One of the most vital prerequisites for a great trip is hassle-free travel preparation, which is something that can’t really be done without a proper backpack.
And by this, I mean a well-made, durable, and genuinely practical bag that is going to last you for years. One of the world’s most well-known manufacturers of such backpacks is the US-based company called Kelty.
A renowned and popular brand, Kelty has been around for the last 70 years and is held in high regard by many trekkers and travelers everywhere around the world. Although it also manufactures tents, sleeping bags, and other kinds of camping gear, the company is well-known for its quality backpacks.
I hope that my best Kelty backpack reviews will help you pick the best backpack for your needs.
Kelty Coyote 105
Let’s start off the list with a Kelty backpack that is absolutely essential to all those who are really serious about hiking. As its name suggests, the main selling point of this bag is its volume – with whopping 105 liters of space, this backpack provides enough room for all of one’s hiking essentials and accessories.
Although it’s a bit heavy (5 lbs 8 oz), Kelty Coyote 105 is an extremely durable bag due to the fact that it features beefy suspension and burly materials. However, it’s not the most comfortable backpack on my list – the foam that’s inside its waist belt and shoulder straps feel somewhat mushy.
Where this bag really shines is the overall ease of use. The entire thing zips open just like a regular suitcase, and it comes equipped with a ton of truly useful pockets, as well as internal loops to hang items on. What is more, its lid turns into a basic fanny pack.
All in all, Kelty Coyote 105 is a great buy for trekkers and travelers who need a lot of space and pockets for their essentials. It has excellent access, its fabric is super tough, and it’s also one of the sleekest-looking bags in the company’s lineup of hiking backpacks.
- A very adjustable suspension system
- The lid converts into a fanny pack
- Tons of space and pockets
- Could be more comfortable
Kelty Redwing 44
Descending from a long line of genuinely comfortable bags, the Kelty Redwing 44 backpack has a large following among casual hikers. There’s a lot to like about this compact backpack – it’s easy to use, lightweight, and well-featured for a variety of uses. This bag will take you on a hostel-hopping adventure, a rock-climbing escapade, and even overseas.
One of the best things about Kelty Redwing 44 is how comfortable it feels on the back. It comes equipped with an extraordinary suspension system that hugs the wearer’s body and moves together with him/her. This is a well-shaped, compact backpack that feels extremely well-balanced and easy to carry around.
If you’re looking for a bag with a lot of pockets, this one is going to be right up your alley. However, keep in mind that this model is not suitable for thru-hiking. For example, its side pockets are way too small for items like climbing shoes. But still, the bag has enough straps, pouches, and similar features that will help you stay organized on the trail.
All in all, I consider Kelty Redwing 44 to be a very practical backpack that provides an outstanding mix of value and versatility. It is comfortable wherever you go, as it navigates airports adequately and excels at outdoor-oriented travel. If you’re a fast-and-light traveler who often heads to rural destinations, this bag is an excellent choice.
- An exceptionally comfortable bag
- Versatile & practical
- Lots of pockets
- Not for technical use
Kelty Redtail 27
The next Kelty backpack on my list is an all-around bag that you can use to carry loads to the classroom or office but also one that you can take with you on day hikes. As one of the largest daypacks in Kelty’s range of products, it has plenty of organizational features and stands as one of the best travel companions you can find in its price category.
In terms of comfort, I can safely say that there’s quite a bit of padding all over Kelty Redtail 27. Moreover, its shoulder straps are very wide and it fares quite well under heavy loads. However, keep in mind that putting more than 20 pounds of trekking gear and essentials in this bag is when your body will begin to take the brunt of the weight. Also, its waist belt is quite thin.
One of the best things about this Kelty backpack is that it comes equipped with lots of convenient organizational features. For example, its large front pocket has smaller pouches for your phone, headphones, pens, and similar items.
There is also a hydration compartment, which doubles as a laptop sleeve, as well as an ice-ax loop. Bottle pockets are here too, as well as a zippered stash pocket just below the carry handle.
Kelty Redtail 27 is also quite durable and relatively lightweight. And once we combine that with the features listed above, we get a truly versatile daypack that can be used as pretty much anything – a briefcase, a recreation bag, a school bag, or a hiking backpack.
In my opinion, it’s an ideal choice for folks who need something that they’ll be able to carry to work or school but also to occasional camping or hiking trips.
- One of the most versatile Kelty bags
- Well-padded shoulder straps
- Great organizational pockets
- Thin waist belt
Kelty Tactical Raven 2500
Here, we have something a bit more special – a genuine tactical backpack from Kelty. Not only does this bag feature extra reinforcement in some of its sections, but it also fits certain radio systems. It goes without saying, but it also comes equipped with a myriad of pockets and storage solutions.
The most important thing about this Kelty backpack is the fact that it was made to be used with Harris 117 and similar radios. Therefore, it features a special suspension system that fits such devices. One really good thing here is that many other types of radios can fit inside this backpack as well (albeit with slight modification).
Whether you decide to use this backpack as a signal bag or not, you will undoubtedly like the sheer number of organizational features it comes with. There are a lot of pockets here – zippered side pockets, internal pockets, a special security pocket, mesh pockets, and many other sleeves and pouches. In other words, Kelty Tactical Raven 2500 provides more than enough space for all of your trekking essentials.
Overall, this Kelty backpack is one of those extremely versatile bags that can be used by pretty much anyone – backpackers, hikers, campers, and even digital nomads. It’s a well-made, multi-purpose model and certainly a worthwhile investment.
- A plethora of pockets and sleeves
- Fits certain radio systems
Kelty Catalyst 65
The last Kelty bag I’ll be taking a closer look at is Catalyst 65, which is considered by many trekkers to be one of the market’s best backpacks for multi-day hikes.
However, even though it’s well-made and comes equipped with several convenient features, I have to point out that the thing that makes this bag so popular is its relatively affordable price.
At the core of its design is the Perfect-FIT suspension system, which is both very adjustable and comfortable. One part of it that I really liked is the waist belt, as it comes with two-layer padding and it’s HDPE-reinforced.
Tweaking the harness is as easy as it gets and can be done on the move. Finally, the model’s lumbar padding is very generous, but that’s something I totally expected from Kelty.
In terms of durability, the Catalyst 65 combines 450D polyester Oxford with 420D polyester Ball Shadow in its construction. In other words, it feels quite tough, thick, and capable of withstanding daily wear and tear, despite its affordable price.
Besides the large primary hull, the model also has a quick-access top panel, mesh bottle pockets, hip pockets, and a removable back pocket which transforms into a lightweight daypack.
All in all, this is yet another first-rate hiking backpack from Kelty. It is comfortable, durable, and can be easily carried by people of all sizes. Those who don’t mind trading a bit of additional weight for reliability and comfort will find it to be an excellent option.
- Well-padded & full of handy pockets
- Thick, tough, well-woven fabrics
- Relatively affordable
The five Kelty backpacks I’ve analyzed above are, in my opinion, the best ones that this company has ever produced. But which one of them is the best? That’s up to you to decide – while they’re all extremely well-made, each has a unique set of features that may or may not suit your personal preferences and needs.
If you want to see what other alternatives are out there, check out my Osprey vs Kelty comparison. And if you are interested in packs that are more budget-friendly, read my reviews of the best budget hiking backpacks.
I love hiking, backpacking, and camping. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.