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New SMD Pack
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Mark Larson
(mlarson) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
New SMD Pack on 10/16/2005 06:35:48 MDT Print View

Six Moon Designs has a couple of prototype photos and description of a forthcoming pack. Panel-loading, top lid, side and hipbelt pockets, and more. 3000ci, 12oz, looks promising.


Six Moon Designs Essence Pack

Edited by mlarson on 10/16/2005 06:37:15 MDT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
New SMD Pack on 10/16/2005 09:00:26 MDT Print View

Verrrrry interesting. Looks promising. I would wonder if they will have a pad pocket (maybe even like Gossamer Gear) and add two carbon Fiber stays. The weight and cubic inches look attractive. Thanks.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
SMD pack--maybe I'll feel better towards it after my coffee on 10/16/2005 09:23:33 MDT Print View

It is potentially an interesting pack but for the fact that it doesn't have a frame, is panel loading ( I save that feature for my luggage) and I think the claimed comfort capacity of 30 # is probably a little overboard.

For perspective-- as little as 2 1/2 oz. more gets you a GG Mariposa ---I think a more versatile pack.

The belt pockets are nice.
See, the coffee is beginning to work...

Edited by kdesign on 10/16/2005 10:29:20 MDT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
SMD Pack on 10/16/2005 11:50:30 MDT Print View

Yep and I also agree that for a few ounces more you get a Mariposa. I think all pack should have hip pockets ala the ULA packs.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: SMD Pack on 10/16/2005 13:30:39 MDT Print View

Neat looking pack... one thought tho'... no extention collar for cases when you have to load up on food for a week or so.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: New SMD Pack on 10/16/2005 14:41:35 MDT Print View

I find the dual "recommended load limitations" quite confusing:

Base weight - 12 lbs or less
Max weight - 30 lbs or less

Why such a large difference? Assuming the pack can carry 30 lbs. resonably well, why even mention the 12 lbs base weight limitation?

Say I have 12 lbs base weight. Does this mean I can carry up to 18 lbs of food but NOT 10 lbs of food and 8 more lbs of gear???

Edited by ben2world on 10/16/2005 14:45:18 MDT.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: SMD Pack on 10/17/2005 00:36:48 MDT Print View

>>"neat...no extension collar"

my first two initial thoughts also. i guess sick...er...i mean, great minds think alike. just kidding, David. i know that the "sick" designation doesn't apply to you.

normal for panel loaders. in part, top pocket can perform a small amount of the function of the extension collar.

from the looks of one pic, it looks like the drawcord closing the panel opening (and then covered by the top pocket's integral flap, may provide a small amount of "expansion", so to speak, esp. w/4 adj. compression straps holding the flap in place over the opening.

it might have been "neat" if the a webbing front pocket was integrated into the system instead of just a bungee over the back panel. it might work as follows, those four compression straps might have also permit the "fall away" webbing pocket to be secured over the top of the "panel". Kelty implements a "fall away" combo zipped webbing pocket/shovel pocket on their Storm top-loading pack - four compression straps with side-release buckles hold it in place. of course, it would add a little wt. however, i really like the large webbing pocket on my G5. miss it on my G6.

also, i would have preferred an outside pad pocket on the EssencePack - similar to all of the GG packs and the SMD StarLite pack. this also frees up volume inside of the pack. 2000 cu in is not very large. not sure if the pad storage is part of that 2000 cu in or if the 2K is exclusive of the volume of the pad pocket.

Edited by pj on 10/17/2005 10:55:08 MDT.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: New SMD Pack on 10/17/2005 00:44:39 MDT Print View

good point Ben. what i thought earlier when i read this, was that Mr. Moak is giving us an idea of how much food/water we can load into the pack, so that we know how long a trek it might be appropriate for. not sure if that was what he was thinking. you're right, it is a big diff. in wt.

lots of outside organizational ability, including the top pocket. think that i might be able to fit nearly all of my gear in the pockets, incl. top pocket, leaving the interior for sleep/shelter, pad, and food.

Ron Moak
(rmoak) - F
Six Moon Designs - Essence Pack on 10/17/2005 09:47:57 MDT Print View

Thanks for the interesting comments on the new Essence Pack. I’ll try to wrap all my responses in this note.

Like the Mariposa (a fine pack), the Essence does have a pad pocket or pad restraints. However, I’ve chosen to place the pad inside of the pack. While this does make it more difficult to get to the pad, the pad can be held more rigid. This allows for a better load transfer and eliminates the need for stays.

Outside pad pockets do allow for easy access to the pad. However, unless the pad is fully enclosed, as with the Starlite Pack, the effectiveness of the load distribution diminishes as more weight is applied. This allows the weight to fall back on the shoulders. Boxing in the pad reinforces the pad’s rigidity and enhances the load carry.

As to how much weight will be comfortable to carry will depend upon a number of factors. The effectiveness of virtual frames to do weight transfer depends significantly on the type of pad. The best is a solid closed cell foam pad that’s cut into sections then rejoined to form a larger flat z-rest. This type of pad offers significant load carrying capacity with the least weight.

The most popular virtual frame is the egg shell Z-Rest or similar pad. This is followed by any number of inflatable pads. With a solid pad, such as described above, the Essence should be able to manage a 30 pound load.

As to Ben’s comments about differentiation in load weight limits, this is something I’ve done for a reason. Though I do realize that anything new can be confusing. When ultralight packs first appeared on the scene their inherent designs limited the weight carrying capacity. As such the weight capacity and construction materials were more closely aligned.

In the past few years, we’ve pushed the weight carry capacities of ultralight packs using the same or lighter materials. While you can carry more weight comfortably, the added weight does place and added stress on the pack and can reduce its service life.

This is why I refer to max or peak weights in my packs. It is the maximum weight you should be able to carry comfortably. The Base Weight is the target weight your gear should be if you wish to consider carrying this pack. This weight will provide you the best carry and durability mix.

As to an Extension Collar, the Essence pack does have one and it will allow for additional storage. However, since the load orientation has switched 90 degrees, it’ll change how you use the extension. On longer journeys with heavier food carries, you’ll need to position the food lower in your pack (close to the back). Light gear such as rain gear, jackets, etc can be stored in the extension collar without affecting the overall balance of the pack.

There also appears to be some confusion as to the compression system and its potential effectiveness’. The Essence Pack employs a two tiered system. The Weather flap is tethered to the body by 5 clips (only three needed to be unclipped to get into the pack). The flap may expand or compress as needed depending upon pack contents.

The second tier is comprised of two horizontal compression straps (the cord compression on the photo has been changed) that run across the top of the weather flap and tie into the flap clips. These allow bulky items to be secured outside of the pack or to compress the overall pack.

The last thing is the Essence pack is designed to be both ultralight and durable. I want it to survive a 4 to 6 month thru-hike without being overly babied. I hope the Essence provides a unique mixture of weight, durability, comfort and usability.

Ron

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Six Moons Essence--reappraisel post thoroughly coffee'd up on 10/17/2005 16:28:47 MDT Print View

OK,OK---it's a clever pack. I admit it. For a pack this light to have such a full suspension system, is an achievement.
A drawstring closed panel loader---I can live with that, I think--- I would want to be careful opening it up in some high, narrow place.
It looks awfully wide---maybe it's just the pictures. I like ultralight packs , in particular, to be taller and narrower, to avoid snagging. MLD is very good in his super UL pack designs to implement this.
Finally, a lightweight frame option, a la Gossamer Gear Mariposa would be nice to help insure support and more efficient load transfer at the upper end of it's load rating.

I'm sure, though, that Mr. Moak will continue to refine the design before release.

My hat's off to a fellow Oregonian for instigating a very cool design.

P.S. make it lighter.

Edited by kdesign on 10/17/2005 16:36:32 MDT.

Ron Moak
(rmoak) - F
Re: Six Moons Essence--reappraisel post thoroughly coffee'd up on 10/18/2005 09:30:23 MDT Print View

Kevin,

The prototype photo isn't an especially good one in terms of providing a proper perspective. The final photos will be much better. In any case the dimensions of the Essence are roughly 11” Wide X 24” Tall X 9” Deep. This puts it inline with many ultralight packs.

As to the Stays vs. No Stays, the pad restraints of the Essence will make the pack ride similar to the Starlite. That pack was “independently” rated at 35 pounds and is still maintains the greatest weight carry for a frameless pack.

Ron

Ron Moak
(rmoak) - F
Re: Six Moons Essence--reappraisel post thoroughly coffee'd up on 10/18/2005 10:25:31 MDT Print View

Kevin,

The prototype photo isn't an especially good one in terms of providing a proper perspective. The final photos will be much better. In any case the dimensions of the Essence are roughly 11” Wide X 24” Tall X 9” Deep. This puts it inline with many ultralight packs.

As to the Stays vs. No Stays, the pad restraints of the Essence will make the pack ride similar to the Starlite. That pack was “independently” rated at 35 pounds and is still maintains the greatest weight carry for a frameless pack.

Ron

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Essence on 10/18/2005 14:06:55 MDT Print View

Thanks, Ron. Understood. Good to see dimensions.
Will it come in multiple sizes, seeing as this is your 1st pack (I think) that doesn't have an adjustable (to torso length) suspension?
and can you make it any lighter, please?

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Six Moons Essence--reappraisel post thoroughly coffee'd up on 10/19/2005 04:17:44 MDT Print View

Mr. Moak,

must confess. always liked panel loaders. but then, that was when i carried more gear. now that i'm UL, i see a little less need for them.

however, having said that, ...

when do they go on sale? the line starts right here (that's behind me). i want to be the first kid on my block with one.

still would like a larger mesh "fall away" pocket (sewn at bottom and a few inches up each side from the bottom) over the panel flap held in place at the upper sides and top corners by those four (of the five) compression straps - but, NOT at more weight. (so, i guess i ans. my own ques. - no front mesh pocket!) guess, that large/tall side mesh pocket will do just fine for drying some things out, right?

is the drawcord closure going to be in the final product? looks like a fine way to close 'er up to me.

was hoping that the bungee (2nd Tier compression) was going to stay. at least, lacking a front mesh pocket, a poncho-tarp could be stowed there - both for use and for drying.

understand your point on pad pocket location. however, given the smaller volume of the pack (both interior & total), do you really think that someone will be hauling 30lbs? guess, maybe in the arid SW if 6L or 8L of water must be carried. or, if 7-10 day no resupply is envisioned. is this what you were thinking? can that much food and/or water fit in the pack's volume - together with approx. 5-11lb of gear for a 12lb base pack wt? and then 18lb of food and water to bring it up to the 30lb.

Edited by pj on 10/19/2005 04:33:07 MDT.

Ron Moak
(rmoak) - F
Ultralight Packs on 10/19/2005 10:59:14 MDT Print View

Kevin >> Will it come in multiple sizes, seeing as this is your 1st pack (I think) that doesn't have an adjustable (to torso length) suspension? <<

The initial batch of packs will probably be all the same size. If I elect to do sizing, the difference will be in the placement of the shoulder straps. The pack itself will remain the same.

>> and can you make it any lighter, please? <<

First is there a need to make it lighter? There is a diminishing return on the value of weight reduction in packs as they approach zero weight. An eight ounce pack won’t get you somewhere faster or allow you to hike longer than a twelve or sixteen ounce pack.

We drop our pack weight to increase our freedom of hiking. An eight pound pack provides significantly more freedom than a thirty pound pack. However, as we decrease our pack weight to the barest minimum we start shifting our burdens from weight to the added responsibility of equipment care. I hike to enjoy myself not to worry every time I stop if my pack will implode if I pick it up or set it down.

Can I make a four or eight ounce pack? Sure, but why not completely eliminate the pack all together. There’s no law saying a pack is required for entering the backcountry. I can just as easily (and more interestingly) devise a kit that completely eliminates the pack. If I’m only carrying 6 to 8 pounds (including food and water) why do I need a pack at all?

Paul >> must confess. always liked panel loaders. but then, that was when i carried more gear. now that i'm UL, i see a little less need for them. <<

The goal wasn’t to create a panel loading pack. That came as a byproduct of the decision to go back to having a Top Lid. It turned out, much to my surprise, that the panel loading feature has created the most excitement by thru-hikers who’ve seen it in person. Many of the thru-hikers that have seen the pack have completed their Triple Crowns and have thousands of additional trail miles to boot.

>> when do they go on sale? the line starts right here (that's behind me). <<

Hopefully sometime in January.

>> understand your point on pad pocket location. however, given the smaller volume of the pack (both interior & total), do you really think that someone will be hauling 30lbs? guess, maybe in the arid SW if 6L or 8L of water must be carried. or, if 7-10 day no resupply is envisioned. is this what you were thinking?<<

Yes, thru-hikers occasionally push their pack weights such as long waterless stretches or 7 to 8 day re-supplies. Still on my PCT thru-hike or CDT hikes I don’t recall ever carrying more than 25 to 30 pounds. Fortunately water, while heavy, is dense and is consumed rather rapidly. So you can push beyond the 30 pounds and be back well under it in a few hours.

>> can that much food and/or water fit in the pack's volume - together with approx. 5-11lb of gear for a 12lb base pack wt? and then 18lb of food and water to bring it up to the 30lb. <<

It will take some creative packing, however I’ve seen numerous thru-hikers carrying smaller volume packs with less weight carrying capacity. I’ve seen people walk out of Kennedy Meadows or through desert sections with 40 pounds in their G4’s or Breeze packs. I wouldn’t but some do and survive quite nicely. I’ve also had someone load 50 pounds into the Starlite to do the JMT. Again that’s not my cup of tea.

Ron

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Essence of Ron on 10/19/2005 11:14:36 MDT Print View

If you can make the pack to fit a 22- 23" torso, I'd be mighty pleased.

By making it lighter, I'm wondering if you considered using a spinnaker fabric for non-high wear areas. I think you could knock off a couple more ounces or more off the pack and have it retain
it's basic functions and premises. I understand if you don't use such light materials if it would compromise your warranty policies.
I just would like to see this pack's weight differentiated a bit more from other packs like the Mariposa. I do count my ounces, call me obsessive.

Anyway, my two centimes.

Edited by kdesign on 10/19/2005 11:15:57 MDT.

J R
(RavenUL) - F
Re: Ultralight Packs on 10/19/2005 11:42:28 MDT Print View

First is there a need to make it lighter? There is a diminishing return on the value of weight reduction in packs as they approach zero weight. An eight ounce pack won’t get you somewhere faster or allow you to hike longer than a twelve or sixteen ounce pack.

We drop our pack weight to increase our freedom of hiking. An eight pound pack provides significantly more freedom than a thirty pound pack. However, as we decrease our pack weight to the barest minimum we start shifting our burdens from weight to the added responsibility of equipment care. I hike to enjoy myself not to worry every time I stop if my pack will implode if I pick it up or set it down.


My feelings and sentiments exactly.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
UL packs--diminishing returns in pursuit of lightness? on 10/19/2005 12:06:31 MDT Print View

Warning--- Aesthetic Theory discussion ahead.

From a purely utilitarian perspective, Joe and Ron, your comments have a certain validity. Fom an aesthetic point of view, well, it is possible to distill things to essences and still wind up with highly functional design. In my work as a furniture and interior designer, I pare down everything that is not necessary to end up with an object or environment of beauty--that ideally also has achieved durability and utility. This is an elegance perfected by the Japanese and some of the Minimalists of our time.

I think UL backpacking/mtneering equipment design has sometimes wandered into this elegant melding of form+function. When it does, I pay attention and respect.

The pursuit of going lighter meets the above ideals
and should not be dismissed as "anal" or superflous.

And, actually, the less I carry, the longer and further I can go. A well designed 8 oz. pack will help me achieve this incrementally more than a pack of half or double it's weight. The more so with all the incremental savings of weight possible in choosing one's kit.

Edited by kdesign on 10/19/2005 12:16:31 MDT.

J R
(RavenUL) - F
Re: UL packs--diminishing returns in pursuit of lightness? on 10/19/2005 13:06:36 MDT Print View

My concern is not "essence" but "elegance".

A well desinged 8 oz pack will NOT help you achieve anything more than an equally well designed 12oz pack... except to reduce weight. A weight difference you cant even feel once loaded. But if that 12oz pack has a few extra tacks in the stress points, or a slightly more durable fabric... more than weight, you gain the freedom of taking the road less travelled, and not in a metaphorical sense.

I dont think its "anal" or "superfluous" (your words) to go as light as you possibly can. What I do think is that there is a point where you must accept that going to extremes of lightness becomes a tradeoff. There is a point where using the lightest fabric or finest thread no longer serves the ultimate purpose. I can make a pack on the whispers edge just by supergluing some seran wrap together, but do I gain anything from it? Hardly. I spend my time worrying where I can set it down, if my 8oz bottle of water weighs too much for the seams to hold, or if the willows just ahead will turn my little pack into shreds. Wheres the freedom there?

Just like the furniture you design.... No matter how strong the materials, no matter how skilled the artisan, if you whittle away too much, the chair will no longer hold your weight.

Edited by RavenUL on 10/19/2005 13:13:55 MDT.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
response to Mr. Robbins on 10/19/2005 13:18:49 MDT Print View

Ahh, but that is the rub--- finding the balance in all those tradeoffs. i enjoy watching how other designers play with this. Technology, too, plays a role. Newer materials continually enter the market, making new designs feasible--- and ever lighter UL
products. What fun!
You see constrictions to the race to zero, I see innovation and opportunity. Perhaps it's a case of fundamentally different world views( well. thats too strong a way of putting it)---in which case we should just agree to disagree--- the stakes are hardly huge in this matter.

Edited by kdesign on 10/19/2005 13:20:16 MDT.