Gear Review – SMD Pack Pods

When it comes to the organization when backpacking, I’m a simple man –

I put my quilt in a large trash compactor bag or similar, place that trash compactor bag in another one, shove my minimal clothing in my windpants leg, and put everything else in the rest of the pack neatly. Only my food goes into a “real” stuff sack at this point. A few odds and ends, such as my FAK or headlamp, go into a well-worn Tyvek Priority Mail envelope. 

Easy peasy. Mac n’ Cheesy.

But for many other facets of my life, I enjoy being organized more so. I’d say all this organization is part of the reason why Joan and I get on so many trips a year.

On-road trips or car camping, I have my clothing sorted by zippered duffles of various types.

When Six Moon Designs shipped both the three-pack of large pack pods and the three-pack sets of a small, medium, and a large variety pack for both Joan and myself, I’d know we’d find some uses for them.

These pack pods consist of taped seams for water resistance (not waterproof), dual zippers for easy closing and opening, and a zippered top opening for ease of access.  The square-ish shape makes for easy packing in all manners of packs or duffle bags.

The specs are as follows:

Sizes:

Large: 7 Liters | 12″ x 8″ x 4″ (30x20x10cm) | 1 oz – 28 g 

Medium: 2 Liters | 8″ x 4″ x 2.4″ (20x10x6cm) | 0.71 oz – 20 g 

Small: 1/2 Liter | 5.5″ x 2.7″ x 1.6″ (14x7x4cm) | 0.3 oz – 8 g

The large three-pack comes in in a random grab bag of one of four colors (blue, gray, orange, dark grey (carbon)); you can specify the specific color when purchasing the multi-size pack.

At $35 for a large pack of three and a multipack at $30, the prices end up very competitive compared to similar silynylon stuff sacks but with more/different features, of course,

Another feature that I did not initially appreciate is the corner loops that allow for easy attachment to other accessories by using some cord or a carabiner.

Though optional, I found adding a zipper pull (some ever-useful bank line with a girth hitch) through the zipper loop makes an easy opening of the pack pod with some negligible weight added.

Sounds good, Paul. But, how did you use them in the real world?

As mentioned, I don’t use stuff sacks often (at all?) for backpacking other than my food bag. I feel that simpler stuff sacks sans zipper may work better for my food needs.

However, I did use one right away for traveling. The large pod made an excellent portable “office” of sorts with a phone charger, accessories, a notepad, extra camera batteries, etc.  Items that I always had in a stuff sack when traveling before. This type of pod with the zipper made it much easier to access these items vs. traditional stuff sacks.

For day-to-day use, camping, and backpacking, Joan and I both made good use of the smallest version as a ditty bag.

My small pack pod contains a key, Swiss Army knife classic /light/P51 can opener, chapstick, and pocket knife when not backpacking.

I used to use an old ditty bag from some long-forgotten piece of gear. The small pod performs the same function but much easier to access what I need while still not having everything float in my front pocket.  Joan similarly uses hers.

Joan’s used some of hers for both backpacking and camping for more organization, mainly with clothes.

Additionally, a recent day hike made an easy way to pack lunch and snacks for the day.

More along the backpacking lines, or packrafting in this case, the medium one came in useful attached to a PFD with some light carabiners.  The pod acted as a pouch to make items easily accessible and not likely to fall into the river—items such as a phone, maps, snacks, and other similar light items. Things we wanted handy but otherwise awkward to grab while sitting in a packraft.

Joan’s pod even matches her PFD!

Overall? 

For the minimalist backpacker, the pack pods may not fit your system. On the other hand, a person who values a high degree of pack organization may appreciate the pack pods quite a bit.

However, if you do many different types of outdoor activities or enjoy organization post and pre-trip, the large pack pods serve a valuable niche. The medium and small pods also fit a variety of tasks and needs.

The large three-pack of pack pods at $35 compares very favorably to similar-sized and weight stuff sacks— with the bonus of additional features and fitting well in packs or duffles due to their size and shape.

The multi-size three-pack at $30 is not quite the bargain, but the offering of different sizes and options comes in handy for various uses as well at a fair price comprable to other vendors.

Joan and I have found these packs extremely useful in the 5+ months we have used as part of our kit. And I suspect we’ll continue to use them in the future.

Disclosure – Six Moon Designs provided the pod packs for our use.

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JhonYermo
JhonYermo
4 months ago

Always I appreciate the Bank Line . Nobody else, no hiker anyways, seems to know about it. Thanks you

Todd Anderson
Todd Anderson
4 months ago

Not exactly on the main point of your post but… double bagging your quilt with two trash compactor bags caught my eye. I use one but more than once I’ve worried about a small hole or the big opening letting water in, and causing a tough situation, especially in wet and cold environments. Your solution is simple. And reading this gives me the nudge to improve my system, at very low cost. Thank you 🙂