All Packed And No Place To Go

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Life is funny sometimes. On Friday somebody else’s vacation cost ME money.

There I was sitting in my cube and minding my own business when I got an evil text message. It was from a friend and former co-worker. It was a picture of the sign at Neels Gap. I was being taunted from afar. While I was filling my lungs with likely-contaminated office building air she was enjoying the sweet smell of the outdoors and the changing of the leaves just steps from the AT.

Not one to let her have the last laugh I put her to work. I sent her in the store to spend the last of my birthday money. I’ve been wanting a new pack since the last hike. I love my Deuter, don’t get me wrong. However, I think I’m realizing that it doesn’t fit as well as I’d like. I think it’s a great weekend pack but on longer trips it starts to wear on me and not in a good way.

I’ve always read and heard good things about the packs from Ultralight Equipment. In my extremely quick stop at Walasi-Yi following my Memorial Day hike I had the chance to finally try on the Catalyst. While incredibly comfortable it seemed way too huge. I seriously think I could take the kitchen sink in it. I really don’t want to carry a 4600 cu in pack. My Deuter is right around 3900 plus a little extra with the collar. The smaller Circuit at 4200 cu in seemed to be the perfect pack.

I’d planned on waiting for November to see if ULA held a Veteran’s Day sale but opted instead to take advantage of personal delivery and had her buy it for me. I picked it up on the way home and it’s a lovely, lovely pack! I’ve only put a little weight in it so I still need to see how it is with my normal load but I’m feeling confident. I do love the numerous pockets and storage areas on the Deuter. For example, I love having a bottom section where I currently store my sleeping gear separate from everything else. I’m not sure how much I’ll like having to unpack just to get my hammock out if I want to take a break.

Like any new piece of gear I’m sure it’ll just take a little re-thinking. I’m excited about the opportunity and can’t wait to get it on the trail. Stay tuned for a forthcoming review and pics!

I also have a nice LS shirt now for hiking in cooler weather. It reads, “Hike faster! I hear banjo music!” 😀


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