External Frame Backpacks

Brands

Kelty
ALPS Mountaineering
Vargo
Mountainsmith
Alite
Outdoor Products
Camp Trails
Norrona
L.L.Bean
Nimrod Pack Systems

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

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 semester… 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

ALPS Mountaineering Commander

rated 0.5 of 5 stars I bought this pack four years ago, used it twice to pack out elk quarters for a friend, one load each as there were three of us. Went to use it this year and every single strap broke and fell apart from dry rot or bad quality. Their warranty dept. told me because it's 4 years old it's considered normal wear and tear and not covered. Offered to sell me another one for the same price that I could buy it online for—not a good deal and terrible limited lifetime warranty, more like a one year warranty… Full review

Kelty Super Tioga

rated 3.5 of 5 stars Are YOU a mule? When you need to haul a week's worth of stuff, this pack will do it. I'm not a small guy—6' and 225-230 pounds. I usually have to carry enough to qualify as a mule. This pack carries it all. If you need to carry a real load this is your pack. I know it's considered old school, but hey, it is still made because it still works. If you hike trails and don't want to be Mr. Schweddy, you'll like this pack. It transfers the weight to your hips, and takes it off your shoulders.   The… Full review

ALPS Mountaineering Zion Pack

rated 3 of 5 stars This is a good first pack for a beginner. It is easy to adjust and holds plenty of gear for a week on the trail. I bought the ALPS Zion pack in 2015. I used it on a one-week trek of about 30 miles in 2016 and plan to use it on a two-week trek of over 50 miles in 2017, plus shorter work up treks. Since I bought it on sale for under $100 I consider it a good pack for the money. It holds plenty of gear and I like strapping my tent on top and my sleeping bag to the bottom. The external pouches work… Full review

Kelty Yukon 48

rated 3 of 5 stars Great, durable backpack, used from Cub Scouts to present (I'm 30). I've had this pack since I was 12, and save for a couple squirrel holes internally (my bad. [cub scout]), it's held up amazingly. I've recently gotten into lightening my load (considerably), and took a seam ripper to it (it's from 1997, and I couldn't stand getting rid of it) to fit my new lightweight approach. It now sits just over 3 lbs, and functions as an extremely comfortable (and rugged...(can't do the Cuben/sil-nylon, as I… Full review

Top-Rated External Frame Backpacks

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user rating: 4.5 of 5 (12)
Kelty Super Tioga
$180
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Trekker 65
$135 - $179
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
ALPS Mountaineering Bryce
$104
user rating: 4 of 5 (11)
Kelty Tioga
$180
user rating: 3 of 5 (2)
Vargo Ti-Arc Pack
$300
user rating: 2.5 of 5 (2)
ALPS Mountaineering Zion Pack
$117
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Yukon 50
$170
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Kelty Yukon 48
$127 - $169
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Mountainsmith Youth Scout
$91
 
Alite Hatcher Backpack
$131
 
Vargo Ti-Arc CF
$400
Outdoor Products Mantis Dragonfly
$60
Kelty Trekker 64
$135
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)
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 (13)
U.S. Armed Forces MOLLE Pack
OneCoolBackpack EcoPack-1
 
user rating: 3 of 5 (1)
Stansport 597-f
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 (17)
JanSport D3
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
JanSport D5
discontinued
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