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Erin McKittrick

Hey Roman,

Neat to just use one of the orange drybags for the pack.

One thing I've always wondered though, about the "one-big-drybag" systems... What do you do if you get some stuff wet?

For example: tarps, outer clothing layers, rafts (though I know you don't have them this time), etc... are all things that get wet in the course of normal use.

Once they're wet, and you're stuffing them in the one drybag with the rest of your gear, how do you keep from getting the sleeping bag, dry clothing, etc... in there wet as well?

Roman Dial

Good question, Erin -- what I do is not put anything wet in the dry bag, ever. Wet stuff goes between the mesh and the dry bag or under the straps and over the dry bag. Raft goes on top, wet clothes outside. I am very meticulous about keeping stuff dry. We will likely use another little 15 L dry bag to put our sleep quilt/socks in inside the dry bag.

When packraftin' con bushwackin', inevitably the big outer dry bag gets damp inside and so I have an extra mini dry bag inside for the sleep gear.

Sometimes I look like a walking yard sale with crap all hanging out to dry, but the straps and mesh make it convenient. But wet stuff is heavy stuff and by hanging it out to drain and dry I can lighten my load.



Seems odd to put 4+# of water 8+" from your back. Why not have side bottle holders? Though, I'm not sure you ever need to carry 2L on your trip. Maybe you plan to hang bottles from your shoulderstraps? And you placed bottles in the photo to display the pockets, not to show a particular load configuration?


Yes, Tony, that would be an awkward load. The photo was demonstrating that water could be put on either side (or both). That being said, most all of us have had to "hang", so to speak, a liter off the back of our pack at one time or another, even though side placement is much more efficient.

On most trips in Alaska (which is where 90% of my experience is, hence my quirky traveling style), water is everywhere. I rarely carry it farther than the distance from creek to camp, preferring instead to keep my water bottle handy (as in the photo) but empty. Then I gulp up to 3/4 or a full liter at a creek when convenient or thirsty.

Now, on this particular trip where we will spend full days hiking long, dry ridges, I will have to carry water. In this case, I will likely have up to two liters strapped high on the pack (maybe inside, maybe outside of the dry bag, depending on leakage and condensation) and a third liter handy (but, yes, heavy with torque) in the pocket as seem in the photo.

The original design requirements suggested a series of three pockets that wrapped all the way around the pack, simialr to Saloman adventure racing packs, but that didn't make the final design.


Tim Mayne

You guys are nuts!

Do your wives know what you're up to?!

Good luck. I look forward to following your progress.

(Roman's ex-brother in law. Or did you make an honest woman out of her again?)

Bill Fornshell

Your pick of the Pneumo Dry Bag was a good one. I have two of the same type bags you are using. I have the 50L and the 15L. The bags work really nice - except - the listed weight on both of mine are 24.5 grams and 23.5 grams HEAVIER than listed. With an ounce being 28.35 grams this makes both bags almost 1 ounce over the listed weight.

I don't agree much with the pack design. It looks like something that stopped at the "first draft" stage and with a little more real thought might have been turned into a real good idea. It seems to put all your "eggs" in one basket. A larger mesh pocket across the back and maybe on the sides would have given you a place for the things that get wet. I understand a goal of having everything inside the bag. Do you just asumed that everything will get wet and that your body heat might dry things during the day or at night? Seems a larger risk than necessary.

Maybe things will change between now and the 11th.

Gil Aegerter

It's been interesting watching the debate at various forums over gear choices and philosophy. A couple of questions: Did you hold back on the amount of mesh to reduce snagging? And about the intersection between harness/"frame" and the dry bag: Are the side straps the only things connecting the dry bag to the harness or is there other support that's not visible?

I'm so looking forward to your posts from the field. Good luck!

Gil Aegerter

Never mind on the second question. Now I see that the mesh bag is part of a tongue that wraps up from the harness. Seems like a good idea. Any issues of chafe on the bag?

Roman Dial

I, too, would like the mesh to be a full wrap -- the woman who makes the Alpacka Raft, Sheri Tingey, has a really cool full mesh design that I have longed after for years (she's made several for her family); however, the design pictured above is a bit lighter.

As for snagging, the Brooks Range to my experience is the best wilderness travel in the world because there is so little brush. Bushwacking is almost a misnomer there, as we rarely have to whack any more than thin (as in density, not necessarily diameter) willows along rivers and creeks. We will only pass through spruce (and again these will be thin) at the end -- assuming we get past the 500 mile mark.

Backpacks, shoes & socks, and underwear bottoms are the most crucial pieces of gear for travel that's long and fast. Blisters, chafing, and a painful load are what result for me from wrong choices in those departments. So the shoes, socks, and pack I am using are updated versions of what I have found to be comfortable for me in the past. Nevertheless I have not tried that many backpacks, shoes or socks, so I am not as experienced in gear varieties as Ryan or probably you for instance.

I tend to find something that I like and keep using it -- I am very conservative that way!

John Pugh

Excellent choice on the drybag. We used Pacific Outdoor Equiptment drybags on our 2,150 mile canoe trip down the Mississippi River last summer. Zero problems, zero leakage.

We use a similar system to yours when backpacking using 2 homemade packs. Simplicity in motion is the only way to go.

-John Pugh


I've had a number of queries in regard to the availability of the ULA Artic Dry Pack and its potential as a future ULA product. At this point I am considering doing a small manufacturing run of the pack as a 'special edition' to get packs to those folks that are interested. If you are, please feel free to e-mail me and I will get your name on the list and keep you posted. Thanks!

david cheatham

cool pack would like info on that harness system and actually the full pack..thanks dave

Joseph DaLuz

Sorry if this is a redundant question, but has ULA made plans for making a production run on the pack harness/drybag system yet? I couldn't find any information on their site regarding this.

Ralph Netta

I'd be very interested in buying one of your ULA Artic Dry Packs


Looks very cool - is there a way to retrofit my granitegear with those mesh hip pockets?

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What is Arctic 1000?

    In June 2006, adventurers Roman Dial, Ryan Jordan, and Jason Geck will attempt the first unsupported trekking traverse of America's most remote wilderness - Alaska's western North Slope and Brooks Range - a distance of 1,000 km (600 miles).
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