Kelty Red Cloud 6650
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $99
I got this pack on a Campmor 1-day special for only $99. I've never regretted it.
It's big (and heavier than other packs I own)...which means I have to be careful that I don't over-pack, but I also don't have to worry about having enough room on those week-long trips.
The one con is the zippers. They easily jam, and forget about using them with gloves on. Still, as I'm only getting into the pack a few times a day, it's more of nuisance than a problem.
I probably wouldn't have paid $175 for this pack, but at $99, I got a steal! Keep an eye out for internet specials.
Design: Top-loading with panels
Size: 6650 ci
Max. Load Carried: 45lbs
Height of Owner: 5' 10"
Price Paid: $180
I have climbed Mt Adams and used this pack for most of the summer on other multi-day hikes this year and so far I am satisfied. Most of my trips are on trails in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the Central Cascades. I have also removed the top pouch and cinched the compression straps down and used it on short hikes as well with success.
The suspension system is very comfortable even when I carry gear for myself and my kids. I can easily adjust the weight between my hips and shoulders during a hike as I see fit. There is a handle sewn into the back panel which is sturdy enough to be used for hauling the pack around when not being worn. Compared to my old Camptrails Omega external frame (or any external frame) it hugs my back nicely and keeps me balanced in deep, sloppy snow.
Storing an ice axe in the back loop would be easier it there was a dedicated strap for the upturned shaft. I still haven't found the perfect place to hang my crampons and helmet either. The stitching seems to be plenty durable and the belt will adjust to large enough for two of me (and I'm a tad fluffy). The external side pockets come with only single zippers which I am not used to but I think they were trying to save on weight. Once detached, the top portion makes a serviceable fannypack for summit trips if you only need a little gear. The pack is huge and holds more gear than I ever want to carry--so far.
My main gripe is that the water bottle pouches are too shallow and carabiners need to be used to hold them in during glissades. Saying that the little mesh pouches on the hip belt work perfectly for iodine tablets, lip balm, a lighter, folding knife, compass and the like. The sliding sternum strap is neat but it seems to always slide up to the highest position.
My favorite part is the price. It was on clearance from Campmor and it's a lot of pack for the money.
Max. Load Carried: 55lbs
Height of Owner: 6'
Price Paid: $169
I love this pack. I am a large guy in two directions and this pack fits me all the way around. I like the way it adjusts to the curves of my back and is able to adjust up and down to keep the lumbar pad in the lumbar area of my back.
It is a big pack. I like big. However, I do carry too much gear because it is big. My sleeping pad is 30 inches wide and I get the whole pad inside this bag.
I also like the fact that it has several small pockets on the sides to hold needed gear and interal pockets for maps and a water bladder.
I am quite satisfied with it. I have noticed that on shaky footing the pack seems to swing from side to side a bit, but I chalk that up to the size and the 55 pounds I had in it.
Design: top and front loading
Number of Pockets: 5
Max. Load Carried: 65-70 lbs?
Height of Owner: 6'
Price Paid: $140
Being a Cub Scout Den Leader with two young sons of my own, I needed a massive load-hauler, even for overnights -- call me the "pack mule." The price of this pack was unbeatable--I found it on-line for sale at $140 delivered. It is loaded with features and can carry everything I need for my Den -- food, cooking gear, tent(s), first aid kit, etc., etc., etc. Pretty comfortable even with a giant load.
Extremely adjustable suspension. You will need to adjust the stays for the way you like to carry the pack; the first time I had it jammed up to about 65lbs, I had two preasure points at the waist where the stays were poking me; I adjusted them and had no problems on the next trip.
Pros: massive if you need it; lots of pockets/features; great price; good suspension; Kelty tough.
Cons: It is huge, but don't buy this unless you need a mega-pack and can fill it up. Heavy when empty. Could use an easier way to strap things to it vertically.
Size: 6650 cubic inches
Number of Pockets: 6
Max. Load Carried: 60 pounds
Height of Owner: 5' 10"
Price Paid: $184
I have owned my pack for over a year and I never leave home without it. I have hiked on trail and not on trail, I have climbed rock faces, I have never had a problem with the pack. It has plenty of room and its hydration compatibility is a major bonus. The weight is well balanced and stays close to your body.
I would recommend this pack to anyone who wants to do multi-day treks on/off trial and might have to do some climbing.
Price Paid: $172
Overall this pack can carry the largest load you could possibly carry. I carried over 90 lbs of gear and tools to stake a remote property in Alaska.
On the first trip I had a chainsaw strapped to the side of this pack. The pack's internal aluminum frame bars needed constant tweaking and adjustments due to pressure points on my back. The zipper on one of the large side pockets didn't hold together and lost some gear during the hike home.
One of the plastic buckles that compresses the exterior of the pack snapped off while cinching down on the lower sleeping bag compartment. The shoulder straps are way too anemic compared to the cubic inches this pack holds. The shoulder straps were very uncomfortable with a heavy load.
After an entire season with this pack paddling and hiking hundreds of miles of remote Alaska I can say this pack is a decent buy. It is only comfortable with loads under 65 lbs. Because the price is great recommend replacing the plastic buckles with metal ones. I also recommend modifying the shoulder straps.
Design: two large compartments with smaller pockets
Size: 6650 cu. in.
Number of Pockets: 5 with pockets in the pockets
Max. Load Carried: 46 pounds
Height of Owner: 5'9.5"
Price Paid: $172
For the money, this pack is an exceptional value. It has all the bells and whistles of more expensive packs and is very adjustable to create a custom fit. I've had it up to 46 pounds now on mountain hikes and it is very comfortable. At 6650 cu.in., it has the capacity to carry about anything and has a number of pockets to divide the gear. Very happy with my purchase.
My first pack I bought. Happy with it but too damn big. I don't need all that extra room.
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