External Frame Backpacks

Brand

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

User

Unisex
Men's
Women's
Kids'

Price

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

Recent External Frame Backpack Reviews

U.S. Military ALICE Pack

rated 1 of 5 stars Primitive, heavy, and outdated, an Alice Pack would never make it into my gear collection. We used these in the NZ Army back in the '80s. Like a lot of the gear back then it was 1960s Vietnam era.Back in those days the gear was so bad that soldiers would go out and buy their own gear, mostly civilian issue.  SAS soldiers used to go out and buy MacPac and Fairydown backpacks. The Alice Packs were just not capable of carrying sufficient load comfortably and I can only suggest they are basically rubbish. Full review

U.S. Military ALICE Pack

rated 4 of 5 stars Not a bad pack as long as you are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the design. The as-issued ALICE does the job and holds up well to rough use, but it lacks the comfort of more modern designs and the refinements and fashionable trends of civilian products. However, upgrade the straps and the waist belt with MOLLE II replacements and you've got one solid feeling pack that is comfortable and does just about anything you want a pack to do while remaining simple in nature. Consider adding the… Full review

JanSport Rainier

rated 5 of 5 stars I, literally, lived out of this pack for four years. It was spacious, had plenty of room for everything I needed. I'm 6'4" and was grateful for the longer frame. When packed right, it was good for the long haul and routinely took me several miles down the road or trail. Having started off with milsurp packs, the Rainier was a dream to own.  Full review

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

Top-Rated External Frame Backpacks

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user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
L.L.Bean Hunter's Carryall Pack
$79 MSRP
Kelty Sanitas 34
$87 - $119
user rating: 2.5 of 5 (2)
ALPS Mountaineering Zion Pack
$93 - $135
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Mountainsmith Youth Scout
$109 MSRP
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Kelty Cache Hauler (Frame Only)
$120 MSRP
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Yukon 50
$120 MSRP
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
Kelty Yukon 48
$127 - $179
user rating: 2 of 5 (2)
ALPS Mountaineering Commander
$130 MSRP
Kelty Trekker 64
$140 MSRP
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Trekker 65
$180
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
ALPS Mountaineering Bryce
$149 MSRP
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Kelty Cache Hauler
$220 MSRP
user rating: 3 of 5 (2)
Vargo Ti-Arc Pack
$300 MSRP
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Seek Outside Unaweep 6300
$429 MSRP
user rating: 5 of 5 (8)
Norrona Recon
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
Camp Trails Wilderness (External)
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: 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)
The Big Heavy
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Recon LK100
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Karrimor Condor 60-80 (External)
user rating: 4 of 5 (41)
U.S. Military 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 Gear 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 of 5 (14)
U.S. Military MOLLE Pack
OneCoolBackpack EcoPack-1
 
user rating: 3 of 5 (1)
Stansport 597-f
 
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
Vargo Ti-Arc CF
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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