A pair months in the past I used to be up at the Six Moon Designs workplaces, just South of Portland Oregon. Whereas I used to be there I had a chance to take a look at their newest backpack, the ‘Minimalist‘ – they usually even allowed me to share an image of it on my Instagram web page.
They requested me if I want to attempt one out once they acquired in stock and I stated positive, in fact, testing out new packs available on the market is something that I like to do. So a number of weeks later one confirmed up at my home. Free of charge, which is all the time cool. It’s super uncommon for me to simply accept free gear, however at the similar time, there are just so many new packs available on the market proper now that purchasing all of them has gotten to be too blasted costly. Thankfully a number of buddies have despatched me a couple of backpacks to do some testing with (akin to once I did the initial-look of the Pa’lante Easy Pack, and another buddy is sending me his Pa’lante V2 to do the same, woot!) however anyway, yeah, full disclaimer, Six Moon Designs sent me the Minimalist freed from charge, and with any obligations past reporting instantly again to them my thoughts on what I like and didn’t like.
So onto my insights into the backpack, and down on the bottom of this text can be a video that I did while out on the packs maiden voyage.
Starting off the discussion of nearly any backpack is what the primary market of the backpack is.
I actually assume that the Minimalist is going to be an exceptional backpack for weekenders. People needing a 40 liter (50 with collar extension) backpack that does not break the bank, has all the foremost options that tick the bins for a weekender backpack, has a class-leading suspension system that may deal with mild to heavy masses, and a broad variations of torso heights.
It definitely can have a place in the lengthy distance climbing market, but I feel a couple of things put it at an obstacle in the present lengthy distance backpack market. What it could actually definitely do, and exceptionally nicely, inside that market, is fill the void of those that are after a backpack that may handle its personal within the consolation division, in addition to fill the void for people who want a suspension system resulting from having a nasty neck, dangerous shoulders, or dangerous again.
Once you pair up the hip belt with a correctly shaped spinal system and then go together with the vest/pectoral shoulder straps, you’ll have what I’ve all the time felt is the most effective general suspension system of any backpack that I have ever used for those with accidents.
In case you can hold your base pack weight within the sub 10-pound range, the Minimalist actually must be thought-about a viable thru-hiker backpack!
At round 1000 grams (~35 ounces) relying in your hip belt / shoulder strap configuration, it is by no means going to be able to take on the likes of, say the MLD Burn, which is just 370 grams (13 ounces) but one should keep in mind, the MLD Burn is a frameless backpack, whereas the Minimalist has in all probability the best body/suspension system available on the market. So, all in all, we just shouldn’t be making the comparisons of frameless/full suspension backpack, if we are to be truthful. In the long run, it all comes right down to your needs.
The Six Moon Designs Minimalist suspension system is composed of five elements:
- Shoulder Yoke
- Adjustable Torso
- Delron Hoop Stay Frame
- Hip Belt
All of it begins with the Backbone. This can be a spine shaped piece of some combination (unknown to me) of cloth and stiff materials, which runs along the very center of the backpack, and sits proper towards the hiker’s spine. This offers the contact point between the bag and the hiker and accounts for a great a part of the LWD (load weight distribution) but certainly not all of it. The Spine, whereas stiff, is bendable and a spotlight to bending it to suit your torso earlier than you go out and hit the trail is very advisable.
Subsequent is the Shoulder Yoke (their time period for shoulder straps, principally) they usually supply each a J-style and a Vest-style (aka: pectoral). No S-straps are available for the Minimalist, however the few women that I have seen speak about sporting the Vest straps have all had good things to say about it. I do need to word that both the Vest and J-straps have Load Lifters hooked up to them. Even for a backpack that is designed to hold 10 pounds masses, I really like seeing load lifters designed into packs.
Next is the Adjustable Torso. Certainly not distinctive inside the backpack business anymore (at the very least in the massive identify, non-cottage, business), an adjustable torso system is basically dang sweet as a result of it lets you actually dial in the torso peak of the backpack to suit your individual torso peak.
Subsequent is the Delron Hoop Keep body. This hoop body is shaped in a very sensible method, in that it is angled inward right to the underside of the Backbone, thereby permitting for max Load Weight Distribution. I can’t keep in mind seeing this on some other backpack that I’ve encountered. btw, Delron is one of some brand names for Polyoxymethylene and is a type of ‘light but really strong’ thermoplastics. Six Moon Designs first used it of their Fusion 65 backpacks but used two single shafts. By making the transition to a single hoop it ought to assist with general LWD. On a aspect notice, this body does add a fair bit of stiffness to the backpack. Should you discover the backpack to be too stiff and need a softer really feel towards your again, or simply need the backpack to hug your again a bit extra, think about taking out this frame. You’ll, in fact, lose a little bit of LWD, however in the long run, this can be a backpack with a rated max load of 12 pounds (5.5 okay) so shouldn’t be an excessive amount of of an enormous deal.
Subsequent is the hip belt. In case you really feel the necessity, or simply have a heavier pack weight, the Minimalist has a hip belt that does excellent at hugging the hips, with an outstanding buckle/hardware system in place. The hip belt has velcro on it permitting you to remove it when you have a lower pack weight.
When putting collectively every little thing as an entire system, what Six Moon Designs has with their general suspension system is, I really feel, by far, the leading suspension system of any of the backpacks that I’ve ever used.
Vest-Type Yoke (Pectoral Straps):
That is the yok/straps that I chose to go together with. Having used them on my SMD Flight 30 (one in every of my prime all-time favorite backpacks) I just knew that I might need to use these pectoral straps on the Minimalist, and I am glad that I went with that choice.
Six Moon Designs made a couple of modifications to the pectoral straps with this new backpack.
First, they lowered the top pocket. This is really dang nice because on the previous pectoral straps they street up option to high, virtually up at the apex of my shoulders. With this redesign, the top pockets at the moment are down on the prime of my pectoral space, where they need to be.
Second, they redesigned a few of the main pockets. Not likely positive if I’m comfortable or disillusioned with this modification, at this level. I feel I want the older fashion, but want to provide this new arrangement a attempt some more.
The pectoral straps also seem to be a bit stiffer. Not a fan of this. I like pectoral straps that basically curve, hug, and conform to the physique, across the ribs. The stiffer of material they put inside the straps the less they wrap around and actually hug you. Whereas really necessary for a operating vest, I assume, with this not being a operating vest, it should in all probability not be all that much of an enormous deal. Time will inform.
All in all, I really like the Six Moon Designs harness system. The Vest/Pectoral straps are pretty much all that I would like on any backpack anymore, especially of backpacks with volumes over about 25 liters.
In relation to the features of the backpack, you will get all the commonplace features that people anticipate to see on a totally featured 40-50 liter backpack in this present market.
Aspect mesh pockets (one additional tall to carry your tent), bungee compression straps, mesh entrance pocket, and so forth.
There’s additionally a lid/mind/whatever-it-is-suppose-to-be-called on it. It is a pretty good measurement one and has an quick access zipper on it.
On prime of the lid/brain/no matter is a mesh pocket you could shove some gear into. Bars, trash, other snacks, and so forth. Unsure that I might trust it enough to put necessary issues like a ditty bag or maps, or such, into, however for every day snacks, must be good.
The Minimalist has a roll-top closure. It works actually good. My only (massive) grievance/difficulty is they decided to place some silly velcro on the closure system. Critically. WTF. We do not need velcro on a roll-top closure…. it ROLLS down, in any case.
Inside the backpack, there’s a mesh compartment. The ever-popular “passport and keys pocket” that appears to be all the fashion in the big-brand backpack market today. Personally not a fan of them, they only appear to cause hassle when making an attempt to stuff gear down into your backpack.
There are some points of this backpack that might require me getting used too, or end in me taking a pair of scissors to it. The interior pocket isn’t something I might ever use. The mind/lid/no matter I detest. I want the back mesh pocket went all the best way to the bottom of the pack (and was not ‘u-shaped’) in order that it might take full benefit of max volume/measurement. These are, in fact, just “me” issues. Not saying they’re negatives in any method/shape/type, simply issues that I find that I do not like.
What makes me really pleased to see is that Six Moon Designs has gone away from two totally different weight/strengths of cloth and have gone to the lighter weight material. This knocked off a couple of ounces of weight. Sadly, all the bells-and-whistles they added into the ‘minimalist’ just added weight again to it, principally nullify the transfer to a lighter weight material. Like with many different full-featured backpacks, grabbing a pair of scissors and chopping stuff off is totally high-quality. I keep in mind doing that to my first ULA backpack and a couple of Zpacks backpacks too. It might not take a lot time/effort to trim down the Minimalist to a pack which may fit your personal private needs.
The suspension system on the Minimalist is, I feel, unquestionably the perfect that it out there. It has taught me that there are times when adding weight to a bit of drugs makes up for other features – such is the case with the Six Moon Design suspension system. The additional weight it provides to the backpack greater than makes up for the comfort, neck/shoulder pain aid, superior Load Weight Distribution, and general experience of their backpacks.
Right here is my ‘Initial Look’ video by which I’m going over the options of the Minimalist backpack.
The 2018 Six Moon Designs Minimalist backpack is a reasonably sweet mid-volume backpack. In case you are in search of a thru-hiker backpack or a weekender backpack, the Minimalist should tick off lots of the check-boxes wanted. It presents all the features that the vast majority of thru-hikers and weekenders need, a minimum of for these on the lookout for a mid-volume backpack.
What Six Moon Designs has seemingly attempted to do with the Minimalist is to convey to a backpack all the options of a large-volume backpack into the mid-volume backpack world. This has resulted in numerous features not sometimes seen (needed?) within the mid-volume backpack sector, and only you’ll be able to determine if that is what works for you. When most different corporations are going the other course, it’s good to see that Six Moon Designs had tried to market one thing going in this path, whether or not you/I/we expect that’s a good suggestion or not.
General, the Minimalist has been a pleasant backpack to check out. At ~50 liters in volume, it is massively oversized for my typical use, so my time utilizing it in the future will in all probability be little or no. The Minimalist does have some cool options, like the extra-tall aspect pocket, and I really like the mesh material they’re utilizing, really nice stuff. I can see the Minimalist turning into a very good backpack for lots of parents!