Good questions J.D. (I’m ready for ya update)


My friend J.D. had a good question so I decided to add my thoughts on the pack change/addition.

First the reason I believe its going to work. My current pack, ULA Circuit, fits all my winter gear easily with room to spare. That gear should get me to zero, maybe below. Still waiting to confirm that. Last year I used 3 season TQ/BQ in the teens with additional clothing for nights. This year I have overstuffed TQ/BQ’s & plan on taking the same clothing. I may add a couple  items if needed, but that depends on my testing results. So onto the pack breakdowns, volumes taken from manufactures web sites.

ULA Circuit. (Cubic Inches)
Main Body – 2400
Front Mesh Pocket – 400
Side Pockets – 350
Extension Collar – 500
Hip Belt Pockets – 100
Total 4200 cu. in.

ZPacks Exo (Cubic Inches)
Main Body – 2200
Front Mesh Pocket – 550
Side Pockets – 250
*Zippered Belt Pouches – 61 ea
*Shoulder Pouch – 30
*Multi-Pack – 215
Total roughly up to 3367 cu. in.
*Options added

By using the ZPacks I loose around 833 cu. in. The 500 cu. in. of the extension collar on the ULA I have never used, and I’m not sure how Joe @ ZPacks is using the extension collar in his volume breakdowns. I’m also not sure where this starts, 4 rolls, 3 rolls? I usually don’t have enough volume to fill the Circuit anyway let alone the ext. collar.

Weights
ULA Circuit – 36 oz. (2.25 lbs.)
ZPacks Exo – 17.1 oz. (1.06 lbs.)
Difference 18.9 oz. (1.18 lbs)

The weight of my Circuit is after I have modded a couple things & weighed. It is a Large torso & Medium belt. Since I don’t have the Exo pack yet I used the weights listed on the web site. I included all options as if I was carrying a full setup. Here is the cool thing, flexibility. With the Exo I could strip it down for summer use & get all the way down to 10.4 oz. I can add pouches as needed also, so if I don’t need two hip belt pockets I could use one, or none.

With all that, its still a guess as I don’t have the Exo pack yet and things could change. I may find out I want to carry a few more just in case items for cold weather. If that’s the case, I’ll use the Circuit, which I’m never getting rid of, I love that pack. If I need even more I have a frame pack I use for hunting that I could load down with allot of stuff. But as of right now, I have not used the Circuits full capacity in awhile. Just about every two or three times out I find something I don’t need or change something that reduces volume used. Sometimes less volume equals a little more weight, sometimes less weight, but you get the idea. I’m also a warm sleeper, I like being warm while sleeping, but cannot sleep when hot, and so far the winter quilts have proven to be hot down to 28 deg. for me. By the way, I have a Long Hammock Gear Winter Burrow TQ w/+3oz. of down & sewn footbox. The bottom quilt is a Warbonnet Winter Yeti w/+2oz. of added down.

While I’m on a roll here I might as well get into my winter insulation that I have used in the past and know will get me to the lower teens, maybe lower, without quilts or protection. My clothing I have used in the past for archery hunting. I have set in a tree stand in below freezing weather from before sunrise to well after dark. That’s setting still without walking or much movement. After years of experimenting with layering different insulation & clothing, I think I have finally found what works for me with minimal bulk & weight. Setting in a tree stand in cold temps you get stiff if your not at least warm, and drawing a bow straight back without much movement that is set at 68 pounds is hard if you are stiff & cold. Bulk is also a problem as you don’t wont to be so bundled up that you cant move or your clothing interferes with the whole mechanical aspects of drawing, anchoring, & release. The clothing I currently use & expect to be in my pack while hiking would weigh around 4-5 pounds. That could change depending on how cold it is while hiking & how warm I am.

One last note on the clothing, the outer layer. My hunting clothing I have is not insulated but is wind breaker type. So for my hiking the outer layer changes. I’m planing on using my REI Revelcloud jacket which is Primaloft and is very good at keeping wind from robing heat. I’m also planing on using my Dry Ducks top & bottom as an additional wind break. I also have a larger down jacket that I could take if I think it’s needed. If I take it, I may dump the REI jacket & use the heavy down jacket along with the Dry Ducks top. Either way the weight & bulk stays about the same. Fully clothed for the coldest temps I would be in 4 layers including the Dry Ducks rain gear as the outer layer.

That’s it, over & out for now. I’m hoping to do a review of the ZPacks pack when it comes in. I need to do a video of all my winter gear in the Circuit & how it is packed. Hmmm…

Thanks J.D. for bringing this up. It helped me put everything from my thoughts onto paper, well, not paper but a server somewhere.

4 Responses to “Good questions J.D. (I’m ready for ya update)”

  1. You are just too darned organized! When you said: “Just about every two or three times out I find something I don’t need or change something..” I just snickered ’cause I do that with EVERY trip……

    Love your breakdown on the packs!

    • Must be. Oh-No is always wondering how me and SweetbabyD get all our stuff packed down so small. Maybe SBD & I should have a packing class on our next get together. 🙂

      Thanks J.D. I’m glad you asked the question about volume. I had it somewhat all in my head how it was going to work out, but having it in front of me now I can see it should work fine. We shall see.

      • J.D you are so right – BC is darned organized!
        i wanted to give you an update on packing my bulky winter gear. i have a War Bonnet TQ and Hammock Gear (2lb!) winter zero Incubator UQ (got some extra down added) in the ULA Circuit.
        i don’t put my down gear in stuff sacks, rather just stuff stuff stuff it in my pack. well, with the roll top of the pack (something i’m not a fan of) my pack is so full i can just about close it with no food! there’s not a lot inside my pack – hammock, tarp, big quilts,
        and winter clothes. staying warm sure is PUFFY!
        with that said, i’m going to pack my Z-Packs pack with the same gear, and see if it gives me a it more leeway. it has a draw-string top, something i like a lot more than the roll-down. i wonder what the reasoning of that was? maybe there is an advantage i haven’t discovered yet. i must admit, my Z-Packs pack is my favorite!
        back to re-packing! 😉

      • SBD, you may have me beat. Your pack is always smaller & well organized. I pack my quilts the same as you, just stuff them down in the pack w/no stuff sacks. I like the idea of a drawcord closure on top, looks as though my new pack will have the same roll top design that my Circuit has. I have a couple different ideas on the way I plan on packing it though. Can’t wait to get it just to pack it up a few times.

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