This Kelty Redwing 50 Tactical Pack Review is about a military-style backpack from a new 2018 series. This is a very sturdy and reliable tool with several great features.
Key features & benefits
- Durable construction.
- Very reliable backpack, typical for Kelty.
- Great colors.
What kind of pack is this
This is something new from Kelty, a series of tactical backpacks inspired by their celebrated Redwing series. So the pack presented here is the largest of the three, and the series includes also Redwing 30 Tactical and Redwing 44 Tactical.
If you are familiar with Kelty’s Redwing series, you will realize that these new Tactical packs have some features very similar to the initial Redwing series which was around several years ago before they launched the existing Redwing series.
Sizewise, this Redwing 50 Tactical is big enough for weekend outdoor tours and overnight tours, perhaps even for a several-days tour dependent on the quality and bulkiness of the stuff you carry in the pack.
Obviously, it is designed with hunters in mind, and you will see a bit more about this below.
The pack is built in one size and the torso length is fixed here. They do not give the torso size range, so I asked them and in the reply got this: “We don’t have a measurement for the torso size on these packs, as they are one size fits all. The 50 hip belt measures to 43 inches, the 44 to 40 inches, and the 30 to 34 inches.”
The numbers this person gave for the hip belts do not make much sense to me. But regarding the torso length, most likely you should keep an eye on the “regular” Redwing 50 pack where the torso size range is given as 15.5 – 21 inches (39 – 53 cm). This because the differences in size between these two packs are next to none.
The pack is a panel loading type with a long zipper which opens it like a suitcase, see the picture below. But its top is profiled so that it looks almost like a pack with a lid, and the zipper can be open only on the top, which only increases this feeling of a top-loading pack.
Kelty Redwing 50 Tactical vs Kelty Redwing 50
So here is a table with the most important differences (and similarities). Please follow the link in the table to see more about the regular Redwing 50 pack.
|Redwing 50 Tactical||Redwing 50|
|Weight||4 lb 1 oz (1.84 kg)||3 lb 11 oz (1.67 kg)|
|Dimensions, in||26 x 16 x 12||26 x 16 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, the Korean version of Cordura.
The other changes include the following:
- Stronger buckles on the Tactical pack.
- Redwing 50 Tactical looks more rugged.
- The back panel padding is completely different.
- The shoulder harness padding is completely different.
- The regular Redwing 50 has dual V-shaped front straps on the hip belt, on both sides. The Tactical pack has single straps leading to the front buckle, see the picture below. The dual straps system is better because you have better hugging of the hip bones by the hip belt fins.
So I would say that the crucial differences are in the padding (which is much better in the regular Redwing 50) and the torso adjustability (which you do not have here).
Overview of the remaining features
I already mentioned the main compartment entrance, so inside of the compartment you only have one padded sleeve which can double as the compartment for a laptop or for a hydration bladder, it is shown in one of the pictures above.
You have a central aluminum stay visible from outside, as you can see in the picture above, plus am HDPE frame sheet which gives the pack its shape. There is no torso adjustability.
The lumbar padding is really massive and the same is on the hip belt and on the shoulder harness, so one could hardly make any objection here. The waist belt is removable.
You have in total 6 pockets, plus 2 pass-through storage pockets, plus several smaller pockets in the front pocket. But there are no hip belt pockets.
On the top, you have a zippered top pocket which gives the pack its shape similar to the classic lid, in particular when it is full.
One large zippered organization pocket is on the front and you have several smaller mesh pockets inside, including one for glasses and Velcro tab, see the picture below. Note that you do not have the front stash pocket which is available in the regular Redwing 50.
Two lover side pockets are pre-shaped and built from the same fabric as the pack, so they are not stretchy, see the picture below. They are shallow and too close to the upper side pockets so you can hardly use them for a water bottle when the upper side pockets are full.
The pack has two upper zippered side pockets shown below, which are a very useful feature, my favorite in any pack. Their size is great and you can keep things organized. Some of my packs have such pockets and I keep different things in different pockets and always know where things are.
Yet another great feature here are the pass-through “pockets” behind these upper zippered pockets. You can carry any longer object and pass it behind the side pockets and then store in the lower side pockets. They suggest using this feature for a riffle, see below.
You have dual side compression straps shown in the picture above. You will use them to cinch the pack or to fix object which you carry in the mentioned pass-through pockets.
There are 3 large attachment loops on the bottom, and this is one more than in the regular Redwing 50.
Here you have exposed central daisy chain with a handle on the front of the pack, and this is also different from the regular pack.
Two parallel daisy chains are on the bottom of the pack, and you do not have this in the regular Redwing 50 backpack.
Good and less good features & rating
Here is my short summary:
- Quality workmanship.
- Durable & quality materials.
- Very strong suspension system.
- Side zippered pockets.
- Side pass-through pockets.
- Not adjustable harness.
- Not so great side pockets.
- No rain cover.
I dislike the fact that the torso length is fixed. For the pack of this size this may be very important.
The strange design of the side pockets they explained to me after I asked: “You can use that side pouch for whatever you’d like, but it is made to fit the bottom of a shotgun/longer gun.”
The price & rating
As of the moment of writing this text, the Amazon price for this pack is $150. You might want to compare this with the regular Redwing 50 which costs $126. See how I rate this pack:
My rating breakdown of the Kelty Redwing 50 Tactical Backpack
Kelty Redwing 50 Tactical vs Competitors
Here I give the Tactical 50 pack side by side with two top models from some other brands. See how it compares. To read more please check the links in the table. The prices of the three packs are respectively, $150, 190, 180.
COMPARE PACKAGE FEATURES
Weight, lb (kg)
Hip belt pockets
Side zippered pockets
Payable Every Month
ACT Zero 50
Payable Every Year
50 + 15
Payable Every Year
In the conclusion of this Kelty Redwing 50 Tactical Pack Review, I would stress that this pack looks stronger than the Redwing 50 but it has fewer features, the torso adjustment being the most important one. It has just been launched and in time we will see what various users have to say about it. I love the colors and the fact that they kept the upper side pockets design intact.
In any case, if this pack is too big, check its cousins from the same series, the Tactical 30 and Tactical 44. If this is not enough, please check my page with packs in the size range 35 – 55 liters, you will find tens of backpacks all from top brands. You might want to check this new 2018 Deuter Futura Vario 50 + 10 with some new features. If ventilation is very important to you, check this Osprey Rook 50 Backpack.
Thank you for reading. Please use the comment box below in the case of questions and comments. Have a nice day.