Guide to Backpacks

9:40 a.m. on October 11, 2005 (EDT)
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This thread is for comments on the article "Guide to Backpacks"

Like most outdoor gear, choosing a backpack depends on what you plan on doing with it primarily. Consider how long you will be gone on trips (a day, overnight, a week?), how much gear you’ll need, or want, to bring along, and when you’ll be out.

Full article at

11:07 p.m. on September 16, 2010 (EDT)
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"They are also cheaper and can be good introductory backpacks for growing kids and beginners."

Wow, biased much? Exterior packs offer better gear distribution among other things, and are typically much more rugged. The rugged factor is very important if you're doing anything more then a weekend hike.

"They can help you carry very heavy loads, but generally are best for covering easy terrain."

Again, biased much? They are superior for difficult terrain as they last longer, and are more rugged. When you're heading up a steep mountain out in the Rocky's, you want a pack that you can rely on. If you are an avid backpacker, durability and reliability are much more important then comfort. If the frame snaps in the middle of a hike, it doesn't matter how damned comfortable it was.

The last time I used an internal (It was a top of the line Gregory), the frame snapped in two on one side. That was my third and final Gregory pack. My other two bent horribly out of shape. I've also used and Osprey, Arc'teryx. The Osprey lasted awhile, but the frame eventually bent out of shape. The Arc'teryx however, never gave me any problems, but that's Arc'teryx for you, amazing brand.

Guess how many externals I've had? Two. One of them lasted me 17ish years, and I figured it was just time for a new one, it didn't give me any problems whatsoever. My current backpack would be a top of the line Kelty, which also, has never given me any problems.

As soon as I graduated college I hiked the AT with a couple friends. One of them messed his ankle up in the Smokey's, so he had to head home. The other had to purchase a new pack in northern Virginia, as his frame internal frame bent out of shape. Guess which pack I was wearing? My 15 year old external.

Other benefits would be that your pack is much more organized(typically), and you can attach items to the frame when you aren't using them(trekking poles, ice axes/picks, etc), also, they are much cooler on your back.


Now, I'm not going to be horribly biased like you, and leave it at that. If I did, I was basically be saying that external frame packs are the end all be all of packs, that they are superior in every way. But they aren't, and I'm not going to lie to your readers.

Interior packs definitely have there pluses. For weekend or 3-4 day trips they are great. They typically sit a bit better then exteriors, and a bit more comfortable. Though, they typically make your back sweat a bit more.

Interior packs are definitely the best choice for climbing, skiing, or similar activities. The interior frame allows for more movement, and there's no chance of the frame 'catching' of tree branches, or rock protrusions. Whenever I go on a cross country ski trip I'll wear my Arc'teryx pack. I'll also typically use that pack for when I go on kayaking tours/expeditions, as it fits in my kayaks tail, whereas my Kelty does not.

Just my .02 from a few decades of experience

7:17 a.m. on September 17, 2010 (EDT)
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Now, I'm not going to be horribly biased like you, and leave it at that.

Was this necessary? Catch more flies with honey.

7:55 a.m. on September 17, 2010 (EDT)
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ZeCritic, what's kind of funny about this is that I agree with your basic points.

It's a five-year-old article that could use some updating. Agreed.

April 23, 2018
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