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Kelty Red Cloud 5000

The Red Cloud 5000 has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best expedition packs for 2020.

photo: Kelty Red Cloud 5000 expedition pack (70l+)


Price MSRP: $199.95
Historic Range: $99.95-$200.00
Reviewers Paid: $120.00-$185.00


7 reviews
5-star:   4
4-star:   2
3-star:   1
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

Great big hauler starter pack.


  • Cubic inches are good
  • Exterior access is decent


  • Weight, this thing is a bit of a beast
  • Adjustability has some drawbacks
  • Suspension could be better

This was my very first "women's" pack, and I purchased it back in 2008.  It was a great starter pack but way too big for a trip 5 days or less. My inexperience showed when I packed it full and it weighed 40lbs+ for a 5-day trip.  I learned my lesson and realized that just because I have a large pack, doesn't mean it needs to be filled all the way. 

The fit is decent, I have a shorter torso and very broad shoulders and I found myself constantly reaching up and holding the suspension forward while walking.  It just didn't seem to fit correctly in that respect (the suspension loosened during long and hilly hikes), however the hip padding was more than adequate. I didn't have much discomfort in that area. 

The capacity is ... well...capacious, and for fear of sounding redundant this pack really has a lot of room. You may be surprised by how much gear you can easily fit into the Red Cloud. 

The exterior accessibility is good, outside zippers allow for easy vestibule access and the top compartments is great for frequently used items such as headlamp, etc. 

Appropriately packed, this is a good starter bag for a super price per square inch, however it is heavy.   

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $185

I love this pack! I've taken it camping a number of times in the Boundary Waters (as well as traveling) and it's been great. Tons of space, pockets, etc. Adjustment was a bit difficult initially but once it was taken care of, it was great.

Height of Owner: 5 feet

Great for hauling larger loads. Very comfortable and lots of organizer pockets.


  • Lots of organizer pockets
  • Comfortable cushy back and hip belt
  • Great sleeping bag compartment
  • Top doubles as a daypack
  • Holds a lot of gear


  • Some pockets hard to access because of zipper covers
  • Pack itself is a little heavy

Overall I really like this pack for long hauls. It holds a lot of gear. I am constantly finding new places to cram layers. I love how organized this pack keeps me. So many pockets!!! It is hydration compatible which is easy to set up. I also love lots of gear loops to tie things on the pack.

It is really comfy even when packed full. I have had over 60lbs on this pack and still felt the support. More than once I have tied wood to this pack and carried it for miles. (Yes, I was crazy.) This pack will put up with whatever you throw at it.

On the downside it is a little heavy and the zippers can get caught in the covers if you don't fold them over properly. I also wish it had a trampoline frame for the ventilation, but I don't see those on bigger packs so I am sure there is a reason. Overall this is my go to pack for trips that require a lot of gear.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $160


As a woman finding a bag thats waist straps would fit my waist was virtually impossible until I found this backpack! It is comfortable to wear even for a 6 hour hike, and has virtually no pulling on your shoulders. All the weight from your pack rests on your hips and makes traveling much more comfortable.

I also love the number of pockets and organizers this bag has. It makes everything reach

able from the water pockets to the dual hydration ports to the zippered pockets on the waist strap. To keep your bag nice I suggest investing in the Kelty raincover. It's really a must!

Overall love this pack and wouldn't change a thing about it!

Price Paid: $131.24

Loved the pack, but, I don't like the small water bottle holders on the side. My regular size bottle had to be clipped in to stay. The mesh side pocket for the bottles need to be much deeper or wider to accommodate a regular Nalgene bottle.

Spent 4 days/3-nights hiking in the Ozarks with about 40lbs. - good weather, no rain - and the pack was comfortable and I love all the pockets!!

Size: There is only 1
Number of Pockets: 9 or so
Max. Load Carried: 40lbs
Height of Owner: 5'6"
Price Paid: $120

I have been hiking and backpacking for 20 some years and out of all the packs I've worn this is the best pack I have ever had. It is easily adjustable to any torso size, holds a lot of gear!!!! It is extremely comfortable even when loads exceed 70 lbs.!!! It is extremely durable and tough all around even when hauling climbing gear into a base camp. It sits well and balances out well on hazardous mountain terrain.

I do own a Crestone Women's by North Face and it doesn't even come close to the Red Cloud. The North Face is durable but cannot haul gear for long base camp/climbing trips plus the hip belt on the North Face is constantly loosening up which is a great annoyance while trekking but with the Red Cloud you will never have a problem with the hip belt, it stays put!!! Plus the mesh pockets and zippered pockets are great for organizing gear and it is hydration compatible and I have to say is just an excellent all round pack!!!!! If you buy it you will not be disappointed!!!!

Design: front/top loading internal
Size: 5000 cubic inches
Number of Pockets: 6
Max. Load Carried: 85 lbs.
Height of Owner: 5 feet 6 inches
Price Paid: $180 CDN

This is a great backpack. I am a 31-year-old woman and I have been backpacking for about 15 years. I used to carry the old men's external frame that my dad got me at a garage sale in my teens, then I got a women's external frame and thought... wow!... There really is a difference between men's and women's backpacks. This one doesn't bounce against my tail bone like the men's did.

So I started trying on different women's internal frame backpacks and fell in love with the Kelty Shadow's (3500?) feel. BUT it doesn't offer a sleeping bag compartment like I wanted and a friend talked me into getting more cubic inches (5000 instead of 3500) since I have a 3-year-old who backpacks with us, and I now need more room to store his food too.

This is the first backpack I have owned that I don't have to overstuff. In fact I have room left over. Everything has a place and it fits nicely. The frame can also be bent to your personal spinal curves, and it is of course adjustable like all of the new internal frames mostly are. It is so comfortable, the other day I wore it while doing chores to get used to it, and practically forgot it was on my back. It does not put pressure on my shoulders like the old ones did, but distributes everything nicely. My mom who is only 5' 2" (5 inches shorter than I) tried mine on and was surprised at how comfy it was. It is about 5lbs 13 oz.

I am very happy with it, and it is well worth purschasing especially since Kelty keeps it at an affordable price.

If I could change anything I might shoot to make it around 2 or 3 lbs with some kind of fancy space age frame like some have...but then they would probably charge that is more of a personal thing for me... I am always oz. shaving now that I have kid food/gear to carry.

Very nice backpack overall.

-Stephanie in Cincinnati

Design: front loading...but with several ways to load it
Size: 5000
Number of Pockets: 5? plus inside main organizer
Max. Load Carried: 20lbs ( i carry the bulk of my water in canteens)
Height of Owner: 5' 7"
Price Paid: $139 plus shipping

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