Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gear Review - Coleman Backpack

Back in October when The Outdoor Blogger Network had their 1 year anniversary extravaganza, they hosted a week of give-aways.  It was awesome!!  They gave away some great gear and I was thrilled beyond words to win a new backpack.  Not just any backpack either - this was a Coleman RTX 3500i.

I was in desperate need of a new backpack and this one had a laptop compartment in it, which put this piece of gear right at the top of the list of items I was hoping to win.  I cannot believe I won this!

According to the Coleman website, they call this color red, but I thinks it's more of a burnt orange.  I really like the color.  This backpack has so many great features, so I am going to list them right off their website:

•  35 liter capacity - front panel loading
  • •  Dimensions (LxW): 17.5"x12"
  • •  Main pocket, plus four other pockets, great for stowing options
  • •  Large stretch mesh front pocket
  • •  Small front stash pocket for smaller items, quick access
  • •  Small internal hidden pocket for items you want to be hard to find
  • •  External side entry laptop pocket
  • •  Water bottle pockets
  • •  Internal organization / key clip
  • •  Bottom lash straps, great for securing items to your backpack
  • •  Dual side compression straps to compress the size of the pack around loaded equipment
  • •  1" removable waist belt, so heavy loads can be carried more comfortably
  • •  Cell phone pocket on shoulder strap
  • •  600D ripstop polyester, tough durable material
  • •  Reflective tape on shoulder straps for additional safety
  • •  Made in Vietnam

Here you can see the cell phone pocket, the front chest straps and the waist strap.  The cell phone pocket is a really nice feature and makes it so easy to hear that phone ring and keeps it within quick reach.  I was almost afraid that this pack would be too large for my small build.  I'm about 5' 2" and I loved the way this pack snuggled against my back.  The last pack I had was way too large for me and was uncomfortable to wear.  This back was excellent!  It's nicely proportioned and balanced.  I liked the width of the shoulder straps and the padding on them as well.

The interior has a variety of different sized pockets that are secured by velcro or zippers.  Plus a clip that I use for my car keys, and a place to stow pens, pencils, knives, or small tools and flashlights.

There are huge mesh water bottle pockets on each side of the pack as well, which I really like.  My old backpack didn't even have a water bottle pocket, so this is a great new feature for me.

The outside front of the pack also has 2 large pockets for stuff that you need to grab in a hurry, and they are huge.  

The laptop pocket is nice and roomy, plus it has interior padding to keep my laptop safely nestled away from harm.

The pack also has sturdy stitching all the way around...

And the bottom of the pack has extra straps for attaching extra equipment.

This backpack utilizes 2 different types of zipper pulls.  Two like this one on the laptop pocket....

And then the rest of the pockets have strap pulls on the zippers like this one....

For me, personally, I just liked the string type pull on the laptop zippers better.  

The Coleman RTX 3500i backpack is nice and roomy.  More than big enough for me and the type of use it gets from me.  So far I haven't even had to open up the compression straps, so if you need a pack that holds a lot of gear, you will probably like this.  

I took this backpack along on our autumn deer hunting trips and it was ideal for all of our hunting equipment, a lunch, multiple drink bottles, my ipad and extra clothes.   I've used it on multiple hikes in the woods when we were geocaching and all my geocaching gear easily fit inside with room to spare.  I'm looking forward to my next hike in the woods when I can take my new collapsible hiking poles with me.  I can simply attach them to either the outside of this pack, or fit them inside.  On our last road trip I used the pack instead of taking a purse and my laptop bag.  I loved the multiple pockets for all my cords and wires.  In fact, the next time I fly to Florida I think I'll do the same thing and use the backpack to take on the plane with me instead of my purse and laptop bag.  This pack will actually be easier to organize, will hold way more stuff and with it on my back, by hands are free!

My son was actually eyeing this backpack and mentioned how nice it would be for him to use at college.  You know, it could hold all his books, his laptop, school supplies, water bottle.  Nice try and keep dreaming my dear, this backpack is mine!!  LOL!!

What didn't I like about this backpack?  There really isn't anything I don't like about it.  But I will say this....If I'm going on a day long hike, or longer, this will be a great pack because of all the room and pockets.  I also think I'll like it when I travel by plane or if I need to tote my laptop along.  However, for a quick hike where you don't need a lot of gear, I would opt for a smaller pack.  There's no need for such a roomy pack if you only need to tote some basic essentials.  Since we spend a great deal of time geocaching and a lot of our hikes are 3 miles round trip or less, I would use my smaller day pack for those.  But for anything longer than that, where I want to take extra clothes, more gear, a lunch, and multiple water bottles, then the Coleman RTX 3500i will be perfect and will definitely be my go-to pack.

I'd like to thank The Outdoor Blogger Network again for hosting the give away and letting me have this gear review opportunity.  And thank you to Coleman for making such a great product.  I'm really lucky to have this as part of my essential gear.  

The product featured in this gear review was provided to me at no cost.  I currently hold no association with Coleman Products.  As with all independent gear and product reviews at Snug Harbor Bay, I try my best to keep my reviews honest and unbiased. If something is good, it deserves 4 stars; if it stinks, I’ll let you know that too.  


  1. Lots of great features - gotta love giveaways:)

  2. Happy New Year Kim!!! It looks like the Cadillac of backpacks! Congrats on winning!! I hope you had a wonderful holiday and are enjoying the snow. You might need to pack some hand and feet warmers in there on your next hike. :)

  3. Sounds like a candidate for the perfect backpack! Good for day hikes AND as carry-on when flying! Only thing I missed was a padded hip strap to help distribute the weight more comfortably.

    Great review Kim! :o)

  4. What a great backpack! We don't go on long hikes but we carry day packs a lot! ♥


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