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  1. #21
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    My 10 year old ULA Circuit has taken me thousands of miles and suffered much abuse, but it's still hauling.

  2. #22

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    On fit:
    I bought my newest pack at an outfitter 100 miles away because there wasn't a reputable one closer. An Osprey Volt 75. I brought my old pack and made sure everything fit inside the new pack. (This was intended to be my winter pack) Then they adjusted it to me. I couldn't stand it adjusted that way. I guess I've put enough miles in to know what I like and what I don't. I had to loosen the shoulder straps and lower them so that it didn't ride on my neck where the two straps come together - also, I prefer the pack NOT to ride tight to my back for the purpose of ventilation. If I was part of an assault team, I'd be worried about the pack swinging around making noise or rubbing me raw - but I'm just walking up and down mountain trails. I have taken it on a few trips since then, and it is totally comfortable to me. Most of the weight rides on my hips and the straps keep it from falling off my back.

    Next year, I'd like to go with a lighter pack for my warmer weather pack, and have been pretty set on a ULA Circuit.
    Curious if others have had the same experience as Wayne and recommend the S straps instead of the standard J(?) straps they usually recommend for men.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by MtDoraDave View Post
    On fit:
    I bought my newest pack at an outfitter 100 miles away because there wasn't a reputable one closer. An Osprey Volt 75. I brought my old pack and made sure everything fit inside the new pack. (This was intended to be my winter pack) Then they adjusted it to me. I couldn't stand it adjusted that way. I guess I've put enough miles in to know what I like and what I don't. I had to loosen the shoulder straps and lower them so that it didn't ride on my neck where the two straps come together - also, I prefer the pack NOT to ride tight to my back for the purpose of ventilation. If I was part of an assault team, I'd be worried about the pack swinging around making noise or rubbing me raw - but I'm just walking up and down mountain trails. I have taken it on a few trips since then, and it is totally comfortable to me. Most of the weight rides on my hips and the straps keep it from falling off my back.

    Next year, I'd like to go with a lighter pack for my warmer weather pack, and have been pretty set on a ULA Circuit.
    Curious if others have had the same experience as Wayne and recommend the S straps instead of the standard J(?) straps they usually recommend for men.
    If you like your pack to ride away from your back you probably won't like the Circuit much. After initially buying an Arc Haul I tried a Circuit...and hated it. I couldn't get it comfortable and I hated how close it was to my body. I went back to my beloved Arc Haul.

  4. #24
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DuneElliot View Post
    If you like your pack to ride away from your back you probably won't like the Circuit much. After initially buying an Arc Haul I tried a Circuit...and hated it. I couldn't get it comfortable and I hated how close it was to my body. I went back to my beloved Arc Haul.
    I guess some of us just donít know any better.
    I have used 4 packs over the decades. All road on my back. I didnít know any different. I didnít die.
    Since I started hiking in a Helly Hansen wicking base layer and a polyester ventilated fishing shirt I finish the day virtually dry. Iím dry in an hour or less.
    As for the S straps, personal preference. My 1994 Dana Design pack came with S straps. The Catalyst didnít. I didnít object to the Catalyst shoulder straps, but would get the S straps in the future. There are a few tweaks I would like for the Catalyst. Perhaps ULA can make that happen. YMMV
    Wayne

  5. #25
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    Iím 6í3 with fairly broad shoulders. The guy over at ULA recommended I go with the S straps. Iím not sure how necessary they were but I was comfortable with them. Iíd often alternate between using the sternum strap and forgoing it.



  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    I guess some of us just don’t know any better.
    I have used 4 packs over the decades. All road on my back. I didn’t know any different. I didn’t die.
    Since I started hiking in a Helly Hansen wicking base layer and a polyester ventilated fishing shirt I finish the day virtually dry. I’m dry in an hour or less.
    As for the S straps, personal preference. My 1994 Dana Design pack came with S straps. The Catalyst didn’t. I didn’t object to the Catalyst shoulder straps, but would get the S straps in the future. There are a few tweaks I would like for the Catalyst. Perhaps ULA can make that happen. YMMV
    Wayne
    The author of the post I was referring to said he preferred the pack to ride away from his back...hence my comment.

  7. #27
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    And a valid comment it is.
    The internet has taught me that weíre all different. Especially when it comes to any piece of gear that comes in contact with our person. Clothes, shoes, packs, sleeping gear. We all have different solutions. Thank goodness the choices are almost endless.
    Cheers!
    Wayne

  8. #28
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    Based on PCT Class 2017 Gear Survey https://www.halfwayanywhere.com/trai...ar-guide-2017/

    Thru-hikers showed unusually high dissatisfaction with Zpacks gear in the survey. You may want to read the survey before pulling the trigger.

    Sent from my ASUS_Z01HD using Tapatalk

  9. #29
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    I noticed the same thing amongst AT hikers last year; several people complained about them, or at least werenít impressed, though often enough it was small stuff like straps getting twisted in buckles.

    Still, itís worth mentioning

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Runner2017 View Post
    Based on PCT Class 2017 Gear Survey https://www.halfwayanywhere.com/trai...ar-guide-2017/

    Thru-hikers showed unusually high dissatisfaction with Zpacks gear in the survey. You may want to read the survey before pulling the trigger.

    Sent from my ASUS_Z01HD using Tapatalk
    From reading the article it only reads high dissatisfaction with ZPacks sleeping bags...and I'm curious as to why. I also think people seem to expect as much longevity and durability from ultra-light gear because it is more expensive and thus should be getting the same results but lighter. I have had zero problems with any of my much loved ZPacks gear (pack and Duplex) but I am also gentle with it

  11. #31
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    According to the above mentioned PCT thru-hike gear survey, Zpacks sleeping bag is among the "most disliked gear".

    In addition, "For the second year in a row, there were a lot of hikers ANGRY WITH ZPACKS over the the quality their gear" under "GEAR OBSERVATIONS".

    Sent from my ASUS_Z01HD using Tapatalk

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Runner2017 View Post
    According to the above mentioned PCT thru-hike gear survey, Zpacks sleeping bag is among the "most disliked gear".

    In addition, "For the second year in a row, there were a lot of hikers ANGRY WITH ZPACKS over the the quality their gear" under "GEAR OBSERVATIONS".

    Sent from my ASUS_Z01HD using Tapatalk
    Totally unsubstantiated, not researched and subjective observation on my part, but they're probably using an Arc Blast and expecting the ruggedness and durability they'd get from a Circuit that weighs about twice as much. Ain't. Gunna. Happen.

    That said, based upon a recent, one-off (hopefully!) anecdotal experience from a close friend of mine, it appears Zpacks might be going downhill. He received an Arc Haul that was extremely pooly assembled with bad stitching (seams ready to come apart right out of the box!), stitching on shoulder strap daisy chains that came apart immediately with NO load on them, and some very ugly do-over stitching to try to cover up some really bad sewing. My friend sent me photos of the carnage, although I'm not going to post them here. Yet.

    Zpacks offered to exchange, but my friend was so exasperated from trying to address everything only by e-mail that he just returned it for a refund. While I understand that their policy is to conduct communications by e-mail both for efficiency and to create a record of correspondence, it wouldn't hurt to pick up the phone and talk to people sometimes, especially those with serious, legitimate complaints about workmanship/QC.

    I hope Zpacks can 'right the ship' before it takes on more water. I've been a huge Zpacks fan for a few years (since getting into UL in 2013), but that loyalty is contingent upon them holding up their end of the bargain.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Runner2017 View Post
    Based on PCT Class 2017 Gear Survey https://www.halfwayanywhere.com/trai...ar-guide-2017/
    . . .
    Something pretty important to note when reading that survey is that much of the gear that had the most dissatisfaction was also the most popular gear, meaning that they had the most users and the most complaints. So having a large number of complaints was not necessarily because they had more problems than the alternatives, but because there were many times more people using that gear and thus even with 1/2 as many complaints per unit used, they would have more complaints overall.

    It's been a while since I read the surveys, so detail may be sketchy, but as I recall, here are some key examples:
    Z-rest pads are the most used and most complained about. Not because they are a problem, but because so darn many people are using them and they are not the best choice for everyone, even if they are the best choice for many.
    Z-packs 20 degree bag wasn't warm enough, but then, many other 20 degree bags weren't warm enough either, but with fewer people using them, fewer people complained about them.

    The real truth behind most of the dissatisfaction numbers wasn't flaws in gear, but that the most popular choices were not necessarily the best choice for many. So, just because everyone claims z-rest pads and 20 degree bags are best, and they may well be best for many if not most people, they are absolutely NOT the best for everyone.

    Remember, read you survey numbers with a critical and thoughtful eye.

    P.S. As an added note, the gear that is most touted (often for good reasons) is likely to get the most complaints because people that don't really know what they are doing are more likely to buy and use the most touted gear even when it is not best of them and their particular needs. The use of ultralight frameless packs is a good example of this where the loads people are carrying, on average, were the same regardless of whether or not they were carrying an ultralight frameless pack or a more traditional option.
    Last edited by nsherry61; 04-22-2018 at 09:02.
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  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    Something pretty important to note when reading that survey is that much of the gear that had the most dissatisfaction was also the most popular gear, meaning that they had the most users and the most complaints. So having a large number of complaints was not necessarily because they had more problems than the alternatives, but because there were many times more people using that gear and thus even with 1/2 as many complaints per unit used, they would have more complaints overall.

    It's been a while since I read the surveys, so detail may be sketchy, but as I recall, here are some key examples:
    Z-rest pads are the most used and most complained about. Not because they are a problem, but because so darn many people are using them and they are not the best choice for everyone, even if they are the best choice for many.
    Z-packs 20 degree bag wasn't warm enough, but then, many other 20 degree bags weren't warm enough either, but with fewer people using them, fewer people complained about them.

    The real truth behind most of the dissatisfaction numbers wasn't flaws in gear, but that the most popular choices were not necessarily the best choice for many. So, just because everyone claims z-rest pads and 20 degree bags are best, and they may well be best for many if not most people, they are absolutely NOT the best for everyone.

    Remember, read you survey numbers with a critical and thoughtful eye.

    P.S. As an added note, the gear that is most touted (often for good reasons) is likely to get the most complaints because people that don't really know what they are doing are more likely to buy and use the most touted gear even when it is not best of them and their particular needs. The use of ultralight frameless packs is a good example of this where the loads people are carrying, on average, were the same regardless of whether or not they were carrying an ultralight frameless pack or a more traditional option.
    "the most dissatisfaction was also the most popular gear, meaning that they had the most users and the most complaints."

    Really? The larger the user base, the higher percentage of customer dissatisfaction? This totally defies the math of statistics analysis tho.

    Sent from my ASUS_Z01HD using Tapatalk

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Runner2017 View Post
    . . . Really? The larger the user base, the higher percentage of customer dissatisfaction? This totally defies the math of statistics analysis tho. . .
    NO. I must have been confusing it what I was saying. I am claiming that, even with a much smaller percentage of dissatisfaction, a larger user base can still show the highest number of people dissatisfied, NOT the highest percentage or "rate".

    If that is not clear, I am claiming that if I am selling a super-hiker-widget with a 50% failure rate, and I sell 100 of them, I have 50 dissatisfied customers. If, on the other hand, you are selling an alternative super-hiker-widget with a 10% failure rate, and sell 1,000 of them, you will have twice as many dissatisfied customers as I do even though your widget is 5X more reliable than mine.

    So, which widgit should you then buy, the one with the fewest dissatisfied customers or the one with the most dissatisfied customers AND the lowest failure rate?

    This particular issue of false perception is rampant in those hiker surveys and touched upon, but not highlighted by the authors. So, reader beware, and don't jump to conclusions to quickly from those numbers.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    NO. I must have been confusing it what I was saying. I am claiming that, even with a much smaller percentage of dissatisfaction, a larger user base can still show the highest number of people dissatisfied, NOT the highest percentage or "rate".
    But the PCT Class 2017 Gear Survey shows percentage of satisfaction in each gear category.



    Sent from my ASUS_Z01HD using Tapatalk

  17. #37
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    Gear, like politics and religion should not be talked about and then only talk about gear if you are asked.
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  18. #38

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    Always reminds me of Mark Twain's "Three Kinds of Lies"... Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.

    And the fact that people who have problems are FAR more vocal than satisfied customers, which is why, for example, we rarely see a post where someone complains that a sleeping bag is too warm while too cold is a monotonously recurring theme.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  19. #39
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmoulder View Post
    Always reminds me of Mark Twain's "Three Kinds of Lies"... Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.

    And the fact that people who have problems are FAR more vocal than satisfied customers, which is why, for example, we rarely see a post where someone complains that a sleeping bag is too warm while too cold is a monotonously recurring theme.
    Operator error is also difficult to gauge.
    Wayne

  20. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmoulder View Post
    Always reminds me of Mark Twain's "Three Kinds of Lies"... Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.

    And the fact that people who have problems are FAR more vocal than satisfied customers, which is why, for example, we rarely see a post where someone complains that a sleeping bag is too warm while too cold is a monotonously recurring theme.
    There is also a bias for people to be ...lets say....not objective .....when it comes to rating their personal choices. There's a heavy bias towards people rating their own gear choices satisfactory. Or cars, etc.

    If you randomly gave an item to them to evaluate objectively, a lot more problems and dissatisfaction would be reported compared to evaluating items they personally chose for themselves after researching, etc. Especially $$$ items.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 04-23-2018 at 22:44.

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