The Kelty Lakota 65 backpack is a real pleasure. I liken it to strapping a Tempur-Pedic pillow to my back. Maybe that’s just because my last pack was so uncomfortable. But hyperbole aside, the Lakota 65 pack’s Dynamic Airflow back panel and the AirMesh material used in the hip belt, shoulder straps, and lumbar support are crazy comfortable and extremely breathable. I’ve been using the pack to haul my climbing gear and have caught myself marveling at how I ever managed without features like easy side access and the built-in rain cover. Not having to pack around a black garbage bag to throw over my pack just incase it rains, which here in the Pacific Northwest is more likely than not, of course has its perks but it is the bag’s overall comfort and efficient design that impressed me most.



  • AirMesh padding makes for a dry, comfortable carry
  • The side access zipper and sleeping bag zipper at the bottom of the bag grant easy access to items that would otherwise be impossible to get to.



  • The rain cover hides well in its own little pocket and has an elastic draw string that lets you cinch down the cover over even a fully packed bag


  • It’s incredible how small and thin straps and plastic components like clips are getting. The technology is to the point where manufacturers can make considerable weight savings by using lighter yet stronger materials. So why is that a con? Nearly all the clips on the Lakota 65 are tiny and though I recognize they are just as strong as the much larger clips on my old bag, if not stronger, I had difficulty using the miniature features in some instances. I know I’m splitting hairs here but as there’s very little to not like about this bag I thought the minor annoyance of having to retune my fine motor skills just to unclip some straps was worth mentioning. Small hands obviously won’t have this issue.


Final Thoughts

The Kelty Lakota 65 backpack seamlessly balances comfort, usability and versatility. Right now this bag is storing my essentials and all my climbing gear; rope, harness, cams, passive pro and quick-draws, and I still have room to add a tent, sleeping bag, pad, personal kitchen and enough water and food for a multiple night alpine adventure. I really appreciate the effort Kelty has put into the comfort of this bag and I’m really loving getting at my gear without digging down from the top. If you’re looking for a great all-purpose pack add the Lakota 65 to your list and check it out.


Tech Specs

Manufacturer: Kelty

Date available: Currently available

Manufacturer’s Website:

MSRP: $180

Sizes: S/M, M/L

Dimensions: Length: 32 in / 81 cm; Width: 12 in / 30 cm; Depth: 12 in / 30 cm; Volume: 4000 in3 / 66

Suspension: Fixed

Weight: 3 lbs 12 oz / 3.7 kg

Torso Fit Range: 17.5 – 21 in / 44 – 53 cm

Waist Belt Fit Range: 32 – 54 in / 81 – 137 cm

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