Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack

9.2 score
[Editors rating (9.2)] = ( score (9.2)/10

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Editor rating: 9.2 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
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Editor’s Conclusion
Sleek, lightweight, and comfortable; the Kelty Redwing 50 backpack is both functional and stylish. If you’re looking for a backpack to cover all your bases, then this multipurpose model comes highly recommended. A versatile pack built for all your adventures; it’s perfect for day hiking, mountaineering, international travel, skiing, work, school and even picnics.

Redwing 50’s bestselling multi-faceted backpack provides true value for money with all-season suitability and a design aimed at endurance and ease. You’ll be kept organised yet comfortable with the adjustable length frame, numerous pockets, and hex mesh back panelling.

Having tried multiple backpacks for hiking and travel, it’s refreshing to find a pack that fits in everything you need without compromising on size or comfort. It’s easy to store and organize all your gear with a large front panel loading compartment, easy access front stash pocket, two external side pockets, top pocket, two bottom side pockets and hidden pockets.

Perfect for passionate hikers and travelers looking for a versatile backpack that allows you to swap adventures without swapping backpacks.
Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack Review Facts
Editor's Pros & Cons

Large volume at 50L

Well organised pockets

Adjustable torso length

Lots of space for lots of gear

Hybrid loading for easy access

Hex mesh back panel for ventilation

Several color options


Not waterproof

No hip belt pockets

Larger than the standard carry-on size

Key Features

Ease of Use

One of the top reasons I love this backpack is the versatility and flexibility you get. The various organizational pockets and compartments allow for easy storage and access, no matter the destination. With a 50-liter capacity, you can easily pack for a week’s camping trip; with an ability to reduce the size if needed.

The genius front panel loading style also means you can easily pack and reach all your gear; just simply zip completely back and open like a travel suitcase or duffel. If you prefer a traditional loading style, it’s simple enough to open the main compartment from the top like a standard backpack.

Store your biggest, bulkiest items in the main compartment (front-loading panel); this way you’ll have easy access to all your hardest-to-reach items. This compartment is easily big enough to hold a sleeping bag, tent, food, or a vertically oriented bear canister.

Although the main compartment does lack some organizational pockets, there are many other compartments, pockets, and sleeves to help you organize your pack for longer journeys.

Additional daisy chains, a gear loop and long straps let you attach items that won’t fit or are awkward to squeeze inside your pack, making this a perfect camping backpack.

Unfortunately, there are no hip belt pockets, which would have been a great feature for easier storage and access to sunglasses, snacks, sunscreen, etc.


The Kelty Redwing 50 comes with a dual-use laptop and hydration sleeve. The water bladder is not included, but if you plan on using this pack for all-day hikes, you may want to get a water reservoir to keep you hydrated.

The comfortable fit comes from the adjustable ergonomic straps, which takes the stress out of buying the right size. The perfect fit suspension adjustable frame system is also a marvelous benefit for anyone new to buying hiking equipment and not sure of their size, or just finding it hard to find the correct torso length. Labeled as a unisex pack, it should fit your size regardless of who you are.

Another genius way that Kelty provides comfort is with the two side compression straps to evenly spread the packs’ weight, bringing the weight closer to the body. This is essential if you plan to use the full 50-liter capacity. It also has a very simple but stable frame, having been designed using a LightBeam single aluminum stay to keep your load well distributed, stable, and comfortable.

Yet the vast number of features and subsequent flexibility means the pack is a little on the heavy side at 3.7 pounds, which may be something to consider when every ounce counts for hiking and camping. But the Kelty Redwing 50 pack has been meticulously designed to carry a large amount of gear in an organized and comfortable way, so I think Kelty make up for this extra weight.


Being water-resistant is helpful and does allow for a four seasons design, however, the pack isn’t completely waterproof. A rain cover is also not included, but there is a compatible rain cover that can be purchased separately for an extra cost. If you only plan on casual travel/hiking in good weather, you probably don’t need the rain cover. But for more extensive trips, it’s probably worth buying the rain cover; and as this pack is already of a reasonable price, it didn’t put me off too much.


The outer material of the pack is made from polyester, which is a lightweight and soft-to-the-touch material. Polyester is also a durable material, something which is obvious as it is used for most types of clothing and endures well for daily life and travel.

I particularly liked the addition of the Dynamic AirFlow hex mesh back panel. This material allows for greater airflow and ventilation and is perfect for hot and long hiking days.

Comparison to Similar Backpacks

One thing to be aware of when deciding how to use this pack: the size is also borderline carry-on for all major airlines as it is larger than most. This is probably avoidable due to the large 50L volume and a large number of pockets. The Kelty Redwing 30 backpack is ideal if you’re looking for a smaller pack that might save on baggage fees. The Redwing 30 has a volume of 30 liters and is slightly cheaper.

The Perfect Fit Suspension and Single LightBeam aluminum stay allow for stable weight distribution and a more comfortable fit, but I’m not sure it has the full suspension comfort of the Osprey Manta 24.

Although much more expensive at around $200, the Osprey Manta 24 provides premium ventilation, a 3D-tensioned open mesh AirSpeed back panel, a spaced-out frame, waist belts and compression pads to stay stable and cool. It depends on how much you want to spend on a pack.


The Redwing 50 is a surprisingly versatile pack, and it’s clear why it’s one of Kelty’s best sellers. It’s clearly been designed to fit surprising heavy loads of gear and travel essentials. It’s sturdy, durable and lightweight; and the many pockets means you can use this pack for pretty much any activity.

This backpack's features, weight distribution and comfortability demonstrate how many times the pack has been designed. At such a reasonable price, you won’t get an option that provides such value for money.