After a Sierra Designs meeting this morning (re updates to the High Route Tent for 2019), I swung through the Ultimate Direction area to ask about the new pack they are designing with the ridiculously fit but chronically injured Anton Krupicka. None of the Exxel Outdoors brands — notably SD, UD, Kelty, and Slumberjack — had booths at the recent Outdoor Retailer, so I didn’t get a chance to see it there.
The Ultimate Direction Scram will be available in Spring 2019 and retail for $135. The prototypes look pretty good already and it seems like the launch could be bumped up, but spring 2019 sounded firm. Key specs:
- 20 liters
- 16 oz total weight
- Two sizes: S/M and M/L
- Black with gray accent color
- 70d nylon main pack body fabric, with 200d x 120d bottom
- 1 exterior pocket, on the top lid flap
The Scram goes head-to-head against the Black Diamond Blitz 20. UD offers shoulder strap pockets, a compression-molded back panel, a ski carrying system, and a rear cinch cord for compression and utility. But the Blitz is $55 less and is made of more durable fabric.
The Scram does not retain the “vest” design from Anton’s other pack, the Ultimate Direction AK Mountain Vest. Instead, it looks like a more traditional “stuff sack with shoulder straps,” although it’s more sophisticated than that.
The back panel is made of firm compression-molded foam, which will help to blunt the pressure of hard-sided contents packed inside (e.g. a climbing rack).
The shoulder straps are wide and padded, and there is a pocket on both. One is designed for a water bottle, and the other can be zipped shut.
The hip belt appears to be 30-mm webbing, and it’s fully removable.
The pack bottom is made with a more durable unbranded 200d x 120d nylon that has a “a crazy tear strength.”
The main pack body is made of a lightweight 70d nylon. For a pack designed for playing in rocky environments, I fear this is “stupid light.” Presumably Anton is using the pack regularly and will find weaknesses in it, but at least intuitively I would prefer that the pack be made entirely of something heavier, like the bottom fabric. On a 20-liter pack, this fabric substitution would probably add only a half-ounce. To their credit, UD has protected some of the 70d fabric with printed graphics, which essentially acts like a coating.
The pack body is made of 70d nylon; the bottom, out of more durable 210d.
Two ice axes can be attached to the Scram. The upper shaft is held in place with a conventional Velcro loop. The lower attachment point is more unique: it’s a magnetic closure that opens easily when pinched, but otherwise is very secure. The ice axes can be accessed without taking the pack off.
The Scram can carry a pair of lightweight skis, using an attachment system similar to that on the Ultimate Direction SkiMo 8 Pack.
A bungee cord on the rear of the pack double as compression and utility.
Finally, the removable top lid strap has two possible anchor points: at the top of the shoulder straps, for normal loads; and at the lower lip of the top strap, for when the lid can’t wrap around an oversized load or climbing rope.
Questions about the Ultimate Direction Scram? Leave a comment. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll get it from UD.
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