Kelty Tioga 5500 Classic External Frame Backpack

Kelty Tioga 5500 Classic External Frame Backpack


The Kelty Tioga 5000 external frame backpack
is a back country classic. It has got load hauling capability. It has got a ton of capacity
and the ability to lash lots of gear to the outside. We are going to take a closer look
at its suspension, its access features, every-thing that has made it such a reliable back country
favorite. I am going to take the Tioga off and flip
it around so we can take a look at its suspension system. On an external frame pack you certainly
have rigidity and stability. That is what makes it so capable of carrying heavy loads.
Aluminum frame that runs the full perimeter of the pack itself, high overhead when this
is on your shoulders, again, gives great support to the pack. Suspended from that farm you
have got really beefy padding on the con-toured shoulder straps. You have got nice padding
on the hip belt as well, a nice wrap to that padding. There is adjustability on the hip
belt. There is adjustability on the shoulder straps, load lifter straps above the shoulders
to also, again, really dial in that fit. You can adjust the height of the frame so that
it will accommodate a fairly broad range of torso sizes, so a nice feature there, as well.
Again, excellent support. You do have some nice ventilation. There is basically a screen
panel here, adds a little bit of support, not a lot of cushioning, but it does create
some separation so air can flow between your back and the actual pack bag of the Tioga. Turning the Tioga back around we will take
a look at its broad array of organizational fea-tures. Again, another stand out on a pack
like this. So it is big. It will carry a lot of stuff, 5500 cubic inches, 90 liters worth
of stuff. But it doesn’t just haul it. It also organizes it nicely. You have got a fairly
traditional lid that gives you top access to the main pack bag, a draw string closure
up here on top into a very, very sizable interior panel. You have got a very large zippered
pocket here on the front of the pack, just a huge pocket there. You can get all kinds
of stuff inside that. Also a lower zippered sleeping bag compart-ment. There is a shelf
that separates that lower compartment and the top compartment, but you can also remove
that or open it up so you have got one single, large internal com-partment. You have got side pockets, an enormous pocket
here. I actually have two different water bottles stuffed inside it. And on the outside
of that is yet another large zippered storage pocket. Down below yet another zippered storage
pocket. So you have got organization there as well. A very, very long and deep zippered
storage pocket here on the side of the pack and you also have pass through storage in
behind that pocket. So whether I would put my trekking poles in there or tent poles,
other gear, there is all kinds of places to store items. There is even a zippered pocket
here on the top of the lid, ideal of maps or other things you just want to have quick
and easy access to. Daisy chains running down the face. You can
lash gear there. The frame itself certainly allows for lashing of gear up high or down
below. It could be a sleeping bag. It could be a sleeping pad or any and all types of
gear. You do have compression straps here across
the front or that serve as compression straps. You can lash those down, but you can put gear
behind that as well. Trekking pole loops, just all kinds of access, organizational lashing
features on the Tioga. So, again, if you are looking for a time tested
back country work horse, a pack that will carry a lot of weight in a stable fashion
with organizational features, all kinds of storage capacity, the Kelty Tioga 5500 external
frame pack is worth a closer look.

30 thoughts on “Kelty Tioga 5500 Classic External Frame Backpack

  1. Finally you guys review some external frames. Please review more in the future. Like tatonkas lastenkraxe kelty yukons or other good external frame packs.

  2. I plan to purchase this pack in the next week or two, I was just wondering what the waist strap extends out too. Just wondering if I will need to buy an extender belt as well.

    -Keith

  3. I just  ordered mine from campmor
    I'm  glad  Kelty decided to bring this pack back  bc not  all  of  us were in love  with  the  very- finicky – to – load and  very expensive  high-quality internal  frame packs 
    One negative about  this pack  is it's total  absence of  external  2×2 lash patches
    One of  the many great things about  all  big  external frame packs is  that when you're sleeping w/o  walls you can prop  the pack up against  a boulder or a tree and sleep  against it  sitting up

  4. my external is about 3500cu i initially wanted to change to a larger one but one thing to keep in mind is with a 3500 like a Trekker you can strap ALOT of stuff on the bottom, i strap 2 pads, a tent and a huge sleeping bag, and that leaves alot of room inside the actual pack

  5. I just bought this pack from you guys I am very impressed with the quality of shipping. I will be running it though some paces before rating it on your amazon.  

  6. Great packs – at less then 1/2 the price of my wife's internal frame Gregory, it's both lighter & holds more. Comfortable durable and well made

  7. i like the layout of the jansport carson a little better, access from the top and the front is a major plus, however the build quality and hip and shoulder padding of the kelty is a thousand times better.

  8. looks like  if i should buy this one, i never use external backpack before… still afraid using this one, (mostly i use internal backpack), but i got curiuos in external frame backpack, did you recommended if i using external frame backpack for tropical jungle?.. cuz mostly i hike in tropical jungle, which i live in southeast asia.

    – Dungokunyet

  9. We moved into our new home and as I was cleaning out the attic, I discovered a Kelty Tioga. I inspected it and determined that it had barely ever been used. I found a paper in one of the pockets from Kelty stating simply that it was a "Kelty Tioga," along with care and packing instructions. It seems remarkably similar in many ways to the 5500, but the paper doesn't state specifically what the cubic inches are. It seems to be an older model, but is nearly identical to the 5500. Going to take it out in a couple weeks and see what she can do.

  10. I purchased one a few weeks ago and was trying to get a second but wasn't fast enough. Since its discontinued I had to get the Trekker 65L

  11. Hello – Nice video. I'm thinking of purchasing one of these. Could you describe this model's hydration features? I have a 2L Camalbak Antidote reservoir that I'd like to use with the pack I eventually purchase. One problem I've noticed with other external frame models is that they hold hydration bladders on their sides and can make them more difficult to use. -Thanks

  12. Thanks for making me aware of this hefty size external frame pack. I started backpacking in the mid 70's and Kelty was the pack to have until Jansport came along and innovated with a thinner, lighter external frame. We all used Kelty's or Jansports in the 70's and 80's.

    Fast forward to about 2015 and I wanted to get into backpacking again. I looked around and it seemed that external frame packs had gone all but extinct in my time away. Based on my history Kelty was where I looked first and they offered nice value. I looked at some other brands like Gregory, Deuter, and Osprey but they seemed ridiculously expensive for what they offered.

    So, I ended up buying a Kelty Red Cloud 110 internal frame pack. In part because I couldn't find an external frame pack I wanted and in part because I wanted to see what an internal frame pack was like. The Red Cloud 110 is a good pack with great access and the capacity to carry everything inside the bag. It carried 55 lbs very well for me. My only complaint is that it's not made for attaching stuff outside the pack bag and it hangs pretty low. As a result, I wore a hole in it sliding down rock faces on my butt on the Garfield Ridge Trail in New Hampshire's White Mountains.

    So, when I saw that Kelty had brought back the Tioga 5500 for a limited run I jumped on the chance to own what is maybe the last of a dying breed and ordered it from Backcountry Edge yesterday. I haven't received it yet but I can't wait to get my hands on it. My decision was based in part past experience and nostalgia and in part on a couple of things I'm not completely sold on with internal frame packs.

    1.) The aforementioned inability to easily and securely lash stuff outside the pack bag.
    2.) The aforementioned low hanging fabric bottom of the pack bag that exposes it to abrasion.
    3.) The fact that an internal frame pack is worn tight against your back and I sweat like a mule hooked up to a plow. Air flow and a mesh panel makes the Tioga look much better at providing a way for moisture to evaporate.

    With that said, I already can see that the external frame pack is going to mean giving up some stuff that my Red Cloud 110 and other internal frame packs offer.

    1.) The Tioga has no pockets on the hip belt. I've been using those to hold my compass and bug spray, etc.
    2.) The Tioga is top and bottom access only whereas the Red Cloud 110 can be accessed from the top, middle, and bottom.
    3.) An external frame pack won't fit inside the canvas duffel bag I use for air travel so my straps don't get tangled up in airport luggage movement systems or exposed to rough treatment from baggage handling personnel.

    So, I'm not ditching my Red Cloud 110. That will still be my go to pack if I have to get on an airplane. But I'm hoping the Tioga makes for a more enjoyable overall experience and maybe brings back some memories for an old guy rediscovering the wilderness when I'm doing trips that I can drive to.

  13. What is the purpose of the metal internal piece that seems to be for keeping the large area open? I wish I could post a pic, but this metal piece seems unnecessary and I would like to remove it. Any issues doing that as far as keeping the integrity of the pack good.

  14. I'm seriously tempted to order a second Tioga so I have a backup if needed. Not that this isn't a very durable pack but stuff happens. Plus I don't know how long these will be available.

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