Moonlite Pack Initial Report
- Here goes my initial report for editing
Six Moon Designs - Moonlite Pack
Year 2003 Model
Stuart Bilby, male, stu@... Age 36, 176 cm (5'9"), 80 kg (176
Photos, details of the pack and instructions for use are given on the
website. The product I received was what I expected from the website.
Main Backpack US$90
Standard Harness US$30
Alternative Vest Harness US$60
The pack has a single large compartment with a dry bag type roll top
and two large mesh pockets on the side. The mesh pockets are made
from a very strong looking black mesh. The main part of the pack is
blue heavy-duty fabric with white grid of Spectra ripstop.
The pack generally appears to be neatly sewn with the seams bound at
the exposed edges of the Spectra fabric. The holes in the pack where
the shoulder straps leave the back panel are asymmetrical one hole is
6.8 cm (2.7 inches) and the other is 5.0 cm (2.0 inches). This
appears to be a manufacturing flaw but does not seem to have any
The pack comes with two interchangeable harnesses; a
traditional 'shoulder-strap and waistbelt' harness and an innovative
vest harness. Both harnesses are completely removable for protection
on public transport and this seems likely to be a very useful feature
The vest harness's shoulder straps expand to form four large mesh
pockets on the front of the wearer's chest and are clipped together
by three horizontal straps across the belly.
I took the pack for two day trip into the bush of the Kaimai Ranges
and immediately found plenty of uses for the vest pockets: snacks,
watch, GPS, compass and car key. The large pocket will fit a squat 1
litre water bottle.
Using mesh for the pockets means that air circulates well and I found
that the vest pockets did not create sweaty patches against my skin.
Although the open mesh does mean that passers-by can see what I have
in my pockets.
The vest harness does not have a hip-belt or a sternum strap and
transfers load through a series of crossing straps behind the large
pockets. It has no simple way of adjusting the shoulder strap's
length while moving. I found them a little long with the bottom of
the pack resting on my buttocks which was irritating. Tightening the
straps across my waist did not improve the situation much. The
shoulder strap length can be adjusted using the Velcro straps inside
the pad pocket and I will experiment further during the test period
to see if I can find a more comfortable fit.
The back length of the pack is shorter than I am used to. It is only
36 cm (14.2 inches) from the centreline of the hipbelt to the
redirection straps where the shoulder straps leave the back of the
pack. My back length is about 47 cm (18.5 inches) This means that for
me, that when full, the top of the pack unless carefully packed tends
to sit away from my shoulders.
The standard harness is a traditional lightweight harness with
straight padded rectangular shoulder straps, a sternum strap and a
simple padded hipbelt. I had no trouble adjusting the standard
harness to fit comfortably although the back length did feel a little
shorter than I would like.
The pack has a pocket against the wearer's back to insert a sleeping
mat as padding and stiffening. A 3/4-length Thermarest is one of the
pads suggested by the manufacturer and I used this. The instructions
say to "inflate to desired firmness". If the folded pad is inflated
firmly, it becomes up to 100 mm (4 inches) thick, which while
providing great padding, seems excessively thick and moves the main
weight of the pack a long way from my back. Inflating it only a
little does not provide much stiffness, which is suggested to be a
feature of the "True Suspension" but I found it to be comfortable. A
full-length closed cell foam mat will not fit in the pad pocket and I
will experiment with cut-down pads during the test period.
The Velcro strap and buckles where the shoulder straps attach to the
centre of the pack form a solid lump that makes using the pack
without a pad somewhat uncomfortable. This Velcro strap is not sewn
to the pack and it would be possible to lose it while swapping
My Thermarest became wet in patches from sweat where it was sitting
against my back. In heavy rain or deep river crossings the mat would
The back panel and shoulder straps are made from DriGlide fabric
which is touted as having low friction and good moisture wicking
properies. This appears to be true. I was surprised to see low-
friction promoted as a feature because on other packs I have used the
pack panel has been promoted as being made of high-friction fabric
and I am used to transferring part of the weight of the pack through
friction against my back.
The pack has criss-crossing bungee cord on the back that can be used
effectively to reduce the volume of the pack and to store pieces of
gear on the outside of the pack.
Ice Axe Loop
The ice axe loop fits both my short 50 cm (20 inch) ice axe and my
long 70 cm (28 inch" walking axe tidyly. I would prefer the loop to
be attached a little lower to reduce the potential for the ice axe to
snag on low branches.
manufacturer's weight measured weight
g (oz) g (oz)
Main pack 368 (13) 396 (14)
Standard harness 170 (6) 172 (6)
Standard total 538(19) 568 (20)
Vest harness 250 (9) 279 (10)
Item litres (cubic inches) Main Bag 31.5 (1920)
Extension Collar 15.7 (960)
Pad Pocket 9.8 (600)
Left Pocket 5.7 (350)
Right Pocket 2.9 (175)
Total 65.6 (4005)
The vest pocket gives an additional volumes of 4.75 litres (288 ci)
The pack is big enough to take my large (20 litre, 1220 cubic inch)
synthetic sleeping bag
The pack comes with two pages of instructions that describe the pack
and a little about how to adjust it. Initially I was a little
confused and had trouble finding the zipper and then wondered if a
mat was completely necessary. I went to the web site and found a full
set of helpful instructions and explanations. It would have helped me
to have a printed copy of those supplied with the pack. After reading
the instructions on the web site and half an hour playing with the
pack it was pretty obvious to me how everything worked.
I will take the pack on a number of trips into the ranges of the
central North Island. It has already withstood, without damage,
several hours of pushing through thick cuttygrass, bushlawyer and
gorse that left me scratched and bleeding in half a dozen places. I
will investigate ways of adjusting the pack to sit more comfortably.
The Moonlite is a light strong pack that appears to be constructed to
handle wear and tear much better than most light packs. The vest
harness is innovative and useful and it has all the features I want
in a light pack.
I live in Auckland, New Zealand and have been heading into the
mountains for 16 years. I am an experienced backpacker, tramper and
climber and most of my trips are multi-day off-trail trips. I love
long trips up the remote gorges, forests and glaciers of the South
Island's west coast. Over the last two years I have converted to a
1 May 2003