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. Testing the limits of the Movement, I loaded it with 36.5 pounds (16.5 kg), including a bear canister and snowshoes. The Movement weighs 23.3 ounces (661 g) when fully configured and 16 ounces (453 g) when fully stripped.
Table of Contents • Note: some sections may only be available to Premium or Unlimited Members.
- Features and Specifications
- Review Context
- Description of Field Testing
- Performance Assessment
- Compared To…
- Comparison Table
- Product Strengths & Limitations
- Who Should Consider This Product
- Who Should Not Consider This Product
- Where to Buy
Features and Specifications
- Modular, removable straps and hardware.
- Plenty of webbing loops to attach all sorts of needed equipment, from bear cans to snowshoes.
- Ultra 100 and 200 (main packbag) fabric options.
- Removable internal frame stay.
- Exterior removable foam back pad.
- Venom mesh front pocket.
- Removable hipbelt with a forward pull cinch.
- One hipbelt size, wraparound padding across 26 in (66 cm) of belt length.
- Optional hipbelt pockets, both zippered and zipperless.
- Spacer mesh in the shoulder straps and hipbelt so as not to collect debris and pine needles.
- 35, 40 & 50L volume options.
- 3 torso sizes.
- Weight: pack body 16 ounces (450 g), hipbelt 4.5 ounces (130 g), frame 2 ounces (57 g), foam back pad 0.8 ounces (23 g). Total weight is 23.3 ounces (660 g) for pack body, hipbelt, frame, and back pad for a size large. The pack is shipped with additional straps, which reach a total weight of 25.3 ounces (720 g) in a size large.
Outside of winter, I find myself often owning two three-season backpacking backpacks:
- A 40L frameless pack without a hipbelt for when the weight is under 22 pounds (10 kg), typically weighing under a pound (454 g). This seems to be my personal weight carry threshold for frameless packs in most cases.
- A 50-60L framed pack weighing in the 2 pound (907 g) range for when I need to carry heavier loads and/or a bear canister.
A few months back, Andrew Marshall wrote on one of our forum threads about lightweight backpacks:
“Everybody is searching for the quiver killer, but I don’t think it exists – at least not as marketed. I think the best we can do is one piece of gear that can excel in…maybe…70% of situations? At that point, it’s up to the consumer to decide if they want to suffer the other 30% for the sake of minimalist philosophy, storage space, budget, or all three.” – Andrew Marshall (link)
I had been eyeing Superior Wilderness Designs packs for a couple of years, and when the Movement product line came out, I thought this could very well be the “quiver killer” that Andrew Marshall was talking about. A pack that could serve both my light and heavy three-season loads without a hiccup while still maintaining attractive pack weights in both framed 23.3 ounces (661 g) and frameless 16 ounces (454 g) configurations. I believe this modularity would be very useful to many BPL readers.
Description of Field Testing
I have logged about eighteen trail days during the summer and fall seasons with the Movement pack, testing its different features, modularity, and weight-carry capacity in different locales in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
The pack was used in its frameless configuration with weights up to 20 pounds (9 kg). As a framed pack, I kept adding weight until I maxed out its 40L volume. I then decided to add a bear can and snowshoes, which with four quarts (3.8 L) of water, came to a maximum tested weight of 36.5 pounds (16.5 kg).
The Superior Wilderness Designs Movement 40L pack’s performance is being considered based on the following criteria:
- Features & Modularity
- Weight Carry Capacity
- Accessories & Attachment Options