Gear Review: Six Moon Designs Daybreaker Pack
We all love our gear but it can sometimes be hard to rationalize having so many different packs. Six Moon Designs is on a mission to offer a modern all-in-one daypack, weekend adventure pack, international travel bag, and weeklong hut-to-hut hike pack. The Six Moon Designs Daybreaker Pack is the company’s first foray into making daypacks and it’s evident that a lot of thought went into its design. The Daybreaker Pack is lightweight and durable with some unique features and details.
Six Moon Designs Daybreaker At-a-Glance
- 25L main compartment with 4L extension collar
- Lightweight, water-resistant and durable fabrics
- Exterior front pocket is gusseted and will fit most tablets
- Deep side pockets that can easily hold two 1-liter Smartwater bottles each
- Non-removable lid with waterproof zippered pocket
- Small interior zippered pocket with key hook
- Large cinching shoulder strap pockets for sunglasses, phone, snack, GPS, etc.
- Removable hydration bladder sleeve with two hydration port options
- Removable and easy to adjust hip belt able to accommodate waist size ranging from 22”-55”
- Removable 5mm thick egg-crate EVA foam pad for back frame and sit pad
- Adjustable sternum strap with removable whistle
- Ice axe loop
Circumstances of Review
I received the Daybreaker pack just before the COVID-19 outbreak. I had bigger goals for testing than I was able to achieve, such as snowshoe expeditions, rainy day hikes, and plane travel across the country. Instead I was only able to wear the pack on local trails and urban walks. I still have big plans for the Daybreaker, especially to use it as my pack to hike the 130-mile hut-to-hut Sunshine Coast Trail in British Columbia.
The versatility of the SMD Daybreaker is a key component of its design. The lightweight pack has a simple, clean, and traditional design. It’s basic enough for running errands or playing tourist around town and sturdy enough to haul everything you need for your workday. It’s large enough to hold all the ten essentials for a full day’s hike or to use as a carry-on travel bag. It even has enough extended capacity for a lightweight thru-hiking kit and is especially suited for hut-to-hut adventures.
Comfort and Fit
Considering the simplicity of the design the Daybreaker has a surprisingly comfortable fit. The egg-crate foam provides snug support on the back. The wide shoulder straps have foam lining with a well-designed curve and taper. The sternum strap slides up and down along a track and is easily adjusted to accommodate a variety of torso sizes and shapes.
Large capacity with simple, clean and deliberate design – As Whitney LaRuffa, thru-hiker and VP of sales and marketing for SMD puts it, the pack has “everything you need but not a lot of extra fluff.” The main compartment is large and spacious. The stretchy angled side pockets are deep, designed to hold your water bottles safe and secure. The exterior front pocket is gusseted to add breadth to fit a tablet and stuff jackets into.
Durability & Waterproofing – Even though I haven’t yet put this pack through the ringer, I get the impression that it will hold up to a lot. The microgrid ripstop nylon fabric is thick enough to withstand pokes and prods from sticks and boulders. The main part of the pockets are made of a tightly woven 4-way stretch fabric but with ripstop nylon at the base to add more durability. The ripstop nylon is definitely water-resistant but may fail after a serious drenching. Items against the foam back support and near the top of the pack, under the cinch top, will likely stay dry. The lid pocket has a waterproofed zipper though water may still seep in through the Six Moon Designs logo patch.
Within carry-on dimensions – I wish I could’ve truly tested this out on a flight, but according to measurements the pack falls well within carry-on luggage maximum dimensions. When not stuffed to the gills, the pack should slide under the seat in front of you, and even when fully loaded it still fits within the maximum allowable size.
Generous shoulder strap pockets – Those familiar with Six Moon Designs packs will know that the designers are fans of finding usable space on the shoulder straps. The stretchy pockets on the Daybreaker shoulder straps are the best you can get without going full vest. They’re large enough to hold most smartphones, a GPS device, sunglasses, lots of snacks, or a small plastic water bottle.
Not Designed for Female Torso – I got the impression that the overall fit of this pack was designed for the male torso. The torso length on the Daybreaker is 18” which is at the top end of the average female torso. The shoulder straps are each 3” wide and only taper at the bottom. This width allows for the large strap pockets and adjustable torso strap but doesn’t particularly accommodate the additional mass of a woman’s chest.
From the outside, this pack looks too simple for its cost. But looking closer you’ll notice the small details that make this pack sturdy and versatile. There is an obvious attention to detail in the design such as the gusseted front pocket, the deliberate choice of buckles and even the strength of the webbing cord. There was a conscious effort to design the pack to suit a range of uses while keeping it looking sleek and modern.
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