The Kelty Ruckus 28 Roll Top is a fully featured technical daypack loaded with features that can be used for many different types of day hikes, peakbagging, and hut-to-hut trips. Weighing just 1 pound 6 ounces, I’ve been impressed with how comfortable it is on long, hard, and fast hikes.
Roll top closure
Don’t let the simplicity of a roll top backpack fool you. Roll top packs are faster to pack and unpack than packs with top lid pockets. When you don’t need all of the space in your pack, simply roll down the excess fabric just like a dry bag stuff sack.
Externally accessible hydration reservoir pocket
The Ruckus has an externally accessible hydration pocket located behind the shoulder straps that makes it easy to refill your water reservoir without having to unpack and repack your pack. There are hooks behind the shoulder straps to hang your reservoir and if ever leaks, the water will drain out a drainage hole at the bottom of the hydration pocket.
Side mesh pockets
The Ruckus has stretchy side mesh pockets that can be used to carry water bottles if you prefer them over a hydration reservoir. These are reachable so you can pull them out while wearing the pack. The fit can be a bit tight however if you overload the main pocket, so you might be better off using a hydration reservoir with this pack, hanging your bottles off the shoulder straps, or packing them in the main compartment.
Rear shove-it pocket
No one wants to stop while you put away your jacket or pull one out of your pack. Just shove-it into the Ruckus’ rear shove-it pocket until you need it. With an adjustable top strap, you can also use this pocket to hold a climbing or bicycle helmet. The shove-it pocket also has a zippered accessory pocket on the back where you can stow your wallet and keys.
Trekking poles/ice axe holders
If you only like to use your trekking poles when hiking downhill or need to carry ice axes, the Ruckus has a pair of ice axe loops and elastic shaft holders to carry them securely.
The Ruckus has a hip belt with padded side wings that are wider than you’d normally find on packs of this volume, making it easier to carry heavier gear because it will rest on your hips and not your shoulders. The hip belt also has two full size zippered pockets with durable weather resistant pockets. The pockets are large enough to store a smart phone, point and shoot camera, or snack bars. The hip belt just fits me with a 36″ inch waist plus a heavy sweater, but if your waist is bigger than 38″, you should probably look for a daypack with a longer hip belt.
Air mesh covered back panel
The back panel has four separate pads covered with an air mesh lining to wick away perspiration with a big air channel for extra ventilation. Back sweat doesn’t bother me, but the padding is still surprisingly comfortable. The hip belt and shoulder pads are also lined with the same air mesh, which has some give to it, so it conforms to your curves. The frame behind the pads is a thin plastic sheet that has some give in it which limits the amount of gear you can carry with the Ruckus, but no less than you’d expect with a beefier technical day pack.
The Kelty Ruckus 28 is a versatile technical daypack and a real design departure from Kelty’s traditional backpacks. Weighing just 1 pounds 6 ounces, it doesn’t have the traditional top lid pocket found on Kelty’s other packs and uses a roll top closure like many ultralight backpacking gear makers. Roll top packs are great because they’re easy to pack and unpack, and because they provide additional top compression: simply roll up the excess fabric to take up unused space and stabilize your load.
The other features on this pack pick up on the streamlined and minimalist design pattern with all of the technical features you’d expect on a multi-sport pack including side mesh pockets, a rear shove-it pocket, and a substantial hip belt. The Ruckus is a great pack for day hikes, scrambling, and kicking around in the backcountry. Priced at $89, it’s also a very good value for a technical day pack with this capacity.
- Volume: 1710 in3 / 28 L
- Weight: 1 lb 6 oz
- Torso Fit Range: One Size. Kelty does not specify a torso length range for the Ruckus but it just fits me and I have a torso length of 18.5″. If your torso length is longer than mine, this pack will probably be too short for you.
- Dimensions: 20 x 10 x 9 in / 51 x 25 x 23 cm
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by MassDrop.com. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.
Massdrop is an online retailer that sells niche products to enthusiasts at a discount. If you’re not familiar with them you should sign up on their website and check out the member deals that they’re offering. They’re one of the few retailers that sell ultralight backpacking gear at a good discount.
Support SectionHiker.com, where we actually field test the products we review. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site at no additional cost to you.