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ALPS Mountaineering Red Tail 4900

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: ALPS Mountaineering Red Tail 4900 expedition pack (70l+)

Lots of storage and comfortable when loaded down. This is for the 4900 model.


  • Comfortable
  • Lots of space
  • Many nooks and crannies both big and small


  • None off hand

I've only had this pack for about five weeks now, but I've had it out about eight times in the wilderness. I bought it mainly for canoe camping, the large size can fit all of my gear, to cut down on the number of trips I must make on a portage. I haven't tried wearing the pack and carrying  the canoe at the same time, but I think I could do it if I dropped the kitchen sink from my inventory.

This is the first internal frame backpack I've owned, and I feel very comfortable in it with a full load. I use the sleeping bag compartment for my clothes, I can fit a spare pair of jeans, sweatpants, two T-shirts, a heavy sweatshirt, socks, etc in this compartment easy.

The main compartment is huge. Most of my gear goes in here, tent (two man), sleeping bag, stove, and more. The main compartment also has a large pocket in the front. I slide a hatchet, buck knife, fire starting equipment, flashlight and more in there.

On the back there is a flap compartment. I bring an 8" aluminum skillet (a real one) and a homemade fold-able grill along with some paper plates (kindling) in this compartment. The wood skillet handle is pretty long and it sticks out a inch or so but it is held securely in this compartment.

On the outside of the flap compartment there is also a zippered compartment where I keep a rain parka, bug spray and other essentials. I just picked up a pocket chainsaw, I would have room for it in here as well. There is yet another stretchy pocket on the outside of all of these compartments, right now I have a collapsible solar light in there, but I clip that on the outside of the pack so it can charge while I hike.

The waist belt has a zippered pocket on both sides. My compass and the Garmin eTrex GPS goes on one side , the other side carries some spare AA's and a small multi tool, among a few other small things. There are also stretchy pockets on both sides that I haven't really put to use yet.

On top the rain cap has 2 big zippered pockets. I have some camping style cutlery in there, another good place to slide some paper plates, and a couple small plastic drinking glasses.

The kitchen sink is in there someplace, actually I just picked up a foldable bucket, size of a deck of cards folded up, but I'm not sure where it will end up. I also have the Sawyer Mini water filter and a couple of different bags for it in there as well. This is my load out for canoe camping. When I backpack I will drop the frying pan and the hatchet at the very least. I really do like to travel light when I backpack, but I can carry quite a lot when I have the canoe. I only need to carry the pack a mile at the most on a portage.

The best thing about this backpack is all of the load adjustment straps on the outside of the pack. If the pack where only half full you could tighten it up and keep it all solid. I know all of these internal frame pack's have them, but it is worth a mention. This pack has all of the angles covered with load adjustments. The shoulder straps and back supports have a nice breathable mesh on them and the padding is just the right density. I feel very comfortable with this pack when I have all of the adjustments set properly.

I was looking at backpacks for hours and it was a tough decision. There are many fine ones to choose from. In the end I went with this because of the huge size and the fact that it was fairly inexpensive didn't hurt either.


Source: bought it new
Price Paid: about $90

I was looking for a pack that wouldn't break the bank, but wouldn't kill my back either. I bought this pack about 2 years ago and I have been extremely happy with it. I've been on 3-4 day trips and I've still yet to completely fill this thing. I'm glad to have the extra room even if it means I'm carrying a few more ounces.

The shoulders straps and hip belt are fairly comfortable. I read one review where someone complained about a clicking noise while hiking. I was on the trail one day and all of the sudden heard what he was complaining about. It was merely the way the load strap was situated and a slight adjustment and it was gone.

I'm a big fan of other brands packs, but seriously for the money you cannot go wrong with this pack. I highly recommend it for the beginning to intermediate backpacker. It's lite enough and has room for everything.

If you're one of those guys that measure every single ounce I could understand paying $300-$400 for another brand. But the load carries very well on this pack and it didn't cost me an arm and a leg.

Price Paid: $109

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Price MSRP: $179.99
Historic Range: $69.93-$179.95
Reviewers Paid: $90.00-$109.00
Weight 5 lb 14 oz
Capacity 4900 cu in
Fabric Nylon Ripstop Top - 1000D Bottom
Fits Torso 14 in to 22 in
Number of stays 2
Frame Material Aluminum
Access/Loading Top
Sleeping Bag Compartment Yes
Product Details from ALPS Mountaineering »

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