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Kelty Super Tioga 4900

The Super Tioga 4900 has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best external frame backpacks for 2021.

photo: Kelty Super Tioga 4900 external frame backpack


Price Historic Range: $99.95
Reviewers Paid: $119.00-$250.00


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



  • Rugged materials
  • Fits well (after modifying frame)
  • Comfortable
  • Roomy


  • The frame needed to be modified as I got older due to spinal compression. This was not easily done.
  • Old models from Kelty had a quick release metal buckle for the hip belt. I needed to replace the plastic buckle due to wear and old age.

I purchased this in 2002 from Sierra Trading Post and it has gotten moderate use for the last 16 years doing hikes in the area's National Forest. This has never let me down and is still in excellent condition.

The only negative I have to say about this is that it is so huge that I would tend to overpack with too many unnecessary items.

The frame is adjustable and I had it set to the shortest adjustment as possible and it fit my 5'7" frame just about perfectly. As I aged so did my spine and I lost about an inch of height. When this became a problem I took apart the telescoping frame and cut about 1.5" from the length. I then refitted the bag and adjusted all straps and load lifters to suit the situation. I never noticed how the pack was slowly not fitting like it used to until the modification.

The year is 2019 and I am 67 years old. I used it twice last year and plan on using it for many years to come. This Super Tioga 4900 will last me forever.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Can't remember for sure, but slightly over 100 dollars


Welcome to Trailspace, outside guy! Thanks for the review of your Kelty. I'd love to see some pictures of your pack in your review, if you're willing to add some.

3 years ago
Kathleen Ward

Thanks for your review, outside guy!
I feel the same about my Tioga and Trekker. They're bullet-proof and are quite comfortable with heavier, winter loads.

Although I am enjoying trying out newer packs, I don't think I will ever get rid of my Keltys. My kid will probably go through all my backpacking gear when I'm gone and wonder why in the heck I kept these old packs. Lol!

3 years ago

We'd love to read reviews of your Keltys too, Kathleen! I know many of us enjoy hearing about and seeing older gear that is well used.

3 years ago

This a big pack and it allows you to pack heavy and still be comfortable. I generally pack heavy, around 50 lbs. I can carry 3 Nalgene 1 Quarts and two gatorades, in the side pockets alone, and still have room there for smaller articles.

My winter bag and all my clothing fits inside the top section and the bottom section carriers my food, stove, etc. I love the external frame because of the strong places to secure my tent which goes on the bottom and my sleeping pad that goes on the top.

All and all a great pack, plenty of space, durable and user friendly.

Price Paid: $119 (2005)

I have used this pack for a weekend camping trip to a few week long backpacking trips in the White Mountains. It has worked perfectly.

The only part that should be pondered (good or bad, take your pick) is that this pack is BIG. It is almost like an internal frame pack where you can stuff a bunch of equipment on the inside, yet has the capability for strapping tents, sleeping bags, or ground pads, with plenty of carabiner space remaining.

I have owned a few packs in my time in the outdoors, and this one is the best, by FAR! Well worth the $$$ if you can get your hands on one.

Design: Internal Frame
Max. Load Carried: 60 lbs
Height of Owner: 6'2''
Price Paid: $250

The best pack I have owned. It is extremely durable and was able to accommodate 70+ lbs for over a week in the Smokies without any damage.

I am a firm believer in external frame packs and this is the gold standard for space and rugged design. The only drawback is weight. I am sad it is no longer being produced...

The price is right, if you're willing to sacrifice design quality and comfort. I loaded the pack fully, and within a couple of days had completely bent the frame from setting it down. The frame has a curve that is supposed to help the pack sit on your hips, but unfortunately that curve bears the weight of the pack when it is not on your back. I'm somewhat surprised Kelty is still making this pack...

This pack is the 1st real camping pack I have used. I use is on two, multi night outings in the Shenandoah National Park. I typically over pack and take more than I need. Plenty of compartments to separate out items. However the sleeping bag compartment usually houses my food and ground cloth. I strap my down sleeping bag, and z rest to the outside.

Tested a few packs at the store and as soon as they put it on my back with the test weight I said wow this feels good. And it feels good at max weight on the trail for 3 days. Hydration compatible. I usually walk out of the woods with extra food and clothing that is still clean.

I load it with a 6lb tent, 4L of water all the food, Coleman Exponent stove with fuel, first aid kit 1.2q pot with handle, matches, thermo mug, z-rest, down bag, first need water purifier, rope, rain gear, compass, flashlight, knife, pack rain cover, emergency space bag, udigit shovel, t-paper, water free soap, food. 2pr wool socks, jeans, fleece top and bottom, ground cloth, When fully loaded it can be a little tipsy and you will have to navigate and think about your balance but its like changing time zones. It only takes a few hours to get used to.

Design: external
Size: 4900
Number of Pockets: 4
Max. Load Carried: bout 50
Height of Owner: 5"11 1/2'

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