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Kelty Tioga 5500

The Tioga 5500 has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best external frame backpacks for 2021.

photo: Kelty Tioga 5500 external frame backpack


Price Historic Range: $134.95-$170.00
Reviewers Paid: $110.00-$145.00


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



  • Huge!
  • Pockets
  • Pack durability


  • Huge!
  • Stress on tension straps

You could pack everything you'd ever need in the wilderness into this bag. It's monolithic. it's actually a little too big for me personally, unless i was going to cross the country on foot during the winter. but then i'd have concerns about the frame holding up.

The pins and straps that hold it all together feel like they experience quite a bit of stress every time the pack gets picked up or sat down. it comes with extra pins, but something that can hold this much volume should feel a little more solid if it's to be my go-to pack for hauling such large loads.

It's also very easy to throw you off balance because of its huge size. with a decent load, it'll stick off your back a good foot and 1/2, and it's also pretty wide.

The pack its self is rock solid, but given the size, I wouldn't want to carry it anywhere that it might get caught up on stuff. it could get very exhausting very quick. it's also a bit excesive for most trail hiking.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $110

Version reviewed: 2009

I stared a new category on this pack because in this year's model the design and dimensions have changed as well as the material.

This pack seems to be well made as well as having a killer warranty. I have carried it over 50 miles with heavy and light loads and it carries the weight well and comfortably.

The divider between the main pack and sleeping bag is removable so it can be used as a 1 compartment or a 2 compartment pack. The frame is extend able and the carry harness is very adjustable. So it can be easily adjusted to fit nearly everyone.

The only downfall to this pack I have found is in this years model Kelty has discontinued the load lifter system which I do like that option. It is compatible for generic hydration systems. The two straps that hold the hood down are also compression straps so if you are not using the full pack size it cam be drawn down to eliminate load shifting & shaking.

The pocket configuration is as follows left side one long zippered pocket on the outside with blind sleeve pocket for things like tent poles behind the main pocket. Right side has two small zippered pockets with compression straps the will hold a collapsible trekking pole very nicely when your not using it (well that's where I carry mine when not in use) and between the top pocket and the pack bag is a mesh drop-in pouch that is large enough to hold 2 1qt nalgene water bottles.

On the front is a large egg shaped zippered pocket and on the hood is a zippered pocket with the zipper in the middle of the pocket so you can put items on top of the hood or below in the part that hangs down. Inside of the pack has a wide pocket for fitting your hydration balder in it. On the front of the pack is a carry handle, ice ax loop & daisy chain.

All in all this is a good pack that can be used for a weekend or a week long trip with no problems. And will last you for many years to come. I would definitely recommend this pack to a friend.

Design: Top Loading / Front Loading
Size: 5500ci / 90L
Number of Pockets: 6 External / 1 Internal / Sleeping Bag Compartment
Max. Load Carried: 75lb
Height of Owner: 5'10"
Price Paid: $145

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