External Frame Backpacks

Brands

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

Genders

Unisex
Men's
Women's
Kids'

Price

less than $100
$100 - $199.99
$200 - $299.99
$500 and above

Recent External Frame Backpack Reviews

Kelty Trekker 4300

rated 5 of 5 stars I got my first Kelty in 1968, and still use it for day hikes. In addition to the 'orginal' Kelty, I have the Trekker 4300 and the Tioga 5500.  Use depending on the length of the hike. Love all three.  Most of my hiking is in the desert SW and Grand Canyon. The externals allow greater airflow. Load is balanced over the hips—the long hike up from the bottom of Grand Canyon goes much easier with the 'over-the-hips' weight distribution. I still do an annual Rim-2-Rim at the Canyon—and of course… Full review

REI Trekker Wonderland

rated 5 of 5 stars I pack in bear country, so I really like the squeak. I pack in bear and lion country so the squeaking is a plus. It has all the room I need for a week out, and it is very comfortable. I have two other packs, top of the line, but I am liking this one the best. I bought it used, in like new condition for $18. SCORE!!!! Full review

U.S. Armed Forces ALICE Pack

rated 4 of 5 stars This is a great, huge pack with plenty of large pockets to organize and fit more supplies in. It is pretty water resistant but I wouldn't guarantee anything there. The MOLLE straps on the outside are good for hanging stuff from with bungie cord or clips. Extra pouches can also be added to the outside :) I would recommend this to anyone who would like to go for a longer trip, not just a day hike. These packs are for sale, made brand new in the curragh army shop. Full review

Seek Outside Paradox Evolution 4800

rated 5 of 5 stars I missed my external packs from the days long ago, until I found this one. It articulates as good or better than any of my internal frame packs and best of all, THE HIP BELT WILL NOT SLIP. I know, an amazing assertion, but true. PARADOX PACK by SEEKOUTSIDE 4800 WITH BASE TALON I found out about this external frame pack that feels like an internal frame on BACKPACKINGLIGHT. That (and other reviews, I read them all) haunted me until I purchased one and tried it out. It boasted an external aluminum… Full review

Vargo Ti-Arc Pack

rated 4.5 of 5 stars The external frame pack is back! The Ti-Arc is a first generation backpack from the company that brings us all things titanium. As an initial foray into pack design, the Ti-Arc is a solid first step, merging the best aspects of external and internal frames. The design is innovative. The comfort is phenomenal. Vargo still has a few kinks to straighten out in the design. However, the Ti-Arc has decisively brought the external frame pack back out of obscurity. This is the pack I want with me on the… Full review

Kelty Trekker 65

rated 5 of 5 stars Bought to replace my first and last internal pack that I will ever own. I bought this pack after jumping on the internal bandwagon and being highly unsatisfied. I absolutely love it! I have used this pack for several miles of trails both wide open trails and narrow unbeaten trails. I could live out of this pack if I needed to for as long as I needed. The weight is distributed much better than my internal. I have been able to strap items to the frame if I needed (my Gerber machete is fixed to the… Full review

ALPS Mountaineering Commander

rated 4 of 5 stars The ALPS Commander frame pack is very comfortable to wear and is extremely durable. It is lightweight, solid, adjustable, and easy to use. I wasn't sure how well the pack would fit my shoulders with a heavy load, so in order to test the capabilities I piled everything on it. The Commander has a shelf that can be lowered and this is a great feature. I loaded camera gear, a spotting scope, tripods, food, water, etc. You get the picture. When I weighed the pack 3/4 loaded it was 57 lbs. I'll admit,… Full review

Camp Trails Adjustable II

rated 5 of 5 stars Camp Trails is the under-rated champion of solid, versatile backpacks. The Adjustable II lives up to the Camp Trails U.S.-made tradition of reliability and ruggedness. Two, 20"-long, zippered, vertical pouches on either side of the main compartment are ideal for fly and tent poles in one, tent body and pegs in the other. An extender bar is made (maybe hard to get, now?) so that you can lash your pad horizontally to it, over the main compartment. The main compartment is only a single space (no separator),… Full review

Dana Design K2 Longbed

rated 5 of 5 stars Once you get over the squeaks, it's fantastic. Rides nice, not on your back, air flow over my back, walk upright, spacious. I'm old-school and never really took to a backpack hugging my back and making me walk hunched over all sweaty. Squeaks and creaks, but it takes a huge load and is comfortable and indestructible. Full review

Top-Rated External Frame Backpacks

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

Kelty Trekker 65
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Kelty
Trekker 65
$140 - $179
Kelty Cache Hauler
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Kelty
Cache Hauler
$250
Bergans Powerframe
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Bergans
Powerframe
$549
Mountainsmith Youth Scout
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Mountainsmith
Youth Scout
$96 - $119
Kelty Junior Tioga 2050
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Kelty
Junior Tioga 2050
$63
Kelty Yukon 48
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Kelty
Yukon 48
$104 - $169
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
Camp Trails
Wilderness (External)
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
Norrona
Reconpack
L.L.Bean Hunter's Carryall Pack
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
Seek Outside Paradox Evolution 4800
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)
Recon
LK100
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Karrimor
Condor 60-80 (External)
Nimrod Pack System
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)

Nimrod Pack System
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (16)
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)
Dana Design
K2 Longbed
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Kelty
Continental Divide 5300 (External)
discontinued
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Dana Design
Longbed
discontinued
Outdoor Products Saturn
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
Kelty West Coast 4800
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
Vargo Ti-Arc Pack
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Vargo
Ti-Arc Pack
$299
 
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Camp Trails
Night Song (External)
Kelty Super Tioga
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11)
Kelty
Super Tioga
discontinued
Kelty Pacific Crest 5000
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty
Pacific Crest 5000
discontinued
Outdoor Products Trailhead Framepack 8.0
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Outdoor Products
Trailhead Framepack 8.0
discontinued
Kelty 50th Anniversary Pack
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Kelty
50th Anniversary Pack
discontinued
Kelty Tioga 4500
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Kelty
Tioga 4500
discontinued
Camp Trails Adjustable II
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Camp Trails
Adjustable II
discontinued
Kelty Trekker 3900 ST
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
Outdoor Products Dragon Fly
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Outdoor Products
Dragon Fly
discontinued
JanSport Carson 80
user rating: 4 of 5 (12)
JanSport
Carson 80
$110 - $119
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