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Reviews > Base Camp Gear > Campsite Gear > Storage Options > Kelty Binto Bar > Test Report by Dawn Larsen

Kelty Binto Bar

Initial Report

15 September 2008
Name: Dawn Larsen
Age: 48
Gender: female
Height: 5' 4" (163 cm)
Weight: 165 lb (74 kg)
Email address: vicioushillbilly AT yahoo DOT com
Florence, South Carolina USA
Backpacking Background:
I used to backpack in college a zillion years ago and just recently (in the last year) backpacked some private trails twice in Tennessee.  I have been an avid car-camper for ten years and I have kayak/canoe camped for three years, both mostly in Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas.  I use a lot of the same equipment for both. I hike hilly/rocky trails especially in Tennessee and Missouri.  I just moved to South Carolina and am planning to check out the terrain here with my fifteen year-old son.
Product Information
Manufacturer: Kelty
Year of Manufacture: not known
Manufacturer's measurements :  length 27" (66 cm), width 21.5" (54 cm), height 15.5" (39 cm)
Actual measurements (unpacked): length 25.25" (64cm), width 16.75" (42.55 cm), height 15.5" (39 cm)
Listed weight:  6 lb 14 oz (3.1 kg)
Weight as delivered:  6 lb 12 oz (3.06 kg)
Manufacture's Suggested Retail Price:  $120.00
mfr image  
Product Description
The shipped Kelty Binto Bar includes:  the bar (main unit), three soft Bintos (storage bins), two aluminum supports for inside the bar, one shoulder strap and instructions; all packed flat inside the bar and shipped in a cardboard box. Features include:  zippered pockets on top and bottom of bar, shoulder strap and handles, aluminum supports and Delrin-hooped lid with wind "arms"or screens on the side.  There is also a hard FDA-approved work surface that sits on top of the bar unit and should be supported by at least two full Bintos, according to the instructions. The product is olive green and grey and the construction materials are:  body fabric is 210D polyester oxford/150D polyester mini-ripstop and bottom fabric is 1680D polyester ballistic.  Instructions are numbered, easy to read and follow.  The work surface may be problematic in that it is not as sturdy as I thought and needs to be supported by two full Bintos, as well as the aluminum supports. That might make it difficult to use as a vegetable prep area.  It may also be problematic when I want to get something out of a Binto that is being used as a support.  Will the work surface fall?  The aluminum supports seem a little flimsy too. This product may to be more suited for towing and storage, rather than food prep and use. 
binto flatbar unfolded  
Field Information
We plan the following trips:
1. Car camping in Parsons, TN on private land Sept 19-21. We will be attending an outdoor festival and camping in a field. Tennessee's weather varies in the fall. It can be hot and dry, 90-100 degree F (32-38 degrees C) range during the day and 70 80 degree F (21-27 degrees C) range at night; or wet and mild, 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) during the day to mid-50s degrees F (10 degrees C) at night. The soil is clay.  There are no picnic tables so we will be using the tailgate and the ground to set the Binto Bar on.
2. Car camping in Columbia, South Carolina at Dreher Island State Park Sept. 26-28. South Carolina can be boiling in September with temperatures generally falling in the 90-100 degree F (32-38 degrees C) range during the day and 70-80 degree F (21-27 degrees C) range at night; or mild 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) during the day to mid-50s degrees F (mid-10 degrees C) at night. The weather changes at a moment's notice. It may rain or be hot and dry.  The soil is sandy and this particular park sits in the middle of a large lake so it is very windy. It is always humid, especially on a lakeshore. 
3. I belong to a group of kayakers called the Sumter Hiking, Cycling and Adventure Club. We paddle and camp at the spur of the moment. So if someone posts a trip on the website, we very often join them. Usually it is around Sumter, SC. Conditions there are much like those in #2.
4.  There may be other trips during these two months, as well.  After mid August, all car camping (every couple of weekends) will be in South Carolina most likely in state parks.  We especially like to camp in the fall when the weather is not so warm. We also plan to do a beach camp on weekend.
Test Plan:
My strategy is to use the Kelty Binto Bar just as I do my plastic tub that I keep all my cooking paraphernalia in.  This tub keeps the water out, but I can never find anything in it.  All the small stuff seems to fall to the bottom even if I use stuff sacks.  I will keep the Binto Bar on a folding table under my Kelty Sunshade usually day and night.  I will test the Binto Bar for these criteria:  Organization – this would be the most important factor when testing this equipment.  Dry – Is it water resistant enough to leave out under the sunshade even if it rains?  Durability –Will the item withstand our hard use.  Ease of Use – Can I lug it around easier than my plastic tub?  Are the carrying straps convenient and do they work well?  Will the food prep area stand up to cutting vegetables, mixing, etc.? Will the Bintos actually support the rest of the bar?  Clean –Can the food prep area be cleaned easily both at camp and then at home?  Can the entire item be cleaned easily from spills and general camping dirt?
Field Report
21 November 2008
Field Conditions and Trips
Camped on private land in South Carolina for the weekend, Friday night through Sunday morning.  It was temperate, mid 70s degree F (mid 20s C) during the day and 45 degrees F (7 C) at night.  No rain, but plenty humid.  I left the Binto Bar under the sunshade overnight.  I did not leave bread items in it because I was afraid that the critters might chew through the cloth and get inside.
I had a backyard party from 6pm – 12 am with about 40 people. Most of the activities were outside, so I used the Binto Bar for food prep area and storage.  Clear, cold night for South Carolina, about 43 degrees F (6 C).  I left the Binto Bar out on my back deck overnight.
party binto
What I've found so far:
9/20/08 – Getting it ready to camp
I loaded it up with everything that was in my plastic tub. It stores everything that my tub did and more.  It was a challenge to find a place for the marshmallow tongs, but I put them under the individual Bintos. The shoulder strap is a little narrow and awkward for carrying so I used the tote handles. I am storing all the gear in the Binto Bar in my outdoor shed when I'm not camping with it.   See the picture below.  I store the skillet, lantern, plates, paper towels in the grey Binto; 2 cooksets, fan, matches, fire starting sticks, backpacking stove, lighters, first aid kits in the orange Binto; food in the red Binto.  Utensils pictured on the work surface are stored in the zipper compartments above the work surface.  The baggie with salt and pepper, garlic salt is stored in one of the zippered compartments on the flap that hangs down. 
binto packed

Organization - It is much easier to find things than before because there are different compartments in the Binto Bar.  I still need to use stuff sacks for the small items stored in the Bintos because the Bintos are just large drawers, really, and small to medium items fall to the bottom of them. I like the smaller zippered compartments.  I can sort utensils, spices, and very small items in them, making them easier to find.  Maybe if the Bintos were compartmentalized somehow, it would make finding items easier.  I do have to store crackers, cookies and things that break in a box inside a Binto to keep them from being crushed.  The Binto Bar actually holds more gear than I usually take car camping.  I initially thought that would be a good thing, but if there is not enough equipment to stuff the three Bintos, then the Binto Bar is not stable.
Dry – Under the sunshade it worked fine, although we have not been camping in a downpour as of this writing (I'm amazed! It usually always rains when we camp).  I put most crackers in plastic bags because of the humidity to keep them crisp.  I left one package out of plastic and the crackers were limp the next morning.
Workability – Unfortunately, if I don't have all three Bintos stuffed to the height of the work surface, the work surface sags and is not really useful for cutting or storing opened jars, etc. on the top (see the party picture).  I tried arranging the Bintos differently.  The party picture shows the Binto Bar with two Bintos on the outsides, which proved to be the most stable arrangement, though slick bottomed items like jars slid to the middle.  When I tried to put two Bintos on one side and in the middle, then everything just slid to the non-Binto side. When I had to take a Binto out to get something out of it, I had to either take most things off the work surface so they wouldn't slide off or I had to support the worksurface with my hand to keep things from sliding or falling. Then I found that I didn't have hands free to search in the Binto I had just removed. Not only do slick bottomed things slide to the middle horizontally, but they also slide to the middle width wise.  That is why things are bunched up in the  party picture.
Clean – It cleans very well.  I spilled mustard, grease, butter, catsup, and other miscellaneous food on the work surface and the cloth sides.  It cleaned off completely.  The mustard set on the cloth overnight and I wiped it clean with a damp rag the next morning. Dust wiped off with a damp rag.
Ease of carrying – the shoulder strap really isn't workable for me.  I can't find a way to carry it comfortably so I toted it with the handles.  They have held up fine so far.
Things I like so far:
I can haul more gear in this one Binto Bar than I could before in a couple of vessels.
It seems to clean very easily.
It's cool looking and people comment on what a "cool thing" it is!
Things I don't like so far:
It is not stable.
I can't use the work surface as a work surface because of the sagging.
I'm afraid to store food items outside in it because mice, squirrels, etc. could chew through it.
It doesn't tote well.
I assume Kelty used cloth to make the Binto Bar lightweight and able to fold flat for storage.  I will test to determine if those things are worth the lack of stability and protection that a harder material would provide. This concludes my Field Report.  The Long Term Report should be complete in two months.  Please check back then for further information.

Long Term Report
27 January 2009

Field Conditions and Trips

Went car camping on private land in South Carolina. Used the Kelty Binto Bar again as for food storage and prep area. Temperatures ranged from mid 50s degree F (13 C) in the day to mid 30s F (2 C) at night. Drizzled on one day. I kept the Binto Bar under a sunshade during the day. Items remained dry. I stored it in the car at night to keep critters away.

I took it on a 900-mile car trip to Missouri. I used it to sort clothes and equipment because I was going backpacking, as well as spending Christmas with my family. It stayed in the car for the two-day trip (there and back) and acted as a sort of “chest of drawers.” When I got there, I kept it in the house during my two week stay.

What I found on the trips:

12/5 Camping Trip:
Again, it was not really useful as a place to prepare food because it the work surface is so unstable. It worked the same as it did on the previous Field Report trip.  I  like it for storage and organization, and it cleans well.
12/21 Car trip and extended stay:
Primarily,  I think the Binto Bar is useful for organizing. I put outdoor gear in both outside Bintos. I stored the backpacking stove, cooking equipment, food supplies in one. I stored my hiking boots, tent, gaiters, and first aid kit in the other outside Binto. Then, I stored my outdoor clothing and sleeping bag in the middle Binto. This freed up a lot of space in the back of my small SUV. Using stuff sacks with the Bintos, I was able to find things easily and quickly. I also liked using the Bintos as drawers when staying for 2 weeks in my mother’s house. I could find things quickly and easily. I used one Binto, while in the house, for dirty laundry.

Continued Use:

It functions best as a storage item and not as a prep space because it is unstable.

It has held up well so far. I wonder how well the cloth will hold up under hard continued use. I could never get the shoulder strap to work well and be comfortable to use, so I used the handles on the sides. I wonder how much future use they will stand.

I thought of new storage and organization ideas about using it. As a matter of fact, now I have to rethink my plan to keep all my camping food equipment in it to store in my shed because I’ll probably use it as a storage place on more occasions than just camping trips. In my professional life, I am a theatre professor, actor and director. I plan to use it in the near future to store equipment, props, etc. for play rehearsals in rehearsal spaces where we are not able to leave equipment overnight.  

I will continue to use it on trips to store camping gear, kayaking gear, and travel clothing.  I am planning a 2 month trip this summer that will take me to Missouri, Texas, and Mexico.  I think it will work very well as a car storage bin for all sorts of equipment and clothing.

My thanks to Kelty and for the opportunity to test the Kelty Binto Bar.

Read more reviews of Kelty gear
Read more gear reviews by Dawn Larsen

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