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[pct-l] packs: comfort vs weight: Why packs work

This essentially describes the packs that Dick Kelty made for our 1977 trip.
Instead of a stiff welded frame of large-diameter aluminum, he used a
small-diameter (~1/2") flexible aluminum tubing. The main frame is a single
piece of tubing bent into an inverted U shape. The crossbars, made of the
same material, are joined to the U-shape by delrin (nylon) pieces that allow
a lot of movement. The result is a lightweight (I don't know the weight of
the frame alone, but even with a Tioga bag attached the total is under 4#)
external frame that's very flexible. It has the usual Kelty hip belt, so it
can carry heavy loads--and the flexibility of the frame offers the same
benefit of an internal frame.

Unfortunately, Dick sold the company before he completed development on
these packs, and they never went into production. All three of us Kelty Kids
still use our packs every summer, and they've held up well for 25 years. A
couple of years ago, Dick was meeting with the folks at Kelty Pack and he
borrowed our packs to show them. They wanted to keep them--I don't know
whether they were planning to renew the development efforts or they just
wanted to store them in the Kelty museum--and offered us any new Kelty pack
in exchange. I looked at the Kelty Cloud and thought it would be pretty
cool--but decided it'd never be better than my one-of-a-kind Kelty original.

:: Carl Siechert
:: We're looking for 1977 PCT Hikers
:: http://pct77.org/reunion

----- Original Message -----
From: <Bighummel@aol.com>
To: <reynolds@ilan.com>; <dude@fastmail.ca>; <pct-l@backcountry.net>
Sent: Monday, June 24, 2002 9:10 AM
Subject: Re: [pct-l] packs: comfort vs weight: Why packs work

> Brain storming on pack design:
> Has anyone attempted to make an external frame pack using the slender (1/4
> inch) diameter Easton aluminum tent pole material?  A method of bending
> poles and attaching the pack bag would have to be worked out (I don't
> too difficult).  It just seems that a heavy gauge or larger diameter
> frame is not required when the Easton poles have sufficient strength to
> handle the range of typical low weight loads.  I keep looking at the
> large diameter frame of my old Tioga and questioning the need for it when
> proper design using lighter weight, slender diameter materials could work
> better.