Kelty Slickrock

rated 4.0 of 5 stars

The Slickrock has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best expedition packs for 2020.


Price Reviewers Paid: $125.00-$225.00


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

I got this at a tent sale at the U of MN about 4 years ago, and couldn't pass up the deal. Lots of good, usable features, good size (for me), and lots of adjustability.

After many miles, my main complaint is that the shoulder straps tend to hit too far out on me. Snugging up the chest cinch works, but restricts breathing somewhat. The side pockets are on the shallow side, so water bottles can fall out while scrambling. I haven't found the need for more external pockets (something i thought i'd miss when i got the pack).

The waist straps are one of the best things - very easy to tighten. This pack also compresses very nicely, so the load stays nice and compact. This was great on my honeymoon, hiking 3 days in Utah canyon - we left with much less food and water than we started with, but the pack was very stable climbing out.

Good quality over-all, no burst seams or pulled-out grommets despite some big loads.

Design: top-loading internal
Size: 5500
Number of Pockets: 2
Max. Load Carried: ~60lb
Height of Owner: 6'4"
Price Paid: $125 (student sale)

this is an excellant fitting pack, novices will complain about getting a proper fit but be patient, get help adjusting the stays, load your pack with 20 or 30 lbs ( bag of cat litter) when adjusting it. it truly is a god-like fit (keep in mind your torso length when looking for a pack). i have hiked thousands of miles with this pack and cannot complain about fit, durability or capacity.

Design: internal
Size: 5500
Number of Pockets: 3
Max. Load Carried: 53 lbs
Height of Owner: 5'9"
Price Paid: $200+

Overall a good pack. I did have a stay break on me but I was able to send it back. The stays are a little odd in that they jut out from the top of the pack a bit. The compression is tight with the zig-zagging side straps. My biggest beef is with the top compartment: male part of the strap buckles on the front (behind your head), which attach the top part to the main compartment, have no female part on the main compartment. They are instead located on the top part as well, so you end up having to rig it yourself by wrapping the straps around the stays a few times and then attaching them back into the buckles on the top part. Total b.s. because it makes the top part very loose so it feels like it's going to slide off the pack. I wonder if this is a defect, but every other Slickrock I have seen in stores is the same. I complained to Kelty in writing but have not gotten a response. I ended up buying some buckle straps and making my own system which attaches to the shoulder straps.

A good pack, but you should shop around. For a few extra bucks you might find a nicer pack.

Design: internal
Size: 5500
Number of Pockets: one (top-loading)
Max. Load Carried: 40 lbs.
Height of Owner: 6'1"
Price Paid: $225

the only bad thing i can say about this pack is the lack of a couple of extra pockets. the shoulder straps are padded nicely, better than other packs i've used. over tough trails, i keep waiting for it to get uncomfortable, and it never does. i've overpacked, and never was wanting for space or comfort.

a really good buy.

Design: internal
Size: 5500
Number of Pockets: 3
Max. Load Carried: 60 lbs
Height of Owner: 6'2"
Price Paid: $220

Before I go on and on about this pack let me complain about the almost black interior. Why do they do it? Anyway, this bag was freaking great on a recent ten day trip on the AT. The ONLY part of my body that didn't hurt by the end of the day was my back. The Slickrock manual promises near god-like control (strange, I know) over pack fit using the adjustments and by bending the stays according to very good illustrations. Well I don't think they're going to hell. The fit was excellent and adjustment was easy and all velcro. The compression straps attach to rods that run along the outside of the bag and keep the contents tight and uniform and the waist cinch straps have some kind of mechanical leverage advantage, which works very well, and didn't come loose at all. There are also compression straps for the sleeping bag compartment, which were cool and a ton of lash points and two daisy chains which were useful. The material was very heavy duty and never scuffed or cut at all, despite some rough treatment at the end of a long tiring day. I did blow some stitches at one shoulder strap, but they seemed to be there mostly to hold a piece of fabric on, just cosmetic and didn't cause any problem whatsoever for the remainder of the trip. As great as the fit, comfort, and durability of the bag were they could have been below average and the bag still would have shined. It has what's called a 'slab-pocket' on the inside right next to the back, meant to hold heavy objects close in but, more importantly it also has a 'gopher-hole' drawstring entrance to the slab pocket. I was the designated water purifier carrier and I was able to just pull off my bag, open the gopher hole and grab it when we came to a stream. At the beginning of the trip this was merely a cool gadget, but after days on the trail and serious fatigue, the ability to grab my purifier, my pack rain cover, stove for lunch, and, of course, toilet paper, without having to open the hood remove my sleep pad, and root through the pack was a serious god-send that turned a great bag into the perfect bag for me. By the way, the North Face large rain cover fits like a drum lid on the Slickrock. So, all in all, I LOVED this pack and plan on using it for a thru-hike on the AT. If only they hadn't used dark blue for the inside....

Design: Internal
Size: 5,000-5,500 (I think)
Number of Pockets: One main, one sleeping, one in the hood
Max. Load Carried: 50 lbs.
Height of Owner: 6'1"
Price Paid: $150 (on sale)

This is an excellent pack for your money. It is mega comfortable, really spacious. It has unilateral compresion for large, unruly loads. It has Goferhole access (which is a hole behind your head to get gear!!) and a Slabpocket to keep dense items close to your back!! Its waistbelt is the easiest to tighten. And its Lockdown Suspension is awesome. I love this pack and I hope you do too.

Design: Internal
Size: 5500
Number of Pockets: 3
Max. Load Carried: 42 lbs.
Height of Owner: 5'9"
Price Paid: $200

I waited patiently for this pack to go on sale in one of the major discount mail order catalogs. I had read such good things about it, that I didn't think I could go wrong!

When I got it, I tried to follow the directions for adjusting the thing, but I really had a hard time getting it to fit comfortably. I took it to my local outfitter (who coincidentally carries mostly Kelty packs), and asked them to try fitting it better. The store owner's response was "What have you done to these stays?!" The tops of the alum. stays were bent back toward the pack bag at a 90 degree angle - which struck me as odd, but it was certainly nothing I could have done to the pack. The stays were several inches too long for the pack... We traded my stays for ones in a new Kelty pack on the wall, and proceded to adjust them from there. We got a pretty good fit, so I took it hiking. On my first trip out, the pack gave me saddle sores on the lower back, and constantly loosened its settings. I don't know whether the problem lies with the ladder locks, or with the webbing, but all of the settings drift as you walk, and the pack needs constant attention. After the first trip, I found that one of the netting pockets intended for a water bottle had come unstitched from it's elastic band top. During some scree scrambles, I lost both water bottles from the pockets several times much to my dismay! The grommet in the storm collar had also pulled halfway out of the cloth. Subsequent trips made me dislike the pack more and more, and I finally ended up biting the bullet, and buying a Terraplane - with which I'm infinitely satisfied. As an ending to the story, my brother and I recently climbed Guadalupe Mountain in Texas, and he wore the Slickrock. Without me pointing out my previous problems with the pack, he named them all as we hiked. He struggled under 40 lbs in the Slickrock while I didn't even notice the 50 lbs in my Terraplane. Hope you other Slickrock owners out there have more luck! My own procrastination is all that keeps the pack from going straight back to Kelty!

P.S. Hoorah for my favorite outfitter, Guadalupe Mountain Outfitters. Jackie swapped those stays for me for her cost of buying new stays for her own pack - about 15 bucks!

Design: Internal
Size: 5500
Number of Pockets: Lid/Fanny Pack Only
Max. Load Carried: 50
Height of Owner: 5'6"
Price Paid: $150

The pack is really the most comfortable pack that I have ever caried. I believe that this is the best pack for the money that I have seen.

The design allows you to get to any part of your pack very quickly. The pack has a pocket that keeps heavy object next to your back and a gofer hole to get into this pocket without going thru the top of the pack.

The bottom pocket is really great so that you can get to your sleeping bag without a lot of trouble. I highly recommend this pack to anyone that enjoys the outdoors.

Design: internal
Size: 5500-6000
Number of Pockets: 3
Max. Load Carried: 45 lbs
Height of Owner: 5'9''
Price Paid: $200

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