View Full Version : custom Moonbow Gearskin

2006-08-25, 00:20
Hey folks,
I contacted moonbow about making this fairly unique custom gearskin.
My pack selection is geared for my '08 thruhike which as of my latest
tally includes well over 200 backcountry creek, stream, river and lake
crossings. All but a handfull of these will have to be waded or swam.
So I have been doing alot of research on how to come up with a
waterproof pack system. I borrowed the really innovative idea used
by Ryan Jordan (BPL) and co. used on their arctic 1000 expedition.
It involved a custom harness system based around the Pacific
Outdoor Equipment WX-tex pneumo dry bag.
details of that pack here: http://www.ryanjordan.com/2006_arctic/2006/05/backpacks_for_a.html

I thought hey ... take that one step forward.. a great drybag, encased
in a custom moonbow gearskin! And so was born what I have dubbed
the Moonbow "Frogskin". The first moonbow, amphibious pack system.

I put alot of thought into this. The basic concept is a pack that can
take submersion and floated during water crossings. I am not relying
entirely on the main bag. I will have a combination of trash compactor
bag inside the drybag, and JRB silny comp/stuff sacks inside that to
protect sleep system and clothes.

The Features:
- A full compliment of external pockets on the beaver tail of the gear skin.
- an independant external mesh pocket for the zip stove, and pot.
(to keep messy ashes outside and away from other gear)
- 2 water bottle holsters
- a large mesh pocket for drying gear! and quick access to rain gear.

Here is a very crude picture of my frogskin envisioned.
I will post updates as I work out the design details with moonbow.

What do you guys think? Suggestions, design problem/ ideas/ improvements?

Just Jeff
2006-08-25, 01:12
I think when I get around to making my pack (doing another insulated hammock at the moment), I'm gonna put a pocket against against my back for a sit pad, accessible from outside like the ULA packs. It'll double as a framesheet, but that's very easy access for breaks and such.

Does it have big hipbelt pockets? I like having some snacks within reach so I can eat on the go. Small hipbelt pockets are my biggest complaint about the Speed but I can fit some snacks in the mesh pockets and still reach them with the pack on.

And a haul loop would be helpful...assume it's already on there, though.

Looks like a great idea!

2006-08-25, 08:42
I've had my Gearskinfor 2 years now, and after seeing your design, I say great idea!

One concern that have is that I think you might be compromising the best part of the Gearskin; being able to access things in your pack on the fly. In order to get to anything in the drybag, you need to unclip the Gearskin, undo the drybag, and dig. Why go through the trouble? Sure, I have never floated my pack, but I would rather take and specially save two .5 oz trashcompactor bags for any floats I would need to do. Then, use the gearskin as a regular pack. Currently everything I use is in regular silnylon stuff sacks inside the Gearskin, and I use a pack cover and umbrella. I have *never* had anything wet in 4 weeks of hiking using the Gearskin

One thing that I have learned from my Gearskin is that one huugee pocket on the back is a lot better than "specialized" pockets like you have. I think you should get one (or maybe 2 to keep the Zip stove seperate) larger pockets on the outside, that is one of the best features of my Gearskin.

Also, get some *big* hipbelt pockets. They really are useful, and Moonbow does a great job with them.


2006-08-25, 08:53
Thanks Brian,

I appreciate the advice. I may have to rethink my layout.
What kind of material do you have the gearskin made out of?
I know Rock owns one of pack cloth and one of silny. But I am not sure
what the real durability or weight penalty would be. I would like to go
as light as possible.

2006-08-25, 09:00

Check out my old site with pictures of how I used to pack my gearskin; you'll get the idea.

Mine is made out of 4oz oxford and I beleive it is 24.5oz with the hipbelt pockets on it. I would rather have my oxford version and use stuff sacks than get it out of 1.9oz or sil and carry the extra drybag.

But if you can, get a *bigger* mesh pocket than I have! Also, in the one ide profile picture of me (from 2 years ago), the pack looks very short and fat. I now carry less bulky materials, and I have gotten a consistant pack which is much thinner and easier to carry.



Just Jeff
2006-08-25, 12:25
Hey Brian - I sent you an email to your OES account.

2006-08-25, 12:30
You could maybe see if you can carry stuff in a stomach pouch also, especially any stuff you need while hiking. I find this works very well in allowing you walk more upright and wear the straps looser. It should feel more like a heavy winter coat than a backpack. The top of it can be right up at diaphram height. I used a large fanny pack turned around and it worked very well, but it would be better to integrate something in to your gearskins shoulder straps and waste belt. It doesn't seem to get in the way at all, and even makes a good armrest while hiking. There can be a slight problem not being able to see your feet on modest downgrades, if there are roots and stuff, but this is not a problem on uphills and flats where you take longer higher strides and you see your feet when you plant them. So you don't want it too far out there, and it might be nice if you could clip it off and clip it onto the back somehow. I find modest downgrades are often the most treacherous, because they go on and on, so its nice to be able to easily see your toes out of the bottom corner of your eyes as you march, just so your brain still knows where all your body parts are. Having 1/3 the weight in front and 2/3 in back seems best, but dense stuff, like food, water, cooking and navigation stuff. Anyhow I have mentioned it before but I thought it might be another way to address the access issue that Brian mentioned.