Six Moon Designs Swift X 38l

The volcano made a visit

I’ve been using the Swift X by Six Moon Designs with the Flight Shoulder and Hip harness for going on a year. It gets used for daily training hikes as well as longer stuff, but I do occasionally change it out for one of its smaller brothers in my kit.

Considering my age and lessening tolerance for hardship this is probably what I’m going to carry next summer during my PCT hike. Gone are the days when I could walk out the door with a 20-liter ruck carrying only my food and a little equipment. My base weight has soared to about 14 lbs just so I can sleep well at night. C’est la vie. I find that I need the extra volume to accommodate some basic needs these days.

Because I’ve spent so much time with this bag lately I thought it might be useful to go over what I like and dislike about it.

It’s heavier than some other bags I have. Ostensibly, this is due to some padding and support built into the back of the ruck. SMD weighs this one at 37 oz./1049 g. When compared to my old Jam II (30l) that’s a relative brick I’m toting around back there. But relative to a bunch of other rucks in its size and class it’s not bad at all. And there’s the added benefit of a lot of adjustability and padding. I’ve noticed the extra comfort, especially on longer hill climbs, and I’ve very much appreciated it.

The running style vest-harness is nearly perfect. I love all the little pockets and compartments on the shoulder straps and I’ve found that I can stuff a surprising amount of stuff. Primarily this makes it easy to walk and eat, but I usually tie on a few bits and bobs for blowing my nose or navigating. SMD should be commended for this innovation and I honestly can’t imagine going back to simple padded straps and harness these days.

The mesh pocket provided on the back is a bonus. I stuff things I need to reach quickly, like rain gear or a hat, back here. They’ve provided smaller pockets, made of the same stretchy mesh material, along the sides as well and I have little problem reaching back there for a water bottle. The mesh seems like it’s a possible wear point, but so far has held up alright.

All the webbing is about as narrow as it can be. That’s perfect in my view since webbing and tape can add so much weight to a pack. Some of them could be shortened, but I may do this on my own to save a little weight.

Finally, my biggest complaint is that SMD does not make a kangaroo pocket or add-on bag. I had to retire my RaidLite OLMO and its front bag last summer and I’ve been keenly aware of its absence ever since. The shoulder straps are already equipped with rings to mount a bag like this. I’ll be writing to SMD shortly to talk about trying out a couple of designs I have in mind.

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