I take pride in being a truly independent hiker, in never having to slow down or ask a partner to get my water bottle for me (or worse, remove my pack to access it). That’s one of the reasons why I loved testing the Flight 30 Ultra: It kept all my necessities within arm’s reach as I moved down the trail.
I tested a version of the pack with the “vest harness” option (you can also purchase it with a traditional shoulder harness), and the vest’s shoulder water bottle holder and three other pockets (one zippered) held my hydration, keys, and drivers license with room to spare. Having accessible sidepockets for my limited-range-of-motion shoulders proved key to allowing me to easily access my extra water and make changes to my layers while maintaining my stride. However, though I love hipbelt pockets, the ones on this pack are a bit too small to fit an iPhone 11, and positioned too far back for easy access.
Although the Six Moon Designs Flight 30 Ultra does not have a frame, the pack remained comfortable and stable while I carried loads up to 20 pounds. Credit the 8.5-inch-wide vest straps, which distributed weight evenly across my torso. The harness also ensured that the pack never slipped, no matter my body position, as I squeezed and twisted my way through the orange and yellow sandstone of Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Canyons in Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
My biggest conundrum was positioning the two horizontal sternum straps around my bust. Do they go above, below, or one above and one below? Comfort was not the issue so much as appearance; I did not want to give the impression of a pin-up girl while finding my trail zen.
The Flight 30 Ultra I tested was made out of supertough VX21 material, which is a three-layer laminate comprised of 210-denier nylon and polyester. The packbody held up during tight canyon squeezes, and the waterproof fabric kept out precip on rainy hikes in Utah and Colorado. Opting for this material rather than robic nylon increases the pack’s cost significantly, but it should pay off in the longterm: There are no signs of wear or tear on my pack, just a slight layer of sandstone dust that reminds me of all those miles explored.
Meet the Outside+ Member: Robin Mino
Home Base Broomfield, CO
Favorite Trail The Colorado Trail
Favorite Trail Snack Anything with chocolate and peanut butter