My Custom ULA Circuit is here!!!! That was fast!
Well, I finished my backpack research to find the best lightweight backpack for all my future backpacking trips and I landed on the ULA Circuit. If you did not get a chance to read all my research on how I made this selection, you can get all the info here on my blog post, The Best Backpacking Backpack For Me... and possibly you in 2021. I cannot say enough about this amazing backpack. It might not be perfect... as nothing is... but it is pretty darn close!
When conducting my research I ordered a Circuit backpack from ULA to test out and decide if this was the best backpack for me. The owner, Peter, said that ordering a sample to try out is common, and if it does not work out then you just ship the sample back (in its original condition of course). Side note: Peter is awesome! He was great at answering all of my questions with super speed via email (although I am sure you could call as well). You just have to love great customer service! Although I ultimately selected the Circuit as my final choice out of all the backpacks I purchased and tested, I did not keep the one I tested because I wanted to order one of their custom backpacks. ULA was the only company that I tested a backpack from that offered fully custom backpacks, and I will say that this option greatly intrigued me. Yes, I am an interior designer by trade and I LOVE to design! Thanks ULA for giving me this option!!!
Designing a ULA backpack is super fun and very easy. Plus, it only costs $50 - $70 more to customize your backpack. I think that is a pretty great deal for something made specifically to your specifications! To start off you will want to pick out which backpack you want to design. Obviously I chose the Circuit... because it is the best! Ok, maybe not your best... but you should really check it out. After choosing your backpack, size, strap style and accessories, you will then want to head over to their ULA Pack Customization page. The first step is to pick if you want to use standard fabrics or the X-Pac fabrics. X-Pac is a waterproof fabric and costs a little more. I ended up going with their standard fabrics because they did not have the fabric I wanted in X-Pac, but that is ok. I just ended up getting a rain cover to go with it... not like it rains often in Central California, but hey, you never know. After you pick your fabric type, the page brings you to their visual customization page. This page is awesome!!!! I could play for hours on it designing amazing looking backpacks... and that is what I did. I had my kids and fiancé there to vote on which design they liked best and which designs they hated... although in the end I just chose what would make me happy. You can customize the colors of just about every section of the backpack. There are a few areas that always come in black, but for the most part, you get to choose the colors on everything. For example... right pocket, left pocket, left side, right side, bottom, top, back, shock cord, buckles... the list goes on. You can go simple with all black or go crazy with a rainbow of colors. The possibilities are endless! That being said, I really think it would be helpful if ULA photographed a lot of their custom backpacks and posted them on the custom page as a gallery. It would really help to get ideas from what others have already done.
For my backpack I went fairly neutral. I selected a mix of black and camouflage. I love camo, but I wanted to tone in down with black as well. Then, in order to brighten the backpack up, I selected a fun shock cord color. I originally picked pink, but everyone in the house shot down that idea. I also thought about lime green, yellow and a Caribbean blue. In the end I went with Caribbean blue, crossed my fingers and pressed order. Hopefully I made great choices! The next day I got an email. I suspected it was a confirmation email, but it was a shipping email! What?! That was crazy fast! It was as if they saw my order, slapped the fabric on the table, sewed it all up and then shipped it out in the same day. I actually thought maybe the email was a mistake. Their website said it would take a week or two in order to make the custom backpack, so I was not sure if it would actually show up in a few days... but it did! I was so excited to open my box and show everyone my new backpack! It was like Christmas! The camo color is perfect and I love it with the black accents. The only part I do not like is the shock cord color that I picked. The Caribbean Blue was the wrong choice. Boo! It was a lot darker than what my computer screen showed me, but I'm used to colors not looking the same in person as they do on a screen. This is why I think the photos of completed products would help. No worries though. ULA sells shock cords and it will be an easy fix to change out. I ended up ordering the yellow shock cord. Hopefully that one looks good. If not, then I'll try again with the lime green. Unfortunately it does not look like I can change out the side pocket shock cord, but I'm just going to use a sharpie and make them black. I know, I know... it seems horrible to mark up a custom backpack, but it is just a shock cord and the bad color choice was my fault. Oh well. Still super excited and happy with my backpack!
Next Tuesday we plan on heading out on the trail and I can't wait to bring this bad boy with me! The backpack I was using before had some support, but it was really limited, so I'm very excited to have more support and lots of comfort. Not to mention my little hand rings. Yes, I'm super excited about those. Yes! I will of course give an update as to how my first hike went with the new ULA Circuit. Until then, feel free to post a comment below if you have any questions about the custom process or any other questions regarding the ULA Circuit. I will try my best to answer anything you hit me with.