After 40 years, I am repurchasing backpacking gear. My old Kelty BB5 pack has been consigned to the dust bin of history, and in its place has arrived a new Kelty RedCloud90 which was had for almost 50 percent off from Cabelas. The total was $112.48.
In 1971, the Kelty BB5 pack and frame were sold separately for a total of $54. Running that through a CPI calculator, that's the equivalent of $332 in today's dollars.
First impression of the new pack is that the quality of the thing is higher than the old Kelty BB5, and the engineering is in a different league too. Evolution is a real thing? Who knew?
The pack looked small when it came out of the box because all the straps were cinched all the way down. When I started loosening those, it started to look like the volume I need. The internal volume on this pack is 5300-5500 cubic inches.
There is a nice grow-bag sleeve extension at the top of the pack to help keep things dry even without a rain fly, and a very good hip belt (with pockets!) that is so different from my old BB5 belt that's it's like going from a blanket palett to a Sealy Posturepedic mattress.
The BIG deal, which might not be obvious to all, is that all those straps means the load can be cinched tight to the body which means you are less likely to get levered backward or sideways -- a big deal when you are pulling 50-60 pounds up and down a mountain.
The top of the pack floats upward to accommodate the main grow-bag, and also comes off to make a sling pack for day trips. There is a space for an internal hydration bladder, big and deep side pockets, a "stuff it" area for quick storage of shed clothes, internal pockets for the daily stuff (chew bars and sprays). Daisy chain attachments points on the outside are the for strap ons (ice ax, fishing rod, rifle).
All in all it looks pretty great, and like it was actually designed by someone who has walked a few hundred miles.
This is my first internal frame pack. These new packs are narrower than my old box external frame pack, with the sleeping bag compartment integral to the bag and the frame. That said, there are straps below for an ensolite pad, which I prefer to the new-fangled blow up mattresses.
The new 4 pound 12 oz. MountainSmith Morrison tent (two doors, two vestibules) came yesterday evening, and it fits like a fire plug at the bottom of the pack. I will set up the tent tomorrow when it's dry and the lawn is cut (it's two weeks past due because of rain), but a tent will be a huge tech leap forward too, as I have been been a rain fly-alone kind of guy in the past. As weights have come down on other things, however, I figure I can afford to get dry and spend nights more-or-less bug free.