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

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. (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 daisy chains and mounting points for straps are made of spectra, which I have never seen in any other line of packs. Even the internal frame parts (except the pad) are made of spectra fabric. This pack will survive a tremendous amount of abuse compared to any other pack.

I have a Kelty Cloud 5250 pack. I suspect it is an early model, as it has no hydration features and there are provisions for the 'levitator' on the belt, but not on the pack frame. Also the shovel pocket doesn't have shoulder straps, the zippers on the side pockets are different, the lid has one strap rather than two, the trim is purple rather than gray, and there are three compression straps with 'slic-clips' rather than two with aluminum ends. This pack has all purple trim, removable side pockets, a removable rear shovel pocket, a removable, adjustable hip belt, and a plain webbing hip belt. The hip belt is secured to the pack with velcro and can be moved up or down a total of 2 inches, to allow for different back lengths. This pack uses slic-clips to secure the accessory pockets as well as the compression straps, though no compression straps came with the pack.

Kelty Spectra Cloud 5250, @2004

Front and Back view

5250p back 5250p front 5250p daisy 5250p bottom

Here are exterior pictures of the pack. The first picture shows the daisy chains that run up and down the pack. Near the top of the daisy chain, one has a gap that you can put a compression strap under. There are no provisions for the other two compression straps. One thing that confuses me is how to attach both the side pockets and the compression straps, as they all go through the three reinforcement areas on the side of the pack. Perhaps they can't be used at the same time, unlike the Kelty spectra packs that use the clear rods to attach the accessory pockets. Also the shovel pocket gets in the way of the compression straps. Perhaps that is why I have never seen them pictured together. The daisy chains, like all the daisy chains on the pack are made of spectra fabric, sewn with Kevlar thread. Most packs have daisy chains on the back of the pack, like there. This pack also features a pair of daisy chains on the bottom of the pack, and a pair on the top of the lid as well as on the bottom of the lid. There is a sternum strap. The haul loop is made out of spectra fabric. The fourth picture shows the bottom area of the pack. The two ice axe loops are removable. Also visible are two daisy chains on the bottom of the pack. Also visible is the bottom reinforcing layer of material. It seems to be a slightly heaver spectra fabric than the rest of the pack.

5250p side bottom 5250p side top2

This pack has room for three compression straps. The first picture shows a gear loop attachment point on the right. The upper edge of the picture is the part of the pack that rests against your back. On that edge is an attachment point for a 'slic-clip' which is the end of the compression strap. It then goes around the side of the pack, to the other side, where there is another attachment point for another 'slic-clip'. The second picture is the upper side of the pack. It shows a gear loop attachment point on the right, and two attachment points for the 'slic-clips'.

Accessory Pockets

5250p shovel_back 5250p
								  shovel_front 5250p pocketst

Here are pictures of the shovel pocket. It is big enough for a decent sized snow shovel blade (roughly 12 inches by 12 inches. You could also put other things in it. It has an elastic cord that goes on the back to secure wet clothing or other stuff outside the pack. It has a drawstring on top to secure interior items. The last picture is the side pockets. The pictures show the 'slic-clips' which are nylon webbing clips that can be opened, attached to a webbing loop, and then closed. A nice idea, but I wonder how strong they are. Certainly not as strong compared to closed loops of nylon, but then they couldn't be removed...


5250p lid 1 5250p lid 2 5250p lid bottom

The first picture is of the top of the lid. You can see two spectra daisy chains going from side to side. The zipper to access the compartment is near the bottom. This lid has two Kelty logos unlike most of the other packs. The two buckles in the front secure the pocket to the main bag. The buckle, loop, and strap with matching buckle attach to the rear of the pack via sewn loops in the webbing, and the buckle clips from one side to the other side. All the cloud packs attach the top compartment this way. It is a simple, light, robust mechanism, however there is limited room to adjust the pocket upward for large loads. I think there in enough adjustability for the height of the pack extension skirt. (The skirt is made of spectra and is about 6 inches long. The next picture shows the lid flattened out. The last picture shows the bottom of the lid. It also has two spectra daisy chains going from side to side. I am not sure of their purpose.

Waist Belt

5250p belt 1 5250p belt 2

The hip belt also has a small pocket with velcro inside it. I am pretty sure this is for the Kelty 'levitators', which are carbon fiber springs that attach to each side of the hip belt and are supposed to help with large loads. The problem is the body of the pack has no attachment points for the 'levitators', which is quite odd. There are two gear loop attachment points. This pack also has a webbing hip belt. There is no padding, but there is velcro which mates with the pack's hip belt area velcro. The purple strips are gear loop attachment points.

Side View

5250p side

Here is a side view of the pack. Note at the top and bottom of the pack the reinforcement areas where the gear loops can be attached. The mounting points are quite robust. There is nothing in the lid, so it looks a bit odd here. The 'slic-clip' attachment points are visible on the top side of the pack.

Extension Skirt

5250p skirt

The pack has an extension skirt. It is roughly six inches long. there is a drawstring for the main pack top as well as for the skirt top. Almost all packs have a skirt extension, the only noteworthy point is that Kelty used spectra, rather than a lesser fabric.

Gear Loops

5250p loops

You can attach gear loops to a variety of places on the pack as well as the hip belt. This pack has eight 'gear loops', which are made out of folded webbing with a clear plastic tube around the webbing. As the plastic ages, it becomes less clear and less flexible. Some have broken with age. They are often used for holding rock climbing gear, though it seems odd to do technical climbing while wearing the pack. You can clearly see how the plastic has become less clear and has broken in several places. I removed all the gear loops, as I don't have any use for them.


5250p lightbeam

The frame is a critical part of the pack. It transfers the weight from the shoulders to the waist area. It is the backbone of the pack. The Kelty frame is made mostly of aluminum. The aluminum isn't flat stock, but rather it is corrugated to be lighter than flat stock of similar outline, and stiffer than flat stock of the same weight. Kelty calls the aluminum LightBeam, which is an appropriate name. The above picture shows both sides of a piece of Kelty LightBeam.

5250p frame_1

The frame consists of two stays of stays of aluminum, and a HDPE plastic sheet which holds them in place. The first picture shows the entire frame. On the left, is the part which mates with a pocket at the inside bottom of the pack, on the other side of the waist belt. The frame rails are partially visible inside the white spectra frame sub-assembly. On the bottom is the HDPE plastic sheet. A LightBeam crosspiece is attached to the frame (where the piece of aluminum is, perpendicular to the rest of the frame). Once it is in, it is pretty difficult to remove, and it isn't required unless you are carrying heavy loads. At the far right of the frame is a cross bar which is sewn into the spectra frame sub-assembly. I suspect it is aluminum.

5250p frame_2

This is the other side of the frame. Visible are the HDPE plastic sheets, and where the velcro is sewn to the HDPE to secure the spectra frame sub-assembly.

5250p frame_6 5250p frame_7

Here is a picture inside the pack, showing the pocket where the end of the frame attaches. The pocket is on the other side of the hip belt. The next picture shows the frame inserted in the pack, and secured with two straps. I think this is a pretty secure and robust internal frame. It isn't as heavy as the McHale, nor as strong, but I suspect it is strong enough for almost all uses.

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