External Frame Backpacks

Brand

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

User

Unisex
Men's
Women's
Kids'

Price

less than $100
$100 - $199.99
$200 - $299.99
$300 - $399.99
$400 and above

Recent External Frame Backpack Reviews

Camp Trails Ponderosa

rated 5 of 5 stars Camp Trails Ponderosa is the best pack I have ever used and I have had a more than a handful of other packs to compare with. I chucked away my first one after many years use when one of the zippers failed and regretted it afterwards and have this week bought two more on eBay and will never look back on softpacks again. I cannot wait to finally get them. Top weave, robust frame, light and roomy. I have used it around the world from Lappland, Nova Scotia, Rockies, and New Zealand and it has worked… Full review

Norrona Recon

rated 4 of 5 stars Used this backpack for approximately 15 years. Best use for heavy loads. The carry system on this backpack is impressive. The foam straps feel molded to your body. The quick height adjustment is very easy to use. It also adjusts well from a tight fit in challenging terrain to more relaxed in easy terrain. The backpack is huge! 125L is a lot. The backpack is designed for hunters and recon troops who need to carry a lot of heavy equipment or even a whole reindeer. In this size of backpacks there is… Full review

Seek Outside Unaweep 6300

rated 4.5 of 5 stars This bag is designed as a load hauler for backcountry big game hunting, so large, heavy loads are not an issue. Made to be comfortable with 100 lbs or more, smaller loads ride very well on or off trail. Great for cold weather gear, expedition style multi-week food bags, and can be used to carry hard to pack loads outside the bag. Note: Seek Outside is constantly updating their product lines, adding and removing features as they react to customer input. This review is for a pack I had made to order… Full review

REI Trekker Wonderland

rated 5 of 5 stars I have used this pack for many years on extended trips of up to nine days. It has seen many cross-country hikes in very rough terrain. It has always performed well and is comfortable until I get up to 60+ lbs of weight, but over 60 lbs what pack is comfortable? Zippers are still functioning well as is the rest of the pack. I am very sad to see that you can no longer buy a new one. Fits well and is comfortable. Full review

The Big Heavy

rated 5 of 5 stars The Big Heavy is my home away from home carrying everything I need except me. The Big Heavy is an amazing external frame backpack from the late '80s. This isn't one of those wooden framed canvas Boy Scout things mind you, but a bit newer and more high-tech. The Big Heavy is able to carry anything and I love it so! Starting with my sleep system I have a tarp. I've never liked the sound those plastic one's make so I found an old painters tarp. It's canvas so it weighs a bit more, and it gets wet,… Full review

REI Trekker Wonderland

rated 4.5 of 5 stars Quality and functionality for over 20 years. The Wonderland was handed down to me nearly 20 years ago! It's still in great shape, except for a zipper on the removable fanny pack. I believe it's more reliable  and modular than these newer streamlined packs. Sure it's bulky, but I'm not running a marathon in it. It's timeless and I wouldn't exchange it for any other pack.  Full review

Kelty Yukon 48

rated 4.5 of 5 stars This is the pack that I always return to. Easy to pack and to carry. Durable and adaptable. Excellent for smaller adults. This review pertains to the older version of this pack, which has somewhat less heavily padded and shaped hip belt and shoulder straps, no sternum strap, no provision for a water bladder, and lashing tabs on the top flap and back pocket, rather than a daisy-chain. Conditions: I have used this pack for eight years, for several trips annually of one to seven days.  Construction… Full review

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

Top-Rated External Frame Backpacks

Sort by: name | rating | price | availability | recently reviewed

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Trekker 65
$150 - $179
user rating: 3 of 5 (2)
Vargo Ti-Arc Pack
$300
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
Kelty Yukon 48
$143 - $169
Vargo Ti-Arc CF
$400
Kelty Sanitas 34
$120
user rating: 5 of 5 (8)
Norrona Recon
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
Camp Trails Wilderness (External)
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)
The Big Heavy
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Recon LK100
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Karrimor Condor 60-80 (External)
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Camp Trails Ponderosa
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: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Seek Outside Unaweep 6300
$429 MSRP
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: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Yukon 50
$120 MSRP
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
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