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 three Kelty Cloud 6500 packs. All of them are slightly different from the others. All of them have removable side pockets, a removable rear shovel pocket, and a removable, adjustable 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. In addition to the heavily padded hip belt, a plain webbing help belt is available to reduce weight.

Kelty Spectra Cloud 6500, @2002

Front and Back view

6500r back 6500r front 6500r daisy 6500r bottom

Here are exterior pictures of the pack. All the trim is in red for this pack. The first picture is the back of the pack. There are three compression straps that go from one side to the other of the pack. There is a single lid strap. There are two removable ice axe loops. The next picture is the front of the pack. You can see where the compression straps attach to the pack body. There is a sternum strap. The haul loop is made out of spectra fabric.

The next 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. 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. The fourth picture shows the bottom area of the pack. 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.

6500r clip

This is a 'slic-clip'. It is a removable plastic clip that hooks to a loop sewn into the pack. The three compression strap which go from one side of the pack to the other side of the pack attach with slic-clips. These The the side and rear pocket attach via six slic-clips. These attach to red nylon loops sewn to the pack. I am not sure if the pockets can be attached at the same time as the compression straps. Perhaps some of the pocket slic clips attach to the compression straps. On my McHale pack, there are three compression straps and the external pockets don't interfere with the compression straps. I don't think either of Kelty's compression straps and pockets is a real good idea. I think there should be three or four compression straps per side, not for the whole pack. Clearly the straps need to work with or without the accessory pockets being present. I have never seen a pack before with a compression strap that goes all around the back. For a pack as big as the 6500, three straps seems inadequate. My TNF voyager pack is 2700ci and has two compression straps per side, so does my TNF polar circus 2400ci pack.

Accessory Pockets

6500r shovel_back 6500r
								  shovel_front 6500r pocketst 6500r pocket loops

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. It also has drain holes at the bottom, trimmed in red. The next picture is the side pockets. The last picture is a close up of the pocket loops sewn into the pack. Note that the compression strap passes over the loops, and I had to move it out of the way. For the top compression strap, it goes under part of the daisy chain and does not interfere with the pocket loops. I suppose you can hook the pockets to both the compression strap and the pocket loop at the same time.


6500r lid 1 6500r lid 2 6500r lid 3 6500r lid 4

The first pictures are 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 at the rear. The buckle in the front secure the lid to the main bag. The buckle, loop, and strap with matching buckle attach to the rear of the pack via sewn spectra loops on the front of the pack, 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 lid upward for large loads. I think there in enough adjustability for the height of the pack extension skirt. The next 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. The last picture shows the spectra loops sewn to the front of the pack, and how the lid straps go through them to attach the lid to the pack.

There is a big top section of the pack which has a single compartment, unlike most top sections of packs I am familiar with. I think it would be an improvement if it were divided. It comes off, but doesn't make a hip pack like the current 5250 pack top. There is no internal place for a hydration pack unlike the current 5250 pack.

Waist Belt

6500r belt 1 6500r belt 2

The hip belt's height can be adjusted 2 inches via velcro that on it and the center of the pack. There is a place for a pair of gear loops to be attached to belt. The first picture shows the hip belt compression straps attaching to the belt. The triangular piece of spectra is where the shoulder strap attaches to the pack.

Side View

6500r 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.

Gear Loops

6500r loops

You can attach gear loops to a variety of places on the pack as well as the hip belt. This pack has five '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.


6500r 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.

6500r frame_1 6500r frame_1

The frame consists of two stays of stays of aluminum, and fabric and HDPE plastic sheet which holds them in place. The first picture shows the bottom of the frame. The HDPE has pockets which secure the ends of the aluminum. You can see the gold colored aluminum through the HDPE. This end fits into a pocket in the bottom of the pack, next to the waist belt. There is a thin pad covered in black nylon fabric that wraps around the frame on both sides. It is secured to the frame with velcro. There is a spectra fabric assembly that the stays side into. There is a metal bar sewn into the top of the fabric assembly. The bottom of the fabric has velcro which secures it to the bottom piece of HDPE.

6500r frame_3 6500r frame_4 6500r frame_5

Here is the frame covered with the pad. The next picture is the other side of the frame, also covered with the pad. There are two sets of clips on each side of the frame. The upper clips are normally in the red nylon loops at the end of the frame. They attach to clips on the pack. I removed them so they would be visible. The lower clips attach to straps on the pack. The last picture is a close up of the clips on the frame.

6500r frame_6 6500r frame_7 6500r frame_8

This is the pack with the straps that attach to the frame. The odd shaped clips attach to the clips that are inside the red nylon loops at the top of the frame. The other clips attach to the other clips on the top of the frame. The next picture shows the odd clips attached to the frame. The last picture shows the other clips attached to the frame.

There is no picture of the inside of the pack, but it is similar to the other kelty spectra packs. There is a pocket where the end of the frame attaches. The pocket is on the other side of the hip belt. 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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