User Review: Kelty Redwing 2650
Price Paid: Around $60
Purchased from REI on sale for ~$60 in ~2006
Uses: day hikes, beach days, book bag (poli sci graduate student book weight exceeds any amount a sane backpacker would take anywhere for any length of time), and one 4-night backpacking trip (early fall near Crater Lake).
Capacity: It manages most anything for the uses listed above. For day hikes, it could be on the heavy side (especially for the Half Dome-style ascents, especially if you're carrying too much food -- don't ask). For multi-day backpacking it will work, though its a bit of a wrench-hammer (i.e., wrong tool for the job -- but, for this purpose, it is on the light side!). As a book bag, you don't want to carry the amount of books this bag will fit.
Fit: It is too short for me. At 5'8"-ish, the hip belt goes around my waist and doesn't allow me to properly support the weight with that belt as designed. It does secure the load, however, and all but the heaviest sit glued to my body without shifting.
Durability: Filled to capacity, this pack will rip your arms off your torso before a seam busts or a rip begins in the pack. Rubbed, dragged, yanked, hurled, the bag has survived what I subject my gear to like nothing I've ever owned with only one break (yes, I break everything at least once). I stepped on the buckle. It wasn't a problem, as you will see.
Customer Service: I called Kelty wanting to BUY a new buckle. Kelty customer service didn't ask for a receipt, they didn't ask where or when I bought it, and didn't try divine how it was my fault and not theirs (of course, they didn't have to; I blabbed right away). They just asked what size I needed and where they would send me my FREE replacement. It arrived promptly and fit perfectly.