I have mentioned the new, forthcoming, range of packs from Six Moon Designs a few times since the summer. Well, the first showing of the packs has now appeared on the Six Moons site.
There are two variations of the Fast and Light range. The smaller pack, the Flight 30, is aimed at SUL hikers or tail runners. I’m more interested in the larger Flight 44 — a minimum of 44 litres that should be quite useful for hikes here.
These packs have been jointly designed and produced by Ron Moak from Six Moons and Brian Frankle. Brian was the founder of ULA who built a well-deserved reputation as a designer of fine, lightweight, backpacking packs. Brian sold out at ULA some ago and I guess is now in the position to go back into the business.
There are two innovations in the Flight 44 that interest me. The first is their new ‘Vest Harness’ system which holds the pack at three points, bottom, side and top. IT is claimed that this system transfers weight more effectively to the hip belt and that it eliminates bounce as you move. The packs should be more firm than many lightweight packs. The packs are also claimed to be leaner than similar packs which cuts down on arm constraint as you walk.
I was hoping that the larger pack would utilise the lightweight ellipse system that Brian used at ULA. This system provides a lot of stiffening and support without much of a weight penalty. Well, the ellipse is back in the bigger of the packs and should, wit the other features, help make this a top performing pack. The hip belt design is also new but I need a bit of time to get my head around this.
The 44 weighs just under 900 grams although it can be stripped down to 500 grams. My current pack of choice — the MLD Exodus — weighs 500 grams but that goes up to 600 grams when I add some back stiffening and support. The extra 300 grams of this new pack might not be that much of an issue if it is a more comfortable carry. In stripped down mode the carry weight for the pack is 9 kilograms and with the elliptical stay we are talking about a carry weight of 13 or so kilograms, which is pretty respectable if you think about a TGO Challenge load. The fully rated pack has been tested successfully with weights up to 18 kilograms, so this will fit right into my backpacking profile. The only thing I would want to know more about is the volume capacity of the pack — in other words how easy is it to pack to stuff into it!
Of the pack in general, Ron says:
A Delron hoop stay inside the pack bag, provides enough support to enable load transfer with minimum weight. Instead of running the out to the corners of the pack. The bottom of the stay is directed back to a junction to the center of the pack. This junction provides a direct connection between the stay and the hip belt. Typically with ultralight packs, the stays and hip belt are separated by several inches of fabric. The result is that when weight is applied to the stay, the pack sags.
With the Flight 40, all of the downward force from the stay is transferred directly to the hip belt. With a rigid hip belt and stay, the load radiates out over a large surface area eliminating pressure points. The end result is a significantly more comfortable carry at heavier loads.
I shall be watching these packs keenly.
You can read more about the Flight packs at: