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Kelty 50th Anniversary Review

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Seach Latta Outdoors for Kelty 50th Anniversary.


boogniman@yahoo.com, 0/0/00 User Rating: 
"I got my 1st Kelty pack in 1983 it's still looks much as it did when I got it. After 20 years on the trail from The Smokies, Cumberland gap, the sticks of Mississippi, Catskills, Adirondacs, Northern California and Hawaii this thing wouldn't die, so when I heard they were going to design a new external frame I was stoked. The size is just right for me for a 6-10 day trek, if I want to make it smaller the removable "cargo pockets" on the sides reduce the capacity from 5900ci. to 4900ci. There are seemingly countless daisy chains all over the bag to attach just about anything that you mihgt need to have easy access to (ie H2O filters). The water bottle holster is a custom fit for a Nalgene bottle. There is a trap door for easy access to your sleeping bag without having to mess with the rest of your load. It says that the fabric is water resistant but it seems to me to be nearly waterproof. Hightailing it out of the Cirque de Towers after 3 days of snow last September, we got down to about 9000' and the snow turned into sloppy wet snow/ freezing rain (with accompanying thunderclaps) after 2+ hrs on the trail in these conditions nothing in the bag got wet! the Levitators (like leaf springs for the belt) really make a difference in how the load feels on the hips, but take a little getting used to and can drop off of you're not mindful when putting the pack on. The space between the pack and your back keeps you from soaking out in warm temps. I am long in the torso and at 6'3" am at about the limits of the body frame the pack will fit. There is also a handy map pocket just behind your head which allows for easy access without having to remove the bag. The bells and whistles are all there without sacraficing any functionality. A great bag! If you have never tried an external frame, you should. A note about Kelty customer service: My friend bought a Kelty Cloud (teflon super lightweight bag) didn't like it and traded it in for a 50th anniversary no questions. The kicker is, they gave him the choice of any bag they make. All around among the best outdoor companies in the business."


Mark Phelan, 0/0/00 User Rating: 
"I bought my first Kelty pack in 1973, a Kelty Serac. I have used this pack ever since and it still is going strong. My youngest son who is 17, now uses the Serac. I upgraded to the 50th Anniversary last year and it has been a great pack. I like the way it rides on my back, very, very comfortably. The fit and finish is superb. One of the reasons I liked the Serac was that it had a sleeping bag compartment, very unusual for an external frame pack. I might have also bought the Super Tioga had I seen it before the 50th Anniversary. The only thing I don't care for is the one giant tube design, that is similar to many internal frame packs. But that's a minor point. This was not just a whim design for the occassion, but a well thought out piece of equipment that should last me for the next 30-plus years."


operarooster, 0/0/00 User Rating: 
"I saw a friend buy this backpack and boy was I envious so I bought one myself. It is so roomy that it will store all your gear plus a bear box that you need for Yosemite.

One of the stabilizers broke on my first trip, but I told REI and they gave me another one---no charge.

The side pockets can be a pain in the ass to take off and put one, but the mesh bag in the back is a great place to store a bladder.

Pack feels solid and secure especially boulder hopping. I would not want an internal frame pack because of the design as well as the comfort that I have experienced so far. The price keeps going up. I used my REI 20 percent discount to buy it.

No need to search further"


Camper Dan, 0/0/00 User Rating: 
"Backpacked the entire Pacific Crest Trail in 2004. One of the few on the trail with an external frame pack. I was giving out food to the "ultra-lighters" and still had enough supplies to make 140 miles through the Sierra wilderness. Frame started to crack in S. Oregon, Kelty had a replacement shipped to Cascade Locks at no charge."


Jeffrey W Reeves. ABQ. NM, 0/0/00 User Rating: 
"I used a Sierra Designs external pack for years (30) and it held up well. Last summer started shopping for a suitable replacement. I look long a hard and finally on the Kelty 50th (large).

Pros: Fits great. You can put as much as you can possibly carrier in it. You will never be short of room. NEVER! Very comfortable in all body areas during carrying. I run with 50+ lbs for the family and I. It travels on your back very very well. Nothing cuts in. Balance is excellent and waist loading system is also excellent.
I think Kelty took some hints from Dana Design.(Mystery Ranch)

Cons: and I have only one so far after using it on a 5, 7 and 21 day BP trip. The main compartment is open from top cover down through the sleeping back compartment. I wish Kelty had sequestered that off to and give this monster cavern a floor. But that can be modified very easily these days. It's no longer available through Kelty. Watch for them to pop on Ebay.

4.5 = design and looks

5 = Comfort, balance and load/weight adjustments

4 = to get on and off with weight

3 = main compartment space control.

5 = side pockets layout and ease of use.

5 = Multi-task features

5 = Creature features.

Overall 4.75 - 5.0

Go walkabout and have fun."


Jeff Reeves ABQ NM, 0/0/00 User Rating: 
"Form, fit, function and finish work. A 5
Style/color. A 5
Construction. A 5
Pockets and features. A 5
Ability to handle loads. A 5
Fit to body. A 5+
Ease of getting on/off. A 4
How it rides. A 5
Does it squeak and creak? No
Hydro setup? YES
This was the best value on the market at the time. Bar none! And two years and four or five walks later it's still a excellent value.
And has held up very well. (No longer in production) Too Bad! Its give many packs systems (Mystery Ranch, old Dana Designs and very good run for the money. When you find it on Ebay buy it! You won't be disappointed.

Dislikes: the main compartment could have used a divider allowing separation between the pack main storage area and the sleeping bag area. You can "get lost" within the main storage area. It's huge! Be careful or you'll end up carrying other team members stuff!

Likes: Options, Options, Options and versatility. The pockets are detachable. You can use the pocket stiffeners or not. The center outside pocket comes off to convert to a scrambling pack. Zippers are welded and work well. Well thought out cinch strapping to tighten load. Kelty placed loops everywhere to clip, tie or attach "stuff" you end up collecting or just want to clipon-and-get going.

For me its Fit and comfort. I have had on-trail-issues with the shoulder strapping system. But after some study of the issues and a re-adjustment all was well. Just operator error with setup, not poor design.

The frame geometry and load control system is trick, light and it works. Your going to feel it your hips and legs. Not pain, but the weight being set their and not on your shoulders and back. This rides on the back very, very well. Also it moves well with you, just as well as an internal frame system.

Happy Trails!"


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