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Kelty Yukon 50

photo: Kelty Yukon 50 external frame backpack


Price MSRP: $119.95
Historic Range: $58.95-$169.95
Reviewers Paid: $35.00-$127.00
Weight 4 lb 14 oz / 2.2 kg
Capacity 3000 cu in / 49 L
Width 24 in / 61 cm
Length 25.5 in / 65 cm
Height 11 in / 28 cm
Suspension External
Torso Fit Range 16 - 21 in / 41 - 53 cm
Body Fabric 420D Polyester Ball Shadow
Reinforcement Fabric 420D Polyester Oxford


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

Great pack for adults too, don't worry about the fit. Smaller capacity than the Trekker, but works well for shorter range trips. 2-3 day backpacking trips are just fine with this 50L pack, longer if you know what you're doing.


  • Quality of materials
  • Very comfortable
  • Easily packable
  • Lightweight frame


  • No zipper for separating the sleeping bag compartment, it's permanent
  • No included rain cover
  • Would like to see hitch pins or something instead of split rings

This pack will fit adults. I'm 5'11" and 185lbs, (I bought the medium/large), and I'm not even close to extending the telescoping frame to its maximum. I'm at the smallest possible setting with an 18" torso (I believe). I could have bought the small/medium and had more room to adjust the frame. The belt length is no issue for me, and I don't have a flat stomach.

I think the reason it's marketed towards young adults is because it's not a large capacity pack. The frame is full size, however. If you're new to backpacking, or if you're trying to get your kid into it, you don't want to start them out with a huge and heavy backbreaker.

The quality is good, lots of features. There's more than enough reviews out there on Kelty external frame quality and features, so I just want to stress that the Yukon definitely fits adults. (Check the frame specs on the Kelty website). When researching this pack I wasn't sure. I wanted the smaller capacity, but the product description is a little misleading.

These packs are really under-priced, too!

I'll try to get some pictures of the pack in action soon...

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $106

Old school, but performs well.


  • Distributes weight to hips
  • Pockets/ organization
  • Good back ventilation
  • Easy to pack/ access gear
  • Comfortable
  • Durable


  • Snags points in thick flora
  • Sway during agressive movement

This is the traditional boy scout bag, but it will fit most adults. External frames are hard to beat when when it comes to comfort and load hauling capabilities while hoofing open terrain. The Kelty external frames are very effective at putting the weight on your hips. The waist and shoulder straps are nicely padded. Superb ventilation on your back.

There are a couple downsides to external frame packs. They can snag up on branches in dense foliage, but a good rain cover stretched over them helps this. Also, they don't move with your body as well as tighter fitting internal frames during vigorous activity. So consider those factors before you choose one. Will you be bushwhacking or need to move fast? Personally, those circumstances are rare for me in my environment and activities.

The Yukon has great organization. Pockets of various shapes and sizes to keep your gear ordered and readily accessible. Much easier to pack and unpack than internal frames. If you strap your sleeping bag, tent, and pad to the outside like I do.

50L is a lot of internal space. The Trekker has even more, but I don't need it. It's nice being able to strap random gear to the frame like my rifle. These are hydration bladder compatible with a port on both sides. The bottle pocket on the outside fits my 40oz Kleen kanteen nested in a GSI cup easily.

Mine is now several years old and has proven very durable. If I could change one thing, it would be to have a spindrift on the top. The "lid" does cover the main compartment completely, but a spindrift would still be nice. This basic design has been around for a long time, but there's a fair amount of us who use them and do so for good reason.

Used ones in good shape are generally easy to find. People get them for their scouts, they get used a handful of times, then they collect dust or end up on ebay.

Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $50

This is a really nice external frame backpack for adults!


  • Extremely well made
  • Great fit
  • Tons of pockets to stow everything you need.


  • Split rings instead of cotter pins are a huge pain!

I bought this pack at a store and was VERY shocked when I saw online that it was characterized as a "kid" or "youth" pack.  I am a pretty big guy, 6'1", 230 lbs and this pack fits great! In fact I had to telescope the frame down to almost the lowest setting.

With all of the external frame there is plenty of room to carry all my gear. For me, personally, I don't want a huge amount of storage because...I'm going to have to carry everything I put in there! Having slightly less space causes me to be smarter about what I pack and it has served me well!

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $127

I bought this pack from a friend and I went all the way with it. I'm 14 and a scout who took this bag on a 90 mile 10 day trip plus four 20-30 mile training hikes. This pack suited me well and works good with beginners and old timers. I packed all my gear and it did very well with weight distribution.

The only complaint that have about this bag is that I think the hip straps sometimes slip and that you have to stop and adjust every 2-3 miles you hike (this might be a problem for me since it was previously used).

Overall it's a very good bag in my opinion.

Design: Top loader
Max. Load Carried: 45 lbs.
Height of Owner: 5' 6"
Price Paid: $35

I am 24 and a medium sized individual at 5'11" 155lbs. This pack is not just for kids or teens. I like mine a lot. It fits me snuggly and carries weigt well. I think it may be too large for children though, it is a large pack especially when it is fully extended.

Size: 3000 cu in
Number of Pockets: 6
Max. Load Carried: 30lbs
Height of Owner: 5'11"
Price Paid: $59.99

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