Our goal at Six Moon Designs is to offer lightweight, high quality, affordable backpacking equipment. We want you to be happy with your purchases, and will stand behind our products 100%. If you have concerns, let us know. We'll do our best to make things right. We're confident that Six Moon products will be invaluable additions to your backpacking essentials.
So, if you're looking to make your next backpacking adventure more enjoyable, and less of a burden, we invite you to consider Six Moon Designs.
Ever since my first high school adventure on the Appalachian Trail, I've been hooked on backpacking. A few years later, in the summer of 1977,my wife, Linda and I took off to hike the Appalachian Trail. We were one of the first couples to hike the entire trail southbound.
Following our AT hike, we moved from Virginia to Oregon. As impoverished college students, we learned to sew much of the equipment needed for backcountry forays. Over the years we have made numerous bivy sacks, tarps, sleeping bags, jackets and other pieces of gear.
Through out my backpacking experience, I've always been fascinated with going lightweight. I'd learned a lot reading the exploits of early hikers like Grandma Gatewood, but wasn't quite ready to hike in sneakers, or use a shower curtain for shelter. In '77 our AT packs weighed about 35 pounds each with ten days of food. This was a remarkable weight, considering we used conventional gear available at the time, and most backpackers then were carrying 50-60 pounds on their backs.
In 2000 I really worked at reducing my pack weight for a hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. I incorporated a number of then state of the art ultralight gear along with my own ideas. I made much of my own gear. This time it wasn't because I couldn't afford the gear, but because what I wanted simply didn't exist.
Following my Pacific Crest Trail, I began thinking about a future hike of the Continental Divide Trail. I realized that an affordable, ultra-lightweight shelter was really needed. Months of planning and development resulted in the birth of Six Moon Designs.
In May 2002 we introduced our first product, The Europa Tent. The Europa was designed to be light, affordable, easy to set up, and sturdy enough to be used over a wide variety of back-country environments. Over the years we've introduced a variety of innovative products from the Starlite Pack to the Gatewood Cape. With the introduction of our new Skyscape Scout we're looking to take ultralight in a whole new market of affordable shelters. The Skyscape X will cater to those who believe there is no price for getting the lightest gear.
Ron "Fallingwater" Moak
Who designed your gear? Who fills the orders and who is on the other end of Facebook? Here’s a little insight into the Six Moon Designs team:
From his first hiking experience on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in high school to his southbound AT thru-hike in 1977 and Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) thru-hike in 2000, Ron Moak has been fascinated with lightweight gear.
As a college student, Ron started sewing his own equipment from the start: hand-made tarps, sleeping bags, jackets, bivy sacks and more put him ahead of the lightweight curve as his fully loaded pack weight hovered around 35 pounds instead of the normal 50 or 60 of most other backpackers at the time.
While he enjoyed the freedoms of light gear on the trail, the realization struck that others would too. There simply were no options for those wishing to lighten up. Months of planning and development resulted in the birth of Six Moon Designs.
In 2002 Ron introduced his first product, The Europa Tent, a 33 oz single-walled silnylon shelter. The backpacking community began to embrace the lightweight backpacking ethic, and soon other Six Moon Designs products followed.
The release of innovative products like the Gatewood Cape, a combination poncho/shelter system, and the Starlite Pack, a pioneering frame-less pack with a large carrying capacity, set the bar for affordable, durable and lightweight backpacking gear.
Ron continues to hike hundreds of miles every year, not only testing new ideas, but refining and improving Six Moon Designs’ products, most recently working with designer Brian Frankle on a redesign of the entire pack line.
Brian founded the popular gear company Ultralight Adventure Equipment (ULA) in 2001 to address the obvious lack of comfortable and functional lightweight equipment within the market. Brian’s attention to detail and commitment to functionality established ULA-Equipment as a premier backpack brand in the lightweight hiking community.
Brian joined Six Moon Designs as a design consultant in the summer of 2012. Brian and Ron found commonality in wanting to challenge the current perceptions of fit and comfort that typical lightweight and ultralight backpacking consumers have come to expect. Combining Brian and Ron’s collective knowledge (and many heated discussions), a new generation of ultralight packs were born.
Brian is also the co-founder of Hikertrash a Bend, Oregon based company that supplies fun stuff to fun people.
Brian has hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (1999), the Arizona Trail (2004), Hayduke Trail (2005), Idaho Centennial Trail (2008), and a variety of shorter distance routes and trails throughout the West.
Other than hiking, he continues to be vague in all the other stuff he does when asked.
Brandon Moak has been an integral part of the Six Moon Designs team from an early age. From his first backpacking trip into Jefferson Park at the base of Mt. Jefferson at age six, to helping his dad in the early days of SMD seam seal tents and packs, Brandon truly knows the business inside and out.
He officially joined Six Moon Designs in 2007, and works with just about every aspect of the business. Processing and shipping orders, cutting patterns, sewing prototype packs and tents, repairing gear and hand-taping all Cuben Fiber shelters are just a few ways Brandon earns his “Jack of all Trades” title.
Fortunately he shares Ron’s love of backpacking; one of the early trips in the Moak household included hiking with his folks in 1997 on their AT 20-year reunion trip. The family hiked from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Hot Springs, North Carolina before hopping up north to hike from Hanover, New Hampshire to Katahdin in Maine in the midst of that year’s north-bounders. Sleeping in handmade sleeping bags and under a tarp of Ron’s design, Brandon was initiated into the thru-hiking lifestyle, although he found a lot of the thru-hikers to be just a little bit crazy.
He hiked from Kennedy Meadows in California to the Oregon border on his dad’s PCT thru-hike in 2000 before returning to high school in the fall, and carried one of the first prototype SMD packs on one of his own backpacking adventures in 2003.
Now that Brandon has his own family who enjoys the great outdoors as much as he does, they can be found hiking or camping throughout Oregon. One of his four-year old son’s favorite activities is running around barefoot and sitting in mud puddles, showing great potential as a future thru-hiker!
His favorite piece of gear at the moment is the new SMD Fusion 65 pack. The 65 liter backpack weighs only 39 oz, but can carry all the items the whole family might need on a day hike...pounds of snacks, changes of clothes and even 15 rail-road spikes they found on a recent trip.
If you have called or emailed Six Moon Designs, it’s likely you have worked with Brandon. The father/son team not only work well together, they continue to role-model a successful family owned and operated business.
Renee Patrick is the newest member of the Six Moon Designs team, and her role as the social media manager is the ultimate combination of her passions: backpacking, writing and design.
Her first backpacking trip on the AT in 2002 proved to be the start of an addiction which led to other thru-hikes: the PCT in 2006, Colorado Trail (CT) in 2007 and AZT in 2009. Next year she heads to the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) to complete the Triple Crown.
After years of working in the outdoor industry as a guide, trail crew leader and wilderness therapy instructor, Renee returned to the 9-5 lifestyle as editor and art director for Cascade Publications in Bend, Oregon where she covers the thriving art scene and business community just over the mountains from the PCT. Coincidence?
Her newest set of adventures involved the burgeoning sport of packrafting. By combining the ultralight technology of 6 pound inflatable whitewater kayaks with ultralight backpacking, there are no limits to accessing remote wilderness rivers and fueling her adventurous nature.
Renee teamed up with Brian this year to create Hikertrash, a clothing company making stuff for hikers.
While she has dabbled in making her own gear like PBR beer can stoves, she prefers to leave the packs and shelters to the rest of the SMD team. Renee will be producing regular blog content for Six Moon Designs, designing and producing an electronic newsletter, managing Facebook and possibly experimenting with her new GoPro for future SMD videos.