Old external/wood frame pack

11:11 p.m. on May 1, 2011 (EDT)
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4 forum posts

I am looking for external frame pack, or just frame, that is built for very heavy loads (75lbs+ possibly). 

At the same time, I am certainly a fan of old school (70s or earlier) style packs/frames.  Since I don't know too much about older packs, I wanted to ask a more knowledgeable crowd before I started looking.  I'm sure such packs must be out there since there were serious backpackers back then also.

What brands or styles should I be looking for?  I plan to post on these forums as well as searching through ebay.  But currently, besides "external frame pack," I'm not exactly sure how I can search in a more specific way.

Thanks so much for any information (or if you have one lying around and want to let me take a look at it!).

11:54 p.m. on May 1, 2011 (EDT)
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613 forum posts

Unless, you are a masochist who truely enjoys pain, misery and suffering, there is NO way that you want to carry even moderate loads such as 75 lbs. on a wooden framed external pack. I did this as a frequent and regular part of my wilderness employment for years and some loads were about twice that....and, it AIN'T "recreation".

NO wooden frame will come even close to the Bullpack of my favourite Dana Design-Bozeman, early K2, Loadmaster frames and I have owned, used, broken, worn out, given away and pitched in the recycling quite a few frame packs plus plenty of internals.

Buy one if you must, but, there are FAR better alternatives and one is the Mystery Ranch NICE system, "google" them to go to their site.

4:07 a.m. on May 2, 2011 (EDT)
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2,979 forum posts

I like the Kelty Tioga, Sonora, or Expedition packs.  I own the Sonora (early 80s?), and have hauled 95 pounds with it back in the day when I was a young buck with a strong back.


12:42 p.m. on May 2, 2011 (EDT)
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1,469 forum posts

Crazy heavy load you are talking about carrying and further more with an old style pack.  I would suggest less load and new pack.

1:04 p.m. on May 2, 2011 (EDT)
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167 forum posts

anyone have any experience carrying the segen packs? they sure look nice and they are way more modern in  the way they are made. i never actually used one, might be just what you are looking for jayflo, check out the link below. i know these have been discussed on trailspace before, i have never heard any reviews though. 


best of luck

2:51 p.m. on May 2, 2011 (EDT)
389 reviewer rep
1,124 forum posts

I've got a Kelty Tioga 1973 I think. I use it 2 times a year 50+ lbs. Thats when both Rita and I go out. I can go out for a week with less than 30#. Why so much weight?

3:42 p.m. on May 2, 2011 (EDT)
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411 forum posts

Do you think anyone ever walks up to a Civil War re-enactment and screams out, "You could have a much easier go of it if you wore fleece, carried Cuben Fiber packs, and shot a plastic-stocked AR-15!"

Some people just don't get it. Lots of ways to have fun.

5:52 p.m. on May 2, 2011 (EDT)
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928 forum posts


Plans for a wood and canvas "packboard". I used one of these to carry up to 115 lbs. of tools etc. in my trail crew days, and I imagine the AMC still uses them to supply huts in the White Mtns. (NH). Here's an RMC newsletter with a photo of one. Surprised there's not more on this out there on the web.

6:57 p.m. on May 2, 2011 (EDT)
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1,124 forum posts

Mother Earth rocks.

9:36 a.m. on May 3, 2011 (EDT)
41 reviewer rep
4 forum posts

Hey Guys,

Thanks for the info.  For those of you who are seemingly confused as to why someone would want to have such a thing, it is mainly for "training" purposes.  That is, I don't plan on taking this out for some long, serious hike where it could really hurt after a while.  But I plan on loading some big weight onto an old pack for various day/weekend hikes so that when I do go out for more serious hiking, my body will handle it much better. (and btw, I do have a newer pack already for more serious hiking)

And, as Zeno Marx said, sometimes it's nice to try things the way they did back in the day.  It's part of history and I am always curious "if I could have done that."

Now that i see how uncommon these things are, I might actually look into making one myself.  More or less following a similar design to the one posted.  Thanks again.

2:30 p.m. on May 3, 2011 (EDT)
12 reviewer rep
613 forum posts

Quite frankly, using a pack of that type to "train" for packing heavy loads on long, serious trips is NOT the way to go and the pain you will experience will do NOTHING to enhance your body strength or mental toughness and thus enable you to pack more....probably the reverse.

The competitive attitude in respect of ...if I could have done that... is actually inimical to learning to pack heavy packs (100lbs+), over long distances in rough country. You do this by "flowing" WITH nature, NOT by "machoing" like some "roids monkey" cage fighter and, you will find that such an approach works far better in wilderness than the aggressive attitude does.

Train with the pack you are going to use or with an identical one, reserved for that purpose, I have a Dana-Bozeman-Astralplane I keep specifically for training as I do not want my Mystery Ranch hunting packs soaked with sweat. If, this is not a concern, then use your regular pack and work up to major weight slowly as it is easy to hurt yourself with a heavy pack and out-of-shape" muscles.

Just some advice from a battered old codger who has the memories of these @#@$%^#$# torture racks to draw from.............................

May 24, 2018
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