It would be nice to find good, honest outdoor gear reviews online, but that is difficult at best these days it seems. I’m looking for a new pack. Nothing fancy, just big enough to hold enough stuff for a night or two out. I also want a good suspension system though, something with better support than just a set of shoulder straps. In my case, I’m interested in the Kelty Raven 2500 and the Amron (Kelty) MAP 3500. I also looked at the Mystery Ranch Komodo Dragon, but it’s smaller than what I want (2000 cu. in) and too expensive for my budget ($375). So it was between the Raven 2500 and the MAP 3500. All I need to do is find some good reviews online to help me decide. Fire up Google, type in “raven 2500 vs MAP 3500 reviews” and…
Outdoor gear reviews mostly suck…
Every review I could find on either pack was on a vendor’s web site or it was one of those crappy cut-and paste “reviews” where the “author” cuts and pastes the manufacture’s product description, adds a sappy intro and conclusion, lots of “buy it here” links, and enough keyword stuffing to get the page to rank high with Google. In other words, every outdoor gear review I could find online for these two packs was absolute crap…
In search of a better review…
Since Google wasn’t any help, I turned to YouTube. I’m not really a big fan of outdoor gear reviews on YouTube, but sometimes you have to take what you can get. I did manage to find a fairly decent review of the Raven 2500 and another of the Map 3500. These gave me what I needed to know to make my choice. I chose… both.
Raven 2500 and MAP 3500 – why both?
After reading the product pages and watching the YouTube reviews, I decided on both packs. Both have features I like, but the Raven seems better for some uses and the MAP better for others.
The MAP 3500 is slightly smaller (2300 cu. in). The main compartment is panel loading, which basically means the whole side of the compartment opens up. It also has a separate front pocket with organization for pencils, etc. It also has a padded compartment for eyewear – perfect place to put my reading glasses. Each side has a mesh water bottle pocket, and there’s also a separate hydration sleeve in the main pack if you want or need to carry more water. Best of all it can be had in either of my two favorite colors, desert tan and foliage green. I think it will be a perfect summer pack.
The Raven 2500 is a little bigger (2500cu. in) and about a pound heavier than the MAP. It lacks the eye wear compartment but I think I can work around that. Instead of water bottle pockets, it has zippered pouches on the side. I think this will be a great fall/winter pack. Unfortunately it only comes in black or coyote brown. I think they’re both ugly, but I settled for the coyote brown.
Coming soon – my own outdoor gear reviews…
Since most of the outdoor gear reviews I’ve found are nothing more than advertisements and click bait, maybe I should start writing my own. In fact, I’m going to. I’ll have the Kelty this week so I’ll get to test drive it over Christmas break. I’ll get the MAP next month when my bank account recovers from my Christmas shopping. One more thing… if I do manage to find a great online review of a piece of outdoor gear I’m interested in, I’ll post a link instead of cluttering up the internet with duplicate content. OK, rant over.
Kelty Raven 2500 product page
Kelty Raven 2500 video review
Amron (Kelty) MAP 3500 product page
Kelty MAP 3500 video review