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  • Ron Martino
    Aug 5, 2001
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      Kelty Coyote 4500
      reviewed by Ron Martino

      We bought this pack at the beginning of the summer for my wife, who had
      decided she wanted to take up backpacking, after years of car camping.
      After some consideration at the local REI, we settled on Kelty's Coyote,
      based on capacity and price, oh, and the fact that she liked the looks.
      I liked that it both fit her and was comfortable at the maximum weight
      she would be carrying. She was tolerant of my request that she wander
      around the store carrying 30 pounds, despite thinking it silly. I
      insisted, though, so round she went while we drooled over, um, shopped
      for our other gear.

      Online, REI lists the Coyote under internal frame youth models, but on
      5 foot 4 inch Peggy the pack was an equally good fit. The material is
      heavy duty nylon, just the thing for our sometimes rather careless
      treatment of gear, and my kitchen scale agreed with Kelty's stated
      weight of 5 pounds, 3 ounces. They claim 5 pockets, plus the main
      compartment, but, depending on how you choose to count, there's really
      more. The pack has two long side pockets, a back pocket containing a
      small zippered mesh pocket, while the top pocket is removable and
      doubles as a fanny pack - it too has a small internal pocket, as well as
      a key ring clip. Rounding out the external storage are two mesh water
      bottle pockets. There's integrated straps on the bottom for a sleeping
      bag, pad, or whatever, as well as a daisy chain, axe loops and
      additional webbing that allows even more straps if desired. The main
      compartment and top flap can encourage some serious overpacking if one
      is not careful. Both the shoulder straps and hip belt have secondary
      straps for perfect(?) adjustments of the load.

      I got to experience the Coyote first hand when my classic (old)
      Jansport external frame was in for a zipper replacement. Since Peggy was
      reduced to carrying a day pack, I got to see just how far I could
      overload her pride and joy. Forty pounds later I hadn't yet needed to
      extend the main compartment, though I did take full advantage of the
      webbing to add further straps. The first thing I determined was that
      this was definitely not a pack for my 6 foot 1 inch frame. My torso is
      just too long for the hip belt to ride where it was supposed to. On the
      other hand, after playing with the suspension system I was able to
      adjust - it was a very comfortable forty pounds. Time only allowed an
      overnight hike, but with the exception of additional food and fuel, we
      carried everything we would have needed for a much longer trip.

      Our experience this summer has been encouraging - the Coyote makes a
      fine pack for those with a smaller torso, and its capacity is quite good
      despite that. Some might find it over-engineered, however. Five+ pounds
      will likely seem high for the ultralight crowd, but it compares
      favorably with many similarly sized packs, especially for the price.
      Personally, I prefer the main compartment to be further divided into a
      couple of sections for better organization, but I suppose it all matters
      as to what one is used to. This is certainly a purchase we do not


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