Kelty Backpacks for Hiking Adventure
One of the iconic names in outdoor gear, Kelty backpacks began when Dick Kelty, a carpenter, built packs for friends in his garage back in the 1950s. Today the Kelty brand is recognized for its affordable and reliable products that allow everyone to enjoy the great outdoors.
An early innovator for external frame backpacks, Kelty provided the packs for many first-time campers, boy scout outings and even attempts to climb some of the world’s highest mountains.
Understanding that families like to hike together, Kelty backpacks have always offered a good range of quality gear for kids and a superb line of child carriers.
As the company notes:
“At Kelty, we consistently hear that some of the most valuable family time happens in the outdoors. By designing family gear that’s comfortable, durable, safe, and easy to use, we make it easier for families to have true quality time.”
In 1998, Kelty relocated from its California base to Boulder, Colorado to use the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains for creating and testing new Kelty backpacks and camping products. Dick Kelty, the founder, passed away in 2004.
I recall my first external frame Kelty pack for Boy Scouts … a few decades ago. And recently I bought the Kelty Redwing as a travel pack to haul gear while going upriver and into logging camps.
Kelty is one of the iconic names in American backpacks because they last as long as your memories.
Environmental and Social Responsibility
Kelty partnered with the National Wildlife Federation to support a program that tries to make more people connect with nature. The NWF initiative seeks to get people outdoors to experience wildlife and natural areas and participate in nature education activities with schools, parents and children.
Kelty donated US$1 to NWF for each sale of its Kelty Junior backpacks sold between July 2009 and June 2009. Purchasers also received complimentary issues of Ranger Rick, NWF’s award-winning children’s nature magazine.
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Kelty Backpacks: Best Seller Selections
According to many of the main outfitters, the following Kelty products are among the most popular backpacks and packs. Besides high quality backcountry and trail gear, Kelty excels at specialty items like child carriers and junior backpacks.
- Kelty Coyote 4750
- Kelty Red Cloud
- Kelty Redwing
- Kelty Super Tioga
- Kelty Trekker
- Kelty Child Carriers
- Kelty Kids Backpacks
Kelty Backpacks: Backcountry Selections
Kelty Slider 65
(Multiday Backpacking – 4000ci/65L)
A very comfortable pack for backcountry adventures, the Slider 65 is a highly adjustable and lightweight model with good ventilation.
The pack is supported by the Aero Beam suspension that features a breathable, two-layer padded hipbelt, three-layer padded shoulder straps and a back panel that keeps the load evenly distributed.
Compression straps, load-lifters and belt stabilizers act to keeps the load on your hips and prevents pack wobble.
The emphasis on features means there is not much review information available yet. A few users found the pack to be comfortable, the detachable lid useful and the sleeping bag compartment waterproof.
Critical comments related to how the suspension took time to adjust, the “awkward” size of pockets and wanting more straps to hang outside gear.
Colors available: Orange Crush
A good pack with good suspension, ventilation and useful features that requires more reviews from trail testers.
Kelty Span 60
(Multiday Backpacking – 3650ci/60L)
Using the Kelty Aero Fly suspension, the Span 60 combines a cool airflow back panel with sufficient support for multiday loads.
For organizing your gear, the pack has extra pockets located in the front, sides, lid and waistbelt to keep all your bulky and small items separated and easy to find.
Among the features included are a sleeping bag compartment, reservoir sleeve and hydration ports, mesh water bottle pockets, side compression and a breathable waistbelt.
How does the Kelty Span function in the field? Unknown.
Colors available: Blue Yonder
There are no reliable reports by users of this pack … yet.
Kelty Beam 82
(Hiking, Backpacking, Extended Trips – 5000ci/82L)
A monster pack that keeps you cool in winter and summer action, the Beam 82 gets you into the backcountry for weeks. With superb breathability, the Aero Beam suspension provides excellent comfort with plenty of adjustments for a perfect body fit.
A series of compression straps, load lifter straps and a belt stabilizer, carry big loads up to 60 pounds or cinch it down when you don’t need as much gear. And as one user noted, the pack is large without feeling big.
A large lumbar section softens after use and prevents slipping even without overtightening the wide waistbelt. Side pockets are stretchable and waterproof and there is a second detachable hood cover for extra space.
The main complaints so far relate to the lack of a divider for the sleeping bag area and large airflow holes on the pack bottom also snow and ice to fill the space for unwanted extra weight. And for durability concerns, users noted that the pack bottom and frame ends could have heavier material.
Colors available: Concrete Jungle
A large pack with a cool and comfortable feel with good construction, easy access and superb compression for lighter loads.
Kelty Locus 40
(Light Backpacking, Overnighters – 2500ci/40L)
Selected by National Geographic Adventure magazine for a 2008 ‘Best of Adventure Gear’ award, the Locus 40 Aero Fly suspension provides superior ventilation in hot environments.
Gear experts were impressed with the top, bottom and side venting ability with a fully loaded pack.
As a versatile top-loader, the pack features a single aluminum stay with X-shaped rods to provide load support and breathable foam-padded hipbelt and S-shaped shoulder straps.
Compression straps not only stabilize the load but help to secure odd-sized gear and the floating lid comes in handy too.
Colors available: Orange Crush
So far considered lightweight, durable and a “great weekend pack” for several days camping and climbing in the backcountry.