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Six Moon Designs Pack Pods Review

Six Moon Designs Backpack Pack Pods Review

Six Moon Designs Pack Pods are silnylon storage cubes, with a zippered clamshell lid, that stack one on top of the other in your backpack. I found them to be highly effective for organization and efficiency on-trail and in-camp, and reasonably priced for a set of three. I’ve always been a “stuff everything into the pack liner” kind of hiker but these pods have changed that. They provide some weather protection but are not waterproof; organization is their primary purpose.

Specs at a Glance

  • Weight (manufacturer) 1.0 ounce per pod
  • Weight (tested) 1.0 – 1.1 ounce per pod (2 pods each weighed 1.0 oz, 1 pod weighed 1.1 oz)
  • Dimensions (manufacturer): 12” x 8” x 4” (SMD lists this as equivalent to 30 x 20 x 10cm, but these are rounded numbers: 30 cm is actually 11.8 inches, which may explain some of the length discrepancies when measured)
  • Dimensions (tested): 11.5” x 8” x 4” (29 x 20 x 10cm)
  • Volume: 7 liters/ 430 cubic inches
  • Material: Silnylon ripstop
  • Closure: Clamshell lid with a standard (non-water-resistant) YKK coil zipper with two sliders
  • Colors: Pods are made in black, green, blue, and orange. Colors selected at random.


Six Moon Designs (SMD) Pack Pods have a modified cube shape: flat on the top and bottom, flat on one side (the part that goes against your back), and gently rounded on the other side to approximate the curve of the front (the opposite side from your back) of many backpacks. This shape allows for the easy stacking of one pod on top of another.

Inside the tent, the packing pods are my chest of drawers, keeping everything organized
Inside the tent, the packing pods are my chest of drawers, keeping everything organized.

The pods are made from silnylon, which is commonly used in lightweight shelters and stuff sacks and is much less expensive than Dyneema Composite Fabrics (DCF), of which Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s pods are constructed. A set of three SMD Pack Pods are significantly less expensive than a single Hyperlite HMG pod.

The seam that connects the bottom of the SMD pod to the sides is seam-taped (a little messily, but functional) to protect from water ingress if the pod is sitting on wet ground. Since seam taping equipment for silnylon is extremely expensive and rare, the pods are probably coated with PU on the inside to facilitate seam taping, but I haven’t yet heard back from SMD to confirm this. However, the existence of seam tape should not make you think these pods are waterproof. Let’s look a little closer.

Water Resistance

It’s important to state it clearly: these pods are not waterproof, so don’t rely on them alone to keep your gear dry. If you are hiking in the rain, packrafting, or have significant water crossings, you will want to have an appropriate strategy for water protection, from a pack liner to dry bags depending on the situation. While they are made from waterproof silnylon and the seams are taped, the zipper is a standard, non-water resistant style and will allow water to enter.

However, the pods are water-resistant and will give some protection to your gear if you put them on wet ground or need to pull one out briefly to access something during a rest stop.

To test the water resistance of the packing pods, I left one out in steady rain for an hour with a cotton sweatshirt stuffed inside. Water beaded up on the surface of the pod and entered through the zipper, but when I pulled out the sweatshirt it only had three palm-sized wet spots on it; the rest was dry.

I like the decision to use regular zippers on these pods because opening and closing them to access gear is fast and easy, with no resistance. Having two sliders means you can position them anywhere along the length of the zipper. There is a tiny hole where the two sliders meet, but water can enter anywhere along the zipper. However, water-resistant zippers (commonly referred to mistakenly as waterproof zippers) are quite a bit stiffer to operate and yet are still not completely waterproof. Here in rainy New England, I always use a pack liner to protect my gear and will continue to do so when using these pods.

Water beads up on the silicone-coated fabric
Water beads up on the silicone-coated fabric.

Random colors

The pods are made in four colors: green, blue, black, and orange, but you don’t get to choose–Six Moon Designs will select three colors at random. I find it a little curious to have a three-pack of random colors when only four colors are manufactured. I received green, blue, and black in my order, but I wish I got orange instead of black, as I much prefer brightly-colored stuff sacks to distinguish between systems and find items quickly. But I know other hikers who can’t stand bright colors in their gear; they see them as a garish assault on their eyes in a natural landscape. It would be nice to have the option of a set of bright or muted colors.

If you group similar items together, the different colors are helpful for quickly identifying what you need at the moment. For example, I keep my sleeping items in the green pod because my sleeping shirt is bright green, so I have that immediate association. I keep my storm clothes in the blue pod because blue makes me think of cold and rain.

I know some people like to pack their food into a pod so it stacks nicely with their other gear. If you do this, it’s a good idea to always use that same pod for food and nothing else so you don’t transfer food smells onto other gear, and to pack the pod into your bear bag or canister at the end of the day. Personally, I find my Ursack stacks pretty well with these pods when laid horizontally in my pack, so I keep my food in there.

The slightly rounded rectangular shape fits nicely into most backpacks
The slightly rounded rectangular shape fits nicely into most backpacks.

Packing at home

I always pack from a list and check off items as I pack them to make sure I don’t forget anything. Usually, this looks like making a big pile of stuff on the floor and pulling things out one at a time to pack. But with the pods, I can group small items that are part of a system together, which makes it easier to both pack and double-check that everything is packed.

On a late winter/early spring trip, my storm pod contained a warm hat, gloves, rain mitts, fleece top, rain jacket, and VBL socks. My sleeping pod contained my sleeping clothes including warm socks, an inflatable pillow and pad and their inflation bag, and Gore-Tex socks for in-camp use with wet shoes. I have been using just two of the pods throughout my testing this Winter and early Spring, but as it gets warmer, I can see myself using the third for my quilt or sleeping bag.

Use on the trail

Before trying these pods, I used to pack all my gear into a pack liner, only using stuff sacks for food, cook kit, stakes, and small essentials. Using the pods, I have fewer items that can migrate around in the pack, and I never have to touch my in-camp items until I’m actually in camp. So if it starts storming, I pull out my storm pod, which sits outside (on top of) my pack liner and have everything I need right there, easy to access and put on quickly.

There are two zipper sliders you can position anywhere along the zipper A pull tab at each end helps facilitate easy zipper opening and closing
There are two zipper sliders you can position anywhere along the zipper A pull tab at each end helps facilitate easy zipper opening and closing.

In camp

When I get to camp, I pitch my tent, pull out my sleep pod and inflate my pad and pillow, and then pull out the quilt to loft. Then my inflation bag and the stuff sacks for my shelter all get rolled up and put back into the sleep pod so they don’t wander aimlessly around the tent. On the first trip with these pods, I kept my sleeping pad and pillow in their stuff sacks out of force of habit, but I quickly realized these extra stuff sacks can be left home. With the pod on the tent floor and the lid unzipped, I can easily see what’s inside without having to root through everything or having items fall out.

Organization in a hammock is even more important than in a tent because of the tendency of small items to fall out as you exit the hammock in the night. Slide a neck gaiter over one of the pods and use it as your pillow, and keep your electronics warm in another with some clothing and put it under your knees.

Once I’m all set up for the night, the pods become like a chest of drawers. If I get cold or hot in the night, I can quickly find or put away extra layers or a hat and gloves. Having a home for everything means that packing up in the morning is very efficient.

Comparable Packing Pods

Make / ModelMaterialPricing
Hyperlite Mountain Gear PodsDCF$50 and up
Mountain Laurel Designs Cuben DCF Packing CubesDCF$12 and up
Mountain Laurel Designs Dyneema X Packing CubesNylon$10 and up
Napacks Ultralight Packing CubesDCF$40 and up
Osprey Straightjacket Compression SacksNylon$25 and up
Six Moon Designs Pack PodsSilnylon3 for $35
Thrupack BricksX-Pac$35 and up
UltraliteSacks Ultralight CubesDCF$18 and up
Zpacks Packing CubesDCF$29 and up


Six Moon Designs Pack Pods are essentially packing cubes for backpacking. For me, the organization, simplicity, and efficiency they provide are well-worth the 1-ounce weight per pod. Six Moon Designs also makes a multi-sized Pack Pod set if you like the zipper access but want smaller sizes for your tiny essentials, like a pod for your electronics.

The only suggestion I have for a change is for a little more precision in the sizing specs and the alignment between inches and centimeters. Although I measured the length (from seam to seam) to be a half-inch shorter than spec, I felt that they are a good size for my uses. Recognize, too, that the pods are structureless–you can overstuff them a bit and they’ll bulge, and they can squish in your pack, slightly changing their geometry.

Disclosure: The author owns this product.

Six Moon Designs Pack Pods

Quality of Construction

Inexpensive Backpack Organization

Six Moon Designs Pack Pods are silnylon storage cubes that stack one on top of the other in your backpack. They are highly effective for organization and efficiency on-trail and in-camp and reasonably priced at $35 for a set of three.

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About the author

Greg Pehrson is an ultralight backpacker who was bitten hard by the MYOG (make-your-own-gear) bug. He repairs, tinkers, and builds gear, often seeking to upcycle throwaway items or repurpose things from outside the backpacking world.


  1. Exped do zip backs UL – similar in design to MLD but sil nylon in various sizes and colours. Interestingly, while readily available in Australia – these don’t appear to be on sale on the UK or US websites. I like the six moon design but prefer the weather resistant zips on the exped.

  2. I just ordered a set thru your link.

    I know the colors are random and really not bother by any of the them, but I wrote in the order comment section, if possible they could not send a black one, because my pack liner is black. It will be interesting to see if they will. Doesn’t hurt to ask, but not a problem either way.

  3. Ordered a set at 8:17 and got an email at 11:07, that they have been shipped, that’s service.
    Can’t wait to see what colors I get.

  4. WOW! Just got my order this morning and these things are GREAT.

    I asked to not send me a black one and they didn’t and it wasn’t just luck, someone had actually written on the paper order form “NO BLACK”.

    If anyone is wondering about the size, here’s what I was able to store in just ONE. 1 pair of Columbia Silver Ridge long pants, 2 pairs of EMS Techwick long sleeve 1/4 zip shirts, 1 EMS Techwick short sleeve crew neck shirt, 1 pair of sock liners, and 1 pair of Smartwool Trekkiing socks(size 9-11). And I still had enough room for at least another short sleeve shirt.

    I’m going to put some photos and description for my hiking/traveling friends out on my Facebook page.

    • The child that cries, gets fed. Most of the time, you just need to ask what you want. Glad you like them!

      • I didn’t cry… and I got black. Of course, I was also asking them to hurry and ship them for an upcoming trip and didn’t feel I should also be asking for special handling on the colors. However, I did break one of my basic tenets, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always ‘No!'”

        Now I have to figure out how to pack this new set of drawers.

  5. I don’t own any SMD bags but I recently purchased two MLD zippered “pouches” that I’ve sewed small sections of lightweight nylon webbing to the backs to receive the pack’s compression straps.

    MLD has excellent quality and materials and these will make great lightweight side pockets for my Osprey EXOS 58 pack. Sorry but I gotta have side pockets and i don’t mean mesh “bottle” pockets either.

  6. I bought a set of Granite Gear “Air ZippDitty” silnylon zippered stuff sacks that I really like. They are on the smaller side but great for packing. You get a set of four for only $17. I use them for my first aid kit and other collections of small items.

    • Second the GG bags. I used a medium zip sack (I think 12L) all last summer as part of my issued kit as an assistant forest ranger in the Catskills for carrying a huge med kit and a radio and extra battery. It was able to easily swallow my other odds and ends and I just loved it. Got their silnylon version and use it right now for extra hat, gloves, etc for winter fun. Like the reviewed SMDs, just so much more convenient than a drawstring stuff sack. A nice compromise in terms of easy access and containing things while unzipped on the ground

  7. Has anyone tried to pack a down quilt into one of these?

    • I pack my GoLite 30 degree long mummy bag into one of those. I also pack my 20 degree Wooki underquilt for my hammock in one. I would think you would be able to pack most quilts in one without a problem.

    • I just want to make clear that it’s the Six Moon Designs packing pods that I’m using, not the Granite Gear product.

    • And… answer my own Q, I got a set of these and a EE revelation 20 degree quilt will not fit. I guesstimate that just 1 liter more capacity would have done it. Que lastima.

    • I have a Hammock Gear 0 Degree Economy Burrow. I tried it in the Large Pod (which is 14L); it’s a tight fit but it’s doable. Not sure if I like that result yet, as I’ll have to practice-pack with other gear in my pack to see if this is better than the big fat cylindrical “loaf” it becomes in the eVent compression sack (and the straps are awful and twist and tangle).

      • I would avoid putting that quilt in any stuff sack that has a zipper. The HMG pods, if that’s what you’re referring to, are kind of pain in the butt to use with quilts. I prefer a regular stuff sack.

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