Ideal for overnights or long weekend trips, the Kelty Lakota 65 Women's backpack offers an impressive combination of load-hauling performance, durability and affordability.
Kelty Women's Lakota 65 Backpack Video
The Kelty Lakota 65 Women’s specific backpack is an internal frame pack with top loading as well as panel loading features to it. It has an internal capacity of 4000 cubic inches and it’s the ideal balance of features and internal space for anything from a two to a four day backpacking trip. Let’s a take a look at the suspension on this pack. You can see in the middle here a single aluminum stay and a full, padded hip belt. It is of a conical shape which should be very comfortable and is designed to fit a women’s hip structure specifically. Kelty includes a bit of a silicon print down here which allows it to sit right on your lumbar where you want the pack to be secured to your body because that is where you want the weight to rest. So this keeps it from sliding around and is comfortable. They do include their Scherer cinch on here, which is a smooth movement of the waist belt and makes it very easy to take the pack on and off. On the harness, you can see it is also fully padded and made from a wicking mesh material that’s going to breathe well. Along the back you’ve got that same wicking mesh material with some channels to allow for airflow against the back. You get that same air flow in these places where there is no padding and along the center of the back with Kelty’s Dynamic Airflow System. You’ve got an adjustable sternum strap that allows you to move it to a position that fits you the best. Kelty does include to tabs here for running hydration hoses through. This pack does have a hydration pocket/sleeve that sits right along the suspension inside the pack and there are ports on either side to run the hose out of; whichever side works best for you. The Lakota has a nice balance of features and streamline design. You’ll notice you don’t have bulky, side pockets here, which gives this pack a cleaner profile that works better for off-trail use or on narrow, brushy trails. However, there is still external space for storage. You’ve got a large front pocket with a small internal zippered pocket. There is room for smaller items as you can see I’ve got room for my hat, an extra baselayer, map and repair kit and there is a key fob which is nice for stowing your car key so when you return from your trip you can get in your car. You also have a top pocket here on the back of the pack which also has good space. You can pack snacks or your water filter and other small items you might want to get at quickly; they easily fit in this top pocket. Down here on the sides of the pack you’ve got mesh pockets and these are two separate pockets dividing by stitching. This is a nice design because you can reach items from the pocket closest to the hip belt and it’s a good place to tuck snacks or a water bottle. The other pocket makes a nice spot to anchor tents poles or trekking poles. On the front of the pack, this front pocket and panel are incorporated into the compression system of the Lakota 65. You can see the material run back into the compressions traps here and here and to the one that runs over the top and buckles in. This offers a nice clean design that really secures a load and keeps it close to your back as well as giving you points along the pack to lash things to. You can see on this side I’ve lashed my tent poles, using that mesh pocket, and once the compression straps are cinched down it compresses the whole load to the pack in a secure way. Behind the compression panel is your side access into the pack. It unzips all the way down and gives you a nice big U-shaped opening with lots of access to the pack. This eliminates having to go in through the top and having to dig through everything just to get to that one item you needed in the middle of the pack. If you are taking this pack out on a four day trip or maybe you’re trying to press it into a week long trip where you have extra gear, you do have some expanded capacity underneath the hood. The design on the Lakota does include a floating hood which means you have adjustment points in the back and all the way around making it free floating piece that attaches through straps and adjustment points. This allows you to extend the hood upward and gives you a great place to stash a jacket or an extra layer you’d like to be able to get at quickly; you can tuck it underneath of the hood and cinch it down and secure some extra equipment. An extra feature that Kelty has added is this strength rated haul loop. If you chose to travel with this pack, especially on an airline, this burly handle allows you to easily pick the whole thing up and there is another haul loop on the back here and between those two loops it is pretty easy to grab and go and they also assist in getting a heavy pack up on your back. On the underside of the pack, in true Kelty fashion, they have added tons of lash points. So if there isn’t enough space inside the pack or if you’re packing for cold weather and need an extra sleeping pad, go ahead and attaché items to the bottom, the tabs are well anchored. There is already an integrated system for a sleeping pad on the outside. I’ve got my closed cell pad here and it is easy to take off and on with the adjustable, buckled straps. The bottom of this pack does offer a separate sleeping bag compartment. It is separated internally by a sleeve with toggles that can be detached if you want the inside of the pack to be one large space. This is a 20 degree 600 fill down sleeping bag. It fits in here, though it was a tight fit, but it fit and should give you some idea of what type of bag may or may not fit in there. I will note that this is not in a compression sack and if you used one with this style of sleeping bag I think you’d be able to get any 15 degree and upward in temperature sleeping bag, in a compression sack, in this sleeping bag compartment.