Hiking/Backpacking/Camping/back pack gear
I have the opportunity to purchase either the kelty red cloud 6650, kelty red cloud 5400, or the osprey talon 44. All these packs have been used slightly but are in excellent condition. I also have the opportunity to purchase the north face terra 65 brand new. All these packs are available for purchase around $100. I am looking for a quality pack that can handle on average 3-4 day hikes with all the necessary gear. There is always the possibility that I might try week long trip one day but 3 days is about all I can get off for now. Which pack would you recommend based on quality, durability and storage?
You are looking for a pack that will handle two to three day trips and possibly a week long trip. Since it sounds like most of your trips would be closer to three day trips, I would buy a pack with that in mind. The two packs I would rule out right a way are the Osprey 44 and the Red Cloud 6650. The Osprey is only 2600 cu in is good size for a large day pack or for overnight, but for two to three nights out, it’s a little small. The Red Cloud 6650 is way too big. I have a friend that has a 6500 cu in pack and he can get two weeks of gear into that thing. I think it would be so under filled it wouldn’t ride right and would just be a hassle.
I like both the Red Cloud 5400 and the North Face 65 (I’m assuming you are talking about a Terra 65?). Both would be more than enough for two to three day trips. Both would work for longer trips. If you used the North Face bag on a longer trip you would need to be more creative when packing your gear. Both of these packs are are similar; both are top loaders. The Kelty has a few more external pockets. These are nice for gear you access all the time (eliminates the hassle of digging through your pack). The bonnet on this pack covers to a fanny pack which is nice for day hikes from base camp. The Terra 65 is a little more streamlined; mainly do to the size difference. It does not have as many extra pockets. Both have divided sleeping bag storage, which is nice.
What I would do is try on both of these packs and load them with about10 % of your body weight If you are buying either of these form a outdoor retailer they should have different size sand bags that can be packed into the bags to simulate gear. Make sure they are adjusted correctly and then walk around for 15 min. I say the most comfortable one wins. At $100 either is a good deal. One more thing to consider, you mentioned the North Face pack is new. The North Face warranties their gear against defects for as long as you own the product. This is something to consider.