Two packs in one.
Pockets are supremely useful—that's why you still hike in cargo pants, right?—which is why Kelty designed the PK W50 Women's Backpack with a crazy assortment of sleeves, compartments, and stash pockets to keep your gear organized and your load comfortable. The front pocket is removable, letting you reduce the capacity from 50L to 35L if you're trying to be more streamlined, and the side wings compress your load down and double as sleeve pockets to keep a shell, insulating layer, or snacks in an easy-to-reach spot. For all you overnighters, the bottom compartment is specially designed to hold a sleeping bag and pad, too. Additionally, there's a top pocket for small items, hip-belt pockets to keep a compass, phone, or energy gels close, and stretchy water bottle pockets on each side so you don't have to stop and unload every time you want to wet your whistle.
All this would be no good if the PK W50 felt like a brick on your back, but of course it doesn't. A Lightbeam aluminum sty and HDPE framesheet add some lightweight structure and support, while the Airmesh shoulder straps, waist belt, and lumber panel work with the ventilated back panel to keep you cool and comfortable on the trail. Load lifter straps, a sternum strap, and a padded hip belt help you dial in the perfect fit, too, while an integrated and stowable raincover keeps your gear from turning into a soggy mess if you get caught in a shower.
- Nylon fabric
- Lightbeam aluminum stay and HDPE framesheet
- Airmesh shoulder straps, waistbelt, and lumbar panel
- Ventilated back panel
- Roll-top opening
- Sleeping bag compartment
- Compression wings double as pockets
- Integrated pull-out raincover
- Top pocket, removable front pocket, hip belt pockets, and stretch bottle pockets
- Item #KEL001W
- Q & A
One size does not fit all
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I got a super deal on this pack and that's ultimately why I decided to give it a try. I also liked what Kelty was trying to do with this design. I've taken this pack one easy overnighters and some longer trips with 20+ mile days so I feel like I've got a good sense of its positives and negatives...
* It's light weight and has a slim profile. Definitely don't feel like I'm lugging around a giant, burly pack, which is nice.
* Its pretty. Not super important but always a nice little bonus.
* Hip straps are comfy and not overly burly. They feel like they were designed for a woman's shape. The little pockets are nice too.
* Good size for 1-3 day trip.
* I like the clothing compartment that comes off. I fill it with extra clothes and stuff sacks at night, roll it, buckle it to itself and create kind of a make-shift pillow. The buckles sometimes stab me in the head, but its certainly better than no pillow at all.
* They NEED to offer more than one torso size. Can't remember if I just didn't measure or got such a good deal I decided to try it even through I was NOT in the size range, but this pack doesn't fit me very well. I'm 5'8 with a pretty long torso and even at the end of the adjustability the hip straps end up riding to my belly button after a few minutes. NOT comfortable when the pack is fully loaded for your waist rather than hips to be taking the weight. The shape of the support bar is also not my size, so the lumbar curve hits me half way up the back and I get a giant bruise if I do any scrambling or bending over with the pack on.
* Not very durable. The buckles are kind of oddly sewn in and ripped one out on DAY ONE of using this pack. A "compression" design isn't any good if you can't put enough force on the buckles and straps to actually compress anything. The side water bottle holders also got riddled with holes from the soft elastic fabric rubbing against rocks, etc. I'm a firm believer that girly, dainty and light doesn't have to mean weak, flimsy and non-durable. They miss this HUGE with this pack.
* There is ZERO ability to strap anything to the outside of this pack. Want to put a non-inflatable sleep pad on the outside? Good luck with that. Carabiner wet shoes to the outside? Nope. You get the flimsy water bottle holders on the side (which are so silky of a material plastic bottles slide out of them WAY too easily) and one loop on the bottom of the pack. I guess you could put shoes there, though its off center so you'd be pulling to one side the entire time.
* Top compartment is a pain in the ass to get into. Impossible without taking the pack all the way off and I don't trust just the roll closure with anything valuable that I'd generally put in that that top compartment (small camera, keys, ID, etc).
Overall, I don't recommend this pack for any even remotely tall women (5'5" or more) or anyone who wants to be able to go more than 2-3 days in the back country. All my gear is pretty light and small and I struggle to get a tent, stove, sleep pad, toiletries and multiple days worth of food in this pack. It would be easier if you could put any of that on the outside, but like I said before, there is ZERO expandability.
Nice try Kelty, and keep up the tinkering, but you pretty much missed the boat with this one.
Great first pack
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
I'm new to the backpacking gig and decided to get a smaller pack to begin with. What drew me to this particular pack was the fact that it has ZERO zippers! Every opening has roll down compression clip(s). This pack also has dozens of pockets for sorting and storing items. I am a relatively organized person so having a place for everything in this pack was a major plus. I like the separate pockets for your sleeping bag and tent so you don't have to unload everything. The compression wings also have long pockets you can use for tent poles or what have you. This pack also has the removable front pack that is used to store your clothing items. I love that you can take this off and leave it at your camp and continue on for a day hike without the extra weight. The attached rain cover is a nice addition as well. I took this out on a recent hike and it exceeded my expectations. The weather was hot/humid so I didn't use the rain cover, but the pack didn't get overly hot either. The mesh backing keeps you cooler than other fabrics. This pack is sturdy and the fabric seems like it will hold up well.
Does this pack only work with Trailogic gear (sleeping pad and bag) or will other gear fit well?
I am looking purchasing a Mountain Hardwear sleeping bag and the Klymit Static V2 sleeping pad.