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REPOST - LTR: ULA Circuit Backpack - John Waters

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  • exec@bysky.com
    Curt, Sorry for the delay and the need to repost. It s bee a tough couple of weeks. Text is below and revised HTML is in the test folder at:
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 5, 2010
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      Curt,

      Sorry for the delay and the need to repost. It's bee a tough couple of
      weeks.

      Text is below and revised HTML is in the test folder at:
      http://tinyurl.com/2bxvtqg

      Thanks for your patience.

      John
      ________________________________

      LONG-TERM REPORT

      WHERE AND HOW I USED IT
      We tripped off on several day hikes in Colorado with the Circuit just to
      give it some more time on the trail to stress it. Granted there was PLENTY
      of room for day hiking, and having all the extra room didn't cause the pack
      to list or pull me from side to side. Of course, I do bring a lot of stuff
      even on day hikes: camera, binoculars, extra AAA batteries, food, at least a
      few liters of water, wind jacket and more food. Sure the Circuit is overkill
      on day hikes, but it also had more time being exposed to UV rays and very
      low humidity. Around here anything plastic exposed for several months gets
      so brittle that it falls apart when touched. No kidding. If I were to touch
      the solar patio lights we mounted in the ground a few years ago they would
      break into hundreds of tiny pieces. So any of our gear needs to be kept out
      of extremely long term exposure to the sun here at 5600 ft (1707 m) and
      higher. I often wonder what will happen to me in another 20 years.

      An overnight bushwhacking across the Cooper mountain range behind our ranch
      is always fun and we took off to tent and enjoy the scenery. The Circuit
      packed well with the compact tent we were testing (in its own stuff bag that
      takes up less space than a rolled up sleeping pad), stove, fuel, wind
      jacket, OP Saks, dried food dinners for 2, food bars, jerky, outer layer,
      sleeping bag pad, blow up pillow, batteries, binoculars, a small bag of
      extra 10mm rounds for my pistol, wipes, zip bags, and lightweight sleeping
      bag. Pack weight with everything was about 40 pounds (18 kg) when departing,
      mostly due to all that water (4 liters, or about 1 gallon, weighs just about
      8 pounds (3.6 kg)

      My partner carried her sleeping bag, her sleeping bag pad and her own snacks
      and water, binoculars, camera, warmer clothes, etc. in her own pack.

      There are no trails where we go. We bushwhack and keep a breadcrumb
      backtrack trail on the GPS. Of course, we can see for over 50 miles (80 km)
      being that we get up to 7,000 ft (2.1 km) or more, but having a nice
      backtrack to return home can save hours of going in circles due to canyons
      and such.

      Since there is a pretty steep rise of 2,000 feet (610 m) or more in just 5
      miles (8 km), and we are bushwhacking, the gear we use gets caught on tree
      branches frequently and gets a lot of abrasion from boulders and
      outcroppings.

      The Circuit handled getting tied up on cedar trees quite well. I know that
      on all our trips I will get stuck on branches and need to pull and tug to
      get free and this trip was no different. The Circuit handled breaking off
      small branches very well.

      On short treks, with the pack loaded to maybe 50% capacity, there was no
      swaying with all the weight down towards the bottom of the pack. The
      compression straps did allow me to tie the empty portion down. The empty
      portion didn't get caught on any more branches than usual while
      bushwhacking.

      On the overnight trek, with a 40 lb (18 kg) load, it was still a challenge
      to get under branches that are 4 ft (1.2 m) or less above ground. If I can't
      break them or push them aside, I have to get over or under these obstacles
      The pack did not pull me from side to side, going over or under all these
      bushwhacking challenges and stayed well attached to my body without the
      feeling it was going to lift off or come loose.

      I didn't use the water bottle shoulder ties on the overnight trip because I
      didn't want to mess around with carrying empty bottles around. I wasn't sure
      if the empties would stay in place with all the motion and I didn't want to
      try and push them into the pack. Maybe on the next trip. So I did use two
      hydration bladders, a 1 liter and a 3 liter, and that worked very well. In
      theory, the pack will allow both hydration feed lines to be exposed, but
      that was too much stuff dangling in front of me that could also get caught
      on tree limbs. So I just used one at a time.

      My GPS worked well mounted on the shoulder strap as reported before and I
      was able to insert my compact binoculars into the waist belt pouch on one
      side and my Touch Pro 2 windows Mobile phone in the other. Being at those
      altitudes, we get cell service. Going down into the steeply sided ravines
      though, we do not.

      So the Circuit has held up very well trekking in high mountain terrain. It
      is comfortable and a lighter weight than I am used compared with other packs
      I've own. It is well laid out and easy to use.
      SUMMARY
      The ULA Circuit backpack has proven to be a durable and well thought out
      design. This is a large pack, getting very close to ultra-light in weight,
      yet designed to sustain rugged use and carry a load for multi-day trekking,
      especially where a lot of water needs to be carried. I have yet to use it in
      very frigid weather. Under low temperatures some products I've tested have
      had pieces break in sub-zero temperatures. So far this pack has been great
      for me. If there are any significant problems when I use this pack in
      sub-freezing temps, I will be sure to post an addendum here. Meanwhile, this
      appears to be a keeper for long excursions.

      Thank you to ULA Equipment and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to
      test this product.

      John R. Waters
      This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version
      1.5 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
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