External Frame Backpacks

Brands

Kelty
Vargo
Alite
Camp Trails
Norrona
L.L.Bean
Nimrod Pack Systems
Outdoor Products
Barney's Sports Chalet
Bergans

User

Unisex
Men's
Women's
Kids'

Price

less than $100
$100 - $199.99
$200 - $299.99
$300 and above

Recent External Frame Backpack Reviews

U.S. Armed Forces MOLLE Pack

rated 3 of 5 stars Not bad for what you pay for it these days, more for mountaineering than backpacking and thru-hikes. Way to bulky for day hikes. I carried max loads in the military with it and about a 40-lb load with an added 15 to 20 lbs of firewood and it carried that load well. I still prefer lighter civilian packs like Osprey, which only weighs slightly over 4 lbs and has an AG suspension harness. Full review

Dana Design K2 Longbed

rated 5 of 5 stars Dana Design screwed up discontinuing LongBed K-2. It is bomb proof, great organizing external pockets, comfortable waist strap, adjustable upper frame extension, enormous capacity. It is built to last not years but decades. If you like to take the kitchen sink this is the pack for you. It is over built and will last, I dare say a lifetime. I wouldn't sell mine EVER. There is nothing out there that could replace it. People on the trail are always commenting on my pack and want to know were to get… Full review

JanSport D3

rated 5 of 5 stars Purchased my D3 from R.E.I. in 1979. I have used this pack on the Appalachian Trail, hiking in Wyoming, more camping trips than I can count, and for a season of wilderness guiding in Maine. Love this pack. I have had this pack for 38 years. I have replaced both front panel zippers, but otherwise the pack has held up well. It has always fit me well at 5'7". It is very comfortable even with a heavy load. I love most that it has a large capacity to haul multiple days of bulky food packages. The front… Full review

JanSport D3

rated 5 of 5 stars Though the D3 is now considered a "classic," since 1974 I've always considered it to be an everyday "workhorse." I'm replacing the shoulder straps (one had gotten a serious cut) and I once added a layer of Ensolite on the inside of the hip belt, but otherwise the pack has already been ready to do its job regardless of whether it's for an easy overnighter or a ten-day, 75-lbs adventure. My Jansport D3 backpack is now over 40 years old. I bought it new. Over most of those years it has been my… Full review

Kelty Tioga

rated 4 of 5 stars Proven design. I owned and carried one of these for years, as did a college roommate. It was quite a number of years ago but the new models seem essentially the same. It was basically the first aluminum external readily available anywhere. Other makers quickly followed when the market became obvious, but Kelty was there first and for many, including me, the proven and well reviewed design sold me.  It cost an impoverished college student a pile of money for those days. I probably ate less for a… Full review

Kelty Tioga

rated 4.5 of 5 stars This is a great pack for 10 days in the mountains. I like the 3 L water side pouch that you can fill up with the Playtpus 3 L bag. Frame pack makes it easier to get on over your head. Holds a lot of weight. I used this pack while hiking Philmont Scout Reservation. It did the job for 10 days on the trail. External frame held up in the rugged environment. Easier to get on than the internal framed. Lot less bulk when empty to carry restock supplies at camp then repack. The zippers seemed to stick but… Full review

REI Trekker Wonderland

rated 3.5 of 5 stars I like the many pockets for all of my gear Full review

U.S. Armed Forces ALICE Pack

rated 4.5 of 5 stars The medium ALICE is the most versatile durable pack and less expensive than other brand name packs. A medium ALICE pack can be bought separately from an issue frame. If it is surplus it will have three internal strings to reduce its size for hiking (YouTube has a vid on how to turn it into an assault pack). Ten to 15 lbs will carry fine without the frame. For camping a DIY frame (see YouTube vids) or after-market frames (see YouTube vids) allow you to buy and attach a MOLLE 2 hip pad belt to transfer… Full review

Nimrod Pack Systems Haul Frame Pack

rated 5 of 5 stars I'VE BEEN MILITARY 28 YEARS!!! I can tell you that the military could learn a few things from Nimrod Packs systems!! I own every piece from binoc/45 case to the meat rack. If you spend your money on the OTHER guys costing twice your money you're wrong! This stuff is top quality and the craftsmanship is excellent. The owner is a top quality individual and the warranty is world class. Try it! It will be the last one you will ever need!! I tell everyone I meet they need to look at the prices the "Hunting Magazine… Full review

Top-Rated External Frame Backpacks

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user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Trekker 65
$135 - $179
user rating: 3 of 5 (2)
Vargo Ti-Arc Pack
$300
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Yukon 50
$136
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Kelty Yukon 48
$127 - $169
 
Alite Hatcher Backpack
$131
Vargo Ti-Arc CF
$400
Kelty Sanitas 34
$90 - $119
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
Camp Trails Wilderness (External)
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
Norrona Reconpack
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Kelty Cache Hauler
$220 MSRP
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
L.L.Bean Hunter's Carryall Pack
$79 MSRP
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Nimrod Pack Systems Haul Frame Pack
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Camp Trails Omega Outfitter
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Outdoor Products Firefly
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Barney's Sports Chalet Super Moose
 
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Camp Trails Night Song (External)
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Bergans Powerframe 3800
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Seek Outside Paradox Evolution 4800
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Camp Trails Omega/Camo
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
ALPS Mountaineering Bryce
$149 MSRP
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Bergans Powerframe
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Recon LK100
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Karrimor Condor 60-80 (External)
user rating: 4 of 5 (39)
U.S. Armed Forces ALICE Pack
user rating: 4 of 5 (14)
JanSport Carson 80
user rating: 4 of 5 (4)
JanSport Scout
user rating: 4 of 5 (4)
JanSport D2
user rating: 4 of 5 (3)
High Sierra Bobcat 65
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Savotta 906
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Camp Trails Adjustable III
 
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Diamond Brand Blue Ridge 5
 
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (5)
Camp Trails McKinley
 
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (3)
Camp Trails Explorer
 
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (3)
Camp Trails Denali
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (1)
Kelty Cache Hauler (Frame Only)
$120 MSRP
 
user rating: 3 of 5 (14)
U.S. Armed Forces MOLLE Pack
OneCoolBackpack EcoPack-1
 
user rating: 3 of 5 (1)
Stansport 597-f
user rating: 2.5 of 5 (2)
ALPS Mountaineering Zion Pack
$160 MSRP
user rating: 2 of 5 (2)
ALPS Mountaineering Commander
$130 MSRP
 
user rating: 1 of 5 (1)
Stansport External Frame
 
user rating: 1 of 5 (1)
Asolo Expedition 70
 
user rating: 1 of 5 (1)
Peak 1 Bitterroot
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Mountainsmith Youth Scout
$109 MSRP
Kelty Trekker 64
$140 MSRP
user rating: 5 of 5 (19)
JanSport D3
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
JanSport D5
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (6)
Dana Design K2 Longbed
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Trekker 4300
discontinued
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Continental Divide 5300 (External)
discontinued
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