ULA Catalyst

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windknot
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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by windknot » Sun Sep 27, 2020 5:16 pm

kpeter wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:05 am
Still, putting the weight too low can still pull you backwards, and putting it too high can still feel tippy. So for me the heaviest items need to be in the middle. That inevitably means the bear can.
Ah, this explains why most packing guides recommend the bear can be packed in the middle. I pack my BV500 vertically at the bottom of my Six Moon Designs Fusion 65 (older 2014 model that weighs 39 oz, compared with the current version that weighs 52 oz). I like this pack's design because it's downright cavernous for its weight. It's wide enough that I can easily fit other semi-bulky items vertically next to the bear can like clothing and my tent in order to balance the weight (my 1L water bottle goes on the clothing/tent side of the pack), and there's still plenty of room in the pack body and collar above the bear can/tent/clothes for fishing gear, sleeping bag, pad, and other miscellany. It transfers weight smoothly to the hips, and is comfortable for loads up to 35 lbs.








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michaelzim
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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by michaelzim » Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:45 am

I finally found a pack that I really like and a within a weight limit that I wanted = 3 pounds v. 6 pounds for my old Lowe pack!
A ULA Catalyst with some customization in the form of two straps at the bottom to carry my tent on the outside. This add on was only one aspect of truly outstanding customer service and overall helpfulness c/o Chris at ULA. Super nice to deal with in every respect. An absolute pleasure.

As you can see from the photos below, my gear did not fit into the Catalyst "test pack" Chris suggested I order to see if I liked it.
1..jpg
2..jpg
Not unexpectedly, when I stashed the tent vertically down the back (uuummmmmmm..."front") of the pack, the pull-back counterbalance was the pits so was a no go. With effort I could have put it in the other side water-bottle pocket but did not really want to do that. Thus the add on of bottom outside straps - which is how I have carried my tent for the past 30 years and prefer it that way. (Incidentally, that is a smallish Big Agnes Copper Spur tent so at 3 pounds is less than half the weight of my old REI Half Dome tent).
3..jpg
I sent the initial pack back and a new Catalyst was made for me with the straps integrated into the manufacture...Oh, and my biggish point-and-shoot camera fits into the hip-belt pockets with case too. Perfect!

So what about the green Thermarest then? Well, a change was due as even at 48 inches long it is still heavier and bulkier than new UL pads. I've used that green pad for decades and intend to keep it as figured out how to fold it to fit inside the pack. However, am getting a lighter more packable Nemo pad to try out in 2021.

As a footnote to all the jockeying around trying to fit packs to bear-cans, the Catalyst can fit a Bearikade Weekender horizontally, but only just. Not recommended though as it is a tight fit along those less contoured angular rim edges. The mini-bouncing of a pack with every step will eventually wear holes in the material - which Chris at ULA attests to. That slight increase in diameter of the Bearikades makes a disproportionately large difference in packability! My old Garcia can fits horizontally very well though it is taller by 1.5 inches. A BV500 also fits in OK horizontally even though it is just over 2 inches taller than the Weekender. Yeah, it's bizarre what a very slight difference in diameter does, though the rounded corners of the Garcia and BV500 also help.
So, I will be packing my Weekender vertically and stuffing gear and clothes around it...until somebody finally invents a bear-can that lighter, as roomy, and fits these lighter/smaller packs horizontally. *(I had a long conversation with the people at BearVault and they may cater to that in future for a $ price. But crikey, look at the price of Bearikades! P.S. Feel free to phone them and add to the demand pressure!)

Best ~ Michaelzim
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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:12 pm

Given the testing and regulatory requirements to get a bear can approved, I think it makes a lot more sense, for the PACK manufacturers slightly adjust the diameter of their packs to fit more bear cans.

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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by rlown » Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:04 pm

Just tried my 12" Bearikade in the Catalyst. Not a great picture but it slipped right in. An Expedition might be a wiggler, but it might fit Horizontally as well. It would be tight.
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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by robow8 » Mon Nov 23, 2020 10:39 pm

michaelzim,
I've had a Catalyst for 6 years. I've had my Weekender for about 5 years. I've had no problems keeping it horizontally on my pack.
On your pack, it looks like you have plenty of room on the inside, judging by the wrinkles in the bottom of the bag and how far down you have the top rolled down. I'm assuming that you have the poles packed with the tent body and fly. I would separate the poles and keep them in one of the side pockets, then put the rest inside the pack.
Also, it doesn't look like you have anything in the big elastic pocket. That's one of my favorite features.

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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by michaelzim » Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:14 am

First up ref. @Wandering Daisy
Given the testing and regulatory requirements to get a bear can approved, I think it makes a lot more sense, for the PACK manufacturers slightly adjust the diameter of their packs to fit more bear cans.
Yes, this is what I thought too. However, in my eventual 'general pissed offness' at the number of packs I tried that did not fit the bigger bear cans (Garcia, BV-500, Weekender) I resolved to let the pack manufacturers know of their shortfall. I had a bunch of "Huh - did anyone try this first???" notes on four Osprey packs I'd got to look at, so started with them. Finally got someone in design and had a long chat about the bear can issue (plus pack weights) and maybe adding a measly half inch or so to the width of a few models. Turns out it's a big deal. Change one measurement and it affects about ten others re all sorts of tension and torsion dynamics whatever. In short, it's complicated and not easily done as requires a whole new design...supposedly. I ran this argument by Chris at ULA and he pretty much said the same thing.
Apparently it might be much easier to change a bear-can as fewer measurements to deal with - just diameter and height, then the top or lid to match.
By the way, the lady at BearVault I talked with (who really "got it" re the trend from big old packs to smaller and lighter ones) got somewhat enthusiastic about offering an "elite" modified BV-500 with slightly smaller diameter and in a lighter space-age material. She reckoned it would have to be considerably more expensive to make it worthwhile. I countered that there has been so much demand for Bearikades there's a long production delay and the price gets darn close to $350 with tax and shipping. It will take time though IF it happens...so again, if anyone wants to call BearVault to add push to that shove it can't hurt = Tel. (866) 301.3442

Ref. @rlown
Just tried my 12" Bearikade in the Catalyst. Not a great picture but it slipped right in. An Expedition might be a wiggler, but it might fit Horizontally as well. It would be tight.
Maybe your pack has stretched out a bit with use so there is more give?!
Indeed, the Weekender fits into mine horizontally, but it makes me nervous at the top edge where there is that 90 degree somewhat sharpish rim edge. I figure it would wear a slit in the pack fabric eventually (and which Chris at ULA says he has seen a number of times with packs sent in for repair). No room to fit a cushioning something there either as that makes it even tighter, so mine is going to go vertically. A pity but not too bad being as it is shorter so not as much of a space efficiency hog as it would be with a vertical Garcia or BV-500. That extra half inch diameter makes a helluva difference!!!
robow8 wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 10:39 pm

On your pack, it looks like you have plenty of room on the inside, judging by the wrinkles in the bottom of the bag and how far down you have the top rolled down. I'm assuming that you have the poles packed with the tent body and fly. I would separate the poles and keep them in one of the side pockets, then put the rest inside the pack.
Also, it doesn't look like you have anything in the big elastic pocket. That's one of my favorite features.
Ha, ha...very observant! However, I must admit to a "fake packed" photo on the last one with the custom straps. I just stuffed a blanket and a cushion in and did not bother with anything else, as aim was to show that ULA was open to personal customization if needed.
The first two photos are from earlier with the initial trial Catalyst and have all my 'for real' 10 days trip gear packed in. No room at the bottom for sure and the 'wrinkles' are just part of the fold design there. Sleeping bag and Weekender full of food take up the majority of the room. I could indeed load up and go higher but I just prefer the feel of the weight more over my hips, thus the request for the tent straps there.
Agreed too, that those expandable side-pockets are really great! Likewise the hip-belt pockets that are actually big enough to be truly useful. All the other packs I tried were useless in that regard and did not fit my point-and-shoot camera even. Just good enough for lip balm or other trivia.
Very good point about "de-packing" the tent and putting the poles vertically in one of those pockets - possible now that I have a different sleeping pad which fits inside so frees one up. I will have to fiddle with that idea for sure! Meanwhile those custom straps allow me to fossilize in my old packing habits of 35 years.

Best ~ Michaelzim

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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by rlown » Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:18 am

Pack is brand new as of this year. No wear. Trip for September was cancelled. Fits fine.

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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:53 am

My Bearikade Weekender just barely fits horizontally in my pack (not a Catalyst). After a few uses the fabric did stretch so getting it in and out is easier. But yes, after two years of a tight fit, it is waring holes where the fabric is stressed. But, the pack was relatively cheap on sale (about $120), and if it wears out in 2-3 years of lots of use, so be it. The holes would also be under the top lid overlap, so until they become large, the pack will still work. I have also had that attitude about shoes- if the shoe that fits best only lasts one season, so be it.

I am extremely hesitant to put my tent in an outside pocket or even worse, tie to the back of the pack. OK if trail hiking but you take a chance of damaging the tent if bushwhacking. The sil-nylon tent bags that now come with most tents are quite fragile.

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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by rlown » Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:57 am

Why would you be hesitant about putting your tent outside of your pack? Standard practice.

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bobby49
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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by bobby49 » Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:59 am

I've never carried a tent outside of my pack in about the last forty years.

If it is outside the pack, then it risks being damaged from trees, bushes, and rocks. The big risk is that it will fall out of its straps. That is quite common for cross country skiers. Worse, it might come loose in a fall, and then you don't notice it gone. You might ski off without the pack.

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