Monday, August 10, 2009



July 22, 2009

Words - Judith Ecochard
Images courtesy of Kelty and J. Ecochard

We come from a family of team sports types -that were boy/girl scout free- so we were not brought up with the concept of Family Camping…but with summer camp.

That only partially explains why we were unfamiliar with Kelty, a massively popular company that makes backcountry and trail packs, basecamp tents and furniture---like camp chairs, frame and transit child carriers, etc…that’s affordably/value priced…and good for the previously unknown realm of “Family Camping”---.

Now we’re enlightened...we got a quick look-see at some of the new gear for Spring 2010….

Five new tents, cradling 4-8 persons -are kitted out with vestibules and storage that’s accessible outside the tent…leaving valuable ‘floor’ space for air mattresses, etc. There’s a new tent, Palisade for “friends and family" get-a-ways of 4-6--- with a screened double entry-exit points…via a handy full vestibule and back “porch” storage area. ($399.95-$499.95).

Another “mansion-style” tent, the Parthenon, promises a fast, easy setup…an interior divider for privacy, and mesh side panels for ventilation. ($449.95).

We think this is the kind of tent our friends pitch for their kids in the back yard, as well as stash in the car for camp outings more or less accessible by roads.

There are also new, innovative styles of frame child carriers with patented Sun Hoods, a pre curved hip belt that’s fits a variety of torso ranges (and makes them female shape friendly), and patented auto-deploy and no-pinch hinges that make loading/unloading easier.

The top-of the line model FC 3.0 (7lb 6oz) ($249.95) has a five point adjustable child’s harness and a patented auto-deploy kickstand. With color options blue, curry and green-we guess it’s only a matter of time before some urban type adopts these Kelty human haulers for their primary relationships…their pets.

Backpacks for do it in a day jaunts are comfortable (Lightbeam™11 Stays)… with quick adjust torso systems, s-shape shoulder straps, and the Cloudlock™ 11 Suspension that stabilizes loads, light and heavy.

New for 2010, the Lakota trail pack (holdin' 4000 cubic inches)---- is hydration compatible with reservoir and two side mesh pockets for water bottles, , has front panel access, a sleeping bag compartment, a handy zipped pocket on the waist belt... and a wicking, padded back panel. Available- M/W’s versions (in colors- woods green, spice, mauve) it has an MSRP of $144.95...and it's good for overnighters as well as day trips.