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Kelty Pacific Crest 5000

The Pacific Crest 5000 has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best external frame backpacks for 2022.

photo: Kelty Pacific Crest 5000 external frame backpack


Price Historic Range: $124.95-$179.99
Reviewers Paid: $60.00-$134.99


5 reviews
5-star:   3
4-star:   1
3-star:   1
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

This pack is very comfortable even when hauling tons of gear. Well built construction and very good padding.


  • Comfortable
  • Quality materials
  • Versatile
  • Can haul a ton


  • No loop at top of frame for threading straps.

Tooooo bad this pack is discontinued! I'm a pretty small frame guy and this pack fits me great and my wife who is also small frame is comfortable in hers.

We go backpacking with our three children who are too young to haul anything. First time taking all the kids, we didn't have a great tent and so used our huge tent (never again). My pack weighed 100 lbs and my wife's was about 65 lbs. Weight aside, the packs were as comfortable as anyone could hope for with that weight. We have scaled down some but my pack is still usually about 70 lbs and quite comfortable. 

I love external frames in that lashing stuff to the outside is possible when those items weigh a good bit. I have used this pack now for about 10 different trips and I still love it. Now I'm shopping for a couple more packs for kids and spares for others and wish this pack was still available new.

I can store tons of stuff inside, we like the top bag which is handy to store food stuff in and tie up at night and can double as a fanny pack. Hydration bladder fits nicely in side tall pocket. 

The only thing I wish it had was two metal riveted loops to the top of the frame to keep straps in place when cinching down equipment.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $100

I used this last year on one overnight hike. We experienced rain and most all the gear was still nice and dry. 

The fit is wonderful. I tried several internal frames from various makers such as Ospery, REI, etc. but found this external frame to be just as comfortable or more so and I swear it holds way more than the other comparable internal frames. 

Once thing I really like about external frames is you can tie things on the outside of your pack (hopefully light weight such as ropes) easier than with an internal frame. I even took the other brands home and walked several miles with each with a decent amount of stuff before making a final decision. 

I'm a tall lady, 5' 11 3/4" and it fit very well with easy adjustments. My hopes are to use this next year in the UP of Michigan for a 2-3 day hike and maybe with my kids during the summer also.

Way to go, Kelty. 

P.S. I was fortunate enough to get this at a ridiculous price of $60 as someone had bought it several years back but never had the opportunity to use it.

Price Paid: $60

I liked this pack but I found that, possibly due to my inexperience with adjusting it, I could never really get it to fit right. It always felt as if I had too much of the weight on my shoulders instead of on my hips.

However, for the beginner backpacker I could not recommend a better starter pack if you can get it at a good price. Its ability to carry a lot of gear make it perfect for the family backpacking trip over the weekend. The multiple pockets are great but I always found that I ended up carrying to much so that's why I am switching to a smaller pack.

Good luck on your search and don't be afraid to get this pack for around $100-150! (We got a good deal.)

Design: top loading external
Size: 5000 cu inches
Number of Pockets: 6 not including the detachable day pack
Max. Load Carried: 60 pounds
Height of Owner: 5'10"
Price Paid: $90

This discontinued pack is marvelous. It's worth searching for. Backpacking for me is a vehicle for hunting and fishing. This pack is almost a hybrid between an internal frame pack and external frame pack. Kelty's thru-hiker frame keeps the narrow bag close to the back. Weight distribution is very good. The pack is a delight going cross-country off the trail.

The multiple pockets, daisy chain, and multiple attachment points give it great versatility. The large top pocket detaches as a fanny pack. This permits one to take rain gear, first aid, etc. along from a base or spike camp to a hunting/fishing spot or on a day trip.

In addition to the pocket, the pack has a sleeping bag compartment. I don't use this for the sleeping bag, though. The bag is 3/4 length of the frame so the sleeping bag and pad go below the bag. As a result the sleeping bag compartment (which has a zippered divider from the main compartment) aids in organization and access to pack contents better than a simple top-loader.

I've had 60 pounds in and on this pack, and while the shoulder straps dug in a little bit it was still tolerable to carry. At 50 pounds or less, it's down right comfortable.

I bought two, one for me, one for the Mrs. The adjustable torso (16-21 inches as I recall) makes the pack suitable for just about any adult.

Although discontinued, Kelty still has the pack instructions up on its web site.

Design: external frame backpack
Size: 5000 cu. in.
Number of Pockets: 5
Max. Load Carried: 60 lbs.
Height of Owner: 5'8"
Price Paid: $134.99

Nice external frame pack--easily adjustable torso length, comfortable suspension with firm padding on hipbelt, removable top lid/waist pack and carries loads very well due to narrower profile than most externals (it doesn't sway side-to-side and isn't as top heavy as most externals); Kind of a hybrid design (slim packbag like an internal but with an external frame that tapers inward at the bottom); Quality of constuction is very good like most Kelty packs but it has been discontinued; if you can find a used one it would be a fine purchase at any price.

Design: top and bottom loading
Size: 5000
Number of Pockets: 6 (including top lid)
Max. Load Carried: 45-50 lbs.
Height of Owner: 6 ft.
Price Paid: $130

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