Superior Wilderness Designs Movement 40L Backpack Review
Jan 19, 2023 at 9:13 am #3770790
Companion forum thread to: Superior Wilderness Designs Movement 40L Backpack Review
This review focuses on the modularity of the Superior Wilderness Designs Movement 40L backpack. In particular, the Movement has the ability to morph from a frameless to a framed pack with a suspension capable of carrying 35 pounds (15.9 kg) or so.Jan 19, 2023 at 8:40 pm #3770894
You are tempting me:-)
Though regarding the frameless use – do you find the pack curved a little too much? I got a 35 L frameless in Ultra 400 and was surprised to find a trampoline like curve. I was not expecting that as it has no frame etc. I do find some pressure at my lumbar because of the curve pushing in.
How wide is the hip belt? 5 inches?Jan 19, 2023 at 10:22 pm #3770897Dan @ Durston GearBPL Member
@dandydanLocale: Canadian Rockies
“The Durston Gear Kakwa 40 is an extremely clean pack (aesthetically). As such…the only two attachment points are two grosgrain webbing loops at the bottom of the front pocket”
A small clarification here: The 2022 Kakwa had 4 attachment points, not 2 (there were loops at all 4 corners of the front pocket). The 2023 version adds 4 more (8 total) so there are 6 around the front pocket plus 2 more below the hipbelt so items can also be strapped to the bottom.
But yes your point stands that the Movement has a lot more loops (26) for customization. It looks very nice.Jan 20, 2023 at 4:58 pm #3770955
@Murali: Unfortunately, the pack isn’t with me at the moment, so I cannot load it again and try. It rode rather well, as most packs under 20 lbs ride. I did not feel any discomfort as a frameless pack in the 18-20 lbs.
I know that the SWD website says it’s 4.5″, but let me check on the hipbelt and get back to you.
Regarding the hipbelt, I am also glad to see that SWD is also including more sizes now: The original 26″, but also 30″ and 34″. These refer to the padded portion of the hipbelt.
As I mentioned in the article, if you are going to order one and you find yourself between two sizes, I would personally recommend sizing up. My torso is 18.5″ and I got a medium. It fit, but I wished I had ordered a large.Jan 20, 2023 at 5:03 pm #3770958
@Dan: Sorry I missed the other two loops. Not sure if I didn’t see them or my field notes were incorrect. I am glad to hear that you have added additional attachment points. Great option for those of us who like using a foam pad :)Jan 21, 2023 at 7:19 am #3770988LARRY WSpectator
Great review. You’ve now intimidated me out of reviewing gear. And thanks for the part about the upper side pockets update. I wondered if they quit selling those. I kinda want to try putting my cook system there for easy access. Not sure if it will work but nice to know they will be selling those in the future.Jan 21, 2023 at 9:50 am #3770999R LSpectator
@slip-knotLocale: SF Bay Area, East Bay
Being in the $7 club, I know not of the words written. Was there discussion of hip belt construction as part of the ergonomics to the efficiency of the pack? Does a pack ride better when the hip belt is sewn on as wings that may allow forces to be spread out with the body fabric vs removable belts that may focus those forces in a specific area. Was cost of each pack parlayed into the equation as a bang-for-the-buck point of view. Just asking. Thanks. ~RJan 22, 2023 at 6:50 am #3771055Brian FBPL Member
Your table included the AtomPacks MO, but wouldn’t the AtomPacks Atom+ be a better comparison as it also has a removable frame and hipbelt? The Movement definitely has a higher carrying capacity, just thinking the AP+ would be a better “direct” comparison than the MO. I’ve owned both SWD and AtomPacks products, both have served me quite well and are very well made. My personal preference material wise though would be for the Ultra material over the EcoPak.
Thank you for the review as I have been eyeing a Movement for a while now because of it’s modularity, but being leary of anything (pack, bike, …) that presents as a “one size does all” has kept me from pulling the trigger on one. You’re review may have just pushed me over the edge :-)Jan 23, 2023 at 6:42 am #3771124SWD BackpacksBPL Member
@bmcintyre109Locale: Northern Michigan
The contour of the pack isn’t meant to hold the pack off of your back like a trampoline style back panel, but it’s made to conform close to your back. If you are feeling pressure in any specific spot such as your lumbar it is likely due to the fact that the back panel isn’t lined up correctly on your back. The likely culprit being that the shoulder straps are being worn too loose which is allowing the pack to rest too low on your back.
The current hip belts are about 5.5″ tall for the lumbar section and about 4.5″ tall for the wing portion of the hip belt.Jan 23, 2023 at 3:32 pm #3771203
@Brian: Yes, you are 100% correct. The Atom+ would be a better comparison, particularly when we take into account the overall weight of pack at 23.8 oz (675 g). It is completely my oversight. I think when I was trying to understand the differences online, the “+” made me think of more suspension and weight.
I have always heard great things about Atom packs from trusted reviewers here on BPL.
One size fits all is certainly a difficult thing to balance. Particularly since for most of us going from 20 lbs to 30 lbs typically implies not only a weight difference, but often also a pack volume difference. But I still think that the Movement could be great for someone who mostly stays in the 25 pounds or under with occasional trips that require additional food or water carries that push the pack to 30 lbs or a bit over. Personally, I find that many packs that shine in the 25 lbs and under struggle approaching 30 lbs because of either the suspension or, more importantly, the pack/body interface.Jan 24, 2023 at 8:10 am #3771254
Thanks for your comments – don’t want to hijack this thread. Folks who have your packs love their packs!
I am including a picture of me wearing 4 different packs – MLD Prophet 48L (21.5 inch torso), Zpacks Nero 38L (23 inch torso), OB 55L (OrangeBrown – australian company – 22.5 torso), SWD frameless 35 plus 10 external (21.5 torso).
Couple of observations. 1) volume of SWD is smaller and pack is narrower – same contents fills up SWD with just couple of folds compared to MLD 48L, Zpacks 38L 2) Because SWD pack is pretty full, I find that if I wear my pack higher, it is very tight on the shoulder area. So, I have to wear it slightly lower. In the pictures, you can see the shoulder straps being the lowest of the 4. I didn’t like the sit pad – don’t use it. Maybe if the pack was a little wider – depth wise, then maybe I would have been able to wear it higher. I wanted a 21.5 torso as I really liked that length from MLD Prophet.
I am not sure if you have any other comments about my wearing position. Thanks!Jan 25, 2023 at 6:13 am #3771376SWD BackpacksBPL Member
@bmcintyre109Locale: Northern Michigan
It looks like the main difference in the fit of the Movement compared to the other packs is the load lifters and the torso size. Some people like the extra wrap on the shoulder straps when you have the load lifters pulled in, and some find it unnecessary. When wearing a pack frameless and sans hip belt I think the fit is a bit more subjective and really depends on the user’s personal preference. The main thing being where the bottom of the pack rests on your lower back. Some people like the pack to ride higher and some lower on the back. It looks like the contour of the back panel lines up well with your back though.
It looks like it’s possible that the torso size may be a bit short for you with the hip belt attached, but I’d need to see pictures with the belt attached to know for sure.
Send me over an email if you want to send over any more pictures or discuss further and I’d be happy to give you some input.Jan 30, 2023 at 11:42 am #3771822
Great write up! I wasn’t aware of this pack, and I seem to be the intended target. Were you happy with the volume you selected? I’m trying to decide between the 35L and 40L. I use a Gossamer Gear G4-20 for most of my trips.Jan 30, 2023 at 5:32 pm #3771886
Thank you, Jason. Regarding your question about volume, I don’t have direct experience with the GG G4-20, so please, take this with a grain of salt. As you know, volume is not standardized. Based on the large left side pocket as well as the volume of the front and the hipbelt pockets, I would recommend the 40L Movement.
I say this because the Movement and Long Haul have a very sharp taper both at the sides and the bottom of the front panel. This means that a significant amount of volume is up over the shoulder straps when compared to other boxier packs, such as HMG or Granite Gear for example, which have a wider bottom. Hope this makes sense.
Let us know how you like the pack if you end up ordering.Jan 30, 2023 at 7:08 pm #3771888
+1 – select the bigger volume, SWD is on the smaller side compared to similarly volumed packs.Jan 30, 2023 at 7:14 pm #3771889
Thanks, that helps a lot! I’m a 16.5″ torso by my measurement, but I’m going to size up to the 18″. My medium G4-20 is 18″ strap to mid-belt just like the medium SWD. Your experience also helps confirm this choice.Jan 30, 2023 at 7:23 pm #3771890
Unfortunately, I lent out the pack, so I cannot confirm the measurement of the M size. But if you reach out to SWD, I’m sure they will be happy to confirm it. But I am inclined to think the M may be best.Jan 30, 2023 at 8:09 pm #3771893
Yes, they confirmed the length for me.May 11, 2023 at 4:22 pm #3780864
I received the Movement 40 in size medium. My first impression is that I’m very optimistic about how it will perform on trail for several reasons. I mostly stopped using a Mariposa for the frameless G420 because my typical load didn’t feel much different between packs. The Movement with the frame is clearly more comfortable for me than both, even at a very low 10 lbs. Without the frame, the Movement is similar to the other two. I was surprised that the modular straps used as load lifters further improved comfort even though they aren’t connected to the frame and the manufacturer told me they are not “functional” lifters. My Mariposa lifters did nothing at all for me. The movement’s *clearly* made a difference, at least at the weights I tested. Volume is probably just right for me and seems to be very close to the volume of the G420. Definitely less than the Mariposa. Venom mesh is way better than the mesh of GG packs that makes them look pregnant when utilized. That’s actually my only real complaint with the GG packs (I think their packs rock). The single aluminum stay is a solid chunk of metal and easy to remove (I notice the HMG unbound has a similar setup). I’m very impressed with its performance until just over 30lbs. I felt the single stay pushing down the middle of the belt at that point. I threw dumbells in the middle of pack to get up that weight so it may just be the distribution that caused that. I’m not sure how much higher I would push it or how annoying it would end up being on a hike. I’ll have to test that out a bit more. I also noticed that I need to keep heavy stuff down to the middle of the pack or lower as it will (comically) sway left to right if the weight isn’t distributed properly. Anyway, that’s my first impression loaded up around the house. I used an Osprey Atmos, Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor, GG Mariposa, G420, Kumo, and I tested the Yama Sassafras and Nashville Cutaway (that’s another story I’m happy to share if anyone is interested). The Movement is the most comfortable for my typical load and I think makes the most sense for the majority of my trips.
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