Primitive and modern outdoor skills

An awesome find (backpacks).


So, this weekend Jess and I were going down to San Mateo to pick up some craft supplies that had failed to ship properly from a store down there. We weren't sure how large the box was, so we grabbed the bike trailer (carry freedom Y-frame) and attached it to Jess' bike (she currently has the hitch).

We're riding down to the caltrain station, and Jess sees a guy on a street corner with a small tag-sale. We stop to take a peak, and there's these two old packs hanging there. We both immediatly recognize the packs as old external Kelty frame packs!

Well, if you are into that kind of stuff, these packs are actually collectors items! We weren't so interested for that reason though. Jess loved her old external pack made in the early 90's (from k-mart, there's upcoming post about that I believe). Old external frames are completely different from new ones. The whole pack will generally weigh in under 3 pounds. The old Kelty packs in particular are extremely robust as well, due to a being made from welded aluminum.

The frame, backpack, straps etc. were all in basically prefect shape. A single missing pin (easilly replacable) was the only problem. The guy wanted $5.00 for the pair, we quickly accepted and attached them to the trailer.

Notice in the next photo the difference in the frames

See how the one on the right has a bar across the top, with 2 bars going up to it? That is the most common design. Also notice that the lumbar support on the right is padded. The packs aren't quite the same. They are both kelty though (labeled as such), and construction and materials are basically identical. The sack that came with the frame on the left had 2 compartments and extra dividers in the top, whereas sack that came on the frame on the right had a single compartment (excepting the side-pouches).

The way my shoulders are built, the pack on the left slams the back of my head. My mother has a slightly newer model of this pack actually, and it simply doesn't fit me. The pack on the right on the other hand fits wonderfully! Jess doesn't have problems with the pack on the left hitting her. My plan is to either make a new sack, or possibly just attach stuffsacks to the frame with rope. So I took the sack off my frame and mounted it on hers - the packs were in this state already when the photos were taken.

I had never seen a pack from this era unmodified (I'm convinced these are just that). Note the foam bits on the hip belt, they actually seem like they'd be quite comfortable. Also, the belt-clip weighs something like a quarter pound. I'll almost certainly replace some of the components, because I want to actually try using the pack and not just marvel at it as a collectors piece.

Jess hasn't decided yet whether to use hers. We'll have to experiment some.

More photos of the packs here