External Frame Backpacks

Brand

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

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

Kelty Cache Hauler (Frame Only)

rated 5 of 5 stars Absolute best pack for hauling out elk from deep in the back country. Carry 120-150 pounds, no problems other than being tired. This is the absolute best pack you will ever need to haul out a whole deer, elk halves or quarters, moose, caribou, bear, you name it! I have had 150 pounds on this pack numerous times and this pack is still very comfortable!  It fits perfectly. When loaned to my buddies they rave about the pack and most have bought one themselves. If you like hunting in the deep backcountry,… Full review

Camp Trails Ponderosa

rated 5 of 5 stars I have an old Camptrails pack too. Not sure of the model but it is one of the larger ones. Purchased April 9, 1974 -- I still have the receipt. With a few trips to the shoemaker to sew in some Cordura, it is still usable. These packs are made of iron. To stay in shape, I put 50 lbs of free weights in it, raise my treadmill to 15 degrees, put a 5 lb weight on each ankle and cover a mile in about 18 minutes. The divide between the top and bottom compartments is still holding up. Full review

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

Top-Rated External Frame Backpacks

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

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: 5 of 5 (2)
Camp Trails Ponderosa
 
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)
Mountainsmith Youth Scout
$109 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
 
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 (4)
Kelty Yukon 48
$127 - $169
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Trekker 65
$140 MSRP
 
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Camp Trails Night Song (External)
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Seek Outside Unaweep 6300
$429 MSRP
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Yukon 50
$120 MSRP
 
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (12)
Kelty Super Tioga
discontinued
 
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (9)
REI Trekker Wonderland
discontinued
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 (3)
Kelty Trekker 3900 ST
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Kelty Tioga 4500
discontinued
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Camp Trails Adjustable II
discontinued
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