Kelty PK50 – Pack Your Backpack, Get Out Of Town

Kelty PK50
Kelty PK50

Kelty recently introduced their TraiLogic products, and the PK50 is the backpack for that line.  I was provided a pre-production sample from Kelty to test, the men‘s pack in size M/L.

Kelty must have sent this particular pack around quite a bit.  When I got it, there were maps in one of the pockets, it had a lot of dirt in it, some dried up energy gel stuff in the fabric of one of the hip belt pockets, and somebody‘s body funk all over it.  The metal support rod was poking out of the top, so the pack wasn‘t really assembled properly either.  I realized that this was a great opportunity to see how the pack would clean up and hold up over time.

Right away, I set about dis-assembling the PK50.  Once the metal support rod and plastic back was removed, I detached the rain cover and separated the hip belt from the pack. First I put the pack in a front loader washing machine, then let the PK50 air dry before reassembly.  I didn‘t have any instructions for assembly but everything was pretty intuitive.  The pack cleaned up well.  There were a few bits of grass still stuck in the mesh fabric over the padding for the back, but other than that and a few scuffs from prior use, the PK50 was looking almost new.

The Kelty PK50 does not have any zippers.  Any openings on the pack are secured with a roll top sort of closure.  I liked this a lot because rolling the openings closed tended to tighten up the fabric of the pack around the contents, and I didn‘t have to worry about zippers snagging on anything.  The pack comes with its own rain cover which stores conveniently in a pocket at the bottom of the pack.  There is an external 15 liter pocket which will completely detach from the pack.  This makes it super easy to convert the PK50 to a 35 liter pack.  This external pouch is really handy.

Kelty PK50 with raincover
Kelty PK50 with raincover

Kelty has designed the PK50 to work with the rest of their TraiLogic gear but you can use any equipment that you already have.  I loaded the PK50 with my hammock, tarp, some clothes to sleep in, canister stove, a hatchet, lights and more.  I packed 3 or so liters of extra water just to see how the load would carry.  Suggestions are provided as to how to distribute your gear.  I generally followed the suggestions and found that the bag really provides great organization for my gear and easy access to everything that I needed.

My load out with the extra was about 28 pounds.  The PK50 carried it like a champ and felt good on my back.  Once I got the belt, shoulder straps, and load lifters all adjusted, I had no comfort issues with the PK50.  My back stayed fairly cool.  With the pack stuffed full of gear, the back panels bulged a little, but posed no problems.

Kelty PK50
Kelty PK50

Kelty lists the weight of the PK50 at 3 pounds 3 ounces.  Mine weighs in at about 3 pounds 9 ½ ounces which is pretty good for a pack in this class.  I think the side pockets could use some drawstrings though – I had some gear fall out of the pockets while taking off and putting on the pack.

All in all I found the PK50 to be a comfortable, durable, convenient pack to use.  Kelty set the MSRP at $199.95 which is a pretty good price for this pack.  Check out the full TraiLogic line at

– Mark

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