User Review: Kelty Red Cloud 5000 ST
Price Paid: $119
I bought this a while back. I had the Redwing 3100 of the same color, which has stood the test of time so I thought this would be a good choice.
I'm 5'9" with high hips. The fit of this pack was perfect. But there were some operability things I didn't like.
One, when the bag is full the zipper covers stretch tight over top the zippers and impede their ability to function. Usually I had to lay the pack flat on the ground to operate the zippers. There is no easy access for the hydration bladder area so you will have to unpack half the pack every time you want to fill up water. Also there is nothing to hang the bladder on so it keeps falling to the bottom of the bladder carrier.
I have a 38 in waist, which I don't think is too over the top, but it made the hip belt almost useless, and the pack kept falling. Just because we have a shorter torso doesn't mean the hip belt padding should be shorter in length as it goes around the waist. I don't think the padding on this reached the front of my hip bone. The butt pack is not easy to remove, and fastex buckles should be added. It's also heavy, and the water bottle pockets won't hold a nalgene bottle.
I would put the durability of this pack far above most others. If you are doing a lot of traveling and your bag is going to take a lot of abuse this is a great bag. I'm going to use this bag for travel as a civilian contractor in middle east.
If you are going to be doing a lot of actual backpacking you should consider something a bit lighter, easier to use and be willing to shell out a hundred more bucks. A low end pack will suck the life out of you on the trail. A few of these reviews have come from people with little backpacking experience and the passionate backpackers buying the latest gear don't own this pack so they can't rate it. Their input is missing.
I don't want to sound like I'm knocking Kelty, but I do feel this pack has a slightly higher average star rating than it warrants. Overall it's not bad, but if you're getting serious you'll want to take it up a notch.