Best Backpacking Backpack: Kelty Coyote 65 - Gear Hacker

Table Of Contents

Best Budget Backpack

  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Storage 100% 100%
  • Accessories 80% 80%
  • Weight 70% 70%

Price: $160

What We Like: External storage and price. 

What We Don’t: Thin shoulder straps.

Men 

One Size 

65 L

30 x 18 x 12 in

76 x 45 x 30 cm

4.63 lbs

2.1 kg

Women

One Size

60 L

30 x 17 x 12 in

76 x 43 x 30 cm

4.38 lbs

1.98 kg

The Kelty Coyote was another easy decision for Best Budget Backpack of the season. Though it is ten dollars more expensive than the REI Trailbreak, it is a much greater bang-for-your-buck type of backpack. As we have come to expect with Kelty, it seems as though there are a million pockets on this backpack. Personally, I can’t get enough of the storage options, but for a minimalist, it may seem like a nightmare. 

The harness system on the Coyote is just fine for the loads that you may be carrying on a weekend backpacking trip and comes with the ability to be adjusted to the wearer’s body. The multitude of pockets will keep you hyper-organized, and the material will help the pack last for a long while. 

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Best Backpacking Backpack: Kelty Coyote 65 - Gear Hacker

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Dick Kelty is a well-known name in the world of backpacking. He brought aluminum-framed packs to the forefront all the way back in the 1950s. Mr. Kelty wanted to create a product that mixed affordability with durability, and now, with the Coyote 65 L, it would appear the brand is continuing to hit the mark. 

I love Kelty packs for their function over fashion design and for the obvious storage compartments. They’re robust, comfortable, and unapologetically outdoorsy. The Coyote 65 L is one of Kelty’s backpacking specific packs with both a female and male harness design for customized fits. The Coyote does only come in one size but equipped with their Fit-Pro adjustment system, it is easy to adjust the pack to your torso length. With its robust design, organizational options, and impressive price, the Kelty Coyote 65 L is our Budget Backpack of 2020.

Best Backpacking Backpack: Kelty Coyote 65 - Gear Hacker

Comfort and Suspension

As mentioned before, the Kelty Coyote 65 is only made in one size for both the female and male packs, but they are both adjustable to create a great fit for each user. The back panel uses Kelty’s AMP-Flow ventilation for airflow and to keep your back cool and comfortable. Kelty uses a perimeter internal frame to transfer the load onto your lumbar and hips for a more balanced carry. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Kelty Coyote 65 - Gear Hacker

With well-padded shoulder straps and a hipbelt that includes stabilization straps, Kelty has designed the Coyote to sit exactly where it should during a day of wear with limited shifting. The shoulder straps also have load lifters to keep your center of gravity right where you want it. 

The harness system is simple but very effective. It may be lacking some comfort on the shoulders with an extremely heavy load, but this helps to keep the cost down. 

 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Kelty Coyote 65 - Gear Hacker

Features and Convenience

Features are where Kelty always blows me away⁠—they think of everything. Starting from the top, there is a floating top lid with a side zipper. The side zipper will let your hiking partner have easier access to grab things such as sunglasses or a map.

 

The main compartment is accessed from a drawstring opening or a dedicated sleeping bag zippered pocket at the bottom. Inside of the main compartment is a 3 L hydration reservoir sleeve with dual access points for the hose. 

 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Kelty Coyote 65 - Gear Hacker

On the outside of the pack is a thin vertical zippered pocket to stash a layer or maps and writing material. Kelty has also included their signature side wing zipper pockets, perfect for storing your stove or electronics. The wing pockets have a pass-through space behind them to hold longer items like fishing rods or tent poles. Below the wing pockets are dual mesh pockets for standard water bottle storage or to secure the longer items utilizing the pass-through space above.

Along the outside of the pack are two tool loops for hiking poles or ice axes. The tools can be secured with compression straps that run from the front of the pack to the back. Kelty has included two pockets on the hipbelt; one pocket is zippered and the other is a stretch mesh for quick access to a phone so you can catch that photo of the elusive sasquatch.

Best Backpacking Backpack: Kelty Coyote 65 - Gear Hacker

Weight and Material

The Coyote 65 L certainly isn’t the lightest pack on our list, nor is it the most comfortable. It is well built, though, and will keep you very organized on the trail. The body of the pack is made with a Poly 420D Small Back Stafford nylon; it is quite durable. As mentioned earlier, the internal frame is made of spring steel with HDPE plastic to create the AMP-Flow ventilation. 

Compared to the REI Co-op Trailbreak 60 at 3.81 lbs for the men’s version, the Kelty Coyote’s 4.63lbs does push it into the heavyweight title bracket. However, for the additional weight, I think there is a better-developed harness system and certainly more storage opportunities.

The Bottom Line

Kelty is well known for its durable and long-lasting backpacks, the Coyote 65 L is no exception to this rule. At $160, it is only ten dollars more than the REI Co-op Trailbreak 60. With a superior harness system and a great organizational setup, Kelty earned the Best Budget Backpack of the season with the Coyote 65

Don’t let the word “budget” fool you. The Kelty Coyote 65 L is still well built and designed to last. The wing pockets are something you never would have thought you needed until you had them. And the FIT-Pro quick with the easy torso adjustment system makes dialing in the fit of the pack and hitting the trail a breeze.

Best Backpacking Backpack: Kelty Coyote 65 - Gear Hacker

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We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!