Veteran US backpack maker Kelty say that the Redwing 50 is suitable for “simplified travel or an overnight on the trail”. The “travel” element is provided by panel access and organiser compartments in the front pocket. Overall though, this is more of a hill pack than a travel bag. The main zip comes right round the top of the pack so it can be used as a top loader as well as a panel loader. The only very slight disadvantage is that the top can’t be tightened down when the pack isn’t full and does sag a little.
As a hillwalking pack this is well-designed. It’s aimed at walkers rather than climbers, as shown by the fixed side pockets and the single axe loop.
The pockets are all excellent, being easily accessible with long zips. The side compression straps lie above and below the zipped side pockets and so don’t interfere with them. The mesh side pockets will hold water bottles but these are hard to get in and out when the pockets above them are full. There are slots behind the side pockets so thin items like tent poles can be slid down the sides of the pack. The fabric feels tough and I expect the pack to last well.
The Redwing back system is supportive and comfortable. The hipbelt is fine for 10-12kg loads. The bag hugs the body well and the pack is very stable. There are air channels in the back to reduce dampness but these do not have much effect.
The weight and price of the Redwing are both reasonable.
First published: March 2014