The 6 Best External Frame Backpacks
The 6 Best External Frame Backpacks
External frame backpacks are specifically designed for the hiker or hunter to carry heavy loads. Their external frames are rigid suspension systems that are usually made of durable aluminum alloy. The sturdiness of these external frames allows for a person who has been properly fitted for their external frame backpack to easily transfer the weight of their backpack’s load to the hip belt. This helps you to evenly distribute the weight of a heavy load easily, making transportation of a substantial weight easier on the back and shoulders.
External frame backpacks are designed to have a large gap between the frame and the storage area of the backpack itself. This allows for substantial air flow as you use this backpack, making it an excellent option for long hikes or hunting excursions on hot days. Being able to maintain airflow between the pack and the backpackers back can mean the difference between becoming quickly exhausted over the ability to trek on for a few extra hours. Staying cool can help extend the length of your day, and an external frame backpack is perfect for maximizing your comfort as you journey onwards.
Here is a review of the 10 best external frame backpacks.
Kelty Trekker 65 Hiking Backpack
The Kelty brand has been in existence for over 5 decades, making this company a trusted manufacturer of external hiking backpacks. Kelty is known for its durable products, their comfortable designs and their reliable simplicity of use when you’re on a long hiking trip. Of all the external frame backpack makers out there Kelty is a fine choice to consider overall, and the affordability of their products can’t be beat.
This particular features a top loading pocket, making access to your stowed travel gear easily attainable. This backpack can hold up to 65 liters in volume, which is an incredible amount of space for a backpack that doesn’t come off as hefty. The top lid on this backpack converts into a sling pack, and the various zippered pockets help keep you organized throughout your trip.
This external frame backpack is hydration compatible, and the adjustable suspension system is a coveted feature that makes this backpack a flexible option for anyone who needs to adapt their backpack for different needs. This backpack has padded shoulder straps that add comfort as you carry your backpack, a dual density foam waist belt to securely fasten the backpack to your hips, and a sternum strap for added support. This external frame backpack is an excellent choice for your next hiking expedition.
ALPS Outdoor Z Commander + Pack Bag
This external frame backpack has incredible features for any hunter at any skill level. The bag is made of durable nylon fabric that makes this backpack weather resistant and long lasting. The pack bag is removable which makes the external frame a multi-use tool for hauling meat on a hunt.
The ALPS Outdoor Z Commander has a multitude of storage pockets that will help you keep everything you carry with you on the trail easily accessible and organized. The main storage top loading pocket of this external frame backpack boasts 86 liters of space, making this bag exceptionally spacious and perfect stashing your essential gear.
Long distance hunters can attest to the importance of being to see easily with a spotting scope, and this external frame backpack sports a pocket specifically designed to carry this item. This bag also comes fitted with a drop-down rifle holder which allows you to keep your rifle close and secure as you travel on your hunting expedition.
An excellent feature of this bag is its hydration pocket and port, ensuring that you are able to easily carry the water that you need to stay safely hydrated while you are far away from other water sources. This backpack comes equipped with a secure and supportive lashing system that allows you to attach items to your bag with ease. The adjustable torso straps help to secure the backpack to your body, allowing you to have stable back support. This external frame backpack is an excellent choice for any hunter.
TFO External Frame Hiking Backpack
The TFO External Frame Hiking Backpack is an excellent hiking backpack for anyone looking to prevent carrying excess weight on their shoulders. The metal frame on this backpack substantially transfers the weight of your load to your hips and legs, allowing to alleviate the pressure on your back and shoulders. This backpack has a fabric mesh around the frame, keeping your back cool as you transport this backpack to your final destination.
This external frame hiking backpack comes with a waterproof rain cover that protects the backpack from the elements. The durable YKK zippers are perfect for intense hiking, preventing the bag from opening while on the trail. The durable and weatherproof nylon fabric that this TFO external frame hiking backpack is tear resistant and water resistant, making this a sturdy bag to take out into all kinds of weather.
Equipped with extra padding in the shoulders, hydration access, many pockets, compartments, and over 40 liters of space, this backpack is an outstanding selection for hikers going out for a long haul in intermittent weather.
ALPS Mountaineering Red Rock External Frame Pack
The ALPS Mountaineering Red Rock External Frame Pack is made of a lightweight polyester that is durable and breathable. All of the suspension components are covered in flexible lycra for its snag-proof material. The sternum straps are removable, allowing you to adjust to your comfort level and add support as needed. The waist belt has a tightening strap to help you adjustable the bag to fit your body.
This backpack is like many external frame packs in the way that it is top loading with a good grouping of external pocket options. This backpack has 32 liters of space and is perfect for long trails that require a bag that isn’t particularly hefty.
The telescoping frame is extremely sturdy and supportive. This ALPS external frame backpack was designed with your lumbar support in mind. If your back health is one of your main concerns, and a deciding factor for your purchase of an external frame backpack depends on maintaining stable ergonomics, this option may be perfect for you.
Tofine External Frame Mountaineering Backpack
This Tofine Waterproof External Frame Backpack is a waterproof option made of durable nylon. This particular external frame backpack has the ability to adjust height which is an exponentially useful feature if you’re an avid hiker who wants to be able to switch up their packing styles without having to buy countless backpack options.
This backpack was designed with ergonomics in mind and has two sturdy aluminum alloy frames that support the weight of the bag evenly between your shoulders and hips while allowing cool air to travel through the space between your back. The bottom of this pack has a shoe compartment and thick shoulder straps to balance the bag over your arms comfortably. This bag is stable and supportive with a waterproof nylon exterior that has many pockets for all your storage needs.
With at least 55 liters of space, you have the option to store everything that you need. If you need more space for your travels, the adjustable frame can add up to 10 liters without a hassle. This is an incredible bag for the hiker looking for flexibility in their hiking gear.
Kelty Unisex Yukon 48
Kelty delivers again with their Unisex Yukon 48. This pack is designed for a lighter load or a smaller body. This feature-heavy external frame backpack is perfect for young adults or someone who is new to hiking and looking to adjust to a larger pack over time.
This top loading bag is designed with multiple outside pockets for easy to locate storage. The adjustable suspension makes the bag versatile and the comfortable add ons like the signature Kelty dual density waist belt make this backpack a perfect match for someone looking for a modifiable pack.
Equipped with stabilizing sternum straps, an ice axe loop, a front stash pocket, and a hydration compartment, this multifunctional backpack is an ideal option for the beginning hiker. Short hiking trips and lengthy excursions alike are worthy of this unisex external frame backpack.
Why buy an external frame backpack?
External frame backpacks are legendary. They’ve been in use for decades by people intending to go on long expeditions. The trusted ability of an external frame backpack is time tested and true. Although external frame backpacks are considered traditional and many hikers have taken to other styles of backpacks to suit their aesthetic desires, external frame backpacks live on because of their distinct function as a heavy load backpack and their durability over long strenuous trips.
These backpacks are beneficial in how they allow a camper or hiker to carry everything they need. Many big league hikers know that a long trip requires them to pack everything they will need to survive. The space available in external frame backpacks is substantial, taking the stress of being potentially unprepared because of a lack of space for important items in your pack completely off the table.
There are usually a number of outer pockets on external frame backpacks which allows a user the ability to store a great deal of items easily. The ability to organize items according to size and need on the external portion of the backpack frees up internal space in the larger backpack pocket, making accessibility to important and necessary items stored in the outer pockets fundamentally easier.
Someone using this backpack for a hunting or hiking excursion should make sure to get properly fitted for their external frame backpack because the suspension system in these types of backpacks are not usually adjustable, although adjustable packs exist. Having a properly fitted external frame backpack will allow for ease of use and ensure that the weight of a heavy load will be properly supported, protecting your back and body from any strain.
The support created by external frame backpacks is above par. The strain of a long trip on your body can be noticed right away if you have gear that isn’t suitable for your needs. Carrying a bag that is not built for long and heavy hauls can leave you sore and aching before supper. This problem can put a damper on a long jaunt, but having an external frame backpack can satisfy your need for comfort.
External frame backpacks leave you knowing that your gear is securely stored and intelligently organized within the multitude of pockets, helping to put your mind at ease while on a long trip. This means no more dismantling of your bag every time you have to look for a single item. Being able to locate important articles like water purification tablets or a camera for that perfect shot of the sunset in a timely manner can define important moments on your trip.
Other backpacks don’t have the storage capacity and load distribution that external frame backpacks have. This makes external frame backpacks ideal if you’ve got a lot of gear to carry. Nothing will suffice as well as an external frame backpack for the big adventures in your life. Plus, there is something about an external backpack that is aesthetically pleasing in a way no other bags can be.
What to consider when purchasing an external frame backpack
The most important things to consider when purchasing an external frame backpack is what you will need to carry with you on your trip and how much comfort you will have while carrying it. If you know you’ll need a stove, a safe way to store a tent, access to various smaller articles like a flint or matches, and you want to carry it all in a way that allows you to stand upright and support your spine, an external frame backpack is perfect.