The 2007 Comet is constructed of durable Dyneema Gridstop fabric and has numerous upgrades and refinements.
The Six Moon Designs Comet is a convertible pack. Optional flat aluminum stays ($10, 4.7 ounces) are easily inserted into sleeves to create an internal frame backpack (27 ounces), or removed to use it as a frameless backpack (22.3 ounces). The hipbelt is also removable, further reducing the weight to 17 ounces. When I reviewed the original Six Moon Designs Comet I was impressed with its comfort and versatility, but I thought the construction was a little rough. The updated 2007 Comet adds some welcome improvements and is much more refined overall.
- Durable fabrics and mesh
- Huge front and side mesh pockets
- Removable stays and hipbelt
- Large hipbelt pockets available
- Adjustable torso length and stay curvature
- Very effective weight transfer to the hips
- Very comfortable to carry
What’s Not So Good
- Velcro dry bag closure catches on clothing
- Aluminum stays are not anchored to the hipbelt, and do not have adequate reinforcement at the bottom (but this problem is being corrected)
- Bottom of side pockets is not reinforced with durable fabric
|2007 Six Moon Designs Comet|
|Internal frame or frameless, top loading, dry bag closure with top compression strap|
|3700 ci (61 L)|
|1 lb 11 oz (765 g) measured weight with stays and optional hipbelt pockets, 1 lb 6.3 oz (746 g) without stays; manufacturer’s specification 1 lb 13 oz (822 g) with stays, 1 lb 8 oz (680 g) without stays|
|One size with adjustable torso; 15 and 18 in (38-46 cm) shoulder strap lengths available; short, medium, and long hipbelts available to fit 26-44 in girth (66-112 cm)|
Torso Fit Range
|15 to 22 in (38-56 cm)|
|Body is 210d Dyneema Gridstop, bottom and backpanel are 420d pack cloth, extension collar is 70d silnylon|
|Durable fabrics, contoured shoulder straps, adjustable torso length, 11 inch extension collar, Velcro dry bag closure, one large front and two large side mesh pockets, interior zippered security pocket, interior pad/hydration sleeve with one hose port, three front compression straps, one ice axe loop, hipbelt stabilizers, load lifter straps, sternum strap, three hipbelt lengths available, two shoulder strap lengths available, hipbelt pockets available|
Volume To Weight Ratio
|137 ci/oz with stays (based on 3700 ci and measured weight of 27 oz), 165.9 without stays (based on 3700 ci and measured weight of 22.3 oz)|
Comfortable Load Carrying Capacity
|35 lb estimated comfortable load for an average person carrying the pack (with stays) all day|
Carry Load to Pack Weight Ratio
|20.7 with stays (based on 35 lb and a measured weight of 1.69 lb)|
|Two shoulder strap lengths (no charge), three hipbelt lengths (no charge), hipbelt pockets $15, aluminum stays $10|
The 2007 Comet is more of a makeover than an upgrade. I was impressed with the original Comet’s comfort and versatility, but acknowledged that there was room for improvement. The 2007 model basically “gets it right” with the following improvements:
- Durable Dyneema Gridstop body
- Contoured shoulder straps
- Redesigned torso length adjustment
- Redesigned detachable hipbelt
- Stay sleeves moved to the inside of the pack
- Added interior zippered security pocket
- Three hipbelt lengths available
- Two shoulder strap lengths available
- Hipbelt pockets available
- Simple elastic binding on exterior pockets
- Webbing reinforcement between pockets
A notable upgrade is the use of durable Dyneema Gridstop fabric in the new pack. The original pack was made of 70 denier silnylon, and its yellow color was likely a negative for some people. The new pack is a more pleasing blue. Overall, the new Six Moon Designs Comet is a much more refined backpack, as can be seen in the following photo gallery.
Views of the 2007 Six Moon Designs Comet. The front of the pack (top left) has a large mesh pocket with 250 cubic inches of capacity. Each side (top right) also has a large mesh pocket with 200 cubic inches of capacity. The backpanel view (bottom left) shows the stay sleeves, new contoured shoulder straps, and new hipbelt with pockets. The top view (bottom right) shows its dry bag closure and top strap.
Frame and Suspension
The Comet comes in only one size that fits 15 to 22 inch torsos. I measured the pack torso length (underside of shoulder straps to the center of the hipbelt) in the fully extended position at 21 inches, and 15 inches in the shortest position, which more or less conforms to the manufacturer’s claimed fit range.
The shoulder straps (left) are now contoured and two lengths are available; the padding and surface fabric are the same as the previous model. The hipbelt (right) is removable and available in three lengths (short, medium, long), with or without pockets. The hipbelt pockets are very roomy (42 cubic inches each) and will easily hold a digital camera or GPS, plus an assortment of smaller items that you want instant access to.
The frame of the Comet consists of two 0.5 inch wide contoured aluminum stays (left) that slide into sleeves attached to the inside of the backpanel. The stays (right) are anchored to the load lifters at the top, but are not anchored to the hipbelt at the bottom.
Although the Comet’s flat aluminum stays weigh 4.7 ounces/pair, a distinct advantage is they can easily be shaped to match the curvature of the user’s back. I found the existing curvature to be pretty close, but I got my wife to bend one stay to match the curvature of my back, then I bent the other one to match. The resulting custom anatomical fit made the pack feel like I was wearing it instead of carrying it. While I have had a problem with other packs leaning back at the top, the Comet pulled in tight to my shoulders, owing to a combination of its custom bent stays and load lifter straps.
Features and Utility
If you like a backpack with lots of exterior storage, you’ll appreciate the Comet’s large mesh pockets. The front and side mesh pockets will swallow a lot of gear and make it readily accessible on the trail. The side pockets are 18 inches deep and 8 inches wide, and the front pocket is 13 inches deep and 10 inches wide. All three pockets have an elastic binding to prevent gear from falling out when you bend over.
Although the tall side pockets are roomy, they are not designed for reaching a water bottle on the go, so one is forced to take the pack off to get a drink, or use a hydration bladder. Also, the side pockets extend all the way to the bottom of the pack and do not have a durable fabric reinforcement at the bottom, so the mesh could suffer some wear at the bottom. I did not experience that problem, but I am not hard on gear.
The new Comet has a zippered security pocket on the inside (left), along with a sleeping pad sleeve against the backpanel that will accommodate most compact pads. The pack’s Velcro dry bag closure (right) is easy to open/close and roll down.
I have mixed feelings about the Comet’s Velcro dry bag closure. I am not a big fan of Velcro, and find that it snags clothing (especially socks and fleece) when putting it in or taking it out of the pack. Velcro can damage certain fabrics. On the other hand, it’s easy to close (just pull the ends tight and the Velcro lines up) and it makes a tight seal. It’s also easy to open, just pull on the two center loops (right photo above).
The interior sleeping pad sleeve will accommodate any lightweight sleeping pad. A folded ¾-length RidgeRest pad (shown in the above photo) takes up quite a bit of the pack’s volume. However, for shorter trips, using a thicker pad or partially inflating an inflatable pad can be a useful technique to use up unneeded volume and make it possible for one pack to suffice for a variety of uses.
By itself, the interior sleeping pad sleeve does not work very well as a hydration sleeve, because a full water bladder creates a large rounded bulge in the center of the backpanel that is not very comfortable against the back. It does work okay if the bladder is separated from the backpanel with a sleeping pad. There is one hose port on the right side. I personally prefer to carry a hydration bladder in a side pocket because it is much easier to access for refilling.
The Comet does not have any exterior webbing loops to tie large items to the outside of the pack, or to create a bungee system to attach clothing.
My first trip with the Comet was with Backpacking Light MYOG Editor Jay Ham to a large, remote mesa on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. I started out with a total weight of 24 pounds, which included insulated gear, proper shelter, and food for a five-day late winter trip. The Comet with stays and adjusted to its longest torso length fit me very well and comfortably carried the load on our approach. But there was one catch – the mesa was dry, so we had to carry all our water up with us. At the last available waterhole, I added a full 6 liter Platypus Water Tank (about 12.5 pounds) to the Comet, bringing the weight up to about 36 pounds. Then we packed that heavy load (for us) up 1600 vertical feet on a primitive Indian trail to the top of the mesa. The Comet carried the load surprisingly well, and with the hipbelt tight it put most of the load on my hips.
Packing a 36 pound load in the Comet up an ancient Indian trail in a remote corner of the Navaho Indian Reservation, Arizona. The platy in the front pocket contains 6 liters of water. Note: this is not the correct location to carry heavy, dense weight (inside the pack against the middle of my back is better), but the front pocket was convenient (Ok, I was lazy!).
On subsequent trips I carried more modest 17 to 22 pound loads in the Comet, with stays in, and it was extremely comfortable. I found that for any load over about 15 pounds the stays are a definite benefit and are worth their weight (4.7 ounces).
On shorter summer backpacks, I carried the Comet as a frameless backpack with loads from 12 to 16 pounds, leaving the hipbelt on for extra stability and for its pockets. I easily adjusted the pack volume for smaller loads by tightening the pack’s three front compression straps (see photo below). With those straps pulled completely tight, the pack volume is reduced to about half, but the use of the front mesh pocket is eliminated. At 22.3 ounces in this configuration, the Comet is overkill; there are several packs on the market weighing half as much that will comfortably carry the same load. In its lightest configuration (sans stays and hipbelt), the Comet still weighs 17 ounces. However, it’s notable that the Comet is a single pack that will adapt to a wide range of loads and conditions.
To evaluate how well the Comet fits a shorter person, I adjusted the pack to its shortest torso (15 inches) and tried it on my petite wife. It fit well (left). Although the tall stays put the load lifters 5 inches above her shoulders, the pack still fit and carried well, transferring weight to her hips. For smaller loads (right), the pack’s three front compression straps reduce pack volume to about half.
I did a lot of off-trail hiking in forested terrain, and found the Comet to be very stable and durable for bushwhacking. The mesh pockets are also quite durable, showing no snags so far.
The only issue I discovered with the Comet is a lack of adequate reinforcement at the bottom of the stay sleeves. Probably as a result of carrying the heavier loads described earlier, the stays are starting to break through the bottom of the sleeves. To correct the problem Six Moon Designs is sewing a second layer of webbing over the first, which puts additional reinforcement between the stay and the backpanel. All future packs shipped will have the fix, as well as any pack sent in for upgrade.
Although the original Six Moon Designs Comet was not necessarily a best-seller, the new 2007 model is much more refined, and definitely deserves serious consideration. Its best use is for an ultralight backpacker who wants a more durable pack, and one that is capable of carrying heavier loads in certain situations – like cold weather backpacking or hiking for extended periods between re-supplies. It’s also ideal for a lightweight backpacker whose total pack weight is in the 20 to 30 pound range.
Very noteworthy features of the Comet are its adjustable torso length and removable flat aluminum stays. I was able to obtain a perfect fit by matching the pack’s torso length and stay curvature to my back. This helped tremendously to comfortably carry a heavier load. The stays themselves weigh 4.7 ounces, which is a significant amount of weight. Possibly thinner, lighter stays could be used to reduce weight a bit.
The Comet has a slightly larger cousin, the Starlite, with 4200 cubic inches of volume and a somewhat different feature set. The weight and cost are very similar.
Compared to a conventional lightweight internal frame backpack with approximately the same volume, such as the recently reviewed GoLite Quest and REI Cruise UL 60, the Comet is 1.5 pounds lighter and more versatile because of its removable stays. However, the Comet does not carry heavier loads with as much comfort. If you consistently carry loads in the 25 to 35 pound range (or more), then a more heavy-duty lightweight internal frame pack is a better choice because the stays will likely be anchored to the hipbelt, and more anatomically shaped padding and load control features are added.
Although the Comet (27 ounces with stays) is a very lightweight and durable convertible pack, it’s not the lightest one available in its category. The durable Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus weighs just 21 ounces with stays, and the Mariposa (made of silnylon) weighs just 18 ounces with stays. However, the Mariposas’ straight carbon fiber stays are not bendable to fit the curvature of your back, hipbelt pockets are not presently available, and they do not have an adjustable torso length (rather the pack comes in three sizes to fit different torsos). Although the Comet weighs 6 ounces more than the Mariposa Plus, I would personally choose it over the Mariposa Plus because its flat aluminum stays can be shaped for a custom fit, allowing me to more comfortably carry a 20 to 30 pound load. I also prefer it because of its adjustable torso, inside security pocket, and roomy hipbelt pockets (a $15 option).
The Six Moon Designs Comet pack (right) is about the same size as the Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus pack (left), although the volume specification for the Mariposa Plus is 500 cubic inches higher. Both are constructed of durable fabrics. Although the Comet weighs about 6 ounces more, its adjustable torso and bendable flat stays provide a better fit and a higher comfortable load carrying capacity.
The Comet is a “convertible backpack” with removable stays that allow it to be used as either a frameless or internal frame backpack. The body is made of Dyneema Gridstop, which is considered to be one of the best backpack fabrics available because of its high strength to weight ratio.
Recommendations for Improvement
- Anchor the bottom of the stays in sleeves on the back of the hipbelt
- Consider using the “gentle touch” version of Velcro for the dry bag closure, it’s less snaggy than the conventional type
- Consider thinner narrower stays to reduce weight
- Add a durable fabric reinforcement to the bottom of the side pockets