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Kelty West Coast Backpack - Owner Comments

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  • Carlton Simmons
    Owner Report on the Kelty External Frame West Coast Backpack. Est. Price $150. Impressions- I have preferred external frame packs because of the versatility
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 27, 2001
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      Owner Report on the Kelty External Frame West Coast Backpack. Est.
      Price $150.

      Impressions- I have preferred external frame packs because of the
      versatility and extra load carrying capability. The Kelty West Coast
      is an external frame back but with internal frame type hip belt and
      back padding. I selected this pack for the capacity 4800sq inches and
      ease of loading. The weight of the pack is 7lbs 1oz which was about a
      2 lbs heavier then my previous external frame (Camp Trails). I would
      assume all the back and waist padding along with the support rods
      account for the additional weight. One of my biggest complaints with
      internal frame packs was until recently everything was stuffed into
      one compartment. This usually mean't you were unpacking and packing a
      lot just to get small items that could have easily fit into side
      pockets. Internal frame packs of late have added side pockets or at
      least allowed them to be easily attached. External frame packs have
      always had plenty of pockets and it allows me to quickly find
      something when needed. I have always set up a pattern to packing my
      side pockets so that I won't need to search all the pockets and the
      pocket organization on the Kelty West Cost pack allowed me to keep my
      system basically intact. The Kelty West Coast (KWC) has one large
      pocket on the left and two on the right. It also has on on the back
      and one on the flap that covers the top. My main complaint on the
      pockets is the lower pocket on the right is a open mesh pocket that
      is very limited in use when the pocket above is fully loaded. The KWC
      has a main compartment loaded from the top and a lower compartment
      loaded from back. There is a connecting panel between the two
      compartments that can be unzipped to increase the size of the main

      Packing- My packing system has maps/permits placed in the pocket on
      the flap, flashlights / knife / matches/ misc items stored in the
      pocket on the back. The large compartment on the left is where I
      stored my water along with TP / trowel. The upper pocket on the right
      contained first aid kit/medicine/insect repellant/water treatment
      tablets/personal care items. My sleeping bag in a compression bag is
      placed in the lower compartment along with my backpacking stove and
      raincoat. Everything else but the tent and pads are in the main
      compartment. The Tent is placed under the flap above the main
      compartment and my foam pad and thermo rest is strapped below the
      lower compartment (rings provided). This packing is a little
      unconventional because I have the heavy tent on top but it works for
      me as long as the tent stays next to the frame (strapped). There are
      slots on the top of the flap for straps that I do not use because the
      item tends to get caught on limbs and move around to much. There are
      also strap slots on the door of the lower compartment which I use
      from time to time but I find that what ever is strapped there gets
      pretty dirty and beat up when the pack is lowered to the ground. Like
      most external frame packs, the top loop of the frame can be extended
      for more strap on capacity on top, I seldom ever have it extended.

      I also use have a small water bottle fastened to the side of my waist
      belt for easy access.

      Use- My first trip with the KWC pack was to hike a Virginia section
      of the AT in May. With the pack fully loaded with 5 days of food it
      weighed in about 45 lbs. Hiking with the KWC was pretty typical and
      adjustment straps were within easy reach to allow for adjusting
      loading. I have fairly wide shoulders and would have liked the upper
      shoulder strap mounts to be a little wider. Also, the load transfer
      rods from the top compartment to the waist belt tended to pull out of
      the waist belt too easily. I would find the pack feeling funny and
      check and find one side had slipped out. The balance of the pack
      seemed fine and I never felt like the pack had slipped from one side
      to the other even when bending and reaching. We did encounter a lot
      of rain during the hike and I did use a pack cover that seemed to fit
      very well even though the cover was of universal design.

      Summary- I am very pleased with the KWC it came though my first major
      hike with no problems in usage or construction. The bottom part of
      the frame has some scratches but should far outlast the padded bottom
      of an internal frame pack.

      Carlton Simmons
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