Kelty = Quality

5:43 a.m. on August 8, 2012 (EDT)
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Kudos to kelty!  I had to replace a back pad on my 30 year old external frame pack.  Kelty did not have an exact replacement, but offered a functionally compatible alternative – for no charge, shipped free to my door.  I guess you could say I am a happy camper.


9:14 a.m. on August 8, 2012 (EDT)
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That is great! Kudos on on Ketly, I feel better about them knowing they treated you so well.  

10:33 a.m. on August 8, 2012 (EDT)
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Love my Kelty pack, your experience is encouraging

12:29 p.m. on August 8, 2012 (EDT)
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I just bought a 1970 vintage Kelty external frame Mountaineer for $26 on eBay.  There are few things I have bought as adult in that price range that have given me such a lift.  It is functional, beautiful and nostalgic.  In the age of neo-sil internal frames with titanium stays and dualing daisy chains, I am thrilled to go back to the very basic beginnings of the modern age of backpacking.

The bag is red which will keep me from getting shot at and makes a bold statement at the same time.  I am in debt to Dick Kelty and his design. 

6:17 p.m. on August 8, 2012 (EDT)
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I had the same experience several years ago when I was reviving my 1974 Tioga external.  Kelty sent me everything I needed for free.

Here's a pic of me and the Tioga in 1974 on the way to Mt. Marcy:


Here is a pic of the same pack on my way up Algonquin in 2009


1:13 p.m. on August 9, 2012 (EDT)
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That early photo is a gem.  You are welcome at my fire any time.

2:46 a.m. on August 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Kelty is a good outfit.  They make good stuff, stand up straight and mean what they say.  I have only good words for them.

Very cool pics, Nogods, brings back memories of some fine trips from back in the day, very fine.  Thanks for that.

Myself I am off tomorrow for a couple of weeks of wandering around the Lassen area, packing, of course, my Kelty Lakota.  Nice bag, 40 pound all-in load, no re-supply, no problem.  It'll handle it, always does.



7:10 a.m. on August 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Sent my request on the 7th, got the pad on the 9th.  It is a better design than the one it replaced.  Thanks to the folks at Kelty.


12:58 p.m. on August 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Speaking of Kelty, here are some I've seen during my trips--


This has gotta be from the 1970's?


For a couple years I owned a Kelty Ultra Tioga---a beast and the end evolution of the Kelty Tioga line---now discontinued of course.  It sits above on the left.


This shows the harness system on the Ultra Tioga.


Little Mitten uses a not-so-old Kelty 4100 or something.


Johnny B is using an old internal Kelty.


This guy is showing off his old Kelty in camp by his tent.


On a recent trip to the AT I found this old Kelty owned by a backpacker staying at a trail shelter.

3:44 p.m. on August 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Love it. 

Wish I owned a good old one. 

My first backpack was a really crappy external frame, the make and model of which I don't think I ever even knew. The shoulder harness and belt were not very well engineered, and all the pocket zippers were busted, and seams were worn out. I only used that thing a few times before I decided I needed something less problematic. 

6:01 p.m. on August 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Encouragement to never, ever throw out my Red Cloud ST 5000!

11:49 p.m. on August 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:


This shows the harness system on the Ultra Tioga.


 Wow that Ultra Tioga looks like a beast!  Never saw that frame before, looks too wide to fit on the trail!


11:04 p.m. on August 19, 2012 (EDT)
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Love my Kelty Super Tioga.


5:36 p.m. on September 8, 2012 (EDT)
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love my kelty west coast. 5200 ci, carries and wears well. its only about 12 years old now, still works well, no real wear issues, zippers are all heavy duty and still working. kelty makes good, long lasting bags, and they stand behind them whats more.

5:04 a.m. on September 12, 2012 (EDT)
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I absolutely love the heavy duty zippers on my Kelty Redwing 60.  It's not an external pack, but the same quality carries through.  One of these days, I'll have to pick up an external framed pack just to see what it feels like versus the internal pack.  External packs are so iconic, it would be a shame to miss out on the experience.     

4:57 p.m. on September 12, 2012 (EDT)
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unfortunately kelty doesn't make the big externals anymore. the biggest you can get out of them now is somewhere in the 3500 CI range,good for an overniter. you would have to go to ebay or somewhere to find a big one, like a tioga or a west coast. I also have the redwing, it is abiut 12 years old and still works, used it on a few ul overniters. bombproof as ever. as far as the externals being iconic, I don't know about that but I do know that for loads over 40 they just carry better for the money. you could get a MR pack but then you'd be breaking the bank. I don't have that kind of money that I can spend 800$ on a pack!

1:26 a.m. on October 15, 2012 (EDT)
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Through hiking Snoqualmie to Stevens Pass


My Friend's REI special Sierra Crest


My husband HATED his internal frame, and I found a new Kelty Trekker, which he loves :D

For the weight of the pack and distribution of weight IN the pack, I have been very happy with my external frame.  To get the same carry load, the pack winds up heavier than an external.  I see the value, but for me, my hubby, and best friend, well, we're happy to go old school!

7:37 p.m. on December 19, 2012 (EST)
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I've dealt with folks at Kelty on several occasions and they've always been super nice. I feel good about spending my money with a company that treats me well. Also a local company.

As for packs... I started with internal frames, but have been using a Yukon for the past several years. My loads tend to be lower volume and higher weight. I am a minimalist, but carry a few heavier items. Have yet to find an internal frame that matches the support.

12:45 p.m. on February 2, 2013 (EST)
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I am new to backpacking (usually just hiked and car camped) and I bought a pair of old 1970s? Kelty external frame packs for $20 total at a garage sale.  I didn't realize they had "modern" internal ones now.  I have done more research and realized that I bought some real VINTAGE stuff.  


One is a blue large capacity bag and the other is a smaller red one.  Well, long story short, I loved the vintage aspect of them, and they were really comfortable, and carried weight well so I didnt want to buy a new pack.  I decided to have my girlfriend teach me how to sew and I UPGRADED THE VINTAGE PACKS WITH MORE MODERN FEATURES!  

*I cut off the cord holding the flap down and added clips and webbing.

*Added a zipper pocket in the red top

*Replaced the red straps and belt filling with cut yoga mat.

*Added an external mesh pocket

*Sewed some webbing on in 1.25 inch intervals so you can lash anything addition or clip extra items on. (like the PALS (TM) system on military MOLLE (TM) packs.

Let me know if you have any quesitons

I also had an old windbreaker (thin nylon) from a thrift store that I cut up and sewed to the top rim of the main compartment.  I sewed in a stronger drawstring.  This almost doubles the main compartments capacity and adds a little protection.  Also, keeps smaller items gathered in pack so they wont fall out (as opposed to only being able to lash a larger item on top of the pack)


TOTAL COST:  Walmart here sells 6ft of webbing with a buckle for $2 , two buckle pack for $0.60, I got the mesh at Jo-ann fabrics, bought $5/yrd? and also used it to make custom stuff sacks.  Other than that, the $1 thrift store jacket gave me the top shown above as well as salvaging the zipper and flap for the lid pocket.  


Looks better, carries more, and same capacity of larger bag now.  For volume, the red bag was tested in the picture with a synthetic 20 degree sleeping bag inside, the sleeping pad on the bottom, two gortex military surplus bivvys inside, a 16x8 stuff sack of clothes, 2 MRES, and a Marmot 2 person 5.5lb tent.  On the outside You can see the tent stakes and my water bladder it the mesh pocket.  The blue bag holds about the same as is.  I will be taking off the drawstrings and sewing on straps and buckles to keep it shut.

4:34 p.m. on February 3, 2013 (EST)
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Great customer-service story!  Kelty is the Honda Civic of pack brands.  Not fancy, but they are bomb-proof, super reliable, and well priced.  Oftentimes simplicity is better.  When you think about how much gear you have to buy to start backpacking, $300+ for a fancy pack is a bank breaker.  A Kelty Coyote is nearly half the price and performs just as well in most situations.   I also think Eureka! tents are a high value brand.

I've also had good service from Gregory.  The lid/waist-pack piece went missing on my 15 year old Teton and, even though they didn't make the model anymore, they offered to custom sew me a new one at cost ($30 in this case).

8:33 a.m. on February 4, 2013 (EST)
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I can't believe I forgot to add this fotog of my backpacking buddy Hootyhoo carrying my old Kelty 50th Anniversary pack on a several year-old trip on the Brookshire trail near Sled Runner Gap.  Does anyone even know about this state-of-the art Kelty??



Here's a better pic of the pack.

8:59 p.m. on February 10, 2013 (EST)
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560 forum posts

Down in the pit under the house (some might call it a basement but there are 4 decades of detritus, collections and recollections) is a red D4 made in Glendale with the welded mountaineer frame. I lusted after the Tioga when it came out.  I'm guessing it was late 60's perhaps.  Bought it from REI in the old Pine/Pike Street two storied heavy timbered-floored warehouse.  Membership then was two bits or 50 cents.

Somewhere also is the top extender. I mostly used the frame for hauling large loads - at the age I could have.  Loved the top load.  Just open it up and pour in the stuff you needed.

Have had passing thoughts of replacing the harnessing and donating it to some likely organization for replay.  Several repairs to it.  I've misplaced the waist buckle.  It probably is on one of the packs a few rows back hanging from the ceiling.

I'm sure there is a  local chapter of the NTOBEA (Never Toss Old Backpacking Equipment Anonymous) for the deprave many who are still in denial.

5:18 p.m. on February 28, 2013 (EST)
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nogods said:

I had the same experience several years ago when I was reviving my 1974 Tioga external.  Kelty sent me everything I needed for free.

Here's a pic of me and the Tioga in 1974 on the way to Mt. Marcy:


Here is a pic of the same pack on my way up Algonquin in 2009


 I believe I have the same model from the same time about in red. It has the 3rd lower sleeping bag section built in.

I just retired it as a winter gear hauler too 

January 24, 2020
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