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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2013

Gear Review: Kelty Fleet 55 Multiday Pack

Cure for back sweat takes the form of pack with the Kelty Fleet 55.

by: Nancy Prichard Bouchard

Kelty Fleet 55 (Photo by Ben Fullerton)
Photo by BP0413PACK_Kelty_Fleet55_445x260.jpg
Kelty Fleet 55 (Photo by Ben Fullerton)

Pack Central
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[best ventilation] 
“The airflow between the packbag and my back was noticeable,” says our tester after a brutal 2,000-foot ascent in sweltering 90°F temps in Washington’s northern Cascades. “The cooling was especially effective when a crosswind blew through. The tautly stretched mesh backpanel kept the pack a good inch from my body, even with a bulky, heavy load,” he says, adding that the supportive backpanel protected him from odd-shaped containers and marshmallow skewers that his wife insisted he carry. The top- and front-loading Fleet incorporates a butterfly-shaped aluminum stay that channels weight to your hips via a vertically stiff but torsionally flexible frame system. Testers report it handled 45 pounds. Moderately padded hipbelt and shoulder straps (and cushy lumbar and scapula pads) proved comfortable without blocking airflow; our tester says even his shoulders and hips stayed sweat-free.
In addition to the well-ventilated backpanel and comfortable harness, you get a full set of features: a removable lid with two pockets, a U-zip front panel that allows quick access to hard-to-reach items in the pack, an integrated rain cover, and roomy zippered mesh pockets on the hipbelt. $200;  4 lbs. 1 oz.; 55 liters; 3 sizes (2 for men and 1 for  women);

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