Six Moon Designs (2015) “Fusion 65” Available For Pre-Order

Six Moon Designs (2015)

Hey all, a very brief post/announcement:

I rarely do product announcements via my website (half dozen times at at the most since I started hikelighter)… but the second generation Six Moon Designs “Fusion 65” backpack was just made available for pre-order a few hours ago.

The Fusion 65 backpack has been, without question, the #1 backpack that I have been waiting for – and if you are wondering why, go read my thoughts about it on my “Gear of 2014” article.

I placed an order for mine as soon as I saw it become available.

Selected the “Gray” option with the “S-Curve” Shoulder Yoke!

This is going to be the backpack that goes with me on my Mojave Trail hike later this year – and likely throughout the 2016 hiking season (non sub-2267 gram trips of course).

Anyway, super excited about this backpack being released… just wanted to share the news with everybody.

Head over to:

(updated: Sept 14, 2015)

My backpack has arrived and here is a quick walk-around video of the pack:


Here is an excellent video overview of the 2015 Fusion 50 by Tom Willard:

29 thoughts on “Six Moon Designs (2015) “Fusion 65” Available For Pre-Order

    1. Hey Rob,

      The ZPacks Flexed Arc Frame has its place in the market. I have used it enough to know, that much is obvious. But let us also be clear that it has a max-load of… well, not a lot outside the UL world of things. For me, even with the “haul” version, asking the Flexed Arc Frame to handle 20+ pounds… heck no… I am just not going to suffer that. If 100% of your backpacking is sub-20 pounds TPW, by all means, let me praise the ZPacks Arc with complete and absolutely huge praise. For its weight to TPW capabilities, the ZPacks Flexed Arc Frame is a truly excellent option.

      But the simple fact of the matter is that not everybody has a TPW of sub 20 pounds — and, I include myself in that. Yeah, yeah, I am “all about sul/xul”… but not every hike, and less and less as my efforts of trail designing (which is the vast majority of my time spent out there) can at times result in the need to carry 20+ litres of water. That alone makes the ZPacks Flexed Arc Frame backpack one that I am just not going to use. I used the Fusion 50 last year and it did not even think about having issues at the 36 pounds TPW that I had inside of it. I would have put more into it, but I could not get anything else to fit lol/sigh (one of my complaints, due to their odd volume sizing claims of the 2014 generation)

      One, the zpacks, has an external, highly flexible, carbon fiber frame that was designed to keep a hiker from getting a sweaty back — that WAS the purpose of the “flex” after all. It was not until I started publically criticizing them about their free floating frame that they changed the design… and thus the “haul” was made, with a design that attaches the hipbelt and shoulder straps to the frame. I give them huge credit for doing this. There is only so much that the design itself can handle. This is not being critical, just factual. Every design has a stress limit. Every backpack has its place in the market. The zpacks packs are an amazing backpack for long distance hikers, for thru hikers, for ul weekenders. But for a newbie hiker with a 45 pound backpack setup… nope, just not the right pack for them. Nor is it doable for those who might have a lot of hiking experience but are faced with exceptionally heavier-than-normal loads, pushing the load carry capabilities of the zpacks beyond what it can handle before stressing out. The same exact thing can be said of the smd fusion, at some point further down the weight scale.

      The other, the smd fusion, has an independent belt/spine/yoke system — a design being used by a number of different companies — such as Mystery Ranch, KIUI, and others — that design packs for 100+ pound loads.

      I am not ragging on you — or zpacks — here Rob… it is just that this is a comparison of design that is just not a fair comparison. Sure, they might both be designed and targeted towards long distance hikers, but one is clearly designed for loads in the sub 30 range, while the other does not even blink an eye at a 30 pound load. It would be the same as comparing the SMD Fusion with the KUIU Icon Pro with a Molded Carbon Fiber Frame – that many hunters say can do 100+ pounds without issue – something I doubt the SMD Fusion could do comfortably.

      Each of these designs have a place in the market.

      Sure, it might be “too heavy” for your style of hiking… but more and more I need something more than what the zpacks can handle. And, for a lot of folks that are not all about sub 2267g hiking, a backpack designed to handle heavier loads, the SMD Fusion is going to be an amazing backpack option for them.

      I could just as easily say “the zpacks arc is too heavy at 20 ounces” when I am out there with a sub-3 pound setup.

      Oh, and if it is indeed 52 ounces… well, that is only 4 ounces heavier than a ULA Catalyst – which has a max-load of 40 pounds… so, again, four extra ounces for a pack that can do 40+ pounds… hmmm, seems like a good weight-to-TPW-limit ratio to me :)

      All a matter of need Rob. Total respect for you. Please do not see this as me ragging on you – nor zpacks. Love those guys at zpacks. Great friends. And, they would be the first to stand up and say that their packs have limits, just like every other backpack maker out there.

    1. Hey John M.

      I honestly do not have any knowledge (at this time) of why there is an increase of 13 ounces (368 grams) between the 2014 version and the 2015 version.

      I can guess… but it is only that… guessing… and only based on what I see in the photos and the specs…

      2015: 11″W X 8″D X 22″T
      2014: 11″W X 8″D X 22″T

      So, it looks like identical WDH sizes… though I am guessing that must not be correct as of right this moment – perhaps they need to adjust it and just copied it from the 2014 data?

      I think it must not be right because of the volume sizes… which, as we have always known, the 2014 generation had… well… fuzzy volume sizes, shall we say.

      2015: 2800+700+600 = 4100 CU / aka: 67.187 liters
      2014: 3100+500+400 = 4000 CU / aka: 65.548 liters

      So, clearly some differences in volume, one has to think the extra fabric accounts for some of those 13 ounces of additional weight.

      Looking at the photo of the front of the 2015 pack, it looks like they have added some new hardware and features to the yoke. no idea what all they added, but that also has to add up a small bit.

      Ah, the 2015 includes a hydration sleeve. That has to add a couple ounces of fabric. The 2014 was suppose too have a hydration sleeve – they even added the hardware inside the bag, but for unknown reasons, they never shipped with the sleeve and were never made available to purchase.

      Looks like there is also an “internal security pocket” in the 2015 generation of the pack… no idea what this is, how big it is, and how much weight it added (couldn’t be much)

      Ok, there are probably more changes than this… but that is just from my initial look… suppose we are just going to have to wait and see if SMD pushes an announcement of their own that details ALL of the changes and how exactly those changes have resulted in a 13 ounce (if that number actually is correct) increase of weight.

      Could just be that we (ok, I/me) am jumping the gun with this announcement and they are not yet really ready to have their website page being micro-analyzed by all of us… lol / shrugs

      1. I had the same feeling about jumping the gun. It will be interesting to see what info comes out as they get their site updated. Can’t wait to hear your first impressions of the pack.

  1. Greetings John A. from John C. in Sacramento. Very interested in this pack. I currently have a Gossamer Gear Gorilla, but am looking for a larger pack for shoulder season and winter use. I am 6′ 1″, 185 lb. and wonder if I am in your size range because fitting a pack is such a personal thing and you indicated that the Fusion series fits you well. Also wondering why you chose the S-Curve yoke. Thanks for sharing the news about this pack.

  2. I picked up last years model when it was on sale for my Nepal trip.
    Have to say it’s way more comfortable then all my zpacks packs. Even with a sub 5lbs base I’d probably consider using it on any long section or Thru hike.

    1. Hey Jeremy, yeah, totally agree. Though at 3.25 pounds just for this new gen backpack, it will be a smidgen hard to stay under 5 pounds, but, I think I could pull it off. What I am looking forward to seeing, is, as I am sure you know, the “sweet spot” these days seems to be between the 5 and 6.5 bpw zone… and I am going to be really interested to see if it ends up feeling like ‘too much’ of a pack, for that sweet spot/zone.

  3. Just received one of the clearance Fusion 50s for my wife’s use. If it doesn’t work for her, I may try one of these new ones. FWIW, the SMD site now says that the packs are in stock.

    1. Hey Mark, that is sweet you bought one of the clearance 2014 backpacks. If you end up buying a 2015 gen, once you get some miles on it, I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

      1. Will do. I hope to get into the North Georgia mountains a few times this fall. I really want to do the North Georgia Loop, which may require hauling a lot of water on the Duncan Ridge Trail portion.

        1. I did order the new Fusion 65 after all. Couldn’t resist. It arrived last week while we were away. It weighs in at 51.9 ounces, so just about on target. I had hoped to take it on a shakedown hike this weekend, but it arrived with two female buckles on the hip belt. I have a call and an email in to SMD.

  4. Just read this and your 2014 summary of gear. Keep us posted how this bag turns out. I’d be interested because it’s about the size I’m looking for

  5. I am anxiously looking forward to your update once you get (and use) this pack. It looks like a direct competitor to the Catalyst (My current go-to winter pack).

  6. Sorry, I thought I saw on one of your posts that you had spent a few days on the trail to get some miles on the new pack.

    1. Hey Andy, I have… but I do not review gear after just a few days. ref my 500+ days, 1000+ days, and 1500+ days reviews. I do not understand how some folks can review gear after just a few days of use… especially a backpack, the most personal objective piece of gear we use… so, going to need to wait until next year for me to share any detailed thoughts on this backpack.

  7. 2015 Fusion 65 – I have now had the chance to take this pack on a couple of prep hikes and I have been very happy with it. I have the pack right at 40 pounds for my prep hikes. This is probably about 5 pounds more than my max weight will ever be during my trek, but I want to prep for worst case scenario. This pack is very comfortable, even when carrying 40 pounds. The updates for 2015 (overall capacity, color options, larger side pockets, etc.) are all great. They addressed all the issues I had with the original version. When empty, the pack weighs exactly 51 oz. (standard yoke/medium belt/hydration pocket). While this is not an ultralight pack, it is one of the few that are this light and can still carry a heavy load. The ZPacks Arc Zip (27 ounces configured how I would want it) and Gossamer Mariposa 60 (36 ounces) are both lighter. Both of those are great packs, but they really drop off in comfort when you get above 25 pounds. For what I am doing, a max weight of 25 pounds is just not feasible. The Arc Zip is also much more expensive ($455 configured the way I would want it). Overall, I am very happy with the 2015 Fusion 65. It is a comfortable, lightweight pack that can handle a heavier load with no problems.

    1. Hey Rob,

      I think you pretty much summarized my ~6 months of using the new Fusion backpacks almost perfectly.

      I concur that the empty weight of the pack is a bit on the ouch side of things, and a major reason a lot of people that have asked me about it ended up not buying it, but I have never had any backpack that can carry a heavy load as well as they can, so yeah, when I am out there with a beast of a load, an extra half-pound or so in order to have a backpack that does not hurt me, hell yes!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and usage report!

      1. Happy to provide a review as your initial review and video helped me a lot when purchasing. I had only seen the original 2014 version in person prior to purchase, so I had to rely on pictures and videos for the new 2015 version. Very happy with new version. They did a good job addressing the issues with the original.

  8. Any words on how good the back ventilation is on this pack?

    Shopping for a lightweight (not ultralight) pack that would be used in the New Mexico summer and on the East Coast, where hot and humid can soak the backside.

    1. Howdie. I almost never have back sweat issues, so it is not something that I can address from personal experience. It is not an issue I remember seeing others talk about when it comes to the SMD Fusion backpacks.

  9. Hi, I’m really interested in this pack and so I’m wondering if you could please help me with a couple of questions I have?

    1. Does it have it’s own rain cover? If not, do you think I need to buy one for it, or is it 100% waterproof? I’m planning on doing the GR10 and they can have very heavy rain / severe thunder storms there during the Summer time.

    2. Do you think the ‘Fusion 65’ would be a good choice for the GR10 (550 mile mountain hike with a total height gain and loss of 49,000m)? In particular big enough? Because I will be wild camping, and I want to carry quite a lot of bulky gear with me: for e.g., Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 tent; NF Cat’s Meow sleeping bag; NeoAir XTherm sleeping pad, wet & cold weather clothes, cooking equipment etc. Basically, I should have around 10 kg of gear – not including the weight of a backpack, food and water. Possibly a maximum load of around 14kg. But it’s the amount of room – “capacity” inside the pack, that is of most concern to me. I’ve seen up close and personal the Osprey Atmos AG 65, and the carrying space (capacity) inside it looks big enough but it’s too heavy at 2.2kg, and from what I can tell looking at videos on Youtube of the Fusion 65, it looks like it has quite a lot smaller carrying capability inside.

    I appreciate that it’s not really possible to say for sure, if all of my stuff would fit in it, but any advice on whether or not you thought the Fusion 65 might be big enough for my needs would be very much appreciated.

    Many thanks

    1. Hey Paul.

      Negative on being waterproof. Do what everybody else does… put a trash compactor inside of your backpack.

      I have never owned, nor even worn, an Osprey backpack so it makes it impossible for me to compare them. All I know about Osprey is the “gain comfort” through the use of an insane amount of padding, and not necessarily by a properly designed frame/suspension system.

      The general tendency of the SMD backpacks are “if you can fit it inside of them, they can haul it“.

      I have found that to be true while carrying massive loads of water across vast desert sections.

      As for if 65 liters of volume is enough for you… only you can answer that one :) Hopefully you do not need that much… that is a lot of freaking gear.

      Enjoy your hike!

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