Double Rainbow whose weight is around 3 lb (1.4 kg). This gave me a higher
          base weight, just a little over the recommended minimum. I could probably
          have shaved off an extra pound by leaving out a few oddments, but chose not
          to do so. I was carrying less water than the first trip (less than I could
          ideally have used, as it turned out, as I failed to find a spring that was
          supposed to be the vicinity of my campsite), so my starting weight was still
          a moderate 20 lb (9 kg). Neither load could be called ultra-light, but my
          intention was to carry a load close to that for which the pack was designed.
          In general, on short trips, I don't go for the bare minimum.

          On both of these overnights, I used a full length Z-Rest; the pack is
          designed to be used with a sleeping pad to give it structure. I folded this
          to create a back panel. On the second trip I placed my shelter poles
          diagonally within the folded pad for added firmness and to facilitate weight
          transfer. The Z-Rest, placed in the pack, is held in place at the top under
          the diagonal elastics built into the CDT, and I secured it in position with
          the bulk of my sleeping bag placed in the base of the pack. This was a
          lightweight bag (Valandre Mirage) rated to 23 F, -5 C, weight 25 oz (0.7
          kg), housed loosely compressed in a lightweight silnylon drybag. I could
          have gone for a significanly lighter bag with a rating of 35 F (2 C), but on
          the first trip I expected strong nighttime winds (and was not disappointed).
          In a tarp shelter, winds can make for cool sleeping. I felt the sleeping bag
          was the right choice on both trips. More to the point, it demonstrated that
          despite the CDT's limits of recommended minimum weight, perfectly adequate
          comfort can be achieved, for a three season trip at least, with the right
          choice of gear. I would have been comfortable at a significantly lower
          nighttime minimum temperature than I experienced.

          In both cases, I carried my shelter in one of the side pockets. Here's the
          setup for my first trip:

          Water bottle holster
          The full pack, ash-tree bolete in the foreground

          That's my tarp and its folded pole in the left mesh pocket; one of my two
          water containers, a lightweight inflatable torso pad and a few other odds
          and end in the right mesh pocket; and a silnylon poncho to serve as a
          groundsheet and rain wear (together a windshirt and a lighweight jacket for
          evenings) in the rear mesh pocket. Munchies and a GPS unit are in the two
          small pockets on the waistbelt. Everything was cinched in carefully with the
          pack side straps (I wouldn't recommend carrying water in this fashion for an
          off-trail hike; though I didn't have problems, I felt it was held in place a
          little precariously).

          Inside the pack is more water, the rest of my gear, and my food. I even had
          gloves and a hat packed in there, just in case (total overkill, but I've
          needed them in summer before now). The bottom line is that fully loaded,
          with a spare night of food and loads of water, the pack easily carries all
          one could reasonably require.

          How the CDT carries

          I put my headlamp in the supplied mesh wallet for easy access, along with my
          ID and some cash for the trip home, as I expected to set up camp after dark
          (I did so on both trips). The wallet, which is at the top of the pack, below
          the collar, is a very nice addition to this pack's features. It is easily
          detachable. I didn't use the hydration sleeve on either trip, but I will at
          least once for the long-term report (I am not a big fan of hydration tubes,
          as a general rule). At the trailhead I loosened all the straps, put the pack
          on, and cinched in the waistbelt and adjusted everything just so, starting
          with the waistband and then the shoulder straps. I then hit the trail. No
          fuss, no muss, all very straighforward-I especially like the way that the
          waist adjusts, with the pull straps situated away from the main buckle. I
          was interested to find (and I noted that this was consistently the case)
          that I didn't really need the sternum strap. I have slightly narrow
          shoulders, and find this strap almost essential with many packs, so this was
          a pleasing discovery. The only time I really felt it essential to have it
          fastened was during a brief third-class climb during the second trip, as I
          wanted the pack to hug my back without any possible side-to-side slop while
          I climbed steeply a couple of hundred feet or so on some narrow and rather
          exposed ledge systems.

          The pack's waiststrap seems very well designed, spreading the load to the
          hips well, and even fully laden it is remarkably comfortable to carry the
          CDT at weights near the suggested maximum load or less. As my levels of food
          and water declined, I sensed that the true "sweet spot" was around fifteen
          to eighteen pounds (7 to 8 kg), but this pack certainly isn't at all
          uncomfortable fully laden. It is constructed without load-lifter straps, but
          on a pack intended for these weights I certainly didn't feel their absence.
          It's fairly snug, in a good way, a good pack for precarious perches, handy
          for one who likes a little non-technical climbing on a hike. Perhaps because
          of this snugness, as it has no back panel it can feel a bit sweaty, but the
          same's true with most packs I use, panel or no. It's also light enough to
          carry briefly over one shoulder for ventilation. I do feel that the torso
          length (medium/large) is just right for me.

          I did use the handloops on trail for a while. Though I knew ULA packs had
          them as an option, I have no other pack with them, so they were a new
          feature to me. I like them, and they do seem to slightly change the way the
          pack carries. It seems to me that some load is taken by my hands when they
          are in use, and that perhaps they act slightly like load-lifters. The
          downside is that the loops can't easily be used with hiking poles, so those
          have to be strapped on using the retention loops, adding load to the pack.

          A minor disaster

          On my second trip, I began a long ridgeline ascent to the highpoint of my
          route. This is a bushwhack I've taken several times in the past, though not
          recently, and my recollection was that it was not too dense. The hard climb
          (in terms of verticality, not elevation) was at the beginning of the day,
          when I ascended the summit of the peak below which I had slept, and I was
          looking forward to hitting the trail and beginning the descent to the car.
          Unfortunately, either I had forgotten them, or i was away from my usual
          line. My route took me through some very dense spruce-fir growth, common at
          higher elevations in the Catskills. This is rough stuff on body and gear
          alike, and I found myself crawling under the close-packed trees to get
          through (and getting scratched up, as usual). Finally, I hit the trail, and
          unshouldered the pack to get some food and the remains of my water. It was
          then that I saw the spruce had taken its toll.

          Hole in pack
          The tear

          A large hole had been opened in the rear mesh pocket, probably by a
          protruding branch. The tear seemed to have run from the point of the initial
          puncture. Fortunately, no gear had escaped, nor was any damaged. While I
          have had small snags to mesh pockets on packs when bushwhacking, this is the
          only time in many years of thrashing through the woods that I have had a
          major tear to a pack; the damge is usually to myself or my clothing. The
          body of the pack was entirely unaffected, but the rather soft, stretchy mesh
          of the pocket had suffered badly.

          I called ULA the following week, arranged for a repair, and shipped the pack
          off. The response from ULA was exemplary. I have just received the pack back
          (about two weeks later) flawlessly repaired. Initially I thought it had been
          entirely replaced, but a careful examination (a spruce needle tucked away in
          some waistband padding) indicates that this is one and the same. The
          craftsmanship of the repair seems impeccable. I am very impressed, both by
          the turnaround time and the quality of the work.

          SUMMARY

          Despite this misadventure, I am very taken with ULA's CDT pack. It carries
          well, and is perfect to my needs for three-season backpacking, though
          perhaps not off-trail. The body of the pack is made of strong stuff (I have
          had Dyneema packs before), but the pockets are a bit more vulnerable. In
          future, I will need to exercise greater care.

          My thanks go to ULA and BacpackGearTest for this testing opportunity. This
          report was created in part with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer
          Version 1.5 Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Edward
          Thanks for the edits. Nighttime is acceptable within the US (see various dictionaries), but I usually write night-time, which is OK for both US & UK.
          Message 4 of 5 , Oct 9, 2010
          • 0 Attachment
            Thanks for the edits. Nighttime is acceptable within the US (see various dictionaries), but I usually write night-time, which is OK for both US & UK.

            --- In backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com, "Mark McLauchlin" <mark@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi Ed,
            >
            >
            >
            > Few for you then you are good to go, shame about that damage to the pack.
            >
            >
            >
            > EDIT: and nighttime temperatures
            >
            > >>and night time temperatures.
            >
            > >>there are a few places where you have done this, if it is a US thing then
            > please leave.
            >
            >
            >
            > EDIT: have gone for a significanly lighter
            >
            > >>have gone for a significantly lighter
            >
            >
            >
            > EDIT: ,all very straighforward
            >
            > >>all very straightforward
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > EDIT: the damge is
            > >>the damage is
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > From: backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com
            > [mailto:backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Edward
            > Sent: Wednesday, 6 October 2010 7:08 AM
            > To: backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: [backpackgeartesters] REPOST II: TED FR ULA CDT PACK
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > I have just now received the repaired pack back from ULS, and I have changed
            > the wording to accomodate my response
            >
            > For your editing pleasure (revised version, partially rewritten):
            >
            > http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/TED-ULA%20CDT%20FR/
            >
            > FIELD REPORT
            >
            > FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
            > I have used the ULA CDT pack on two overnight trips over the Field Test
            > period. It would have been more, but the pack was damaged on the second trip
            > and I am presently awaiting its return from ULA. The first trip was a simple
            > on-trail overnighter on a local peak. The second was in large part a
            > rigorous solo bushwhack off-trail, with an on-trail return. All pack use was
            > in the Catskill Mountains of New York, to elevations of about 4000 ft (1220
            > m), on mountainous terrain. Daytime temperatures were at maximum 75 F (24 C)
            > or more, and nighttime temperatures fell to a minimum of 45 F (7 C), with
            > (on the first trip), strong, gusty winds. The weather on both trips was fine
            > and dry, as has been much of our late summer.
            >
            > PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
            > How the CDT loads
            >
            > As noted in the Initial Report, this pack is intended to carry a maximum
            > weight of 25 pounds (11 kg). In addition, the ULA website indicates a
            > recommended base weight (i.e. the weight of pack and equipment before food
            > and water is included) of 12 pounds or less (5 kg). On the first trip, my
            > base weight was below the recommended minimum, as I was carrying a tarp
            > shelter, which helped keep the weight low, but as I was making a dry camp I
            > carried about a gallon of water in two 2 L Platypuses. With food, that
            > raised my starting weight to about 22 lb (10 kg). I used a standard canister
            > stove, not an alcohol stove,
            >
            > On the second trip I chose a more substantial shelter, a two-person Tarptent
            > Double Rainbow whose weight is around 3 lb (1.4 kg). This gave me a higher
            > base weight, just a little over the recommended minimum. I could probably
            > have shaved off an extra pound by leaving out a few oddments, but chose not
            > to do so. I was carrying less water than the first trip (less than I could
            > ideally have used, as it turned out, as I failed to find a spring that was
            > supposed to be the vicinity of my campsite), so my starting weight was still
            > a moderate 20 lb (9 kg). Neither load could be called ultra-light, but my
            > intention was to carry a load close to that for which the pack was designed.
            > In general, on short trips, I don't go for the bare minimum.
            >
            > On both of these overnights, I used a full length Z-Rest; the pack is
            > designed to be used with a sleeping pad to give it structure. I folded this
            > to create a back panel. On the second trip I placed my shelter poles
            > diagonally within the folded pad for added firmness and to facilitate weight
            > transfer. The Z-Rest, placed in the pack, is held in place at the top under
            > the diagonal elastics built into the CDT, and I secured it in position with
            > the bulk of my sleeping bag placed in the base of the pack. This was a
            > lightweight bag (Valandre Mirage) rated to 23 F, -5 C, weight 25 oz (0.7
            > kg), housed loosely compressed in a lightweight silnylon drybag. I could
            > have gone for a significanly lighter bag with a rating of 35 F (2 C), but on
            > the first trip I expected strong nighttime winds (and was not disappointed).
            > In a tarp shelter, winds can make for cool sleeping. I felt the sleeping bag
            > was the right choice on both trips. More to the point, it demonstrated that
            > despite the CDT's limits of recommended minimum weight, perfectly adequate
            > comfort can be achieved, for a three season trip at least, with the right
            > choice of gear. I would have been comfortable at a significantly lower
            > nighttime minimum temperature than I experienced.
            >
            > In both cases, I carried my shelter in one of the side pockets. Here's the
            > setup for my first trip:
            >
            > Water bottle holster
            > The full pack, ash-tree bolete in the foreground
            >
            > That's my tarp and its folded pole in the left mesh pocket; one of my two
            > water containers, a lightweight inflatable torso pad and a few other odds
            > and end in the right mesh pocket; and a silnylon poncho to serve as a
            > groundsheet and rain wear (together a windshirt and a lighweight jacket for
            > evenings) in the rear mesh pocket. Munchies and a GPS unit are in the two
            > small pockets on the waistbelt. Everything was cinched in carefully with the
            > pack side straps (I wouldn't recommend carrying water in this fashion for an
            > off-trail hike; though I didn't have problems, I felt it was held in place a
            > little precariously).
            >
            > Inside the pack is more water, the rest of my gear, and my food. I even had
            > gloves and a hat packed in there, just in case (total overkill, but I've
            > needed them in summer before now). The bottom line is that fully loaded,
            > with a spare night of food and loads of water, the pack easily carries all
            > one could reasonably require.
            >
            > How the CDT carries
            >
            > I put my headlamp in the supplied mesh wallet for easy access, along with my
            > ID and some cash for the trip home, as I expected to set up camp after dark
            > (I did so on both trips). The wallet, which is at the top of the pack, below
            > the collar, is a very nice addition to this pack's features. It is easily
            > detachable. I didn't use the hydration sleeve on either trip, but I will at
            > least once for the long-term report (I am not a big fan of hydration tubes,
            > as a general rule). At the trailhead I loosened all the straps, put the pack
            > on, and cinched in the waistbelt and adjusted everything just so, starting
            > with the waistband and then the shoulder straps. I then hit the trail. No
            > fuss, no muss, all very straighforward-I especially like the way that the
            > waist adjusts, with the pull straps situated away from the main buckle. I
            > was interested to find (and I noted that this was consistently the case)
            > that I didn't really need the sternum strap. I have slightly narrow
            > shoulders, and find this strap almost essential with many packs, so this was
            > a pleasing discovery. The only time I really felt it essential to have it
            > fastened was during a brief third-class climb during the second trip, as I
            > wanted the pack to hug my back without any possible side-to-side slop while
            > I climbed steeply a couple of hundred feet or so on some narrow and rather
            > exposed ledge systems.
            >
            > The pack's waiststrap seems very well designed, spreading the load to the
            > hips well, and even fully laden it is remarkably comfortable to carry the
            > CDT at weights near the suggested maximum load or less. As my levels of food
            > and water declined, I sensed that the true "sweet spot" was around fifteen
            > to eighteen pounds (7 to 8 kg), but this pack certainly isn't at all
            > uncomfortable fully laden. It is constructed without load-lifter straps, but
            > on a pack intended for these weights I certainly didn't feel their absence.
            > It's fairly snug, in a good way, a good pack for precarious perches, handy
            > for one who likes a little non-technical climbing on a hike. Perhaps because
            > of this snugness, as it has no back panel it can feel a bit sweaty, but the
            > same's true with most packs I use, panel or no. It's also light enough to
            > carry briefly over one shoulder for ventilation. I do feel that the torso
            > length (medium/large) is just right for me.
            >
            > I did use the handloops on trail for a while. Though I knew ULA packs had
            > them as an option, I have no other pack with them, so they were a new
            > feature to me. I like them, and they do seem to slightly change the way the
            > pack carries. It seems to me that some load is taken by my hands when they
            > are in use, and that perhaps they act slightly like load-lifters. The
            > downside is that the loops can't easily be used with hiking poles, so those
            > have to be strapped on using the retention loops, adding load to the pack.
            >
            > A minor disaster
            >
            > On my second trip, I began a long ridgeline ascent to the highpoint of my
            > route. This is a bushwhack I've taken several times in the past, though not
            > recently, and my recollection was that it was not too dense. The hard climb
            > (in terms of verticality, not elevation) was at the beginning of the day,
            > when I ascended the summit of the peak below which I had slept, and I was
            > looking forward to hitting the trail and beginning the descent to the car.
            > Unfortunately, either I had forgotten them, or i was away from my usual
            > line. My route took me through some very dense spruce-fir growth, common at
            > higher elevations in the Catskills. This is rough stuff on body and gear
            > alike, and I found myself crawling under the close-packed trees to get
            > through (and getting scratched up, as usual). Finally, I hit the trail, and
            > unshouldered the pack to get some food and the remains of my water. It was
            > then that I saw the spruce had taken its toll.
            >
            > Hole in pack
            > The tear
            >
            > A large hole had been opened in the rear mesh pocket, probably by a
            > protruding branch. The tear seemed to have run from the point of the initial
            > puncture. Fortunately, no gear had escaped, nor was any damaged. While I
            > have had small snags to mesh pockets on packs when bushwhacking, this is the
            > only time in many years of thrashing through the woods that I have had a
            > major tear to a pack; the damge is usually to myself or my clothing. The
            > body of the pack was entirely unaffected, but the rather soft, stretchy mesh
            > of the pocket had suffered badly.
            >
            > I called ULA the following week, arranged for a repair, and shipped the pack
            > off. The response from ULA was exemplary. I have just received the pack back
            > (about two weeks later) flawlessly repaired. Initially I thought it had been
            > entirely replaced, but a careful examination (a spruce needle tucked away in
            > some waistband padding) indicates that this is one and the same. The
            > craftsmanship of the repair seems impeccable. I am very impressed, both by
            > the turnaround time and the quality of the work.
            >
            > SUMMARY
            >
            > Despite this misadventure, I am very taken with ULA's CDT pack. It carries
            > well, and is perfect to my needs for three-season backpacking, though
            > perhaps not off-trail. The body of the pack is made of strong stuff (I have
            > had Dyneema packs before), but the pockets are a bit more vulnerable. In
            > future, I will need to exercise greater care.
            >
            > My thanks go to ULA and BacpackGearTest for this testing opportunity. This
            > report was created in part with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer
            > Version 1.5 Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
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