Six Moon Designs, Flight 30 Pack

Six Moon Designs ‘Flight 30′ in-use along the Bigfoot Trail in Northern California. Photo Credit: Brian Doyle
Six Moon Designs ‘Flight 30’ in-use along the Bigfoot Trail in Northern California.
Photo Credit: Brian Doyle


The Six Moon Designs ‘Flight 30 pack is one of the newest and most exciting backpack on the market for SUL hikers, runners, fastpackers, FKT’ers, peak baggers, and those looking for a small volume backpack that can handle 10 pounds or so of gear and have very little, if zero, bouncing while moving fast down the trail.

It is clear that the market is getting ready for an explosion of new products for those individuals that move fast, move light, and need gear that, for the most part, did not exist even a half-decade ago. As more and more hikers have moved into the world of SUL, and even XUL, a necessity for good quality backpacks, that are themselves SUL in nature, are desperately needed. At the same time, as adventure racers, ultra runners, and ultra marathoners, are discovering the joy, and sometimes pain, of pushing themselves even further, so too are they finding the need to be using backpacks rather than vests, in order to accommodate additional garments, required safety gear, and additional food for those going without resupply. For the last few years there has been a void in the market – a near lack of any products in the 15 liters up to 35 liters of volume space. A few have come along but very few, and those that did were obviously designed by folks that just did not ‘get it’ and instead where just trying to tap into a market prematurely without doing the necessary research for what was needed. Companies that have gotten it have, unfortunately, continued to produce products for either day-runners (in the form of vests from companies such as Ultimate Direction, Salomon and others) that do not offer enough volume, or are companies (Montane, ZPacks, and others) that use traditional backpack shoulder strap systems that just do not work for faster moving adventurers.

The Flight 30 was designed from the ground up to resolve these issues. The lead developer of the Flight 30 is well respected and experienced long distance hiker, Brian Frankle, who is also be an active trail runner. Ron Moak, the owner of Six Moon Designs shared this on BPL: “The Flight 30 was designed for ultra runners who need to carry enough gear to be able to spend a night out without suffering. To accomplish this, it needed to be larger than your typical running pack. However, it also couldn’t interfere with your normal running.1

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ZPacks “Arc Zip” Backpack

ZPacks "Arc Zip" Backpack
ZPacks “Arc Zip” Backpack

Greetings Hikers,

Very happy to share the news that ZPacks has released the “Arc Zip” backpack, which has been a collaborated design involving myself and Joe Valesko, the owner of ZPacks, since I initially approached him with the idea of working together to build a front panel cuben fiber backpack, back in September of 2012.

The “Arc Zip” is a fully featured backpack that utilizes an old fashion front panel loading design. Simply put, it was time to bring an old school design into the world of new school fabric and modern day lightweight backpacks!

The “Arc Zip” is being offered in three different volume sizes:

A 47L (2,850 cubic inches) weighing only 19.0 ounces (539 grams).

A 54L (3,300 cubic inches) weighing only 19.5 ounces (553 grams).

A 62L (3,800 cubic inches) weighing only 20 ounces (567 grams).

The Arc Zip features a traditional full-U shaped zipper making up the front panel loading pocket. Sitting on top of the front panel is a high volume ‘front pocket’ that is solid fabric giving it a very clean look. Designed without a roll top closure, it uses a top compression system that allows you to compress down the top of your pack as you eat through your food or if you just do not need the extra volume. It features two internal compression straps to help keep your gear in place and give the pack extra durability for those times when you have to carry a lot of gear.

The Arc Zip, like all of the Arc backpacks designed by ZPacks, includes the Patent Pending Flexed Arc carbon fiber frame, solid fabric side pockets (5 Liters / 300 cubic inches), side compression straps, top and bottom straps, hydration ports.

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ZPacks Arc Blast Backpack

Author and hiker, John Abela, wearing a ZPacks Arc Blast backpack.
Author and hiker, John Abela, wearing a ZPacks Arc Blast backpack.

Greetings Hikers, Runners, Alpinists, Adventure Racers, And Other Outdoor Fans!

Does your list-wish for a backpack include an external support frame, high volume capacities, super  tough fabric, and be sub 20 ounces (566 grams)?

If so, the ZPacks Arc Blast backpack is going to be the backpack that you will want at the top of your list.

The “Arc Blast” from ZPacks LLC, based out of Florida USA, features a flat carbon fiber support system, three different volume capacities (45 Liters up to 60 liters [2,750 – 3650 cubic inches]), is made from a cuben fiber and nylon fabric, and starts off at a meer 454 grams (16 ounces) on the scale!

Two hiking seasons have passed, since the Arc Blast was released and it has been great to start seeing some reviews show up on the internet about this backpack, including an excellent write-up by Keith “Fozzie” Foskett, and I figured it was about time for me to write up my thoughts on this backpack.

I purchased my first Arc Blast in November of 2012. I have since ordered a second one with a few extra features, and even sent my second one back for some additional modifications – one of the truly great aspects of ZPacks LLC – and the Arc Blast has, unquestionably, become my go-to backpack when I need a pack with a lot of volume. As I head into the winter hiking season the Arc Blast will be the only backpack I will be using due to the need for extra room for a winter sleeping bag and winter garments.

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Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Ultralight Backpack
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Ultralight Backpack

Greetings Hikers,

The Gossamer Gear Gorilla Ultralight Backpack 2012 edition has been on the market for a bit over a year now. I purchased one to give it a try and found I really loved a lot of the features of this backpack. Most of the below is from an article I wrote about a year ago on an old website I no longer use, and I wanted to get it moved over to HikeLighter.Com – so I have taken some of the below from my previous article and updated it with further thoughts after having used it a bit more.

The Gorilla has been a very popular backpack on long distance trails and it has a nice 3,000 cubic inches (46 liters) of total capacity with a 35 pound maximum carry capacity – pretty much perfect for a thru-hiker or weekend hiker that needs the extra volume.

The backpack averages 715 grams (25 ounces / 1.56 pounds) in weight, so as an UL/SUL long distance hiker it is something I could use, but is 10 ounces heavier than the ZPacks Arc Blast (3,200 Cubic Inches / 52 Liters – so significantly larger volume) and it is three times heavier than my primary custom made front panel loader backpack which is 2,200 cu in (36L) and 240 grams (8.47 oz). But as we all know, there are times when a heavier backpack is a very good thing. The Gorilla can take a serious load and keep you going without causing pain from having to heavy of a load in a backpack that does not have enough support. It has remained in my gear room specifically because of its ability to provide me the ability to handle a heavier load.

The backpack comes with pretty much every feature that we are use to seeing on high end full size backpacks – including a center loop which can double as an iceaxe strap, 6 exterior pockets, a crazy tough 140 denier Dyneema,  padded hipbelts, curved shoulder straps, sternum strap, so on and so forth. Everything a weekender/long distance hiker needs in a backpack of this size. Continue reading “Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack”

Gossamer Gear Murmur Hyperlight Backpack (2012), First Hike Review

Greetings Hikers,

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to acquire the new 2012 Gossamer Gear Murmur backpack, which is the first non cuben fiber backpack I have bought in many years, because by the numbers the Murmur is one amazingly impressive backpack! The numbers were so impressive that it pretty much forced me into buying it (giggle) just to see it and put it on and take it for a hike.

As most of my blog and video followers are aware I have been using a multitude of cuben fiber backpacks for the last few years, with the ZPacks Blast 26 (now called the Blast 30) and the ZPacks Zero (X-Small) as my primary two backpacks, the latter of which is all I used in the 2011 hiking season, for a bit over 750 combined miles. Somewhere along the way I had a HMG WindRider as well but in the end it proved to be overbuilt and too heavy for my requirements (25 ounces is more than 1/3rd of my Base Pack Weight at this point.) Before I made to move to cuben fiber backpacks I was a big time ULA owner, having owned all of them from the catalyst down to the smallest ohm – but I moved away from ULA when I got into the mid-level UL range and have never looked back due to their larger capacity.

The Gossamer Gear Murmur is my first backpack from Gossamer Gear. Going away from cuben fiber was something I thought I would never do. None the less a backpack that is sub-10 ounces (283 grams) deserves the attention of anybody – especially when it is a fully featured backpack!

In traditional style (with the exception of my one article about the zpacks waterproof breathable cuben fiber rain jacket unboxing) I have tried very hard to never write a review, or do a video, about a piece of gear that was totally untested. It just seems wrong to write an article or do a video on something I have never even used. So, even though I did not have a trip planned for this weekend, when the backpack showed up and I took a seriously hard look at it to see if it would be worth spending a few days on the trail with it, it did not take me long to stop looking and just go dump the gear out of my other backpack and throw it into the Murmur and jump in my truck – and that is exactly what I did.

Being a SUL/XUL hiker, in true tradition, I went without a camera and video recorder, so for those of you interested in what this backpack looks like check out the official Gossamer Gear Murmur website and the following other reviewers (which all helped me make the decision to buy one) Brian GreenPhilip Werner, JERMM, and Jhaura Wachsman.

My Weekend Trip Stats:

Over the last three days I did a total of 57 miles (91.7 kilometers) – which granted is not very far for an initial review on a backpack, but it was all I could pull together for such a short planned three-day trip. The backpack felt very nice and performed beyond what I was expecting it too, reminding me of the days of having a ULA backpack on my back (I have always considered the ULA Backpacks to be the most comfortable backpacks out there – but that comes at the price of being way to heavy for my style of hiking these days).

When I started the hike I had a Total Pack Weight (total pack weight = all gear + all food + all liquids) of 4176 grams (147 ounces / 9.20 pounds).

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