Product Review—Kelty Gale (1999)
Model year: purchased in 1999
Torso sizes: One size (non adjustable) 16-18
Weight: 3.5 lbs
Capacity: 3200-3500 in3
Fabric: 600D Kodra upper/1000D bottom
Frame: Padded back panel w/ acetyl arch
Manufacturer Website: www.kelty.com
Dual daisy chains
Floating lid (not removable)
Over the top control strap
Height: 5’4” (1.5m)
Weight: 140 (63.5 kg)
City, State, Country: Various cities in Southern Michigan, USA
Backpacking Background: I’ve been into the outdoors all my life, but have only been backpacking for the last four years. I hike mostly in the summer in Michigan, but have become interested in winter trips recently. I don’t consider myself an ultralight hiker, but I do keep my pack weight down. I’m also generally accompanied by my dog, Beau.
I purchased this pack as it was on sale at Campmor in the fall of 1999 for $50. The weight was good and I’d read some favorable reviews for the pack. It has since been A) redesigned and B) discontinued (look for it under the new name “Storm 3500”)
Unlike the other reviews I’d read where testers wound up with packs too short for their torsos, I have a pack that needs to be shortened by about 1.5”.
I wore this pack on a late-August weekend trip in the Manistee National Forest. I had planned on being out for three days, but finished a day early. Since I had no-cook meals my food weight was easily double that for a normal trip.
Still, the pack held all of my gear thanks to some creative packing.
I like the durability of the materials used in the pack—branches and brambles had no effect on it.
The hip belt with its cinching system adjusts quickly and easily allowing the hip belt to rest comfortably on my hips for those high-mileage days.
I think Kelty underestimated the actual volume of the pack as when I pack it with all my ultralight gear it’s almost too cramped for anything over three days. If you were carrying a tent instead of my siltarp, you’d definitely have to lash it to the outside of the pack.
To make up for the lack of volume inside the pack there are plenty of lashing options outside, including a shovel pocket, dual daisy chains, lash tabs on the bottom, and lash points on the lid.
I wasn’t fond of the fact that in order to get at the gear inside the pack you have to take everything apart. I had a sleeping pad stashed in the shovel pocket and would have to re-roll it after every snack break.
There are no outer pockets on this pack, so if you’re a chronic organizer you might want to look elsewhere.
I was disappointed that, once the pack is fully loaded, the mesh water bottle pockets stop holding onto Nalgene 1qt bottles. I actually lost one bottle on a dry trip and had to walk a mile back to where it had fallen out of my pack.
If you are a weekend-warrior or don’t want to break the bank on a small pack, this is great for you. It does well for summer weekend trips or a winter day-hike. It is a very durable and affordable for the beginner.
At the time of this writing (February, 2003) the Gale is no longer being manufactured. Look for it under its new name of “Storm 3500.”