ULA Catalyst

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oldhikerQ
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ULA Catalyst

Post by oldhikerQ » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:12 pm

Hello, all.
Does anyone out there carry a ULA Catalyst?
If so, what are your thoughts about it?


Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost






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bobby49
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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by bobby49 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:04 pm

A friend has one. I guess it is OK if you want a backpack that heavy. It weighs three times as much as what I use.

Otherwise, it seems well-built.

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oldhikerQ
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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by oldhikerQ » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:59 am

Thanks. I'm old enough that my back needs some kind of frame to support my load. Plus, the Catalyst is about 2.5 pounds lighter than my current Osprey. Curious now, what pack do you use that weighs just 1 pound?
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost

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robow8
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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by robow8 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:50 am

I have one. I like it; I think it carries well. There isn't any back ventilation, so it gets warm, but I'm okay with that. I'm usually out with my wife, so I carry more of the gear and the bigger bearcan. She has a Circuit and she likes it.

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oldhikerQ
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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by oldhikerQ » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:36 am

Thanks robow8.
How much weight do you normally carry? Do you carry a bear can? If so, what kind and does it fit horizontally or vertically?
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost

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robow8
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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by robow8 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:31 am

Too much weight. I've had 45 pounds in it and it was okay. I have a Bearikade Weekender that I carry horizontally.

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Flamingo
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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by Flamingo » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:57 am

Hey @oldhikerQ -- I carried a ULA Catalyst on my 2015 Continental Divide Thru-Hike, and I LOVED it. I cannot say enough good things about this pack... the frame is very comfortable, the pocket placement is thoughtful, and the pack is surprisingly durable.

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TurboHike
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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by TurboHike » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:42 pm

I've been using a Circuit. I like it now, but not at first. The Circuit has one aluminum stay, the Catalyst has two I believe. You might need to bend the stays to get the pack to fit. For the Circuit it took me quite a few iterations to get the stay bent to fit my back. I would load the pack with 25 lbs, walk on my treadmill for 30 minutes, detect a hot spot on my back where a blister was forming, stop, unload the pack, bend the stay, rinse, repeat. I did this on and off for two weeks before I dialed in a comfortable fit. I almost returned the pack, but I kept at it and got it to fit. Now I love the pack, but it was frustrating. The good folks at ULA were helpful, but there is only so much that can be done over the phone or via e-mail, even with photos that I sent.

If the Catalyst doesn't fit right out of the box, you'd need to bend both stays. Just mentioning this. Good luck.

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oldhikerQ
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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by oldhikerQ » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:27 pm

Thank you for the feedback, everyone.
If i can't work out some issues with my Osprey, the ULA is on my short list.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost

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kpeter
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Re: ULA Catalyst

Post by kpeter » Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:40 pm

For several years I have been trying to find an adequate replacement for my Golite Odyssey, which is no longer made, and mine is currently held together with nylon tape. After this year, lots and lots of nylon tape! The ULS Catalyst looks on paper to be the closest I can come. I like taking lightweight but bulky things that do not pack down well, so the large capacity of the Odyssey has been terrific for me.

Golite Odyssey 5800 cu inches 95 liters 3.5 pounds rated for 40 pounds, now discontinued.
ULA Catalyst 4600 cu inches 75 liters 3.0 pounds rated for 40 pounds

The Catalyst is smaller, but the only packs with the same volume as my old Odyssey weigh over 5 pounds, especially now that the Osprey Aether Pro just was discontinued.

A few questions about the Catalyst for those who have used it.

1) Could a rolled up tent fit in a side pocket, standing vertically, maybe anchored with a compression strap? At least, the poles? If so, that would free up internal volume available in the the pack and make it more or less equivalent to my Odyssey.

2) The ULA Catalyst website has a video of them putting a BV500 in the pack horizontally, which is my minimum criteria for any pack. But is the padding good enough to prevent the bear can from ramming through into your back if it is stored horizontally? FItting it in, and making it comfortable, could be two different things.

3) ULA also sells pouches to attach to the straps to give a little more exterior pocket room. Anyone try them? I've bought such things in the past for another pack and they never worked very well. But I hate giving up so much exterior pocket space (the Odyssey had one huge back pocket where I carried everything I needed during the hike.)

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