Kelty Continental Divide 5300 (External)
Design: top-loading external
Size: 5300 ci
Number of Pockets: 5
Max. Load Carried: 60 lbs. (includes pack weight & water)
Height of Owner: 5'10
Price Paid: $159
I've hiked in the Ozarks, the Rockies, and Kauai's Kalalau Trail and this pack has never left me saddle sore. It's streamlined design is almost a hybrid of an internal and external frame pack. I like it so much I bought the smaller version for my wife.
The side compression straps are great for shoving a Therm-A-Rest chair, an empty gallon water bladder, and a backpacking saw into. Since it's an external frame pack, you want heavier items toward the top. Most cook sets will fit in the top removable pocket that doubles for a day pack. Extra pockets are located on the back of the pack and not the sides like most external packs. Great for storing rain gear and small items. The loops down the middle can be used to hook sandals and nalgene bottles to.
You can't beat the versatility of this load hauler. If you're like me and not a minimalist, this is as good as it gets.
Max. Load Carried: 35 lbs
Height of Owner: 6'0
Price Paid: $179
High quality pack, lots of room. The narrow close to your body frame is excellent, it keeps your back cool and shirt dry (even hiking in AZ desert), and you don't get the sway when leaning left or right that you do with other externals. Straps/clips are strong and hip belt comfortable so far. The daypack attachment is convenient, has enough room and is comfortable to wear as well. If you're looking for something negative about this pack, all I can give you is that I've had some minor squeaking while hiking with heavy loads, but that is easily corrected by tightening a couple of straps. Highly recommend, great pack for the price! Most benefits of an internal with the cost of an external.
Design: External Frame
Size: 5300 c.i.
Number of Pockets: Two plus internal hydration pouch
Max. Load Carried: 50 lbs.
Height of Owner: 6' 1"
Price Paid: $139 (sale)
This backpack is an excellent low-profile external frame. It's narrower than many externals like the Kelty Tioga or Dana Longbed, and this makes it a good deal more capable off-trail, and less likely to snag brush. The internal hydration pouch and tube slit is perfect for a Camelback and on-the-go drinking. The C.D. weighs less than comparable Dana externals and is much less expensive. All components were well-stitched, straps and belts very comfortable and easy to adjust. This is a state-of-the-art external frame backpack.
Design: top-loading internal/external hybrid
Number of Pockets: 3; one large bag with 2 large back pockets
Max. Load Carried: 47 lbs.
Height of Owner: 5' 10"
I've used this pack on the Pennsylvania section of the Appalachian Trail and on Scouting campouts in the wilds of Maryland and Pennsylvania. It's an excellent bag that is great for balance on narrow trails and for general hiking on well-worn footpaths. I like its narrow frame which conforms to my back nicely and the design of the internal bag. It was a dream to adjust the frame and straps to my torso length and my style of hiking.
Where to Buy
The Kelty Continental Divide 5300 (External) is not available from the stores we monitor.
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