[pct-l] Six Moon Packs

jambii37 at gmail.com jambii37 at gmail.com
Mon Apr 6 10:30:11 CDT 2009

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-----Original Message-----
From: jambii37 at gmail.com

Date: Mon, 6 Apr 2009 15:20:52 
To: Bob Bankhead<wandering_bob at comcast.net>
Subject: Re: [pct-l] Six Moon Packs

Thanks for the info guys. I've been thinking about getting a Traveler, but wasn't sure if it would work for a thru. Sounds like it will! I'll probably order one this week. Any idea if the black fabric is being sold through his website yet?

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-----Original Message-----
From: "Bob Bankhead" <wandering_bob at comcast.net>

Date: Mon, 6 Apr 2009 07:30:50 
To: <pct-l at backcountry.net>
Subject: Re: [pct-l] Six Moon Packs

We have TWO Traveler packs. Early in 2008, we were shopping for a new pack for my wife, who has a short 14-1/2 inch torso length. We drove out to Ron's house to try the SMD Essence, but it did not have an adjustable harness system so no go. However, Ron had the new Traveler prototype there and he was able to fit it to her perfectly. We placed an immediate order and so got one of the very first made a few months later. She carried it in Yosemite this past summer and dearly loved it. She let me use it for one day and even without re-adjusting the harness system for my torso or changing to a longer hipbelt, it was very comfortable. I was surprised. And it was 24 oz lighter than my big Mountainsmith Auspex.

I love panel loaders anyway, so when we bought her Traveler, I also got an extra (larger) hipbelt and harness so I could "borrow" it. Well, it worked so well that I just decided to buy another one for myself for my JMT trek this summer. 

One advantage to panel loaders is the integral but separate top pocket which provides a large, totally enclosed rectanglar box in which to carry things you'll need during the day, but at a lesser frequency than what you carry in the two hip belt pockets, so the main pack bag remains closed. I use it to carry my lunch, first aid and repair kits, headnet, maps, route pages, 1 liter Platypus bladder, etc. The zipper for the top pocket is on the front side of the pack (like the panel) and so can not be reached while wearing the pack. It sounds wrong, but having had a pack that had the zipper on the rear where I could reach behind my head and access the pocket without removing the pack, I found things fell out easily - often unseen - if I wasn't very careful, and it was both awkward and hard to close the zipper completely. Ron did it right with the Traveler.

My 9x14 Bearikade Expedition bear canister will fit in the packbag vertically without straining the seams or zippers. The smaller 9x10 Bearikade Weekender will fit horizontally or vertically with room to spare. 

The three side mesh pockets are strong with elastic tops to hold things in place. Access to the the front zippered and bellowed mesh pocket is tight because the opening is stitched to the access panel. This limits the size of what you can pass though it, but the pocket itself is big and holds a lot. My Gatewood Cape fits in there perfectly. The two compression straps across the front mesh pocket help secure the load but also limit access to that pocket.

The pad pocket is internal to the pack bag, but is accessed from outside. This means your sleeping pad can be removed to serve as a sit-upon without having to open or unload the pack itself. Something won't fit in the main pack bag? There are two daisy chains on the flat top so you can tie it on. Good candidates - a GG NightLight sleeping pad, a 72" Z-Rest pad, or an insulating jacket. Straps are not included.

Any negatives? Well, I'm not exactly wild about the purple color, but I'll adapt. Function over form any day. 

Up-date 3/29/09: I spoke to Ron Moak at Trailfest 2009 yesterday. He has run out of the purple Dynema Gridstop fabric and the replacement fabric will be black Dyneema Gridstop. Now you won't be so conspicuous.

Wandering Bob
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