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Kelty's Ascender Series: Luggage With an External Aluminum Frame

A celebrated backpack maker gets into the travel game

Ascender Trunk. (Photo: Courtesy of Kelty)

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In 1952, Kelty introduced one of the first external aluminum frame backpacks. Now, 60 years later, that same company is putting a version of its widely-praised external aluminum frame on luggage.

Ascender 22.

Ascender 22.

Called the Ascender Series, Kelty’s new retro-styled travel luggage starts with a single piece, the Ascender 22—a carry-on with an expandable external chassis on a removable bag. The bag and the chassis both expand to give you extra space—from 40 to 55 to 70 liters—so that they can be either carried on or checked at the gate. And the series is modular: Once you have the Ascender 22, you can swap the frame for the water-resistant Ascender WR Duffel or to the customizable, gear-ready Ascender Trunk, both of which attach to the Ascender 22's chassis.

The Ascender 22, Ascender WR Duffel, and Ascender Trunk all have backpack straps—carry them like a pack, with or without the frame. All three bags also feature organization options like a padded tablet pocket in the Ascender 22, Velcro dividers with separate gear compartments in the Ascender Trunk, and a water-resistant interior compartment in the Ascender WR Duffel.

Kelty will offer 21 different bags and accessories, from the modular Ascender 22 to the TSA-ready Metroliner pack to a gear-devouring, 140-liter Zeppelin rolling duffel. Accessories include the Hanging Dopp Kitthe Digital Accessand the Wallet.

“Kelty packs and bags have been to every corner of the world,” said Russell Rowell, vice president and brand manager for the company. “So when we designed our new Travel collection, we drew upon decades of experience to reframe what luggage is capable of doing, allowing you to customize your luggage for any travel situation.”

So whether you’re headed to Europe for a month, planning a relaxing week in the Bahamas, preparing for a three-day weekend spent biking or climbing or skiing, or scrambling for an overnight business trip, Kelty’s Ascenders will have you covered. Available fall 2013, $349 (Ascender 22), $199 (Trunk);

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Filed To: BagsBackpacksLuggageCarry-On BagDuffle Bag
Lead Photo: Courtesy of Kelty
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