External Frame Backpacks

Brands

ALPS Mountaineering
Mountainsmith
Camp Trails
Norrona
Kelty
L.L.Bean
Outdoor Products
Barney's Sports Chalet
Bergans
Seek Outside

Genders

Unisex
Men's
Women's
Kids'

Price

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

Recent External Frame Backpack Reviews

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

Vargo Ti-Arc Pack

rated 1.5 of 5 stars Bling backpack, in beta. The market Vargo is aiming for with the ti-Arc can be worked out by three statistics: the median fit for its waistbelt is over 40", the base model costs three hundred dollars, and its capacity is that of a generous daypack. Rich weight-weenies out for a stroll & a picnic? Right... ...well, not far off as a judgement, if a bit unkind. The basics are good—arguably very good: the (vented titanium) lumbar pad, its padding, and the associated waistbelt assembly are absolutely… Full review

JanSport Carson 80

rated 4 of 5 stars I had a hard time finding an external pack of this size and i'm quite happy with the Carson. If the bag is on, have to unbuckle to reach back far enough to put bottle back in. With the zipper facing front, everything wants to fall out when I open it from the back, which to me is the normal way. Was surprised that the waist belt fit as well as it did, since it's a little narrow. Construction is good and no problems in three years I've had it.   Full review

JanSport Carson 80

rated 3.5 of 5 stars I've had the Carson 80 since 2008, replacing an old Jansport D3. At the time I bought it, my son had outgrown his little Kelty external frame boy's pack, and needed a decent upgrade for a 2010 trip to Philmont Scout Ranch, and all the shakedown trips before shipping out. I decided since I would be going on the shakedown hikes, and that I might also be going to Philmont, that I did not want to lug my old, Cordura D3.   I have, over the intervening years, found that the Carson fits and rides so… Full review

Savotta 906

rated 5 of 5 stars Superior military type backpack that will serve you well the rest of your life. Got one years ago and honestly this is a superior military type backpack that will serve you the rest of your life well. Have tried it in Siberia, Alps, Lapland, and Norway in many locations for several days serious hikes with "all you can carry loads". Strong fabric with dark green color, nothing like those modern days bright color fabrics that just doesn't fit you into the nature. After fixing the 906's adjustment… Full review

Kelty Unisex Yukon 3200

rated 4 of 5 stars I've had this pack for 15 years now. It's been on week-long canoe trips, overnight whitewaters and getting ready for an A/T thru hike. Awesome pack for the money. It's small for an external frame, but it keeps the weight down and with today's ultrlight super small equipment it's a lot of room. I was about 5' 10" and 150 lbs when I bought this pack for Scouts. I am now 6' 3" and 200 lbs and still find it comfortable to use. When I first got it it was nice because I could carry luxuries on a 2- to… Full review

ALPS Mountaineering Bryce

rated 5 of 5 stars My summer camp bought 60 of them. In two years nothing broke except the front connector strap. Not because it was built badly, but because some of the campers over tightened it. Full review

JanSport D3

rated 5 of 5 stars A great pack with lots of room for everything. Fits like a glove. Wish I could find a replacement pack for this well made, comfortable frame. I bought this pack used in 1991 at a yard sale for $10. I had just entered the Boy Scouts with my 11-year-old son. Twenty five years later I'm still in the scout program, having served in either scoutmaster or assistant every year, and I'm still using this JanSport backpack. I've owned several others, which I still have as loaners to kids that don't have a… Full review

Top-Rated External Frame Backpacks

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user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
ALPS Mountaineering Bryce
$104
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Mountainsmith Youth Scout
$91
 
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)
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: 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: 5 of 5 (1)
Nimrod Pack System
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (17)
JanSport D3
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
JanSport D5
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Trekker 4300
discontinued
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Continental Divide 5300 (External)
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Dana Design K2 Longbed
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Dana Design Longbed
discontinued
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Outdoor Products Saturn
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
K2 Shortbed
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Kelty Radial Light
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Dana Design K2 Terraframe
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Haglofs Alaska
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Dana Design K2 Terraframe Longbed
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Cerro Torre Yark I
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Dana Design Shortbed
discontinued
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Kelty West Coast 4800
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Mountainsmith Eagle
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Trailwise Freighter Frame
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Contour Outdoor MOLLE Pack
discontinued
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Kelty Junior Tioga 2050
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11)
Kelty Super Tioga
$180
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Trekker 65
$180
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Yukon 50
$170
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Kelty Yukon 48
$136 - $169
 
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Camp Trails Night Song (External)
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Pacific Crest 5000
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
Kelty 50th Anniversary Pack
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Outdoor Products Trailhead Framepack 8.0
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Kelty Tioga 4500
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Camp Trails Adjustable II
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Kelty Trekker 3900 ST
discontinued
 
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Dana Design Glacier (External)
discontinued
 
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Dana Design Terraframe
discontinued
 
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
JanSport Tundra 80
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Outdoor Products Dragon Fly
discontinued
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