With a short trip to Colorado in my back pocket, the time has come to actually accumulate gear for this huge challenge. This has been, without doubt, one of the more exciting elements of the preparation. The tangible nature of the results when purchasing equipment (or, when we’re lucky enough, having a wonderful company donate or subsidise the goods) just brings it all home that this is happening, it’s time to put your hiking hat on.
One of the biggest gear decisions has been the backpack. It’s an essential bit of kit that we’ll be relying on for the length of the trail, not only do I not have enough pockets to complete the trail without one, it’s a fashion statement, it’s all about making a good impression on those hikers coming up behind you.
To get one’s juices flowing, Chris from ULA has unfurled his moral fibres by offering discounts and free upgrades for the Quetzaltrekkers team on his Catalyst pack, the workhorse of the bunch. We’ve heard great things about many great packs, but ULA seems to draw in plaudits from all corners. And apart from Henley “Ladypants” Phillips, we’re big fans of being able to carry a little extra and just putting the effort in. ULA packs are known for their low weight, durability and comfort, we’ve just gone for the largest items in the range.
“The Catalyst remains the tried and true workhorse of the ULA Pack line. Ready to carry loads of up to 40 pounds, haul a bear canister, or easily carry your fishing, climbing or photo gear.”
With 3 of us having gone for the same pack, we can only stamp our individuality through the simple designs and colour options ULA offer. Grace, who obviously intends to go a touch rambo on the trail, opted for the camo (although let’s hope she flashes some orange). Dan went for the olive pack with the hybrid cuben upgrade, hoping that it has the power to stop bullets. While Elie (who currently does not know she has a new pack), has gone all show tunes on us with “Purple Blaze”, I’m actually slightly jealous.
Once we get these puppies out on the trail and get some miles under our belts, we’ll plop a few reviews on here and let you know how the packs fare. Until that time, thank you to everyone at ULA and to Chris’ professionalism and generosity to the cause. I must admit though, I still don’t understand the umlaut.