KELTY BINTO BAR ORGANIZER
Report - September 21, 2008
Field Report - November 24,
Long Term Report -
January 27, 2009
Name: Pam Wyant
Height: 5 ft 5 in
Weight: 170 lb (77
West Virginia, U.S.A.
a long-time interest, I started
backpacking four years ago, beginning with day-hiking and single
overnights. Currently I’m mostly a ‘weekend warrior’, hiking and
backpacking mainly in the hills and valleys of West Virginia, but have
a project to section hike the Appalachian Trail (AT), accruing a little
200 mi (300 km) in the last two years. My usual shelter is a
occasionally I use a tent. In general my backpacking style is
minimalist and I try to cut as much pack weight as I can without
warmth, comfort, or safety.
Initial Report - September 21, 2008
Year of manufacture: 2008
Model: Binto Bar
Main case color: Green/Gray
Binto colors: Red, Gray, Orange
MSRP: US$ 120
Binto Bar -
Listed weight including 3 Bintos: 6 lb 14
oz (3.12 kg)
Measured weight including 3 Bintos: 6 lb 5 oz (2.86 kg)
(Note: the size and shape of the Binto Bar makes weighing it
difficult, and the measured weight may not be fully accurate).
Listed size: 6450 cu in (105.7 L)
Listed dimensions: 27 in (66 cm) long; 21.5 in (54 cm) wide; 15.5
in (39 cm) tall
Measured dimensions: 24.5 in (62 cm) long; 16 in (40.5 cm) tall;
16 in (40.5 cm) tall
Each Binto -
Listed weight - 12 oz (0.3 kg)
Measured weight - red Binto 9.74 oz (276 g); gray Binto 9.81 oz (278
g); orange Binto 9.88 oz (280 g)
Listed size: 1400 cu in (23 L)
Listed dimensions: 16 in (41 cm) x 14.5 in (37 cm) x 8.5 in (21
Measured dimensions: 14 in (35.5 cm) x 14.5 in (37 cm) 7.5 in (19
(Note: The Binto Bar and the individual Bintos have somewhat
rounded corners. My measurements were taken from the widest point
of each side, and exclude handles, daisy chains, and strap attachment
The Binto Bar is part of Kelty's
Basecamp Organizer collection, intended for storage on the go.
Kelty suggests using it at campgrounds, all-day
festivals, and sports events. The Binto Bar set consists of three
soft-sided individual zippered storage totes (Bintos) that fit into a
larger zippered hauling container (the Binto Bar).
Each Binto features a webbing handle at each end that can be used to
carry the Binto or pull it out of the larger container. A strip
of webbing runs around the top of each Binto to help provide shape and
to protect the edges of the 150 D polyester mini-ripstop fabric that
the Binto is made of. A stiffened strip of webbing running up
each corner of the Binto provides additional shaping and
reinforcement. The top of the Binto features a 2-way U-shaped
zipper with cord pulls that allows full access to the interior, a soft
fabric handle running the width of the top, and a 2.5 x 4 in (6.5 x 10
cm) clear vinyl window. A pocket under the vinyl window allows a
card or piece of paper to be inserted. This should come in handy
for labeling what's in each Binto.
Each Binto is a different color, but all feature a dark gray bottom and
dark gray webbing. One end of the red and orange Bintos has the
Kelty logo stamped in silver under the haul handle and the word "Binto"
stamped in silver near the bottom. The gray Binto features the
same markings, but stamped in a charcoal gray.
The empty Bintos are floppy in nature and do not stand on their own.
What really makes this organizational system unique is the
Bar. This large hauling container features a unique food
preparation surface on the top. The fabric lid has Delrin-hooping
(tubular stiff plastic) running along the edges. This lid is held
down by a short strip of Velcro when the Binto Bar is
being transported or the food preparation area is not being used.
To use the food preparation surface the fabric lid is raised, and two
flexible plastic wings are folded out and attached to small Velcro tabs
on each side of the webbing surrounding the top edge of
the Binto Bar. This configuration provides a windscreen for the
food preparation area, which is FDA approved according to the
directions provided with the Binto Bar.
The stiff plastic food preparation surface also provides support to
help make the
Binto Bar freestanding. Two rectangular shaped tubular aluminum
support arms provide structure under the work surface, with one Binto
fitting on either side of the support arms and one sliding into the
open space in the center of the arms. These arms are each held in
place by two small hook and loop tabs and are folded up under the food
preparation surface and fastened there with a single Velcro tab when
transporting the Binto Bar. The folding design of the support
arms seems like it would serve two purposes; first it allows the Binto
Bar to collapse into a smaller package for storing, and secondly it
would likely prevent accidental bending of the supports while carrying,
loading, or transporting the Binto Bar.
Kelty recommends having at least two Bintos inside the Binto Bar for
optimum support when using the work surface, and since the aluminum
supports are fairly thin, it seems this would be a good idea to prevent
collapsing the Binto Bar while preparing food. Additionally, the
directions state to always place the Binto Bar on a firm, level surface
and not to place heavy items on it.
The lid of the Binto Bar features three fabric pockets on the inside,
each approximately 7.5 wide x 9 in high (19 x 23 cm) that close across
the top with a single zipper running the width of the lid. Two
larger mesh pockets, measuring approximately 11.5 in wide x 10 high (29
x 25.5 cm), are located on the inside front of the Binto Bar.
This side is the access point of the container, and has a large 2-way
U-shaped zipper with cord pulls that allows the front to be zipped
down. The front panel can be dropped over the edge of a table,
for easy (top) access to the zippered pockets. In the absence of
a table, bench, or similar surface to place the Binto Bar on, it would
appear the mesh pockets would be awkward to access. Adding an
additional zippered access point along the opposite side of these
pockets might make them more usable if one wants to just grab something
from a pocket quickly without fully opening the Binto Bar, or in those
situations where a table or bench isn't available.
The Binto Bar is made of olive green and dark gray 210 D polyester
oxford and 150 D polyester mini-ripstop fabric. From the feel of
the fabric, I believe the dark gray areas are the 210 D oxford and the
olive green areas are 150 D mini-ripstop, since the gray areas feel
slightly thicker than the green ones. The dark gray bottom is
1680 D polyester ballistic, which is a noticeably heavier fabric than
the top and sides. This material extends about 2.5 in (6.5 cm) up
the sides, providing heavier reinforcement for areas that would seem
prone to the most wear. Three webbing straps are sewn onto the
bottom for further reinforcement, and each of these features three
short lengths of a heavier vinyl-like material, which are spaced out
and appear to be designed to help bear the weight of the unit and catch
most of the abrasion that might be caused from sliding the unit in and
out of a vehicle or around on a table.
A silver Kelty logo is screen printed on the front panel. The two
ends of the Binto Bar each feature a reinforced webbing handle, a six
loop daisy chain, and a plastic D-ring. An included webbing carry
strap clips to the plastic D-rings to enable the Binto Bar to be
carried over the shoulder. The clips are plastic with a metal
spring and swivel at the attachment point.
Trying it out:
Assembly of the Binto Bar was easy with the included
instructions. Much like an empty pack, the empty Binto containers
and Bar are not very structured, but filling the Bintos near capacity
creates structure and makes the Binto Bar more stable.
To try out the Binto Bar and photograph it, I added some camp kitchen
equipment to the red Binto, which included a Pocket Rocket stove and 2
small fuel canisters, a GSI Double Boiler cooking pot set, a medium
sized skillet with folding handle, some utensils, a can opener, paper
cups and plastic cutlery, dish towels and cloths, a table cloth and
clips, and an assortment of various zipper seal plastic bags and trash
bags. It easily held all of these. In the gray Binto I
placed a stacked pair of rectangular hospital wash basins that I
sometimes use as 'kitchen' sinks or utility basins while camping, and a
large roll of paper towels. The shape of these items made this
Binto a bit misshapen, but it held them okay. In the orange Binto
I placed a large lantern, a couple of small LED lanterns, a roll of
toilet paper, and a rolled up fleece blanket. This was a
sufficient load to give the Binto shape, but it could still hold a few
more small items if needed, and I'm sure I will have a few more items
to pack when camping.
I found it was easier to insert the Bintos in the Binto Bar if I laid
it on the rear side and inserted the Bintos by holding the webbing
handle at one end while letting them drop down into the larger
container. Since I had the support arms folded up for
transporting, this worked much better than trying to hold up the top of
the Binto Bar while I slid a Binto underneath. I took the Binto
to a local park to photograph it on a picnic table, and found that once
I had the support arms in place it was relatively easy to slide the
full Bintos in from the front.
So far, for the most part I like the Binto Bar. It seems to be
well constructed from quality materials, and it looks like what I
expected from viewing the Kelty website.
Since I have begun backpacking, I don't carry as large or as many items
as I used to while car camping, and I think it will be of sufficient
size to hold the type of gear I am currently using for overnight or
weekend car camping trips, including my smaller pots and
skillets. If I were using larger kettles and big skillets, they
would probably have to be carried separately, and large dishpans
wouldn't fit inside, but it seems to have the capacity to carry a lot
of gear. If it were capable of carrying larger pots, pans, and
dishpans, it would probably be a larger storage organizer than what I
would want to carry, so I think it provides a nice balance of
organization and convenient size for transporting.
One concern that I do have about using the Binto Bar for picnicking is
that packing food in the Bintos may result in support problems as the
food is consumed and the Bintos empty out. Similarly, when car
camping if I remove several items from the Bintos to use around camp
(such as the large lantern, wash pans, and paper towels), I wonder if
supporting the work surface will be a problem. Time (and testing)
The Binto Bar is easy to carry by either the end handles or the
shoulder strap. It is easier to carry by the shoulder strap when
walking very far, and the end handles make it convenient to grab and
pull the Binto Bar in front of me to pass through a doorway. My
Jeep had a few small totes, kids backpacks, and other small items in
the back from the weekend, but I was able to just toss the Binto Bar on
top of the pile, and it rode just fine to the local park for its debut
More To Come:
This concludes my Initial Report.
Field Report - November 24, 2008
early October I used the Binto Bar when I trained a Camping Out
session at our local Girl Scout camp. Temperatures were in the
lower 40 F (4 C) range, and the weather was dry. I used the Binto
Bar to hold training supplies, reference books and materials, and some
personal gear such as a couple of lanterns, flashlight, and some
food. I was able to fit most of what I needed into the three
Bintos, and was able to pack two rolls of foil across the front of the
Bintos. I used the work surface as a place to temporarily hold
papers, simply tucking them under the lid, which worked well to keep
gusts of wind from blowing them away.
In early November, I used the Binto Bar without the Bintos to carry and
store an assortment of 'loaner' gear such as a couple of sleeping bags,
a couple of sleeping pads, and a backpacking tent for a group trip for
beginners. I found the size of the Binto Bar was perfect for this
and it held more than I expected it would, due to the soft sides which
let me overstuff it a bit. I also used one of the Bintos to carry
some extra food separately. The Binto Bar was only used for
transportation and carried between the car and a friend's home where we
were meeting, so there were no 'field' conditions.
mid-November I used the Binto Bar on a basecamping trip with 2 days
of hiking in the North Fork
Mountain Trail are in eastern West Virginia. The Binto Bar easily
held all the necessary camping gear, including small pots, a skillet,
utensils, small propane canisters, wash basins, paper products,
lanterns, firestarting materials, and more. Food, clothing, and
personal toiletries were carried in separate containers.
In late November I used the Binto Bar to pack clothing for a weekend
trip featuring caving and a stay at a friend's cabin.
Temperatures were cold - 30 F (-1 C) range during the day, and down to
10 F ( -12 C) at
night, so I packed plenty of warm layers. I found the Bintos
worked very well to organize my clothing by category. One tote
held shirts, convertible pants, and long johns, as well as undies and
socks, one tote held bulkier fleece tops and pants, and the third held
the clothing I wore caving. I slid a pair of moccasins between
the Bintos, and stored towels (well folded) inside the mesh pockets on
the inside of the Binto. I found it very convenient to have my
clothing organized into the separate Bintos instead of in one large
duffle, since it was easier to find the items I needed.
Use and Conclusions:
I've found the Bintos a little difficult to pack at times, because
until a few larger items are put inside to give them shape and
stability, they are very floppy, and I have to hold them in place and
carefully place a few items to get them to stand up. Once a
stable base has been formed they become easy to finish filling.
The same is true of the Binto Bar. Since the metal supports are
stored in the top for transport, the Bar is floppy when I am packing it
for transport. I've found the easiet way to pack it is to place
it on its back side and lay the Bintos in sideways. The Binto
Bar is somewhat supported when the filled Bintos are placed in it, but
it still is not as stable as a tote, and if the weight isn't well
distributed, it tends to lean somewhat if not fully supported
along the bottom. So, if I place it on a table smaller than the
Binto Bar, I have to make sure it is well balanced so it doesn't teeter
and end up falling off. This is especially true if I place other
items on top such as a day pack or duffle, which can shift the balance
of the load. I've also found this instability limits the
usability of the food prep surface. If I want to remove the
Bintos I have to be careful not to knock over the items I have on top
of the Binto Bar, so I've ended up not using it for much food
preparation beyond holding a package of bagels and some cream cheese,
or graham crackers and marshmallows for s'mores.
The Binto Bar really shines at transporting items though. I like
the way I can carry it by the shoulder strap as this frees up my hands
for opening my Jeep hatch or doors, or even carrying other items, which
is nearly impossible to do with a large tote. For the most part
I've found the shoulder strap comfortable enough to carry the Binto
Bar, although when it was weighted down with research books and heavy
papers it was a little difficult to balance and carry the Binto Bar and
the strap was not as comfortable as when it is loaded with camping gear
or clothing. The webbing handles on the ends are great when I
want to lift the Binto Bar into the back or seat of my Jeep, or move it
around as I am packing.
I have mixed feelings about the soft sides. As noted above, it's
a disadvantage when I want stability, but the 'squish factor' is an
advantage in fitting the Binto Bar in with my other gear, since I can
push on it a bit to get the back hatch closed or bulkier gear can press
into the sides of it without having to rearrange a hard sided container
to make it fit. The same is true about the individual
Bintos. It's nice that I can overstuff them due to the soft
sides, but as noted above a bit of a disadvantage when trying to get
the Bintos to stand up to pack items.
The zippers have worked smoothly on both the individual Bintos and on
the pockets and front closure of the Binto Bar. I have not had
any trouble with them catching or sticking. The aluminum support
legs seem to be holding up okay, although they don't provide as much
structure and support as I would like. The short strip of Velcro
that holds the fabric lid in place has worked well to hold the lid down
as long as nothing is stored there thicker than a few pieces of
paper. Of course, it's actually intended as a food prep surface
and not for storage, but I feel it might be an improvement to have a
little thickness in that area so I could better store a few items there.
So far I've found the Binto Bar very flexible, allowing me to store and
transport a variety of items. It's been fun to see just what type
of use I can put it to on my various trips.
I've found it easy to carry and move around thanks to the combination
of the webbing handles and the shoulder strap that allows me fuller use
of my hands while still transporting a lot of gear at once.
About the only disadvantage so far is that the Binto Bar has not been
as stable as I would like for a food preparation surface, but this is
offset by the fact that the 'squishable' sides make it easy to pack,
even when I've overstuffed it.
More to come:
This concludes my Field Report.
Long Term Report - January 27, 2009
The Binto Bar on top of my Jeep
mid-December I used the Binto Bar to pack clothing and some car camping
gear for a weekend trip to the Wolf Gap/Big
Schloss area along the border of Virginia and West Virginia. My
plan was to spend Friday night in a motel and leave Saturday morning
overnight backpacking trip, but not having made motel reservations
ahead of time I was not sure I could find a decent motel at a decent
price, so I threw the car camping gear in 'just in case'.
I did end up getting a decent motel room which was much appreciated in
the 20 F (-7 C) weather, so I just grabbed a couple of the Bintos out
of the Binto Bar and my small overnight clothing bag, and had
everything I needed for a cozy night in my room, including snacks and
the ingredients for a hot breakfast the next morning.
The funny part of this story concerns the backpacking trip. I was
the first to arrive at the designated meeting place and when the trip
leader showed up next, we shuttled my Jeep to the trailhead where we
planned to end the hike. On Sunday morning six of us came out of
the cold woods to my Jeep, which only seats five and was partially
filled in the back with a couple of file totes I keep in there all the
time with emergency supplies, extra jackets and blankets, and a few
odds and ends, plus the Binto Bar and an overnight bag. Not
wanting to leave anyone waiting in the cold, I got inventive, and
removed the Binto Bar and strapped it to the luggage rack. I was
able to secure the Binto Bar for the short trip easily by just
unsnapping one end of the shoulder strap and wrapping it around the
cross bar near the center of the rack, and then just snapping it in
place. I would not want to do this on longer trips, but it worked
fine for a short distance at load speed.
The trip leader, pictured below, graciously consented to ride scrunched
in the back and we got everyone back to their vehicles in one trip.
very full vehicle for the return trip. The Binto Bar can barely
be seen through the hatchback glass.
The holidays, a bout with the flu, and some nasty weather conditions in
January conspired against me and I did not get another chance to use
the whole Binto Bar, although I have used an individual Binto to carry
snacks with me on a couple of long work days and to carry hiking
clothing and trail shoes when I interrupted a work trip for a moderate
day hike in mid-January.
I've really enjoyed the large capacity of the Binto Bar, and have been
amazed at just how much it will hold. I also like how I can just
leave it filled with all the gear between trips and pack a small bag of
clothing and one of food and be ready to camp in nearly a moment's
As I've used the Bintos and changed items around to suit my needs for a
particular trip, I've appreciated the ease of using the zippered
tops. I can just start the zipper in the front and then pull up
on the lid to finish unzipping the Binto on both sides at once.
It's also been convenient to make sure the zipper pulls are at the
front of the Bintos so if I want to peek into them when they are in the
bar it's easy to do so. One area I could see for improvement
would be to add a small window for content ID labels on one end of the
Bintos near the handles, similar to the one on the top, which would
allow for easier content identification while the Bintos are packed.
One I found to the Binto Bar is that when I wanted to change items
around for various uses I had to remove the camping gear that I liked
to keep stored in the Bintos in order to load clothing or snacks.
I found an easy fix to this problem - I just found a Kelty Picnic Binto
set on sale and now have another nice organizer, a regular Binto, and a
The Kelty Binto Bar has been a great organizational piece for camping
and travel, and the individual Bintos have been useful for shorter days
trips. Although I did not get to use it as much as I would have
liked for picnicking and camping due to colder weather having set in,
it rapidly has become one of my favorite gear totes.
The food prep surface was the only disappointment in that I did not
find it very stable, however I may still yet find it suitable for
making a sandwich or laying out a quick snack. I plan to use the
Binto Bar extensively as the weather warms up and I travel more, for
camping, picnicking, and general purpose storage.
This concludes the test series.
Thanks to Kelty and BackpackGearTest for the opportunity to
test the Binto Bar.
Read more reviews of Kelty gear
Read more gear reviews by Pamela Wyant