Confession: I am a huge backpack girl.
And when I vacation, I enjoy an adventurous nature expedition as much as sight-seeing in the big, bustling city. I like to travel light, so I need a multifunctional, easy-to-organize, and comfortable backpack to carry all my stuff in all situations.
Putting all of these facts together makes it hard to find a bag that fits all my needs. But…
Kelty Redwing 32 has got my back.
This backpack, a smaller option of Kelty’s best-selling Redwing bag, has all the features and space you could need. Whether you’re wandering around town or spending a day on the trail, this bag is a winner.
But, what specifically makes it so great?
Kelty Redwing 32: A Thorough Review
You leave the house Monday morning and don’t come back until nine, ten hours later. Bouncing from work to the gym, to the store…you’ve got a lot to do. But also, a lot to carry – from a toothbrush to your laptop, or even layers & layers of clothes to keep you warm in the winter.
If that’s you, I totally get it.
On such days, you NEED a backpack that’s both spacious and light, compact yet comfortable.
Redwing 32 fits those requirements to the T.
Now, let’s dig in and see all its perks.
Since I am a “glass half full” person, let’s start with all the positive features:
With 32L volume, one main interior pocket, and six external multifunctional ones, this backpack has a place for everything.
It has a top zipper pocket so that your small items can always be ready-to-go. Its front compartment will keep more of your smaller miscellaneous items and electronics safe.
Also, on the sides, you get another two secure zipper pockets AND two stretchy bottle holders. The additional stash pocket allows you to hold some extra equipment like a raincoat or a sweater with ease. Finally, at the bottom, it even has holes for your trekking poles or similar gear.
Between all these pockets, you can see how easy it is to stay organized with this bag.
This backpack’s hefty dimensions (22 x 14 x 11 inches) and its capacity of 32L make it a great “big smaller backpack.”
But those are just numbers. To put them into perspective, here’s a list of everything that can fit into Redwing 32:
- First aid kit
- Fire Starting kit
- Cookware kit
- 3 water bottles
- Hiking poles
- Bug spray & sunscreen
- Food and trail snacks
…Whew! That’s almost all of the 10 Essentials Needed For Camping.
That means that whether it’s your laptop, clothes, various small items, and electronics or water containers, and hiking gear, the Kelty Redwing 32 has got you covered.
Now, you might be wondering if this bag is suitable for day-to-day life…or outdoor trips. The answer is both, and here’s why.
The combination of large side compression straps and a full access U-zipper makes this backpack function both as a top and a panel loader. So if you’re in a rush, you can just open the top part of the backpack – otherwise, you can fully open it like a suitcase. You even have a retractable grab handle available, so you can quickly turn this backpack into a travel bag.
Two hidden daisy chain loops allow you to attach some additional gear, as well as the extra lifter straps. This means that if your pack’s inside is full, you can load even MORE gear on the outside.
On top of all that space, this bag’s pockets’ versatility helps you stay organized and have a place for all your gear. The main internal pocket has a dual-use sleeve that can be used as a hydration socket or a laptop compartment. So unlike other larger bags, you won’t get lost in this bag digging for your sunscreen.
The hip belt can be tucked away for a more neat look if you are just running around town. On the sides, you got your tool loops where you can hold trekking poles or other tools for your hikes out in nature.
With all that carrying capacity, you might think this bag is uncomfortable. I’ve got news for you bucko, this is one of the most comfortable bags out there!
The frame sheet is made of sturdy and rugged High-Density Polyethylene plastic. Combined with a firm lumbar pad, it provides plenty of stiffness and support for your back. At all times, you will be able to comfortably endure your carrying weight load.
The back panel is designed to allow the air to flow, keeping your back from sweating. Both the rear panel, shoulder straps, and waist belts are covered with the Hex mesh contributing to more ventilation and less back sweat.
Additionally, the shoulder straps and waist belt have nice anatomical curving remaining comfortable at all times. Thanks to that, you can carry the backpack for hours without feeling uncomfortable at all.
Now for some bad news. Like everything else under the sun (besides tacos), the Kelty Redwing 32 is not perfect. Let’s check them out.
The first note on this backpack is that it’s made of poly 420D small back Stafford material. That’s just a boring, technical way of saying it isn’t really 100% waterproof. It’s really more like water-resistant.
Some people have taken it out in some light rain and didn’t experience any problems. In contrast, others were hesitant to even put it on the ground. As for me, this is the biggest downside to this item.
Whatever the case might be, it’s a great backpack, as long you are aware of its limitations.
You could do well with all backpacks by buying a tarp or a backpack cover to help cover you in the rain. This is especially helpful if you are carrying electronics or books, both of which are “valuables,” in my opinion.
I always prefer functionality over form, so I don’t mind that this backpack isn’t exactly designed by Gucci. It gets the job done – it helps me stay organized, prepared for the day, and it allows me to grab my smaller items at all times.
It’s big enough for all the stuff I need in various travel or everyday situations. Yet, it’s small enough not to seem too luggage-y when I’m circling around town. It comes in three colors, Ponderosa Pine, Twilight Blue, and black, and again, being a function over form kinda gal, I find black one able to do it just fine for me.
However, suppose you’re more fashion-forward than me (which, let’s face it, isn’t that hard). In that case, you might choose a different everyday backpack and use this one only for traveling and adventuring.
I’m not going to lie – this backpack is a little bit pricey. If you’re not looking for a high-end hiking backpack, the Kelty 32 is not for you.
However, if you need a backpack that’ll be there for you through thick and thin, then pick this bad boy up. You’ll get a multifunctional, super-organized, and featherlight bag for a price that makes sense.
As I said, some of us might not care about the design or labels. We would benefit from a more straightforward bag with higher functionality and larger storage space, even for less money. In that case, here are some alternatives.
Outdoor 3 Day Expandable 40-64L
Like the Kelty 32, this one also has tons of compartments and gear holders for your stuff and a removable waist strap for comfort.
Also, its exterior is tear-proof and waterproof. It comes with more robust zippers and a reinforced handle, meaning it can carry more weight than the Kelty.
The reason why it’s called the “Expandable 40-64L” is that it’s default volume is 40L, but it can expand all the way up to 64L. Most backpacks can open up a little, but not 24 liters like this one, making it great for hikers who tend to overpack.
The downside in comparison to the Redwing 32 is that its design is a little less stylish. Plus, it only has one stretchy water bottle holder to hold your prized HydroFlask. All in all, when you weigh in the bag’s price, it’s a fair trade-off.
MOUNTAINTOP 40L Unisex Hiking/Camping Backpack
Let’s nip this in the bud – the Mountaintop has fewer pockets and is a bit harder to organize than the Kelty 32. That’s just a fact, jack.
On the other hand, it is completely waterproof and also comes with a built-in rain cover, tucked in its own compartment when not in use. These water protection measures outweigh the downsides, in my opinion.
Unlike the Redwing 32, this backpack comes in countless amounts of colors, so you have more options to choose from, making this item more compatible with your style.
If you don’t mind paying extra for a quality waterproof backpack, this backpack might be a better choice.
Kelty Redwing 44 Tactical
Then the Kelty Redwing 44 Tactical is a perfect match for you. It comes in four colors and is made out of higher-quality and longer-lasting materials.
It is definitely a better choice for longer backpacking trips or weekend hikes. Keep in mind, though, because it’s bigger than the Redwing 32; it’s also a bit heavier.
Unlike the 32, the 44 Tactical doesn’t have a fixed torso size, which means it can be adjusted to fit everybody. However, I noticed that the other parts aren’t as adjustable as with the 32. This trade-off makes sense for long-distance but means it won’t be as comfortable as a daily driver.
To wrap things up, here’s a summary of all the bags covered today:
Kelty Redwing 32
Kelty Redwing 44
|2lbs, 32L||3.9lbs, expandable 39L to 64L||2.2lbs, 40-60L||3.1lbs, 44L|
|Not water resistant||Water-resistant||Extremely water-resistant||Very water-resistant|
|2 water pockets||1 water pocket||2 water pockets||2 water pockets|
|2 color combinations||8 color combinations||36 color combinations||2 color combinations|
To sum up, Kelty Redwing 32 is a great deal when you consider its functionality, weight, comfort, and design.
Super organized and spacious, this versatile backpack will take care of your various needs while keeping you comfortable. For a multifunctional, light day backpack, the Kelty Redwing 32 is an excellent choice within a reasonable price.