Is Kelty a Good Brand for Backpacks?

Kelty is one of the top backpack building brands, it is globally known, and with the price/quality combination that is hard to match.

Kelty has been making outdoor backpacks for more than half a century, more precisely since 1952. They have introduced many innovations in the past, like a pivoting hip belt design, pass-through side pockets, expandable backpacks, PerfectFit harness, etc.

So yes, Kelty is one of the best known outdoor brands, Kelty’s packs are durable and reliable, a great value for the money.

Is Kelty a Good Brand for Backpacks - top picture showing hikers with some of Kelty's packs.

Durable packs

Kelty builds durable packs and when you buy one you know you will be using it for many years.

To realize this, it is best to check their Kelty Outskirt 50 Pack, see the picture below. Here you have a polyester 600D Oxford as a primary fabric and polyester 420D as the secondary fabric. There are no many packs on the market with such materials, you will typically see 200D or so.

Kelty Outskirt 50 Pack.
Kelty Outskirt 50 Pack.

Kelty unique designs

Do you still remember Kelty PK pack? Actually, it is still formally visible on Amazon, REI, and some other places, but you cannot order it any longer. This pack was totally unique on the market. It could be converted from 50 to 35 liters, so you effectively had 2 packs in 1.

PassBehind pockets is yet another detail which is unique to this brand. So they have upper side zipper pockets that are with this pass through feature that allows you to store some elongated items behind the pocket.

You can see this in the video that shows their famous Kelty Coyote series:

In their Revol and Reva packs they introduced what they called the Kinesis hip belt. It was different from the existing pivoting hip belt systems available in some advanced packs in the sense that it had a sort of an anti-parallel movement. When one side goes up, the other side goes down.

This is supposed to adjust the belt to your body movement. You can see this here:

How do you fit a Kelty backpack?

In the video above you have seen about Kelty PerfectFit harness design. This was yet another unique feature that they introduced in their larger packs around 6 years ago. It is now rare in their packs, but you will see it below.

You have something similar now in Osprey UNLTD packs, and they call this Fit-On-The-Fly harness, but Kelty was far earlier on the market with this idea.

On the other hand, some other larger packs of Kelty come with the standard torso fit adjustment based on the hook and loop Velcro connection.

Kelty external frame backpacks

Did you know that Kelty is a rare brand that still has external frame packs on the market? One great example is this Kelty Trekker Hiking Backpack.

Kelty Trekker Hiking Backpack.
Kelty Trekker Hiking Backpack.

Kelty gender-specific packs

Kelty is also one of several top brands that builds gender specific packs, so you have separate options for men and for women. This is sometimes with different names and sometimes just men and women versions.

Kelty child carrier packs

Kelty builds child carrier packs and this has been so for many years already. In this sense it is neck and neck with Osprey and Deuter. Note that Gregory has no child carrier packs.

One great example is this Kelty Journey Perfectfit Child Carrier, see below how it looks, and observe that this is with their PerfectFit feature.

Kelty Journey Perfectfit Child Carrier.
Kelty Journey Perfectfit Child Carrier.

In this video you can see more about these great packs:


Who is Kelty owned by?

According to Wikipedia, the owner is Exxel Outdoors, LLC, and the business is based in Boulder, Colorado.

In summary, I see Kelty as one of the top five brands of backpacks. However, what makes it stand out is the price. Indeed, Kelty packs are far more affordable than any of its competitors, and this is not on the account of their quality. I mentioned them also in a separate text as a great value/money combination for people who are new to hiking.

Detailed descriptions of some of Kelty’s best packs you can see here.

For more texts about outdoor gear please check in the category Trail Gear. Thank you for reading. There is a comment box below so let me know if you have questions or comments.

Me on Jalovec.Hi, I am Jovo, the founder of this OutdoorsFAQs site and several other outdoor sites. I have been mountaineering for almost 40 years already, and I have created this site to use as a reference for various questions that I receive in my sites. Being a theoretical physicist by profession, I tend to base my answers on facts and on my own personal experience.

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