The Six Moon Designs Flight 30 Ultra Running Pack is a 30L frameless backpack that is made for runners and ultralight backpackers. It has a lightweight body-hugging pack that is great for fastpacking, as there is very little bounce once it’s loaded and all of the straps are adjusted. The Flight 30 Ultra is constructed in such a way that your body is able to move naturally while running, with freedom in the hips and an uninhibited arm swing. It features an adjustable torso length and three options for shoulder straps: traditional shoulder straps, s-curve shoulder straps, and a vest-style harness, which I tested in this review.
Specs at a Glance
- Gender: Unisex
- Volume: 30L total (23L main compartment; 4L extension collar; 4L exterior pockets)
- Weight: 26.2 oz – 32 oz (tested weight) depending on the material
- Type: Adjustable-length Torso
- Frame: None
- Closure: Roll-top
- Hydration compatible: Yes
- Hip belt pockets: Yes
- Load lifters: Yes
- Bear canister compatibility: Yes
- Materials: X-Pac VX21 (tested) or 100D Nylon Robic
- Torso Sizing: 14″-17″ or 18”-22”
- Hip Belt Sizing: 24″-32″, 33″-39″, or 40″-50″
- Max recommended load: 25 lbs
Backpack Storage and Organization
The Six Moon Designs Flight 30 Ultra is a top-loading backpack that is best for fastpacking, long trail runs, stage races, and hikes that require extra gear. The main body of the pack I tested is made out of X-Pac VX21 fabric. The fabric itself is waterproof and extremely durable, but the seams are not taped so the bag is not watertight.
The main compartment has a roll-top closure with velcro on either side of the opening to help facilitate rolling. There is a single strap that buckles over the top that can be used to secure extra layers or help compress the bag. The rolled top secures by clipping the two sides together like a dry bag and there is no option to clip along the sides. Personally, I like roll-top closures because they help make a bag more compressible, but I much prefer that they have the option to clip down along the sides like on the Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s backpacks.
There is a large pocket on either side of the main compartment that is big enough to hold two 1L bottles or stash extra layers on the go. These pockets have an elastic cord at the top that can be cinched down to secure items. I could reach the cord while wearing the pack but I could not lock it in place, a minor inconvenience. There are two interior pockets; a removable hydration bladder pocket that is large enough for a two-liter bladder, and a small zippered mesh pocket big enough to hold keys and a wallet. There are two hydration ports, one on either side of the shoulder yoke, to feed your hydration hose through.
The vest harness has a lot of storage options. There are two large main pockets on the front that are big enough to hold 500ml soft flasks. Like the side pockets, the front pockets also have a cord to secure items in place. In addition, there is a zippered pocket on each side of the shoulder straps, a mesh pocket on both sides, and stretchy stash pockets that work great for shoving wrappers and trash if you’re snacking while on the move. The hip belt has two roomy pockets as well, and there is a small stretchy pocket on the bottom of the bag to stash things like gloves or a hat. The easily accessible storage on the vest-style harness makes it so you can keep all of your essentials plus a full day of snacks within reach, minimizing the need to slow down or stop, which makes my runner’s heart happy.
The only thing I don’t like about the exterior pockets is that none of them are waterproof, so sweat and rain will definitely get into whatever is in the pockets. Something to keep in mind when deciding where to put electronics.
External Attachment Points
The Flight 30 has non-elastic paracords on either side of the backpack that are threaded through plastic d-rings. The rings are sewn into the seams and the cord secures with a Lineloc line tensioner. There is plenty of extra cord to fix larger objects and additional webbing can be easily attached to the rings to make it easier to secure things like snowshoes.
There is a bungee cord laced up the front of the pack for securing items as well. The bungee can easily be reconfigured using the removable hooked clips when necessary if planning on attaching an ice axe or two. There are also two ice axe or trekking pole loops that are made out of webbing. I like having the option of both non-elastic and elastic cords because I’ve found that some items secure better and bounce less while running if secured with a non-elastic cord.
The webbing strap that clips over the top of the bag is best suited for smaller items that won’t bounce out, like extra layers. I would never trust it to hold a bear canister in place, especially if running. I highly recommend using a Ursack Bear Bag, where permitted, with the Flight 30 if you need to carry a bear-proof container.
Backpack Suspension System
As mentioned earlier, the Flight 30 is a frameless pack that has an adjustable torso length to customize and refine the fit. The torso length can be adjusted by raising or lowering the velcro-backed yoke using a tool that comes with the pack is basically a flat piece of plastic shaped in such a way that allows you to easily slide the material into the slots without having to fight with the very strong velcro. The back panel is narrow and minimizes the amount of material in contact with the body. This allows for ample ventilation and sweat-drying.
Six Moon Designs’ vest-harness has six different attachment points that allow you to adjust for a snug, close-to-the-body fit. This body hugging fit is what separates this fastpack from other fastpacks because it really minimizes bounce and sway, and let’s the pack move with your body. Every time I use this pack I’m blown away by how comfortable it is and how well it carries while running. Six Moons Designs claims that the six-point attachment system brings the weight of the load into your core rather than letting it sit on your hips or shoulders, allowing for a more balanced and comfortable ride.
The vest-style harness system is built and functions more like a running pack with its minimally padded shoulder straps and thin, moisture-wicking 3D mesh material. The shoulder straps are 4 inches wide at the top of the shoulder and flare out to about 6 inches wide at the bottom. While it may seem unappealing to go without all the padding that you find in traditional backpack straps, these straps distribute weight well and are quite comfortable as long as the pack isn’t overloaded.
The hip belt is lightly padded and is surrounded with the same moisture-wicking mesh material as the shoulder straps. It’s also removable, but I think that it’s unnecessary to remove the belt unless you’re solely planning on hiking with this pack. The hip belt helps decrease a lot of the bounce and sway that comes with running with a pack of this size on. The four adjustments, two on either side of the buckle, allow you to find the perfect fit no matter what shape you are.
Comparable Fastpacking Packs
The Six Moon Designs Flight 30 Ultra is a 30L backpack that is made for fastpacking and ultralight backpacking. With the many shoulder strap pockets and body-hugging fit, the vest-style harness makes it more of a running style pack than a traditional backpack. This pack has six attachment points that allow you to customize the fit, as well as adjustable torso length. The Flight 30 is incredibly adjustable and gives you the ability to create a perfect, extremely comfortable fit. This pack moves with your body with very little bounce or sway. At only 32oz, this backpack has become my go-to for many adventures, from short fastpacking trips to mountaineering objectives. I do believe it will be my choice for fastpacking the John Muir Trail later this summer… as long as the California fire season doesn’t shut down the trail again this year.
Disclosure: Six Moon Designs provided the author with a pack for this review.