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Kelty Sierra Crest

rated 4.00 of 5 stars

The Sierra Crest has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best external frame backpacks for 2020.

photo: Kelty Sierra Crest external frame backpack


Price Historic Range: $89.93
Price Historic Range: $84.93


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

I love this pack!

I have had this pack since 2003. It has seen probably 1,000 trail miles, in all weather conditions. It was one of the few packs at the time I could find for a person with an extra-small torso height, narrow shoulders, and size DD chest that actually worked with the chest strap and arm straps not digging in. Plus, I love the way an external frame pack feels on my body... seems to shift more of the weight to my hips rather than my shoulder tops. At the time (2003), no other packs were doing that.

I can pack that thing to the gills, and still bungee more on the top. At one point, it carried 75# during a two-week stretch of no resupply points, and while no pack would be reasonably expected to make that a breeze, it was definitely manageable and didn't shift uncomfortably.  

I like the side pockets. I have memory problems, so each item in its own permanent place is a BIG plus to me. I don't care for packs where everything is mixed in one large pockets...even with side access points... I will get frustrated with where things disappear in the pack... the Kelty Sierra Crest keeps everything separate and perfectly organized.

I only broke one zipper (top flap), because I consistently shove too many things in there (it is where my raingear lives).. .and usually a tarp. I plan to fix the zipper and upgrade to lighter weight rain gear to remedy that problem!  

I keep trying on other packs, thinking... one of these days maybe I should upgrade? But really, I have no reason to. This pack is just fine!  I will save the money for more time off and backpacking trips!

Source: bought it new


Nice review, Angie! Sounds like another solid piece of gear for you.

2 years ago

The Kelty Sierra Crest is a very versatile backpack. It is good for summer and winter hikes, however it is too heavy for long climbs. The backpack is good for 2-3 days for harsh hikes although I have used it for as many as six days of hiking although that is very difficult and I only recommend it for experienced hikers.

Overall I recommend the backpack for short fast hikes. The backpack should not be used for children under the age of 12, but I highly recommend it for adults.

In my opinion it is the best external frame pack available.

Design: topload and frontload external frame
Number of Pockets: 10
Max. Load Carried: 45 pounds
Height of Owner: 5'5"-6'

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