Better than the older version
I recently got the 2012 version of the Kestrel 32 and am very impressed. I've only used it on a short hike so far but it carries very well; better than the 2009 version for me.
While the older version of the pack didn't seem fragile at all, this one feels even sturdier. Very good build quality. The hip belt pockets can be open closed with one hand.
There's plenty of room for gear for a full dayhike and will fit as carry-on if using it for traveling. I'm very happy I picked this up. Backcountry's delivery to Canada was very fast (less than a week).