The Kelty TraiLogic Collection is smart, attentively thought through and lives up to its TraiLogic moniker. It’s what a Vulcan would take camping. The collection includes a backpack, tent, sleeping bag and air pad. But they’re not just the backpacking basics jumbled together. They’re designed to fit with each other, making TraiLogic both the perfect starter kit for a newbie on the trail, and an ideal upgrade for the veteran who needs to replace some old, worn-out gear.
Kelty’s assembly is an outdoor example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. But the best way to review and understand the offering is to look at each piece separately.
The PK 50 Backpack
The hub of the collection is a 50-liter backpack available in two torso lengths for men, plus a women-specific design. The main body of the pack features a pouch specifically designed for the tent and another for the sleeping bag. This still leaves 35 liters of storage meant for cooking supplies and heavier items you’ll want to keep closer to your center of gravity. An additional 15-liter pack meant for clothing attaches to the main compartment and can be removed to bring essentials into your tent or to lighten your load if you want to use the pack for a quick day hike.
The entire pack is zipperless. Every main compartment is sealed with stiff-lipped rollover flaps that give the pack greater compression. Rollover flaps also mean you’ll never get stuck with a jammed zipper on the trail. There are also a lot of pockets— from pouches on the waist belt for iPhones and energy bars to interior storage compartments— it’s easy to imagine owning this kit for months and still discovering new ones. A matching rain cover is stored in the base of the pack and can be deployed easily.
The pack weighs 3 pounds, 2 ounces and retails at $199.95, which is a fair price for a 50L pack, and a great price for a 50L pack designed this well.
The TN Tent
Honestly, this is the easiest tent I’ve ever assembled. (Okay, truthfully my 12- and 8-year-olds assembled it before I was finished reading the directions.) Two poles form an arced cross that the tent roof snaps to via Kelty’s intuitive snap-clip technology. A third, shorter pole keeps the roof taut and separates the rain fly from the tent fabric.
There are zipper openings on each side of the tent so you won’t disturb your sleeping mate when you get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. And Kelty’s Stargazing Fly(TM) is designed to fold back part way so you can view the cosmos on a clear night. And, if you fall asleep stargazing and wake up to a rainstorm, you can pull back and secure the full rain fly without even leaving your sleeping bag.
The tent is almost 7-feet in length and is available in two-person and three-person models. The two-person version (TN 2) retails at $249.95 and three person (TN 3) at $299.95.
The SB Bag
This is a very comfortable mummy sleeping bag with 800 fill DriDown(TM) insulation that keeps out moisture. Men’s and women’s bags are available in 20-degree and 35-degree, which gives you a good range for at least three seasons. (If you’re a newbie at sleeping bag shopping, a +35° and higher is good for summer and a +10° and above is good for cold – but not necessarily winter – conditions.)
Men’s and women’s 35-degree (warmer weather) bags retail $249.95, and 20-degree bags retail at $299.95.
The PDa and PDsi Air Pads
There are two versions of pads to choose from. I used the less expensive PDa ($69.95) which features a single, meandering air chamber that inflates with just a few breaths. It’s six-feet long, and at 6’1”, I slept soundly on it. In fact, it made me feel a little stupid for packing my cheap, bulky, roll-up foam rectangle for the last five years. It was like trading in a rusty VW van for a new Mini.
For an extra ten bucks, you can upgrade to the PDsi which is self-inflating pad and insulated with polyurethane foam. Repair kits are included with both.
Total Cost (based on high-end models)
Tent (3-person): $299.95
Sleeping Bag (20°): $299.95
Pad (self-inflating): $79.95
I took the Kelty TraiLogic collection out at a dinner party to show it off. I’ve never paraded backpacking gear to dinner guests before. But I like it that much. And frankly, it’s that much of a conversation piece.
After viewing the pack and tent, one friend remarked, “When I see people with [brand name withheld] gear, I think posers. But when I see Kelty I think This guy knows what he’s doing.” It’s a good testimonial for Kelty’s brand. And the TraiLogic collection can only solidify that image.
The only tiny knit I can pick is that I wish the PK 50 pack had more storage space. I’ve used a 70-liter REI pack for the last several years, and I appreciate the extra 20 liters it provided. True, I’ve had to carry a bulkier tent with the aforementioned stupid foam roll-up mat dangling from the back and my sleeping bag crammed in somewhere. But if Kelty came out with a PK 70 for longer, backcountry hikes it would be unbeatable.
But taking price, design and Kelty’s reputation for durability into account, it’s easier to list the reasons why not to buy the TraiLogic collection. So far, I’ve only come up with two:
- You just bought a pack, bag, tent and mat separately. Even if the quality of mismatched brands is high, they certainly won’t fit together as seamlessly as Kelty has designed their’s to.
- You work for one of Kelty’s competitors.
For purchase and detailed information, visit Kelty.com