This post is part of a series in which ladies on the road offer a review of their backpack. Today’s post is from Melissa who travels with a carry-on sized backpack!
My name is Melissa, I’m a public servant for the Federal Government, and an avid traveler from Washington, DC. I work to support my traveling habit! I spent a year studying in Liverpool, England which is how I got bit by the travel bug. I’m currently refining my packing lists for Montreal and Antigua this fall, and starting to plan and save for adventures following the US Men’s National Team around North and Central America and the Caribbean with my friends for World Cup Qualifiers next year!
What’s your backpack brand and model? How much does this backpack typically cost?
My backpack is the Kelty Redwing 2650. Kelty doesn’t sell the 2650 anymore, but they sell the 44L which is the same size and practically the same bag. Prices range from $69-$100.
>> BUY the Kelty Redwing on Amazon
How long have you had your backpack and where have you traveled with it?
I received my bag as Christmas in 2009. It’s been to England 4 or 5 times both as carry-on and checked luggage, NYC, and San Fran. It will also be the first bag I reach for when packing for Montreal at the end
of August and Antigua in October.
What factors were most important to you in choosing a backpack? How did you come to choose this one?
I wanted a bag that would be easy to run through Manchester Picadilly and London Paddington stations with, so it was important that the bag not be cumbersome, comfortable to carry for long periods of times. I’m also an incredibly organized packer so pockets are important.
This was actually the only bag I seriously considered when researching bags because it was the only one I liked that was a front loading bag. My co-worker has the Redwing 3100 so I was able to look the bag over, try it on, and get a review from a person I trusted and knew. I eventually decided the 3100 was a bit big for me, but the 2650 seemed perfect. I also know several people who own Kelty products and spoke very highly of the brand.
What do you like most about your backpack? Any down sides?
I LOVE all the pockets for organizing things and the compression straps allow me to carry my pillow (my “luxury” item) without taking up space in the bag or carrying it in my hand. I just roll that sucker up, strap it on my bag and I’m good to go! I also really like the waist belt. I’ve carried this bag for hours without any discomfort.
When I went to San Fransisco, I had the genius idea to travel sans waist belt since I wasn’t going to be carrying the bag that much. Never again! And finally, the daisy chain lets me securely strap my neck pillow out of the way. I’ve also been known to tie tennis shoes to the daisy chain to make room in my bag and hope they make it to my destination!
The only con for me is the shoulder straps irritate my super-sensitive skin. But I just make sure I wear a t-shirt on days I’m going to be carrying the bag and it’s fine.
Tell us about the fit and comfort level of your backpack.
As a 5’6″ female, I wanted something on the smaller side, which this bag is. The bottom of the bag hits right at my waist where it’s most comfortable for me. As long as I pack it correctly (and I’ve had a few errors in that department) I have no problems with the bag. The mesh ventilated back helps keep me cool… well as cool as you can stay when running through train stations and airports!
If you want to take your backpack as carry-on luggage, can you?
Yes! That was my number one requirement when researching. I get really anxious checking bags on flights that are not the leg from my final vacation destination to home, so I like that I can pack a lot of stuff in this bag and still be carry-on compliant. Of course, if it’s over packed, it won’t fit, but I’m only overpacked heading home so it’s not an issue for me.
Have you found the size to be too small, just right, or too large?
I originally regretted not getting the 3100 as I was packing for my first trip with this bag, but now that I’ve learned how to pack it properly, as well as what’s essential and non-essential for me, I find this bag is just right.
Overall, would you recommend your backpack?
I would! It’s spacious and easy to keep organized. It’s also easy to carry for long periods of time and has held up really well in the 2.5 years I’ve been using it.