Dick Kelty’s initial run of 29 hand-sewn backpacks sold for 24 dollars apiece in 1952. Adjusted for inflation, that’s 205 bucks today, and many of his Colorado-based company’s packs now reach – and in some cases even eclipse – that plateau. It’s for that very reason that we hastily grabbed one of these cobalt blue bags, which honor Kelty’s adventure-first heritage while incorporating features gleaned from its second namesake, Element Skateboards.
We’ve made no secret of our support for partnerships between brands we know and love, including Barbour & Jack Spade‘s handsome waxed-cotton Hopper jacket and Vibram & Hush Puppies‘ lightweight and flexible Boot5 laceups. The Element and Kelty collaboration is but another success story. Hikers will find it reasonably light and spacious, while skaters will appreciate the padded straps and board belts, which comfortably accommodate decks up to 11.5 inches in width (though pint-sized boards below nine inches fit best).
At its core, Kelty remains an outdoorsman’s outfitter, with tents, sleeping bags, and accessories designed for hard use (the company’s basecamp kitchen, for example, is a must-have for any adventure-bound chef). Funny thing is, that’s exactly how we like our skate gear: Street tough and durable at the park. And if you’re not an accomplished alpinist or board brat, think of it this way: Here, you’re getting all the benefits of Kelty’s handsome 60th Anniversary Wing Pack at just under half the price. That’s a deal anyone can dig. [$76; us.elementbrand.com]