The TraiLogic Collection consists of four individual products: a rucksack, tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat. What sets Kelty’s new range apart from other manufacturers, though, is that while the products can be purchased and used separately, each has been specially designed to work with the others as part of an integrated system.
It’s not an entirely original concept. When purchasing home entertainment equipment, it’s often more straightforward to purchase a TV, DVD player and speakers from the same manufacturer than to pick and choose different components from different brands. The end result may be much the same, but keeping to products from the same system makes their use alongside each other more convenient.
That said, it is a new idea when it comes to outdoor gear, and one that makes some sense. If you’re going to be making use of a pack, tent, sleeping bag and mat, why not choose products that will work in harmony? Granted, Kelty doesn’t offer a reduced price for buying the whole ‘bundle’ – the incentive here is one of improved convenience rather than financial benefit – but if you do buy the whole lot, you might be able to negotiate a discount.
The rucksack has a 50 litre capacity, but it can be converted into a 35 litre pack by removing the detachable 15 litre compartment, which is designed for clothing. Of course if you need a 65 litre pack to carry all your gear then this system will not work for you. The back system is a well-padded design, though, with a perforated covering to allow better airflow.
There are no zips on the rucksack, and instead you get drybag-style rolltop closures throughout. Kelty believes zips are more likely to break, which is true; however conventional lids with buckles work well and in my view they’re easier to use than rolltop closures.
There’s a large stretch pocket on the front of the pack, and this is specifically designed for Kelty’s TraiLogic TN2 tent. The tent packs down into a compact shape and the poles are only 35cm long, so it all fits more easily into the tent pocket of the rucksack. The tent itself is pitched inner-first, and is a very spacious and stable design with two good-sized porches. The tent weighs in at 2060g, which is very respectable for its size.
The TraiLogic sleeping bag, the SB20, has a temperature rating of -7 deg C, making it ideal for general backpacking in the UK. The bag uses DriDown insulation technology, which means the down has been treated with a hydrophobic molecular-level polymer that prevents any dampness from reducing the performance of the down. Waterproof areas at the head and foot further improve this bag’s ability to keep its down insulation dry and in tip-top condition. There is also a TraiLogic sleeping mat, which moulds to your body shape and is designed to fit easily into the rucksack.
All this sounds good, although for me the weak link is the rucksack. I loved the tent and sleeping bag particularly, and would happily choose those items against many others. But the rucksack is not of the same design standard. I found myself yearning for a pack with a conventional lid where I could stash small items. There were no side compression straps either, so I could not so easily keep items on the side. I do like the concept here; but for me the rucksack doesn’t quite work.
The rucksack is the weakest link the Kelty TraiLogic collection in my view; but of course it is very much down to personal preferences, as some may enjoy its quirky design.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine April 2014