This Kelty Redwing 44 Tactical Pack Review is about a pack from the new 2018 Kelty’s series of durable and strong packs built in the military style.
What kind of pack is this
The Redwing 44 Tactical is a pack from a new series launched in the beginning of 2018 by Kelty. The series includes also the Redwing 30 Tactical and Redwing 50 Tactical. From the description below you will realize that this is a bit trimmed version of the “standard” Redwing 44 pack, though you have much less difference here than in the smaller Tactical 30 (as compared to the Redwing 32).
The Redwing is a well-known series from Kelty which has been around for many years, and it has been modified in the past. This new Redwing Tactical series could be understood as yet another upgrade, but note that the “regular” Redwing series is still on the market and I did not hear about any plans to discontinue it.
Kelty Redwing 44 Tactical vs Kelty Redwing 44
So here is a table with the most important differences. Please note that the Redwing 44 is described in detail in my separate review.
|Redwing 44 Tactical||Redwing 44|
|Weight||3 lb 12 oz (1.7 kg)||2 lb 10 oz (1.2 kg)|
|Dimensions, in||24 x 16 x 12||25 x 15 x 12|
|Front daisy chain||exposed||hidden|
|Front stash pocket||no||yes|
|Fabric||500D Kodra*||420D poly|
|Bottom daisy chains||yes||no|
*Kodra is a very durable nylon, similar to Cordura. One could say this is the Korean version of Cordura.
But this is not all, here are some more:
- Back panel padding is very different. It is more pleasant on the Redwing 44 where the Hex mesh covers the whole back panel. In the Redwing 44 Tactical, the central stay is not covered, see the picture below.
- Shoulder straps are different; you have a military style in the Tactical 44 pack.
- The Redwing 44 has V-shaped horizontal front straps on the hip belt, on both sides. Such a construction fasten the hip belt fins better, the upper and lower parts are tightened independently and this increases hugging of the hip bones. You do not have this in the Redwing 44 Tactical where there is only one strap on each side leading to the front buckle, see the picture below.
So the Redwing 44 Tactical looks more rugged and it is considerably heavier. But see how the suspension system looks like, see the strong front buckle and the single straps on he hip belt:
So what you really have here – main features
This is a panel loading backpack but the zipper is such that you can open the top part only, and it looks partly like a top loader. When you unclip the two side buckles, you can open the pack all the way almost to the bottom.
The inner area is one single compartment with a padded sleeve inside, which you can use either for a computer or for a water bladder.
The suspension is based on a central aluminum stay which is visible from outside, see the picture above, and an HDPE frame sheet which gives the pack its shape and rigidity. The back panel padding is thick on the two sides and this creates the central chimney for ventilation.
The lumbar padding is massive, and the hip belt is very wide and generously padded. The same style padding is on the shoulder harness, so this is a good design.
Note that the waist belt is removable. If you wonder why would anybody do this, think about travel. Once, my daughter came from a trip without the hip belt, it was somehow lost in the transportation at the airport. So you simply remove it to avoid damages or to have it lost.
The pockets are almost the same as in the Redwing 44. So to start from the top where you have a zippered top pocket which gives the pack its shape similar to the classic lid.
One large zippered pocket is on the front and inside of it, you have several different mesh pockets, plus one extra pocket for glasses. This organization area is certainly useful if you use the Redwing 44 Tactical as a travel pack.
Two lover side pockets are pre-shaped and built from the same fabric as the pack, so they are not stretchy. You have a drawcord there to cinch their top. But I am puzzled by their design because they look useless. They are too wide and too shallow for any water bottle. So to have a bottle inside, you would have also to fix it with the lower side strap.
However, there are also two upper zippered side pockets which are simply too close, and you cannot put a bottle in the lower pocket if the upper pockets are full. Being so puzzled with this design, I sent an email to Kelty and this was the answer: “You can use that side pouch for whatever you’d like, but it is made to fit the bottom of a shotgun/longer gun.” Now you know what this is about.
These upper side zippered pockets are the best part for me, I love to have them in all packs, but as you surely know, not many packs nowadays have such zippered pockets. These are very useful large pockets and you can carry lots of stuff there, great for organization in any case.
You also have the pass-through “pockets” behind these upper zippered pockets. This is again something really useful. Any elongated object will stay fixed there when you pass it and store in the lower side pockets. Note that you also have straps to fix all in place, see the picture below. I love this design.
So you have in total 6 “normal” pockets plus the pass-through storage pockets, plus several smaller pockets in the front pocket. Not bad at all. The only missing here is the hip belt pockets. Pity in view of such a wide hip belt which you can see below.
The picture above shows the dual side compression straps; those are very useful for gear in the lower pockets and the pass-through pockets.
There are 3 large attachment loops on the bottom, the two on the left and on the right can be used in pair with the upper straps to fix poles. The central loop’s purpose is a bit of a mystery to me.
You also have a central daisy chain with a handle on the front, so the mentioned central bottom loop is a part of it.
Two parallel daisy chains are on the bottom of the pack, you do not have this in the regular Redwing 44 pack.
Good and less good features & rating
Here is my short summary:
- Durable & quality materials.
- Very strong suspension system.
- Quality workmanship.
- Side zippered pockets.
- Side pass-through pockets.
- Not adjustable harness.
- Not so great side pockets.
I already mentioned the strange design of the lower side pockets, they are not the best feature here for sure.
The price & rating
The current Amazon price for this pack is around $140. So it is a bit more expensive than the Kelty Redwing 44 pack which is currently $125. See how I rate this Tactical version:
My rating breakdown of the Kelty Redwing 30 Tactical backpack
- Weight: 3 lb 12 oz (1.7 kg).
- Volume: 44 L.
- Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 12 in (61 x 41 x 30 cm).
- Fabric: 500D Kodra.
- Frame: aluminum.
- # 8 zippers.
- 3 tool loops.
- Colors: 4.
Kelty Redwing 44 Tactical vs Competitors
In the table below I give the Redwing 44 Tactical, side by side with two other great packs built in somewhat similar style. So see how they compare; to read more please follow the links in the table:
COMPARE PACKAGE FEATURES
Weight, lb (kg)
Hip belt pockets
Side zippered pockets
Payable Every Month
Payable Every Year
Payable Every Year
In the summary of this Kelty Redwing 44 Tactical Pack Review, I would stress that they have added some features from the previous Redwing packs and removed some that are currently available in the regular Redwing 44 pack. The materials are stronger and the pack looks very reliable. I love the fact that they kept the side zippered pockets and the pass-through pockets. The padding looks robust and good, but it is not on the level of the regular Redwing 44 pack. If this pack is too big for you, check its smaller cousin the Redwing 30 Tactical.
If you need something different, please visit my page with packs in the range 35 – 55 liters, you will find top brands presented there. You might want to compare it with this Deuter Futura PRO 44 EL Pack which comes with some great features.
Thank you for reading. Please use the comment box below in the case of questions and comments. Have a nice day.