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Large Frame Backpacks: Kelty Super Tioga Part 3

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Uploaded on Oct 16, 2008

PART 3 of 3:
An external frame pack will serve most backpackers needs. In fact its usually the best choice vs an internal frame pack despite what many biased salesman and outdoor magazines promote. Thanks to such disinformation, the frame pack is often thought of as a old-fashioned and outdated packing option and the shelves of todays outdoor stores reflect that misguided philosophy. Large frame packs, carrying around 5000 cubic inches, are hard to find and usually have to be ordered off the Internet, if you can find one. Thats too bad because the large frame pack is indeed problem solver for extended trips. Nutnfancys reference large frame backpack is the outstanding Kelty Super Tioga, proven on many an expedition into the high country. Sadly its been superceded by subsequent models (however Tiogas are still available under different nomenclatures) but a review of its features in this three part series could help perspective pack buyers to home in on similarly equipped frame packs. And a pack like this is usually necessary to accommodate large amounts of gear needed for 5 day plus trips (unless minimalist gear is carried). It has lots of advantages over an internal frame pack: lashing capability to frame for all kinds of gear, easier to pack, compartmentalization and pockets aid organization and proper weight distribution, pockets with with a flow-thru back will secure long items (like guns, fishing poles, paddles, saws, etc), excellent ventilation behind back, rigidity of frame provides easier off-back carry and prop up at campsite, bottom frame rung balances pack well during rest breaks (and protects sleeping bag), and its generally more comfortable under portage with heavy loads. The stated cubic capacity of a large frame pack, in the Super Tiogas case 4750 cubes, is actually misleadingits more. Thats because your tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad(s), and lashed gear do NOT take up internal packbag space like with an internal frame pack. And this Super Tioga, built strongly with the best materials, is like a tank in durability. Its not unusual for Kelty Tioga users to use their packs for decades and hand them down to the next generation. Thats a well-made pack. But its not perfect. For that durability you might carry some extra weight, translated from the aluminum frame, zippers, and heavy duty packcloth. The suspension system on this pack is outstanding: comfortable, adaptive, and rugged. Finally the track record, from Nutnfancys own use, is superb with excellent Kelty factory support which at one point came directly from its president (!). There are a lot of great brands out there and Kelty is just one of them. But Kelty has never abandoned the excellence of the frame pack in pursuit of trendiness because they know it just works and they know knowledgeable adventurers will always seek one out for lengthy adventures.

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