SEA TO SUMMIT ULTRA-SIL DAY PACK
BY KATHLEEN WATERS
November 10, 2014
kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
Canon City, Colorado, USA
5' 4" (1.60 m)
125 lb (56.70 kg)
Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado.
Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley.
My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.
|Manufacturer: Sea to Summit
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website: http://seatosummit.com
Listed Weight: 2.4 oz (68 g)
Measured Weight: 2.5 oz (71 g)
Other details: From Manufacturer
* Packs down small so it easily fits in pockets, purses or luggage
* Simple, streamlined design so it's light and low profile
* Volume is about 20 Liters
* Siliconized Cordura® for strength and durability
* Bartack reinforced stitching on all stress points
* Two-way zipper closure
* Dimensions: 19 in high/ 8 in deep/ 11 in wide (48 cm high/ 20 cm deep/ 28 cm wide)
|Pictures Courtesy of Sea to Summit
This lightweight day pack stuffs down into an interior pocket which becomes its stuff sack for transport. The sack is securely closed via a push barrel locking system on a cord. A small "Cordura" label is sewn into the outside seam. There is a snap closure tab at the top of the stuff sack to attach the sack to a pack loop. There is a two-way zipper at the top of the pack and very simple, lightweight shoulder straps. There are no interior or exterior compartments or pouches, no water bottle holders, nor is there a chest strap or waist belt.
FIELD USE AND PERFORMANCE
On a whim, I picked up this pack at a fund-raising event for the Conservation Alliance. I try to support non-profit organizations that are outdoor-related and the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack caught my eye as a "cute" piece of gear. I'm a sucker for things that are small and light!
The very first outing I undertook after that purchase was a three-day trek into the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness in the San Isabel National Forest in south central Colorado. My son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter Jillian and I were going to set-up a base camp and explore the surrounding area with a summit attempt of Mt. Harvard, one of Colorado famous 14ers (mountains topping 14,000 ft/4267 m).
|My Trail Mates at the Collegiate Peaks Trailhead
|Weekend Packs - Where are the Ultra-Sil Day Packs?
While we hiked in about 2 miles (3 km) fully loaded with 30+ lb (14 kg) of gear, having had experience with 14ers' terrain, we each brought along the Sea to Summit day pack. Did I mention I bought 4 of them? No matter, I did, so each of us had one tucked away in our packs for use on summit day. And were we all glad I did!
First off, the pack is deceptive. When released from its stuff sack, it looks sadly small and wrinkled but boy, can it hold a lot of gear! With ease, I have carried an extra pair of socks (never know when wet feet will strike), a set of base layers (gets cold on those windy peaks), a fleece mid-layer, rain/wind shell, headlamp, camera, cell phone, wallet, small binoculars, food bars and two liters of water. Oh yeah, and a ski cap and light gloves go in there, too.
|Yeah, It's small!
|Shoulder Strap Adjuster
Since the day pack doesn't have any compartments or pouches, I just sort of roll up the clothing and pack it into the open cavity in the reverse order of how I think I will need the items. I put one bottle of water on the very bottom though to help distribute the weight load and then I generally have the rain gear next unless it looks like rain. (Or course, on my very first trek, it rained!) Camera, binoculars and food bars/jerky are on top, along with one bottle of water. This creates a fairly stable load. Because there aren't any chest or waist straps, I try not to have a pack that will shift when I'm stumbling on rough terrain. A mountain goat, I'm not!
The shoulder straps of this day pack are not padded, simply 2 inch (5 cm) tapered pieces of Ultra-Sil fabric which are adjustable via narrow webbing through a plastic buckle loop. Very easy to adjust with just a pull to tighten and a tug upward to loosen. The shoulder straps are ridiculously comfortable considering the complete lack of padding! Actually, the whole pack is ridiculously comfortable, riding nicely, even fully stuffed on my back at my waist.
Initially, I was worried that the lack of a chest and/or waist belt would have me constantly dealing with slipping and sliding shoulder straps. Wasted worry! At no time on the first trip up the boulders of Mt. Columbia (we ended up on the wrong mountain, but that a whole 'nother story), nor on any of my subsequent outings did I ever give the day pack a second thought other than, "gee, I love this pack!"
|Me Slogging up Mt. Columbia
|Mt. Columbia Summit Terrain
After several months now of using the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack, I'm please to say, it has held up well with no torn seams, loose threads or the like. It has endured a lot of dirt and pine sap - I'm not the most graceful or careful hiker - and doesn't seem any worse for the wear. After a half dozen treks, I did thrown it in a pan of cold sudsy water (tech-specific wash) and now it looks brand-new. I'm expecting it to continue to get lots of use this winter. As a matter of fact, I'm sitting here watching the snow fall, salivating over plans to snowshoe tomorrow and the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack is right next to me, packed and ready to go!
Do I recommend this pack for day hiking, summit bids, and casual use? A resounding "Heck Yeah!"
1.) Ridiculously lightweight and comfortable to wear.
2.) Holds just what I need for a summit climb.
3.) Takes up very little space in my backpack.
4.) Easy to stuff back down into its stuff sack.
1.) No way to secure any sort of water bottle or bladder.
I love this pack! At first, I was just drawn to the teeny-tiny size and thought I would use it as an impromptu grocery/shopping bag but have found it to be perfect for summer day hikes and when on multi-day hikes, as a summit or round-the-base-camp pack. It's lightweight and perfectly sized for the sort of gear I need to carry on these occasions. This Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack is one of the first things I now grab for when packing up my gear and will continue to be one of my favorites!
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.
Kathleen (Kathy) Waters
Read more reviews of Sea to Summit gear
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