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Outdoor Retailer: Kelty lights, vintage packs, pads


For spring 2011, Kelty is introducing its first-ever line of lights. Five models include a personal aluminum model for backpacking trips and a 360-degree pivoting lantern for basecamp. Scott Kaier showed us the goods:

  • LumaTech: 5.6 oz., 4-22 lumen output, 5.5" H, $30
  • LumaTrail: 7 oz., 4-22 lumen output, 6.3" H, $20
  • LuamPivot: 15.9 oz., 112-210 lumens, 9.5"H, $50
  • LumaTwist: 20.8 oz., 125-350 lumens, 6" H, $60
  • LumaCamp: 26.8 oz., 310-392 lumens, 9.8" H, $45



The Kelty Mockingbird with leather accents, metal hardware, exposed zippers, and 500D Cordura fabic

If you're feeling nostalgic for your vintage Kelty pack or just want to go retro, you'll soon be able to buy a 1960s or '70s replica pack, based on designs from the Kelty archive.

The line of vintage-designed packs, including the Mockingbird rucksack (at right) with removable side pockets, is largely for urban use. Organizational updates have been made, meaning you'll be able to fit your latpop and stow away your cell and other non-retro gadgets in specific pockets.


Sleeping Pads

Lastly, Kelty is introducing the Recluse 2.5 sleeping pad (below) in insulated and non-insulated versions for backpackers looking for extra comfort.

Both pads have a channel design, with larger outer channels to cradle and center you, as well as a hidden, integrated hand pump on the side that won't let air escape while you pump. 

  • Recluse 2.5ni (non-insulated): 1 lb. 15 oz., 78" long, $69.95
  • Recluse 2.5i (insulated): 60 g synthetic insulation bonded to top layer, 2 lbs. 6 oz., 78" long, $79.95 


any word on the expected MSRP of the Recluse pads?

The retro pack is intersting. I've noticed these packs are popular with urban hipsters as well as the Japanese via some blogs I've stumbled upon while randomly surfing the web. The most popular packs are the leather bottomed day packs, the Sierra Designs teardrop style perhaps being the holy grail. I don't know why that 70's look has made a rebound, but the trend is there. The Japanese are really into the trend. In some cases firms are making retro designs specifically for the Japanese market which are not sold domestically. For example Danner makes a hiking boot identical to what they made in the 1970's (the 6490) but the boot is only sold in Japan. Mountain parkas are also popular.

any word on the expected MSRP of the Recluse pads?

I'll follow up for that, gonzan.

If anyone's interested, I can post more pictures of the vintage packs later.

Yes to vintage pack photos. Please and thank you.

Having a great time at our first ever Summer Market! It is huge and a little bit overwhelming at times but we are meeting some really nice people and learning a lot. The folks at Keen and Sherpa Adventure Gear were especially nice. Haven't seen the Kelty booth yet but should get there tomorrow. As far as retro packs go you can find some great stuff on ebay. I recently purchased a North Face Ruthsac circa 1970s and a Trailwise 3/4 frame pack.

I plan on displaying them in our new store as part of a history of backpacking display. Also got a kick out of the fact that Optimus still produces and sells the good ole Svea 123 stove.

Peter, I'm glad OR is going well for you. I hope it's a success.

Gonzan, I added the MSRP's on the Recluse pads.

And Alan, these pictures are for you.

An actual vintage Kelty pack on display:

Packs in the new Vintage by Kelty line:

A beauty at the time........... My off brand came from k-mart. Fell apart on one trip.

There are some other retro packs that you can buy new. is currently making old Jensen packs (frameless).

Alicia, thanks for the fotog, it brings to mind some of the packs I've seen over the years.

I saw this vintage Kelty pack in NC about 3 years ago.

Here's an old 1980 vintage North Face BackMagic pack. It came in several configurations and usually had two long side pockets which I removed.

I was camping up on Bob's Bald about 4 years ago and I saw a kid with his Dad's old BackMagic pack, so I took a few fotogs. It was almost new.

Here's a back view of the North Face pack.

And of course there's the old 1963 canvas Yucca pack without the frame.

Here's my backpacking buddy Johnny B with two interesting packs, his old CampTrails load monster, and my old and rare Kelty Ultra Tioga. As usual, we're loading up to the gills. What's the Ultra Tioga? Kelty went whole hog on this pack with all sorts of doodads and carbon fiber rods and straps and all else.

Here's Johnny B on a Tipi visit and he's wearing his old late 1970's Lowe Backpacker model internal pack.

Here's another pic of the Lowe pack worn by Little Mitten on the North Fork Citico trail.

In the early 1980's a company named Sundog used to make packs and here's one I got to use as a medium-load hauler for my Tipi resupply trips.

Finally, here's a Kelty pack I got back in 1974 during my ultralight phase and it was called the Sleeping Bag Carrier: two shoulder straps with a small bag attached and a set of two lower straps to lash a bag/pad combo. I used this thing on many trips when all I carried was a bag, bivy and pad. Check out the ancient and early RidgeRest nearby.

Great pictures, Tipi! Thanks for sharing them.


And I forgot about this Duluth pack I saw someone wearing in Slickrock wilderness, NC. It might not be old but it's based on an old style.

Well that's coincidental. I stopped by the Duluth booth this morning, just to take a few more pictures for this thread. As Tipi says, they make many old-style packs still.

Here were some older ones on display:

A 1930s pack, eventually replaced and donated back to Duluth by the family:

A pack that got dropped out of a plane in 1992 with a bride's wedding dress at a remote location:

An attention-getting display:

Thanks for the eye candy, the Kelty Serac is really nice, maybe a shop locally will stock some of the day packs.

I have a set of daypacks from Rivendell being sewn as we speak - can't wait.

The Duluth Pack dropped from the plane was for the wedding of Cliff Jacobson, a local canoe guide and author of many books on canoeing and camping. Cliff's first wife passed away unexpectedly. Cliff eventually met someone new who also loves canoeing and they were married on the banks of a river in the Canadian bush (might have been the Hood river). The wedding couple did not know about the dress, this was a surprise from the rest of the wedding party.

So, why would I want to buy a "retro" Kelty pack? Barb and I have 3 Keltys from the 1960s (mine was bought directly from Dick Kelty in his garage in 1960, as were Barb's parents 2 packs a couple years earlier - Barb's was bought via phone and snailmail and sent across town by parcel post from Glendale to Santa Monica - we gave Barb's to the Boy Scout troop I was SM of for use by younger kids in the troop before they bought their first packs). Plus I still have my Kelty Sherpa, and we have two original Kelty Redwings (that are actually red), as well as Young Son's first generation Tioga - he uses a Dana Designs these days.

Alicia: that first pic you posted is my exact pack. I have been trying to identify it for Kelty to upgrade the rig. ANy Idea what year/model it is? I've had mine so long I can't remember. Maybe you could put me in touch with the owner of the one in the pic? Just found this discussion, so maybe catch me up on what/where OR is?




The pack is the Serac, mid to late 1970's.

Thanks.  Gave the name to Kelty and they put it at 1973.  Now we'll see if the hardened, cracked belt and straps are covered by the warranty.

The age is tough to tell.  Brass zippers except for the nylon zipper on the bottom compartment.  I think these were introduced around 1973 but minimal changes happened until later in the decade when they went to all nylon zippers, different pack fabric, different hip belts, side pockets, ...

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