See History of Kelty Spectra Backpacks for lots of information and pictures about the Kelty spectra packs.

I first saw the Kelty Spectra packs around 1990 or 1991. I have no written catalogs or anything else from that era. I suspect this pack was made sometime between 1990 and 1996, but I am unsure about the date. It likely predates my Phantom pack from 1998. The Kelty spectra packs are likely the most durable packs ever made. All of the stitching is done with Kevlar thread, which is far stronger and abrasion resistant than nylon thread . (It is unclear if this pack is sewn with Kevlar thread, as the thread appears to be white. Perhaps it is nylon or spectra.) (On my McHale spectra pack some of the stitching is in spectra, but most is in nylon.) In addition, the shoulder straps and waist strap is made with spectra fabric. Most spectra packs don't have spectra shoulder and waist straps. Most of the things sewn to the pack, such as the mounting points for straps are made of spectra, which I have never seen in any other line of packs. This pack will survive a tremendous amount of abuse compared to any other pack.

I saw this 3400 White cloud on ebay, and the owner was kind enough to let me use the photos. I wish there were better photos, but these are of a really rare pack. This pack is a 3400 Large, and has no side pockets or rear shovel pocket. The side pockets are an option that was sold separately. There is also an optional 'Megaton Overpack' which adds 3500 cubic inches. This is a roughly U shaped pack which fits around the spectra pack, and is used to haul lots of stuff to base camp, then be removed from the pack for more technical climbing. The pack includes two attachable gear slings, two removable compression straps, an under lid rope holder strap (which I have never heard of before) and four ski straps (which I have not heard of before). It is unclear if the hip belt is removable or adjustable like the newer packs. Also of note is that all of the stitching is clearly white, not the yellow of Kevlar thread which is used in newer Kelty spectra packs.

Kelty Spectra White Cloud 3400, @1996


3400 tag0 3400 tag1 3400 tag2

These are the tags on the pack. Of interest is the optional Megaton Overpack which doubles the size of the pack. I have no idea how it is attaches. Also of note is that there is a woman's version of the pack. The newer packs just come in regular and large. There is a single stay, and it is made out of titanium. I remembered the early packs used titanium for the stay. Titanium is denser than aluminum and harder to bend, which is why virtually no packs use it for stays.

Front view

3400 front_0 3400 front_1 3400 front_2 3400 ice

This is the front of the pack. It shows the two compression straps, which look to be about 1 inch wide. I think the pack is oriented with the hip belt on the top of the photo. There are two vertical daisy chains, and other stuff I can't identify. It is interesting that all of the plastic buckles are white, like my Phantom pack. White buckles sure look cool, unfortunately they are not ultraviolet light resistant and tend to crack. That is why 99% of all plastic hardware used for outdoor use is black. Also quite cool are the blue and white webbing. It is likely to be made out of nylon and spectra. Pure spectra is quite slippery, so very little webbing is made out of pure spectra. Because it is so slippery it is unsuitable for things like waist straps, as the buckle will slip. Adding nylon makes it less slippery. The last picture shows the ice axe attachment. This looks like a simple and elegant way to attach ice axes. The bottom of the axe is secured with the buckle and the shaft of the axe goes through the loop above the buckle.

Side view

3400 side 0 3400 side 1 3400 side 2 3400 side 3

The side views shows the ice axe loops, the daisy chains sewn to the pack. Note the top of the daisy chain which has a white loop of unknown function. There are two blue straps and two white nylon loops at the bottom of the pack. Perhaps they are used to secure the Megaton Overpack? Also on the top of the side are another two white nylon loops and a reinforced patch with a green thingy. Perhaps it is also related to the Megaton Overpack? Also of note is The three webbings that are used to attach the side strap. They clearly distribute the load, but how much load can you put on a side strap?

Back view

3400 back 3400 sternum

This is the back of the pack. Of interest the shoulder and waist strap are similar to my Phantom pack. They seem to be made of soft padding, rather than the harder thinner padding of the newer Kelty spectra packs. There is a lot of white plastic hardware visible, and the pretty blue and white webbing. The waist strap looks to be sewn to the pack and not adjustable for height. Also the sternum strap attachment seems quite robust and there is some velcro of unknown purpose.

Hip Belt

3400 belt 0 3400 belt 1

The hip belt has the common side tensioner which is blue and white webbing. Also visible is a large sacrum pad.


3400 lid 0 3400 lid 1 3400 lid 2

The last picture shows the lid is permanently attached to the pack, and there is an extension flap. Newer packs have a removable lid with adjustable straps to allow for extending the lid if necessary. The strap is likely used to adjust the amount of extension.

Titanium Stay

3400 stay 0 3400 stay 1 3400 stay 2 3400 stay 3 3400 stay 4 3400 stay 5

The titanium stay seems only to be used in early Kelty spectra packs. Newer packs use two aluminum stays. Titanium is very strong, but denser than aluminum and much harder to bend. It is also very expensive. I suspect the stay is made out of commercially pure titanium which is the least expensive and easiest to bend form of titanium. The first picture shows the top of of the stay, where it is secured by a velcro flap. The next picture is a close up of the velcro flap. The next two pictures show the stay removed from the pack. The next picture shows the bottom of the stay when installed in the pack. The last picture is the top of the stay, secured with the velcro flap.


3400 unknown 0 3400 unknown 1

The first picture looks to be the interior of something. Perhaps it is the lid or the main compartment. There is a red nylon loop with two metal rings. I have no idea what it is for. The next picture is two blue and white loops. Perhaps they are used to secure the Megaton Overpack?

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