A trail-tested workhorse, the Kelty Tioga 5500 Classic external frame backpack offers heavy load hauling capability, convenient access points and fit adjustability. An array of features adds to the Tioga 5500's reputation for providing reliable backcountry performance.
The Tioga 5500 Classic's rigid aluminum frame provides excellent stability and support. In fact, if you're carrying heavy loads over well-maintained trails and even terrain, it's hard to beat an external frame pack. However, it is important to remember that the rigidity of an external frame can hamper flexibility for off-trail scrambling.
A fully adjustable suspension system accommodates torso lengths ranging from 16-22". The Tioga 5500 Classic's ventilated backpanel, adjustable dual-density waistbelt and padded shoulder straps work together to further enhance fit. Belt stabilizer straps help to transfer weight onto the hips and load-lifter straps let you adjust the "ride" of the pack. The Tioga 5500's adjustable sternum strap fine tunes the positioning of the shoulder straps across the chest to prevent chafing under the arms.
Equipped with many zippered pockets, the Tioga 5500 Classic allows you to separate and organize gear while providing quick and easy access to whatever you might need while on the trail. An integrated spindrift collar on the top-loading main packbag enables you to carry even more gear.
Other features found on the Tioga 5500 Classic include an enclosed sleeping bag compartment, a lid pocket, zippered side pockets, a mesh water bottle pocket, a daisy chain attachment system, lash points and an ice-axe loop. A lined internal sleeve makes the Tioga 5500 Classic hydration system (sold separately) compatible.
California residents: view proposition 65 WARNING
- Packbag Features:
- Hydration compatible
- Top loading
- Sleeping bag compartment
- Top lid pocket
- Multiple zippered side pockets
- Daisy chain and lash points
- Adjustable suspension
- Ventilating waistbelt, backpanel and shoulder straps
- HDPE-reinforced waistbelt
- Sternum strap
- Belt stabilizers
Best Use Backpacking Access Top Loading w/ Lower Sleeping Bag Compartment Warranty Lifetime Volume 5500 cu in Type External Frame Backpack Torso Adjustment Yes Sternum Strap Yes; Adjustable Position Item Weight 5 lb 9 oz Hydration Compatible Yes Frame Material Aluminum Fits Torso 16"-22" Dimensions 31" x 23" x 16" Detachable Daypack n/a
Real Customer Reviews
- Great classic backpack
Likes: Comfortable, easy to adjust, loads of room. I like it even with smaller loads, so it's now my go-to pack.
Dislikes: Lock rings can be hard to remove and replace, can snag clothing if bent, especially when putting on or taking off pack.
- Old school packs are what I like.
Likes: External frame, tons of room and the frame fits me well. I can carry so much with this pack and still have extra room.
Dislikes: No easy access pockets on waist belt or shoulder harness.
- Great for long hikes
Likes: If you know what you are going to use this backpack for it will be great, If you are not used to external frame backpacks you will experience it as clumsy and not following your body movement like a soft pack does. The trick is to adjust it properly and the feeling will be as with a soft pack (but more mini-adjusting now and then) with the added bonus of getting much better weight distribution. Love all the small compartments and pockets and the possibility to strap bulky items to the frame. A winner for me in 8 out of 10 hikes.
Dislikes: It demands a bit more from you since you have to learn to adjust it properly. This will make some to give up. For old schoolers like me this is no problem (its like coming home) and the new pack has better adjustability than in the 80-s.
- Sturdy , Traditional pack
Likes: Big enough to fit packraft ,fishing and overnight gear with room to spare.
I really like that it stands up and keeps it's shape and isn't flopping around while trying to load like an internal frame pack does.
Very adjustable with thick padding.
Many lash points including daisy chain on front .
If you can't fit it in this pack , you don't need it !
Dislikes: You have to load with a low center of gravity or the weight can shift around. Not a problem if you keep that in mind.
- Purchased the Tioga to replace my dependable Jansport D3 when the gear that I take in the mtns outgrew the Jansport capacity. Just received the Tioga, so I have not had a chance to field test it yet.
Likes: Great capacity. I like the large side pocket and pass through pocket as it will allow me to stow my camera tripod inside of the pocket and my fly fishing rod and tent poles will fit into pass through pocket easily. Great adjustability in suspension system.
Dislikes: None yet.
- Good Budget Priced and Durable pack for a hunter used for several seasons now.
Likes: I bought this to backpack with and hunt the backcountry. I have used this pack to hike in all my gear into the backcountry of Colorado and Pennsylvania . The volume of the pack allows for all of the essentials I need during October and November hunts and hikes which include more clothing because of unpredictable weather. I also have used this pack as a daypack when hunting in case something needed to be packed out, that is not its strongpoint. So far the pack has taken me everywhere I wanted it to and packed out elk and deer. Position load correctly, I have packed out half an elk at one time with this pack. No real problems other than that meant a lot of weight (100-120 pounds). The pack held up great!!!! Still using it every backpacking trip.
Dislikes: Under extreme load (see above) the waist belt tensioners on the side continually need to be tightened in order to keep the load positioned.
- Top-Shelf Classic!
Likes: Kudos to Backcountry Edge on a great price and lightning fast delivery (plus a free shirt). The quality of this old-school bag and frame is top-shelf. Having just received it I have not yet set the fit, but with all the adjustability that’s possible with this frame, I don’t foresee any problems in that.
Dislikes: I have no dislikes about this not yet extinct dinosaur of a pack. Mr. Kelty introduced the Tioga in 1973 and since then it has been counted on (and copied) everywhere. Me, being a not yet extinct dinosaur of a trekker looking to recapture moments of his youth that were not misspent, appreciates that. The Tioga 5500 is a big bag, probably bigger than I’ll need most of the time. But on those times when I’ll be joined by less experienced family/friends (and very hopefully with my grandson when he gets a few years older) I’ll have capacity to assist with their enjoyment of a trek. I’m also looking forward to easily adding some photography and fishing gear to my load. I may get around to trying an internal frame pack but for now I’m still old-school. And hey, did you see? Vinyl albums are back also!
Likes: Exceptional name and reputation. It’s nice to see Kelty remaining true to its DNA by continuing to produce the BEST external frame on the market. I hope they never stop.
- In the mid-70s I bought my first backpack, a Kelty Tioga that I used for many years. Eventually I gravitated to internal frame packs, and for many years that's what I used. But there was always something about external frame packs that I prefered
Likes: comfort, design, organization, color, weight
Dislikes: nothing yet!
- There is a reason this is a classic...
Likes: I picked this up for canoe camping hoping to use it as a carry yoke (extending the top brace) as well. that failed miserably (extension bent further mid-carry of a mile plus portage), but that wasn't the pack it was my construction. LOTS of room, light for what it is, and fairly comfortable (for an external frame pack:) ) I'll be repurposing for chainsaw hauling for trail crew work.
Dislikes: clips and pins holding the height adjustments in are easy to drop (and potentially lose) and could be re-engineered to be more adjustable. Waist belt could be better as well.
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