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Kelty Trekker 4300

The Trekker 4300 has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best external frame backpacks for 2022.


Price Historic Range: $125.95
Reviewers Paid: $80.00-$130.00


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


  • Durable
  • Weight goes on hips and not shoulders/neck
  • Great for desert hiking and airflow


  • Takes getting used to the wider profile (compared to an internal).
  • Will catch on thick brush/branches because it extends beyond the sides

I got my first Kelty in 1968, and still use it for day hikes. In addition to the 'orginal' Kelty, I have the Trekker 4300 and the Tioga 5500.  Use depending on the length of the hike. Love all three. 

Most of my hiking is in the desert SW and Grand Canyon. The externals allow greater airflow. Load is balanced over the hips—the long hike up from the bottom of Grand Canyon goes much easier with the 'over-the-hips' weight distribution.

I still do an annual Rim-2-Rim at the Canyon—and of course I take my vintage Kelty for the two-day event—and recall my hippie days in the '60s. LOL.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Don't recall --- too long ago

This pack is amazing!  I know most people now use internal frames, but this is one TOUGH AS NAILS pack that carries a heavy load with comfort.  I have beat mine to death and it shows very little wear.  No rips on the thick fabric, just minor scratches on the frame. 

Plenty of organization available and room for a kitchen sink. Thick hip belt and shoulder pads, with load lifters and stabilizer straps for added adjusting. Bladder compartment, sleeping bag compartment, mesh back, and lots of frame space to strap things to if needed (like a month-long hike!) 

A full-featured, classic, do-it-all pack. Not ultra-light, at about 5.5 lbs, but who's counting?

Price Paid: $100

I've owned my Trekker 4300 for four years now and have used it everywhere from the Ozarks in southern Missouri to the mountains in Montana. Even when packing for three or more days, I find that I'm looking for things to put in the pack just for grins! There is tons of space! It seems that I could strap a small refridgerator on this thing and still be comfortable. The suspension system has adjusted to my changing sizes year after year, and still shows no signs of wear. I'll never need (or want) another pack!!

Design: Top loading external frame
Size: 4300 cu. in.
Number of Pockets: 10+
Max. Load Carried: 25-30 lbs.
Height of Owner: 5' 10''
Price Paid: $120

I have read reviews complaining that the exterior pockets are small. I agree, but it is actually an advantage because it keeps the weight centralized and keeps you from overpacking. My big problem with the exterior side pockets is that the zippers jam.

If you hike in areas with very thick and low growing trees it can be a problem because the frame does sit high and can get hung up, but this is a problem with most external frame packs. I just duck low.

Overall I think it is a great pack. I have carried up to 50+lbs over many 20-mile hikes and I have very little if any aches and pains in my shoulders and back at the end of the day. The waistbelt is great on this pack. Sure, there are better packs but for what I do and for the price I paid I am very happy with it and give it four stars.

Design: Top loading, external frame
Size: 4300 cubic inches
Number of Pockets: 9 counting all external
Max. Load Carried: 50+lbs
Height of Owner: 5'6"
Price Paid: $80

I have no idea what the other people who gave reviews were talking about. I have owned mine for about 2 or 3 years and would never get another pack (ever). I know I won't need it. I use my pack at least twice a week for at least 2 days at a time every week and it still almost looks new, and I abuse it very badly. The outside pockets may be a tad on the small side, but whay exactly are you people trying to carry? I carry everything I could possibly need and still have room for a ton things I just like to have. I think the people who own it should sit down with it for about 2 hours and think about how it should be packed and try some different tactics out before they go on the trail again. Oh yeah and internals SUCK!!..If I "never" use one again it will be too soon.

Design: Top loading
Size: 4300
Number of Pockets: 6
Max. Load Carried: 50-60 lbs.
Height of Owner: 5' 11"
Price Paid: $130

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