Gear Review: Six Moon Designs Fusion 65 Backpack

Before starting the AT in March, I knew I was going to need extra room for winter items. Without wanting to add a bunch of weight, I searched thoroughly for the right pack. After deciding on the final contenders, I was able to choose the Fusion 65 by Six Moon Designs. I stuck with this pack for roughly 1,000 miles before switching to a smaller pack for the summer. Read on for my impressions.

 

Basic Specs.

Volume: 65 Liters
Weight: 39 oz.
Price: $110.00

Pros:

Comfort

The Fusion 65 is built to comfortably carry any load you can fit into it. I wouldn’t doubt that for a second, based on the miles I put on it while carrying cold-weather gear. It was able to bare the load – hovering around 30 pounds – without any shoulder or waist discomfort. I am confident this pack could comfortably carry a significant amount more than that, if needed.

The padding on the pack is comfortable, with an even-feeling weight transfer to my shoulders, hips, and along my back. The pack conforms to the shape of your back, and hugs your shoulders and waist with a very natural feeling ride. Additionally, the back-pad forms a ridge that helps separate your back from the edges of the pack, which was great for keeping my back ventilated.

The backpad slightly separates your back from the main compartment, allowing more ventilation on the sides of your back.

Weight

This is a 65 liter bag for a bit over two pounds. That’s pretty darn good, considering many other packs of similar sizes are noticeably heavier. However, the bag doesn’t sacrifice functionality for its lightweight. You’ll find many admirable features about this pack, including its spacious hipbelt pockets, and an internal security pocket for important personal items.

Internal pocket

Internal pocket

 

Durability

For the most part, the pack is incredibly durable. I never had to deal with tears, rough spots, or loose threads. After all the miles I put on it, it’s also still quite clean, except for a few mud stains on the white material. What surprised me is the mesh used on the side pockets – despite being thin and stretchy, the material never suffered any tears. With that said, I would have liked to see how this backpack performed in the last several hundred miles of the AT in regards to durability- I suspect it would have been more tattered from the burly environment in the northeast.

Price

This pack is a little over $100. For a lightweight pack with great comfort and durability, this is fantastic. Even after more than 1,000 miles of hiking, my Fusion has held up remarkably well, and easily justifies its price.

Cons:

Pockets

My single biggest annoyance with this pack is the shallow side pockets. They aren’t quite deep enough to store a water bottle confidently; while hiking, this means often double checking to make sure it’s secure. I never had a bottle fall out, but many times it felt like a nudge against a rock would push the bottle over the edge of the pocket. Additionally, the outer pocket suffers from the same problem, although not as much. To be clear, these pockets were minor annoyances – the pack generally does fine with them, but more security would be appreciated.

Shallow side pockets- not a deal breaker, but still an annoyance.

Shallow side pockets- not a deal breaker, but still an annoyance.

It is important to note that SMD has updated their new Fusion models with larger pockets, but their new packs are also significantly heavier.

 

Color

This is not a big deal, really. Gear is going to get dirty after several months of use. However, I often question the color choices made by SMD for this pack. The bright white is a little distracting and dirties easily; before I washed my bag, the white had taken on a light brown tint. I would love to see this same exact pack with more neutral colors.

Overall

My experience with this pack was overall favorable, but it may not be for everyone. As a lightweight option for a 65 liter pack, it offers great durability and rides quite comfortably while full. With the attractive price, you should definitely give this bag a look.

 

Disclosure: This item was not donated for review.

 

 

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