I've been asked many times over the last few years if have I given up on our original Ultralight pack designs. In a word, NO. However, we have spent a few years working on various pack designs in an effort to learn more about the nuance of design.
Backpacks pose a diverse set design problems that are often at odds with each other. Striking the right balance is never simple or direct.
The Minimalist strives to tackle each of these problems by attempting to find the essence of each option and looking for the simplest and cleanest way to resolve them. While no pack can do all things for all people. The Minimalist offers some exciting options for long distance backpackers.
The Minimalist is a designed to be highly configurable. So the pack weight will vary with configuration. Configured as a Frame-less pack with Pack Bag and Shoulder Straps, The Minimalist comes in at 26 oz. / 740 g.
In the Standard Configuration with added Stay and Hip Belt, The Minimalist weights 34 oz. / 960 g.
Finally, substituting the standard Shoulder Straps with our advanced Vest Harness brings the weight up to 36 oz. / 1020 g.
The Minimalist, is constructed from High Tenacity Robic ® yarn. This gives it great durability while preserving its light weight. The bottom is double layered to provide added protection from wear.
The outer pockets are covered with Durable 4-Way Stretch material. It provides excellent stretch while resisting snags and abrasion.
It really doesn't matter how light the pack, if it fails to adequately hold your gear. The Minimalist main pack bag holds 48L / 2900 ci. That's divided between the Pack Bag (38L) and Extension Collar (10L).
The 48L capacity does not include any of the three large external pockets, two large hip belt pockets or the two shoulder strap pockets.
The Minimalist can be configured as either a Frame-less or Framed pack. This is done by simply removing the flexible Delron Hoop stay.
While there are many Frame-less packs on the market these days. There are none with an Adjustable Torso Length. The Minimalist allows you to adjust the torso length to adjust to both your body and conditions you're encountering. There are times, depending upon your load and trail conditions, when you may raise or lower your pack for optimal comfort.
When configured as Frame-less, you'll want to keep your base pack weight around 8 lbs. / 3.5 k and maximum weight below 25 lbs / 11 k. Comfortable weight depends significantly on the type of load carried and your conditioning.
By default, The Minimalist comes with a Delron Hoop Stay frame. Unlike many packs utilizing a similar stay, we bend our stay so that the bottom terminates at the base of your hip belt. This transfers the weight directly to your hip belt.
Other packs terminate the stay at the outer edges of the pack. Unfortunately, this significantly reduces the load transfer from pack to hip belt. It leads to pack sagging as the pack load is not properly supported.
Using the Hoop Stay and Padded Hip Belt increases you load carrying capacity by 10 lbs / 4.5 k to 35+ lbs. / 16 k. While you can carry additional weight, we still recommend a base weight of 12 lbs. / 5.5 k or less.
The Minimalist is the largest pack on the market that can be configured with a Vest Harness. Six Moon Designs unique Vest Harness supports 6-point connection between the pack and your body. This connection system offers several distinct advantages.
If you enjoy Trail Running or doing FKT's (Fastest Known Times), you should seriously consider the Vest Option.
Years ago when I founded Six Moon Designs, my first pack incorporated a Vest Harness. I didn't design it so I could run or hike faster. I did it so I could hike comfortably without a lot of pain. A bout of Cancer had made it difficult for me to hike more than a couple of hours at a time before I had to stop because of the pain in my back.
A short rest, stretching and medication allowed me to continue on my journey for another couple hours before needing to repeat.
Incorporating the Vest Harness in the pack provided significant additional support for my weakened back and spine. By spreading the weight, I was able to walk more upright and longer distances without pain.
So if you've found yourself unable to backpack as well as and as long as you once did, you may want to seriously consider the Vest Harness. No, I make no claims that the Vest Harness is a miracle cure. Just that it helped me get back to really enjoying backpacking again.
In addition to it's large interior bag, The Minimalist incorporates two side and one larger rear pocket. The two side pockets are asymmetric in size. With a shorter water bottle pocket on the right and a much longer pocket on the left. The long side pocket is perfect for carrying a ultralight tarp, tent or tall hydration bladder.
A large center pocket is perfect for storing that quick access gear you don't want to have to open your pack to retrieve.
The Minimalist also incorporates a Top Lid that has two thin pockets. A waterproof pocket is great for storing maps and other documents. A stretchy pocket can hold hat, gloves along with other items.
The primary benefit of the Top Lid comes into play when you're needing to carry a Bear Canister. While some canisters can fit in the interior, larger one's will utilize too much interior space to be usable. The Top Lid has two long straps that easily contain and stabilize the canister.
Both the Hip Belt and Shoulder Straps also incorporate two pockets each.
Compression straps along both sides of The Minimalist allow you to quickly size the pack to your needs.
The Minimalist will be available for shipping sometime in early March. It's pricing will be $210 for the base configuration. Slightly more for the Vest Option.
Update: As of March 12th, The Minimalist is now available for pre-order!