My RTW backpack of choice is the Kelty Redwing 50. I’ve been using it for 7 months so far, and haven’t had any major problems. The Redwing 50 is the perfect a cross between a travel backpack and a hiking backpack.
Pros of the Kelty Redwing 50:
- Easy Access to Gear
- Internal Frame
- Comfortable Suspension and Straps
- Good Zippers
- Good Price
It is panel loading, meaning that it opens from the front rather from the top, making it easier to access gear. Also, the Kelty Redwing 50 has an internal frame made up of an aluminum bar and a polycarbonate sheet. The weight of the pack can be distributed well due to its frame and the padded waist belt. I’ve been comfortable carrying around 30 pounds worth of clothes and other knickknacks in the backpack.
The backpack feels really durable and is made of 450-denier polyester. The zippers are also a plus. They are oversized and extremely smooth. In total, the backpack weighs just over 3 pounds, which is pretty lightweight. I chose the color black, because I didn’t want to attract attention while traveling to dodgy parts of the world.
Cons of the Kelty Redwing 50:
- Hard to Load the Top of the Pack
- Not Much Organization
- Size is Between Check-In and Carry-On
Panel loading (loading from the front, rather than the top) comes at a cost. It is hard to load the top most part of the bag. Another con of the Redwing is that when fully packed, it’s hard to bring as a carry-on bag.
While traveling from the Tampa International Airport to Miami, my dad and I were both wearing our maxed out Redwings as carry-on bags. As we boarded the plane, my dad was told he had to check his backpack in, but thankfully, I went under the radar and kept my pack under my seat. My fully loaded backpack took up almost all of my legroom, and the overhead compartments were completely taken up by other passengers. From then on, I always try not to fly with my backpack bulging. I own the older model of the Redwing 50, but now there is a new and improved one that addresses the loading issue. Probably one of the best parts of the newest Redwing is that it costs around $100, which is really good for its value.
The organization of this backpack is just ok. The large main compartment only has a water reservoir sleeve, but the smaller secondary compartment has an ample amount of pockets. To prevent my clothes from getting messed up and disorganized inside the main compartment of my backpack, I got the Eagle Creek Pack-It Mobile Locker, which is a packing cube that you can watch my video review for here.
Overall the Kelty Redwing Backpack is an extremely versatile backpack. With the newer model addressing the loading issue, I would definitely recommend it to any long-term, or short-term traveler. It’s so awesome that both my dad and use the Kelty Redwing.
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