Gear Review New Backpacking Pack. Options

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Ugly

Life really is better Here
.
Joined
Apr 20, 2013
Messages
685
I have a first generation Osprey Atmos, when the first version of the "trampoline" in the back pushed the gear out farther than the models during the last several years. The pack is pushing 9 years old and it is time to mix it up and get a new pack. The Osprey has held up wonderfully through hundreds of nights and has that wonderful "just off the trail scent" that you cannot find bottled at the store.

This pack would be for anything longer than an overnight, or when I have one or more of the kids and end up carrying some of their stuff. For overnights I have a minimalist roll top bag.
My baseweight tends to be 10-14 lbs (especially in winter), so going and getting a new Atmos at 4+ lbs is overkill. If I have to haul a lot of kids stuff I would just take my current Atmos. I also have tried my friends Exos and honestly, did not like it. Water bottle pockets too short, curved bottom seemed to reduce the space for heavy items near the bottom, and always had to lean it against something just right to keep it from nosediving.

Does anyone have experience with any of the below?
REI Flash 45 or 55L
ULA Ohm or Circuit
MLD Prophet

I know the Gossamer G4-20 42L also fits this same profile as do some other cottage types, but it does not come in any garish colors, just gray and blue...
"It's not right for my.... my..."
"Your Idiom? Sire..."
26789c74-965e-45f7-8758-6490c18934ce_screenshot.jpg
:p
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

WasatchWill

Ready For More
.
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
1,466
I just got a Circuit. Haven't had it out on an overnight trip yet, but did some trail testing with it the other day to see how it'd feel under load while doing a bit of boulder hopping and what not. Had it on for a good couple of hours and it held my load (~ 25 lbs) really well. I have my baseweight down to about 15 now, including some camera gear, but I wanted to simulate how it'd feel with a week's worth of food or a long water haul. Lots of things I'm sure I'm going to love about it which are reasons why I got it, but there are a couple minor things that'll probably keep it from being the most perfect pack for me. I'm still stoked to have it though and can't wait to start taking it out into the backcountry. Some of them you mention...It won't stand up well on it's own and would have to be propped up against a rock or tree or something if you don't want it to fall over when you walk away from it. It does have a slight curve or taper rounding out the bottom, but nothing as exaggerated as the Atmos (I have a 50L version of that too).
 
Last edited:

Brendan S

Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2016
Messages
377
I’d probably lean away from the fully frameless MLD for your needs. The others would prob work great depending on features you want.

also check out the Exped Lightning.

I’m a pretty big believer that a pack is the one place to not worry as much about weight (assuming the weight is going into smart functional design and materials...not talking some dumb thing with 50 pockets and zippers). A 3lb pack can be 100x more durable and carry far better than a 1.5 lb frameless/semi frame.
 

Ugly

Life really is better Here
.
Joined
Apr 20, 2013
Messages
685

Ugly

Life really is better Here
.
Joined
Apr 20, 2013
Messages
685
I just got a Circuit. Haven't had it out on an overnight trip yet, but did some trail testing with it the other day to see how it'd feel under load while doing a bit of boulder hopping and what not. Had it on for a good couple of hours and it held my load (~ 25 lbs) really well. .... It does have a slight curve or taper rounding out the bottom, but nothing as exaggerated as the Atmos (I have a 50L version of that too).
I always felt I was inclined to ULA just because they are made in a place where I spent so many great years.
I may take some time making a decision, so looking forward to see how it pans out and what you think.
I know some others here have ULA packs as well.
 

Ugly

Life really is better Here
.
Joined
Apr 20, 2013
Messages
685
I’d probably lean away from the fully frameless MLD for your needs. The others would prob work great depending on features you want.

also check out the Exped Lightning.

I’m a pretty big believer that a pack is the one place to not worry as much about weight (assuming the weight is going into smart functional design and materials...not talking some dumb thing with 50 pockets and zippers). A 3lb pack can be 100x more durable and carry far better than a 1.5 lb frameless/semi frame.
Good points. Thanks.
As for the Exped, it is alot like the ULA's packs but without a back pouch. I have liked having a pouch for drying out the Mid or tarp, even when there has just been condensation, so I can keep it away from the sleeping bag.
This is also a drawback to the much cheaper than ULA pack, Flex Capacitor.

If I were to have 50 pockets though, I would be able to store my 50 carabiners all in their own place...
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,377
I've used granite gear packs for last 15 years.... At least for me comfortable, light, carries all I need and tough ....
 

McKee80

Member
.
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
166
I had a Gregory Baltoro 65 and switched to the Flash 55 last year. I really like it. Had it on a week long trip last fall and was really pleased with how it worked out.
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

WasatchWill

Ready For More
.
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
1,466
I always felt I was inclined to ULA just because they are made in a place where I spent so many great years.
I may take some time making a decision, so looking forward to see how it pans out and what you think.
I know some others here have ULA packs as well.
Yeah...I reached out to the owner Chris and took advantage of the locality by seeing if I could go up there to their shop to try some on for size (my torso doesn't always match up with manufacturer given ranges, especially so with Granite Gear as I found out with my Crown 2 60). He then got back to me saying that while their shop is indeed still in Logan, he himself was residing in Park City, so we arranged a time to meet up out in Park City where I was able to try some on for size before placing my order. There was a sense of pride in buying that pack knowing it was made in the home state, but certainly wasn't the deciding factor.
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
.
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
1,959
I've got experience with the following packs you mentioned:

MLD Prophet. My original frameless lack. Didn't like it that much. The water bottle pockets were tough to use, and the mesh didn't hold up well to the rigors of Utah off-trail stuff. 10-14 base weight is probably more than you want to be carrying in it. It is quite light and good for short, on-trail stuff though.

ULA CDT: I replaced my Prophet with the CDT and really like it thus far (though I only have about 60ish days of experience with it yet). A tad bigger than the Prophet but more or less comparable. The big difference is the hip belt, which actually supports weight quite well. It's still a frameless pack, but you can probably get away with a little more weight than with a lot of other frameless lacks.

It weighs maybe 6 oz more than the MLD but I'll gladly take the tradeoff for something that carries better on longer food hauls. I was skeptical of it being named the CDT - but here I am using it on long distance hikes. Something to consider if your base weight is usually on the 10 end of the 10-14 lb you mentioned.

ULA Circuit: big load-hauler. This is what I bring when I have to carry 10 days of food or a billion liters of water. Probably overkill for your needs unless you do a lot of that kind of thing. I might recommend the Ohm as a middle ground between the CDT, which you'd be at the upper end of, and the Circuit, which you'd probably be toting half-empty.
 

RyanP

Formerly bob32
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Messages
155
I love my ULA Ohm. It's durable and comfortable (for me) with weights over 25 lbs. I've only used it a few times so far though.
 

piper01

Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2013
Messages
171
I've used granite gear packs for last 15 years.... At least for me comfortable, light, carries all I need and tough ....
I'm quite happy with my Granite Gear pack as well, particularly the resizeable hip belt. I've only had a chance to take it out once, but it performed well with a max weight of ~30 lb over the course of a 6 day trip. It's so much more comfortable for me than my Osprey. And the price was right!
 

randakag

Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2013
Messages
12
You might want to give there Exos another try. Five years ago I switched from the Atmos to the Exos. Sure the padding isn't the same, and the straps are micro-thin, but after you get the hang of packing it, it rides really well, especially on multi-day excursions. Last summer I even shoved a bear vault 500 in there for a week in The Bob. I hear what you're saying about the water bottle storage. What I did was use the side mesh pockets. One side carries my tarp tent. The other a 2L "long" Platypus, my titanium mug at the bottom, and a 0.6L Nalgene. If you put the mug into the bottom of the pocket, you can slide the water bottle through the lower hole and into the mug like a glove. I know it sounds odd, but once up and running it worked well.
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top