Kelty Map 3500 vs Maxpedition Falcon II backpack Review

Unfortunately the Kelty Map 3500 is being phased out. But Kelty has a great alternative – the Kelty Tactical Raven 2500 that is similar in design but smaller in size. We initially wrote this comparison review in 2013 and are now updating information to be current in 2023.

If your reading this blog you are looking for a backpack.

You may be a backpacker, military operator, climber, or just packing up for your next big adventure.

In this comparison review, we will analyze two popular backpack models: the Kelty Tactical Raven 2500 and the Maxpedition Falcon II. Both backpacks offer unique features and cater to different user needs. Let’s examine their key attributes and compare their performance.

Design and Construction:

Kelty 2500: The Kelty 2500 features a durable 600D polyester construction, providing strength and longevity. It has a compact design with a single main compartment, a front pocket, and side mesh pockets for water bottle storage.

Maxpedition Falcon II: The Maxpedition Falcon II is crafted from robust 1050D nylon and boasts reinforced stitching for exceptional durability. It showcases a larger design with a spacious main compartment, multiple pockets, and exterior attachment points.

Storage Capacity and Organization:

Kelty 2500: With a capacity of 2,500 cubic inches, the Kelty Tactical Raven 2500 backpack offers sufficient space for day trips or overnight adventures. It provides a straightforward organization system with its main compartment and additional pockets for essential items.

Maxpedition Falcon II: The Maxpedition Falcon II boasts a higher capacity of 1,525 cubic inches, making it suitable for longer excursions. It offers a well-organized interior with multiple compartments, including a hydration bladder pocket, admin panel, and external attachment points for gear expansion.

Comfort and Suspension System:

Kelty 2500: The Kelty 2500 incorporates adjustable padded shoulder straps and a removable waist belt to ensure a comfortable fit. However, its suspension system may not provide as much support for heavy loads or extended wear.

Maxpedition Falcon II: The Maxpedition Falcon II backpack prioritizes comfort with its ergonomic shoulder straps, sternum strap, and padded back panel with ventilation. Its suspension system offers better weight distribution and allows for a more comfortable carrying experience, even during prolonged use.

Durability and Weather Resistance:

Kelty 2500: Constructed with durable polyester fabric, the Kelty 2500 offers satisfactory durability for regular outdoor use. While it may withstand light wear and tear, it lacks the same level of ruggedness as the Maxpedition Falcon II.
Maxpedition Falcon II: The Maxpedition Falcon II is renowned for its rugged 1050D nylon construction and reinforced stress points. It excels in durability, offering excellent resistance to water, abrasion, and harsh weather conditions.

Versatility and Specialized Features:

Kelty 2500: The Kelty 2500 is a straightforward backpack designed for day trips and shorter adventures. It does not feature specialized compartments or attachment points for customization.

Maxpedition Falcon II: The Maxpedition Falcon II stands out in terms of versatility. It offers a wide range of specialized features, including a unique clamshell opening, external compression straps, concealed carry sleeve, and MOLLE webbing. These features enhance organization, customization, and compatibility with additional accessories.

Price and Value:

Kelty 2500: The Kelty 2500 falls into a more affordable price range, making it a budget-friendly option for individuals seeking a reliable daypack for light outdoor activities. You can find it at for $239.

Maxpedition Falcon II: The Maxpedition Falcon II is priced higher due to its exceptional construction quality, specialized features, and overall versatility. It offers a higher value for users who require a durable and feature-rich backpack for extended trips and demanding environments. You can find it at for $111

Kelty Tactical Raven 2500 Backpack Review

I have used this extensively for periods of a day to multi day activity. It has held up well and still looks good! I like the thought that was put into the organization of this bag, it works. It’s light yet durable, the perfect combination.

I purchased this pack to replace my 10 year old Kelty Zephyr and it does an absolutely amazing job. The internal aluminum frame can be custom tailored to fit YOUR frame. The Kelty Tactical Raven 2500 backpack is extremely comfortable and highly adjustable. I only wished it had MOLLE. I look forward to trying to wear this one out in the next 10 years.

Maxpedition Falcon 2 Review

The Falcon II Backpack is the go-to backpack if your looking for a durable, ergonomic, and well designed pack. This medium bodied pack is thoroughly constructed with 1050-Denier water & abrasion resistant nylon; yet its ergonomic shape, padded shoulder straps and sturdy sternum & waist support make it easy to wear.

The Maxpedition Falcon II is one of my favorite packs. It is a medium transport pack that I use for hiking in the woods with my dog. I carry an extra rain jacket and plenty of food and water. It could hold enough light gear for an overnighter if you needed. But it also has plenty of external tie-downs to strap on extra gear or clothing. I’m sure it would do well for rucking, since that’s what my wilderness country bow hunts amount to.

I bought this bag in 2009 from an Army Surplus store at full retail price. I was trying to find a deal but I went ahead and got it. Worth every penny. I saw it in person before buying so the surprise was not the lack of size, it was the ACTUAL size once you filled her. This bag expands in just the right way to make everything from 72hrs worth of clothing to my 15 inch laptop fit.

The bag fits fully packed under the seat of a larger airliner. The load is comfortable, and with the external compression straps I’ve stuffed the bag but also held jackets, a tent and a water bottle. The Molle attachments are great because I can add additional compartments, bags, firearm magazine pouches.


The bottom line is that the Kelty Tactical Raven 2500 and the Maxpedition Falcon II are both solid backpack choices, each with its own strengths and target user preferences. The Kelty 2500 is suitable for individuals seeking a straightforward and affordable daypack, while the Maxpedition Falcon II offers a more robust construction, advanced features, and enhanced customization options for those with more demanding outdoor needs. There is a big price difference between the two so if you are on a budget then the Maxpedition may be the way to go.

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